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September 1, 2010

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 27 attorneys, disbarring eight and suspending 17. Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline. Two attorneys were publicly reprimanded, and three were placed on probation. Three were ordered to pay restitution.

The following lawyers are disciplined:

Charles Behm, P.O. Box 10, Pomona Park, permanently disbarred following a July 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Behm failed to file income tax returns from 1999 to the present. He declared in court that he has no intention of filing federal income tax returns in the future. He also failed to prepare and maintain certain trust account records. (Case No. SC07-661)

Joseph Edward Broadus, 641 1st St. S., St. Petersburg, placed on probation for an additional 18 months, effective immediately, following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Broadus was held in contempt of the court for failing to comply with the terms of his probation by failing to follow through with the requirements of a Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., contract, and failing to pay the monthly monitoring fee. In September 2007, he was placed on 18 months probation. (Case No. SC09-1310)

Steven M. Busch, P.O. Box 4305, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended for three years effective immediately, following a June 3 court order. Busch is currently suspended, so the suspension shall run concurrently with the one imposed in February 2008. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Further, Busch shall pay restitution of $1,500 to one client. Busch acted in contempt of the Supreme Court of Florida by holding himself out as an attorney in good standing and practicing law after the effective date of his suspension. Busch failed to notify clients, opposing counsel, and the courts that he was suspended. (Case No. SC09-1421)

Rudolph C. Campbell, P.O. Box 546, Lutz, disbarred effective 30 days from a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Further, Campbell shall pay restitution of $1,500 to one client. Campbell used his law firm as a loan modification and foreclosure assistance business. He charged up-front fees to homeowners, in violation of the Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act, Florida Statute, 501.1377; he used deceptive advertising, and he failed to respond in writing to an inquiry from The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC09-1742)

John Everette Evans III, P.O. Box 1653, Ft. Myers, suspended until further order, following a June 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Evans appeared to be causing great public harm by engaging in a repeated pattern of neglect and abandonment of his clients. (Case No. SC10-1124)

Harvey Jay Goldstein, P.O. Box 240037, Milwaukee, Wis., suspended until further order, following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1987) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Goldstein appeared to be causing great public harm by converting nearly $70,000 from three probate estates while acting as an administrator and using the funds to pay personal and business expenses and to finance real estate deals. Those incidents resulted in his suspension in Wisconsin. (Case No. SC10-1001)

Gary W. Gramer, 181 Southbay Drive, Suite 2, Naples, disbarred retroactive to Jan. 13, following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) Gramer was found guilty of grand larceny in the third degree in Suffolk County Court, N.Y. (Case No. SC09-2252)

Carolyn Marie Holt, 2202 N. West Shore Blvd., Suite 200, Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a June 4 court order. Further, upon reinstatement, Holt is placed on probation for one year. (Admitted to practice: 1997) During the course of representing a client in a civil matter, Holt intentionally misled the court and opposing counsel by making false statements to a judge. She later made false statements to The Florida Bar and the grievance committee. (Case No. SC08-1911)

Christine Marie Horn, 3469 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Suite 15, Boynton Beach, disbarred effective immediately, following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Horn was suspended on an emergency basis in November 2009. A Bar audit revealed trust account shortages ranging from more than $3,000 in September 2006 to nearly $314,000 in October 2008. (Case No. SC10-72)

Thomas Lemuel Hurst, 822 N.E. 96th St., Miami, disbarred effective immediately, following a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1972) Hurst, who previously had been suspended three times from practicing law, failed to respond to inquiries from The Florida Bar regarding a case alleging he misappropriated a client’s funds, and he failed to appear at a court-mandated final hearing. (Case No. SC09-2027)

Tolly Albert Kennon III, P.O. Box 34006, Charlotte, N.C., suspended for three years, retroactive to April 3, following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) This is a reciprocal discipline case. In September 2009, Kennon was suspended from practicing law in North Carolina for three years. Kennon represented two criminal defendants in two separate cases in North Carolina. In both instances, Kennon advised witnesses for the prosecution as to the way they should handle subpoenas they received. Kennon did not advise either to seek independent counsel. (Case No. SC10-633)

John Joseph Liu, P.O. Box 277, Safety Harbor, suspended for 91 days, retroactive to July 17, 2009, following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1993) Liu failed to respond in writing to inquiries from The Florida Bar regarding the status of his trust account, which had been overdrawn. Nor did he appear for a hearing, despite being served a notice at his official Bar address. (Case No. SC09-1743)

Michael H. Lubin, 16831 N.E. 15th Ave., North Miami Beach, disbarred effective 30 days from a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) Lubin misappropriated a portion of the funds he received from a client to hold in trust. (Case No. SC10-1063)

Miguel Angel Montalvo, Apartado Postal 2, Salvatierra, Guanajuato, Mexico, to be publicly reprimanded following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) During the course of representing a client, Montalvo discontinued his law practice in Immokalee and relocated to Mexico. He failed to inform the client that he’d withdrawn from the representation, and he failed to respond to inquiries by the Bar regarding the complaint failed by the client. (Case No. SC10-287)

Dominyka Mindaougas Netchiounas, 2203 N. Lois Ave., Suite 953, Tampa, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a June 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Netchiounas willfully failed to respond to official Bar and grievance committee inquiries regarding a complaint. (Case No. SC10-811)

Gary Stephen Ostrow, 3000 N.E. 30th Place, Suite 301, Ft. Lauderdale, suspended for 30 days, effective August 1, following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Ostrow was arrested in May 2008 and charged with cocaine possession. In December 2009, Ostrow successfully completed a drug court program, and the charge was dismissed. (Case No. SC10-1035)

Matthew Glenn Palentchar, 16 Caton Ave., Colonia, N.J., suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a June 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Palentchar failed to comply with a subpoena requesting that he produce trust account records on or before Jan. 15. (Case No. SC10-545)

Robert Joseph Ratiner, 3225 Aviation Ave., Suite 600, Miami, suspended for 60 days, publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for two years, following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1990) During a deposition, Ratiner’s behavior was disruptive and intimidating to the witness, opposing counsel, and other persons present. While on probation, Ratiner is required to undergo mental health counseling and prepare and mail letters of apology to those who were present during the deposition at issue. Further, Ratiner shall be accompanied by co-counsel approved by the Bar during depositions and other legal proceedings or he shall ensure that such appearances or proceedings are video-recorded. (Case No. SC08-689)

J. Christopher Rich, 124 E. Rich Ave., Deland, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Between April 2007 and November 2009, Rich failed to provide diligent representation and adequate communication to several clients. He was reprimanded by a bankruptcy court judge and placed on one year probation for engaging in a pattern of misconduct that frequently led to the dismissal of his clients’ cases. (Case Nos. SC09-1744, SC10-414, and SC10-416)

Jeffrey Stephen Rosenberg, 20201 E. Country Club Drive, Apt. 2104, Aventura, disbarred effective immediately, following a June 24 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1979) Rosenberg failed to explain the whereabouts of $27,750 placed in escrow with his title company for a client. During the course of a Bar investigation, Rosenberg agreed to disbarment. (Case No. SC10-1167)

David Philip Ryan III, 250 Catalonia Ave., Suite 804, Coral Gables, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Ryan misappropriated client trust funds for his personal use and he continued to practice law despite his suspension in March 2009. Also, Ryan produced some, but not all subpoenaed records requested by The Florida Bar, including bank statements, canceled checks, cash disbursements, and client ledgers. (Case Nos. SC09-776 and SC09-791)

William Sumner Scott, 3109 Grand Avenue #183, Miami, suspended for three years, following a June 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Scott was charged with having conflict of interest in representing clients and with making a false statement of material fact or law to a third party. (Case No. SC05-1145)

Kenneth Paul Sirkin, 2500 Quantum Lakes Drive, Suite 203, Boynton Beach, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a June 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Sirkin failed to respond to official inquiries in 11 separate Bar complaints. (Case No. SC09-1125)

Mark David Swanson, 1521 Alton Road 684, Miami Beach, suspended for 50 days, effective 30 days from a May 20 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Swanson shall pay restitution totaling $9,300 to two clients in separate cases. In both instances, after being retained, Swanson failed to adequately communicate with the clients. He also failed to respond to inquiries from The Florida Bar and the grievance committee. (Case No. SC10-79)

Harry Mark Vieth, 1500 San Remo Ave., Suite 145, Miami, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a June 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) In one instance Vieth misled clients into believing that their case was progressing normally, when in fact, he had taken little action on their behalf. In another case, Vieth was retained to assist a military veteran in increasing his disability benefits and filing a retroactive claim. After obtaining a $1.5 million judgment, Vieth failed to file for payment and the client never received his money. As a result, the client was forced to retain new counsel. Despite numerous requests by the client to secure his medical records for a new lawsuit, Vieth failed to communicate with him. (Case No. SC09-1453)

R. Scott Whitehead, 4507 Furling Lane, Suite 209, Destin, suspended until further order, following a June 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Whitehead engaged in a systematic scheme to deprive his clients of their money in the form of fees and costs, while not performing the legal services for which he was retained. Additionally, he was arrested four times for alcohol-related problems since May 2009. (Case No. SC10-1025)

Marvin Deon Wilson Sr., 14321 S.W. 286th St., Homestead, suspended for three years, effective retroactive to December 1, 2008 following a May 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) A Bar audit found that Wilson used client funds for his own purposes. Additionally, Wilson was charged with three felony counts: organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and money laundering. Subsequently, the state attorney’s office dropped the charges against Wilson upon his agreement to refund $15,000 and attend a trust accounting workshop. In another instance, Wilson failed to keep a client informed as to the status of her case. He also failed to timely respond to an inquiry about the case from The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC09-777)

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: 12-14-2014]