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December 15, 2008
Disciplinary Actions

Prepared by The Florida Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services Department

The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 23 attorneys, disbarring six, suspending 13 and placing six on probation. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Four attorneys were reprimanded.

The following lawyers were disciplined:

Richard W. Bassett, 8278 Bermuda Sound Way, Boynton Beach, to receive a public reprimand from The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors at a date and time to be determined by the board, following a September 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) While representing defendants, Bassett sent a letter to the plaintiffs, who were not represented by counsel, threatening to bring criminal charges if they did not settle. The matter was referred to The Florida Bar by the presiding judge. (Case No. SC08-620)

Jeffrey A. Blau, 213 E. Davis Blvd., Tampa, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a September 11 court order. Upon reinstatement, Blau is further placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1978) In December 2006, Blau was arrested after police found small amounts of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his car and law office desk. (Case No. SC08-435)

Ronald Wayne Davis, 505 N Baylen St., Apt. 4, Pensacola, suspended for 90 days, effective retroactive to June 11, 2008, following an October 8 court order. Davis is further placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 1986) In January 2004, Davis pleaded no contest to two felony counts of possession of cocaine and two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance without prescription. He was also found guilty of one misdemeanor first offense of driving under the influence and sentenced to 11 months and 15 days in jail. (Case No. SC08-1082)

Brook Eugene Fisher, 400 N. Flagler Drive, Suite B., West Palm Beach, suspended until further order of the court, effective immediately, following a September 22 emergency order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) According to the petition for emergency suspension, Fisher appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client trust funds or property. Fisher’s trust account had significant and ongoing shortages throughout a Florida Bar 18-month audit, ranging from $78,492.72 to $463,301.98. (Case No. SC08-1759)

Eric D. Hightower, 805 Belvedere Road, Suite 2, West Palm Beach, suspended until further order of the court, effective immediately, following a September 22 emergency order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) According to the petition for emergency suspension, Fisher appeared to be causing great public harm by converting and/or misappropriating client funds. A Florida Bar compliance audit found that Hightower had persistent trust account shortages during a Florida Bar 12-month audit, ranging from $4,880 to $20,583. (Case No. SC08-1749)

Jeffrey Merrill Leukel, 119 W. 16th St., Sanford, suspended effective immediately, following an October 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) In September, Leukel pled no contest to driving while his license was permanently revoked, a third degree felony. Leukel was placed on 18 months’ probation and required to perform 50 hours of public services. (Case No. SC08-1957)

Peter Randel Mayer, 4921 Southfork Drive, Suite 3, Lakeland, to receive a public reprimand from The Florida Bar’s Board of Governors, following an October 16 court order. Mayer is further placed on probation for two years, effective retroactive to October 17, 2007. (Admitted to practice: 1979) In January 2006, Mayer was charged with battery, a first-degree misdemeanor. The charge was later dismissed after Mayer completed terms of a deferred prosecution agreement. (Case No. SC08-597)

Adenet Medacier, 16229 Opal Creek Drive, Weston, disbarred for five years, effective 30 days from an October 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) In numerous instances, Medacier failed to apply client trust fund money for its intended purpose and failed to maintain minimum trust account records. (Case No. SC08-1568)

Jessica Kathleen Miller, P.O. Box 3905, Holiday, disbarred for five years, retroactive to January 15, 2008, following a September 18 court order. In August 2007, Miller was arrested on a contempt of court charge for violating an order to appear. She had already violated two prior orders to appear on behalf of clients in a guardianship proceeding. In other instances, Miller failed to account for and deliver client trust funds and after being retained to represent several clients, she failed to do so and neglected to return the fees. (Case No. SC07-662)

David Mogul, 2810 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Suite 102, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended until further order of the court, effective immediately, following an October 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) According to the petition for emergency suspension, Mogul appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client trust funds or property for his personal use. An audit determined he withdrew $110,349.53 from his trust account during the audit period, exceeding the total deposits of funds from personal sources by nearly $42,000. (Case No. SC08-1840)

Abad Perez, 4 Valley Road, Manalapan, N.J., suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from an October 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) In February, Perez was suspended from the New Jersey Bar for 90 days for misconduct. In 2006, he was indicted for making false statements while under oath, discharged from his prosecutor position, and admitted to a pretrial intervention program. (Case No. SC08-519)

Jack Barry Phillips, 1501 Hornberger Ave., Roebling, N.J., suspended for three years, effective 30 days from an October 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Phillips was hired to represent clients in immigration matters and he failed to communicate with them, resulting in rulings against them. (Case No. SC07-816)

Jacob Addington Rose, 1897 Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., Suite 202, West Palm Beach, to receive a public reprimand following an October 8 court order. Rose is further placed on probation for one year, effective immediately. (Admitted to practice: 1976) In numerous instances, Rose neglected to handle cases for clients because of health reasons, but he failed to inform them. (Case No. SC08-695)

John Robert Sawyer, P.O. Box 12771, Pensacola, suspended for 91 days, effective October 31, following a September 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) In July 2002, Sawyer was suspended for 90 days and placed on probation for two years. Subsequently, during that period, he consumed alcohol, in violation of his Florida Lawyers Assistance rehabilitation contract. (Case No. SC07-971)

Loel Seitel, 220 Riverside Blvd., No. 74, New York, N.Y., disbarred, retroactive to October 22, 2007, following a September 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) In September 2007, Seitel was found guilty of conspiracy to make a false statement, a felony, and sentenced to five months imprisonment, followed by two years probation and a fine of $30,000. (Case No. SC07-1928)

Steven M. Siegel, 2814 N. 46th Ave., Apt. H677, Hollywood, disbarred for five years, retroactive to April 24, following an October 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) In February, Siegel was found guilty of attempting to solicit a minor over the Internet, a felony. (Case No. SC08-548)

Richard Brian Simring, 5400 LaGorce Drive, Miami Beach, suspended until further order of the court, effective 30 days following a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Simring pled guilty in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Va., to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and money laundering, a felony. (Case No. SC08-1672)

Adam Ira Skolnik, P.O. Box 670583, Coral Springs, to receive a public reprimand following a September 11 court order. Skolnik is further placed on probation for three years. (Admitted to practice: 2004) In June 2007, Skolnik was hired to represent a client in a civil matter. He accepted a $1,000 legal fee but took little action in the case. Skolnik also failed to respond as required to The Florida Bar’s inquiries. (Case No. SC08-996)

John Francis Tague III, 100 Marquand Ave., Bronxville, N.Y., suspended for two years, effective 30 days from an October 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) In August 2006, Tague, also a member of the New York Bar, was suspended from practicing law there for two years because of misconduct related to client funds. (Case No. SC08-1373)

John Bruce Thompson, 5721 Riviera Drive, Coral Gables, permanently disbarred without leave to apply for readmission, effective 30 days from a September 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Thompson is charged with extensive misconduct and a complete lack of remorse. In five separate cases over a three-and-a-half year period, Thompson engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. (Case Nos. SC07-80 and SC07-354)

Mario A. Ruiz De la Torre, P.O. Box 381413, Miami, suspended for 18 months, retroactive to October 4, 2007, following an October 16 court order. De la Torre is further placed on probation for three years following the suspension. (Admitted to practice: 1986) In March 2000, De la Torre pled no contest to five criminal charges, including two felonies. He failed to notify the Bar as required by Bar rules until August 2007. (Case No. SC07-1633)

Dewey Homer Varner, Jr., 9320 Dundee Drive, Lake Worth, suspended for one year, following a September 25 order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Varner voluntarily dismissed a client’s workers’ compensation case without informing him and falsely testified that he had the client’s authorization. (Case No. SC06-1919)

Thomas Green Watkins III, 5330 E. Palomino Road, Phoenix, Ariz., disbarred, effective 30 days from an October 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1978) Watkins, also a member of the State Bar of Arizona, was disbarred in that state in February 2007, due to a conflict of interest in a case in which he was a patent lawyer who also claimed to be an inventor. (Case No. SC08-258)

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline.

[Revised: 10-24-2014]