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March 1, 2011

Disciplinary Actions
Prepared by The Florida Bar’s Public Information and Bar Services Department
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The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 20 attorneys, disbarring five and suspending 12. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two attorneys were placed on probation; three attorneys were publicly reprimanded. One attorney was ordered to pay restitution.

The following lawyers have been disciplined:

Gary Michael Appelblatt, 3610 American River Drive #112, Sacramento, Calif., suspended until further order, following a December 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) The Florida Bar was notified by the California Supreme Court that Appelblatt had been disbarred in that state in April 2010 because of felony convictions. (Case No. SC10-2463)

Robert Frederick Bethea, P.O. Box 5215, Jacksonville, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a December 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Bethea failed to comply with the terms of a report of minor misconduct issued by the Fourth Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee in November 2009. He was required to pay restitution to a law office and attend ethics school. (Case No. SC10-2036)

Harry Robert Bishop, Jr., 8738 Belarado Court, Tallahassee, suspended for 91 days, effective immediately, following a December 22 court order. Further, Bishop shall pay restitution of $3,000 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Bishop was paid a $3,000 fee to represent a client in a divorce proceeding. He failed to attend the hearing on her behalf, and he did not file the divorce papers or file a notice of appearance on the client’s behalf. (Case No. SC10-448)

Colleen Meghan Bratcher, 2674 W. Lake Road, Palm Harbor, placed on probation for 18 months effective immediately, following a December 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) The Florida Bar was notified by Bratcher’s bank that a check written on her IOTA trust account had been returned for insufficient funds. In response to the Bar’s inquiries, Bratcher produced records that were not in compliance with Bar rules pertaining to attorney trust accounts. (Case No. SC10-1290)

Allen David Brufsky, 475 Galleon Drive, Naples, suspended for 91 days effective 30 days from a November 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Brufsky represented a company with regard to certain claims to enforce intellectual property rights. He subsequently assumed corporate roles in addition to his role as attorney. Brufsky failed to advise the client of the conflict of interest and failed to obtain proper consent from the client for the assumption of those roles. Brufsky also failed to keep the client informed as to the progress of the litigation and took action on behalf of the corporation without proper authorization. (Case No. SC10-1765)

Byron T. Christopher, P.O. Box 55073, St. Petersburg, suspended for 91 days effective 30 days from a November 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Christopher represented a client in a divorce, but failed to keep her informed. In addition, the court removed Christopher from representing three criminal defendants and appointed alternate representation because of his failure to appear for scheduled hearings. (Case No. SC10-893)

Harvey Jay Goldstein, P.O. Box 240037, Milwaukee, Wis., disbarred effective retroactive to June 3, 2010, following a December 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) In April 2010, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin suspended Goldstein from practicing law for two years. Goldstein was charged with converting probate funds from three estates while acting as a personal representative, commingling funds, violating recordkeeping regulations, and using trust funds for personal reasons. (Case No. SC10-1221)

Diego Handel, 149 S. Ridgewood Ave., Suite 220, Daytona Beach, publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for one year following a December 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Handel failed to maintain minimum trust account records and failed to follow the minimum required trust accounting procedures. His inadequate recordkeeping led to several checks being dishonored. (Case No. SC10-1165)

Suzanne Marie Himes, 825 N.E. 2nd St., Ocala, disbarred effective immediately, following a December 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) Himes failed to comply with the Supreme Court’s suspension orders of January 27 and September 11, 2009. In a workers’ compensation case in which Himes is the attorney of record, she failed to notify the presiding judge, the opposing counsel, or her client of her suspension status and her inability to practice law. (Case No. SC10-718)

Philip David Irish, 104 Kimberly Lane, Kings Mountain, N.C., disbarred effective retroactive to October 8, 2008, following a December 30, 2010. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Irish represented a client in a bodily injury claim. The insurance company sent a $10,000 settlement check to Irish and requested it not be cashed without the signature of the client. Irish endorsed the check without permission and he did not disburse any of the settlement monies to the client. Attempts by the insurance company and its counsel to communicate with Irish were unsuccessful. (Case No. SC09-1473)

Gregory A. Martin, 1925 Brickell Ave., Suite D202, Miami, suspended until further order following December 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Martin appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating funds and/or diverting funds entrusted to him. (Case No. SC10-2210)

Shelley Goldman Maurice, 125 N. Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a December 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) In violation of Bar rules, Maurice had direct contact and offered professional advice regarding a pending case, while suspended. In another instance, Maurice failed to provide a client with competent representation in relation to a disability claim. (Case No. SC09-2124)

Gregory Michael Nordt, 7501 N.W. 4th St., Suite 207A, Plantation, suspended for 15 days effective November 18 and publicly reprimanded following a November 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Nordt disseminated a direct mail advertisement that was misleading and deceptive. (Case No. SC10-2137)

Alfredo Padron, Jr., 8105 N.W. 155th St., Miami Lakes, disbarred effective immediately, following a November 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) An audit revealed that Padron misappropriated client funds to satisfy personal obligations and other clients’ liabilities.(Case No. SC10-1666)

Maria Teresa Rodriguez, P.O. Box 1155, Safety Harbor, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a December 29 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Rodriguez failed to successfully pass the ethics portion of the Bar exam as required by the Supreme Court’s order entered on November 2, 2006. (Case No. SC09-2365)

Leonardo Adrian Roth, 201 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 905, Miami, suspended until further order, following a November 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Roth appeared to be causing great public harm by the misappropriation and/or the diversion of funds entrusted to him. The auditor found numerous trust account violations and a failure to produce all the required bank records requested in the Bar’s subpoena. Roth, along with law partner Mark Enrique Rousso and a nonlawyer employee, were involved in at least 44 business ventures unrelated to the practice of law. (Case No. SC10-2114)

Mark Enrique Rousso, 1000 E. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Hallandale Beach, suspended until further order, following a November 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Rousso appeared to be causing great public harm by the misappropriation and/or diversion of funds entrusted to him. The auditor found numerous trust account violations and a failure to produce all the required bank records requested in the Bar’s subpoena. Rousso, along with law partner Leonardo Adrian Roth and a nonlawyer employee, were involved in at least 44 business ventures unrelated to the practice of law. (Case No. SC10-2113)

Wallace Rosales Rozefort, 5685 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, disbarred for 10 years, effective retroactive to October 25, following a November 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) According to a petition for disbarment on consent, Rozefort appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating funds held in trust. Between September 2009 and January 2010, Rozefort transferred funds from his trust account to his personal savings account totaling $100,000. Since May 2006, a continuous shortage in Rozefort’s trust account gradually increased to $530,000. In 2009, Rozefort’s nonlawyer employee misappropriated approximately $16,000 from the trust account. (Case No. SC10-2166)

Nathaniel W. Tindall, 4012 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, publicly reprimanded following a December 22 court order. Tindall is further ordered to attend a professionalism workshop and write a letter of apology to the judge. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Tindall represented a family that had lost a loved one as a result of a motor vehicle accident. He erroneously filed redundant claims in court and was charged with engaging in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice. (Case No. SC10-1616)

Lawrence Philip Zolot, 3864 Sheridan St., Hollywood, suspended until further order, following a December 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Zolot appeared to be causing great public harm. An audit revealed that Zolot misappropriated client trust funds. He failed to follow proper trust accounting procedures and he failed to maintain minimum trust account records. (Case No. ASC10-2263)

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. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, fewer than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

[Revised: 09-15-2014]