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Illinois Supreme Court Disbars Four, Suspends Nine in Latest Disciplinary Filing

The Illinois Supreme Court announced the filing of lawyer disciplinary orders on March 16, 2018. Sanctions were imposed because the lawyers engaged in professional misconduct by violating state ethics law.

DISBARRED

  • John F. Dziedziak, Chicago

Mr. Dziedziak, who was licensed in 1982, was disbarred. He misappropriated a total of approximately $20,000 in settlement proceeds from three separate client matters, neglected two client matters, failed to keep a client informed of the status of their case, engaged in the unauthorized practice of law after he was removed from the Master Roll, and failed to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.

  • Syed Mansoor Khan, Schaumburg

Mr. Khan, who was licensed in 2008, was disbarred. He neglected two different client civil matters, failed to communicate with his clients, and misappropriated $1,500 in client funds. Additionally, he made misrepresentations to a client about the status of her legal matter and failed to cooperate with the disciplinary authority.

  • Joi Lyons, Chicago

Ms. Lyons, who was licensed in 2015, was disbarred. She neglected ten different client matters, made misrepresentations to clients about the status of their matters, failed to refund unearned fees, and failed to cooperate in the disciplinary proceeding.

  • Delbert Keith Pruitt, Paducah, Kentucky

Mr. Pruitt, who was licensed in 2000, was disbarred. After he filed a complaint for his client in a personal injury matter on the final day of a two-year limitations period, Mr. Pruitt did not place the complaint and summons for service or take any other action for his client, and ceased returning the client’s calls. Mr. Pruitt also was also arrested in Kentucky for the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol and pled guilty to that offense. Finally, he did not cooperate with the ARDC investigations in relation to those incidents.

SUSPENDED

  • Ronald Lee Boorstein, Highland Park

Mr. Boorstein, who was licensed in 1960, was suspended from the practice of law for ninety days. During the course of representing a husband and wife in a mechanic’s lien action, he created a fictitious corporation that had a name similar to one of the parties to the case, drafted a letter containing false statements about the fictitious corporation, and attached the letter to a motion to dismiss in which he referred to the letter. About a year later, while the case was still pending, he created two fraudulent lien releases, had his employees sign and notarize the phony documents, and directed the creation of another fictitious corporation, in order to deceive a bank into believing that the lien no longer existed. The suspension is effective on April 5, 2018.

  • John Christopher Carver, Bushnell, Florida

for ten days and placed on a two-year period of conditional probation upon reinstatement. He failed to abide by Florida trust accounting rules, entered into an improper agreement to purchase property from foreclosure clients, and did not timely obtain a beneficiary designation in connection with a decedent’s estate. The Illinois Supreme Court imposed reciprocal discipline and suspended him for ten days, followed by two years of probation, nunc pro tunc to July 21, 2016, subject to the conditions imposed in Florida, and until he successfully completes his period of probation there. The suspension is effective on April 5, 2018.

  • Stephen Thomas Fieweger, Davenport, Iowa

Mr. Fieweger, who was licensed in 1987, was suspended for six months and until he completes the ARDC Professionalism Seminar. He converted $11,635 in settlement funds that he was supposed to be holding to satisfy a Medicare lien, wrongfully took another $347.50 of a security retainer in a second client matter and, on two occasions, deliberately created and sent two letters that falsely purported to have been written, authorized, and signed by a first-year associate to obscure the fact that he was involved in a personal relationship with a client. The suspension is effective on April 5, 2018.

  • Timothy J. Fitzgerald*, Chicago

Mr. Fitzgerald, who was licensed in 1991, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He was convicted in the Circuit Court of Berrien County, Michigan, of manufacturing over 200 marijuana plants and possessing, with the intent to deliver, marijuana, both felonies. He was also charged with maintaining a drug house, a misdemeanor, for his role in operating an indoor marijuana grow operation by cultivating and manufacturing marijuana plants, in Sawyer, Michigan.

  • Brian M. Fornek, St. Charles

Mr. Fornek, who was licensed in 1990, was suspended for one year and until further order of the Court. He misappropriated at least $9,244.56 from the proceeds of a client’s personal injury settlement and failed to pay all of the related medical liens.

  • Jarret S. Niesse, Barrington

Mr. Niesse, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended for six months. He was the chief financial officer for Precious Metal Refinery Services (“PMRS”). During the pendency of a lawsuit filed by one of PMRS’s former employees against the company, Mr. Niesse gained access to that employee’s personal e-mail account without that former employee’s knowledge or authorization. The information Mr. Niesse obtained was subsequently used against the plaintiff in the lawsuit. When his conduct was discovered, Mr. Niesse filed an affidavit with the court in which he made false statements by portraying his access to the former employee’s personal e-mail as “inadvertent.” The trial court imposed a default judgment as a sanction against PMRS based on Mr. Niesse’s conduct. The suspension is effective on April 5, 2018.

  • Robert Jon Schlyer*, Portage, Indiana

Mr. Schlyer, who was licensed in 1998, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. After a five-day federal trial, a federal jury found him guilty of the offenses of wire fraud and bank fraud.

  • Ralph Frederick Tellefsen III*, Elmhurt

Mr. Tellefsen, who was licensed in 1980, was suspended on an interim basis and until further order of the Court. He is currently the subject of a criminal complaint in DuPage County charging him with seven counts of possessing child pornography, all class 2 felonies.

  • Samuel Vazanellis, Highland, Indiana

Mr. Vazanellis, who was licensed in 2005, was suspended in the State of Illinois until he is reinstated to the practice of law in the State of Indiana. While not registered or authorized to practice law in Illinois, he represented clients in at least sixteen different court actions in Illinois, including fourteen criminal cases and two civil litigation matters.

REPRIMANDED

  • Lori Jo Kieffer, Davenport, Iowa

Ms. Kieffer was licensed in Illinois in 2001 and in Iowa in 2002. She received public reprimands in Iowa in connection with two separate disciplinary matters. The first Iowa reprimand was based on her failure to timely inform a client of an appellate court’s decision, failure to communicate with a client about strategy and procedures, and failure to timely surrender the client’s file after termination. The second Iowa case involved her permitting a client in a criminal case to leave the courthouse before the court had concluded a pretrial conference. The client had previously been ordered to attend that conference. Because the client left the courthouse, a warrant had to be issued for the client’s arrest. The Supreme Court of Illinois imposed reciprocal discipline and reprimanded her.

PERMANENT RETIREMENT

  • William D. Nolen, Oak Park

DISABILITY INACTIVE

  • Valarie English Turner, Markham

*The order was entered by the court before the March 2018 term, but not included in any prior release.

Posted on March 16, 2018 by Sara Anderson
Filed under: 

Member Comments (2)

I never quite understand the disparate treatment in these cases.  Only 90 days for fabricating evidence used in a legal proceeding and using fabricated and fictitious documents in an attempt to deceive a bank. I am pretty sure that conduct could be charged as felonies.

I did note that all four disbarments involved persons who failed to participate in the disciplinary proceeding.  It also seems that lying and cheating on your own clients as opposed to the court or the opposing side leads to harsher treatment.

I concur emphatically with Mr. Rouleau.