Illinois Supreme Court Disbars 4, Suspends 7 in Latest Disciplinary Filing
The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on May 18, 2020. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.
Rod R. Blagojevich, Chicago
Former Governor Blagojevich, who was licensed in 1984, was disbarred after engaging in numerous criminal acts while serving as the Governor of Illinois. A federal jury found that he had committed the offenses of wire fraud, attempted extortion, corrupt solicitation, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and making material false statements to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Blagojevich had been placed on an interim suspension on October 26, 2011.
Kevin Lee Linder, Springfield
Mr. Linder, who was licensed in 1994, was disbarred on consent. He converted in excess of $124,000 in client funds and failed to return more than $26,000 in unearned fees in at least 14 other matters.
Donald Rendler-Kaplan, Chicago
Mr. Kaplan, who was licensed in 1980, was disbarred. He converted approximately $15,000 in settlement funds owed to a lienholder in a personal injury matter and neglected two additional client matters.
Andrew Gilbert Schmuhl, Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Mr. Schmuhl, who was licensed in 2009, was disbarred on consent. He was convicted in a circuit court in Virginia of abduction with the intent to extort money, aggravated maiming, using a firearm in the commission of a felony, and burglary. He entered a Virginia home belonging to a partner in the law firm that had formerly employed Mr. Schmuhl’s wife, took the partner and his spouse hostage, and physically attacked them. Mr. Schmuhl was sentenced to life imprisonment on the most serious charges.
Julie Lynn Ajster, Peru
Ms. Ajster, who was licensed in 2002, was suspended for 30 days. She made three false statements to a judge concerning her client’s income during recurring bail proceedings and gave legal advice to an unrepresented person whose interests were adverse to the interests of her client. The suspension is effective on June 8, 2020.
Stephen G. Bell, St. Louis, Missouri
Mr. Bell was licensed in Missouri in 1982 and in Illinois in 1983. The Supreme Court of Missouri indefinitely suspended him with no leave to apply for reinstatement for six months for misconduct arising from his sexual relationship with a client. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him in Illinois for six months and until he is reinstated to the practice of law in Missouri. The suspension is effective on June 8, 2020.
Gary K. Davidson, Homer Glen
Mr. Davidson, who was licensed to practice in 1999, was suspended for 30 days. He falsely reported to the Minimum Continuing Legal Education Board that he had earned a certain number of continuing legal education hours in a two-year period. He knew that he had not completed those hours when he submitted his false report to the Board. The suspension is effective on June 8, 2020.
Mathew Eric Gurvey, Chicago
Mr. Gurvey, who was licensed in 1994, was suspended for two years and until he successfully completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He converted $25,661 in earnest money tendered in connection with the repurchase of a foreclosed home. He also failed to promptly deliver funds to an attorney on behalf of a former client, and knowingly used at least $44,865 of the former client’s funds for another client’s purposes without authority. He later issued a check to the attorney, knowing that it would be dishonored, and provided a false explanation to the attorney about why the check did not clear. The suspension is effective on June 8, 2020.
Lloyd E. Koehler, Altamonte Springs, Florida
Mr. Koehler was licensed in Indiana in 1965 and in Illinois in 1969. The Indiana Supreme Court suspended him for 180 days, stayed by a term of probation with no right to file a petition to terminate probation for three years. He mismanaged his trust account for a number of years and improperly delegated tasks to, and inadequately supervised, a nonlawyer assistant. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended Mr. Koehler for 180 days in Illinois stayed by a three-year period of probation subject to the conditions imposed in Indiana and continuing until he is reinstated to the practice of law in Indiana.
Marie Edna McDermott, Chicago
Ms. McDermott, who was licensed in 2016, was suspended for 60 days. In 2017, while employed at a private law firm, she falsely recorded that she had spent a total of 22 hours over the course of several weeks preparing summaries of medical records for the firm’s clients. The suspension is effective on June 8, 2020.
Paul M. Storment Jr., Belleville
Mr. Storment, who was licensed in 1963, was suspended for one year, with the suspension stayed after five months by a seven-month period of probation with conditions. He converted approximately $3,500 meant to pay a client’s medical lien. Also, during the Administrator’s inquiry into his conduct, he sent the ARDC two response letters, each of which contained a false statement. The suspension is effective of June 8, 2020.
Robert Raymond Jung, Phoenix, Arizona
Mr. Jung was licensed in Arizona in 1992 and in Illinois in 1991. The Attorney Discipline Probable Cause Committee of the Supreme Court of Arizona entered an order admonishing him for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law by representing his fiancée in communications regarding her legal claims while he was serving a suspension from practice in Arizona. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded him in Illinois.