The Florida Bar
www.floridabar.org
The Florida Bar News
click to print this page  click to e-mail the address for this page 
July 15, 2013

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 12, and publicly reprimanding five. Four attorneys received more than one form of discipline. One was placed on probation and three were ordered to pay restitution.

The following lawyers have been disciplined:

Ronald George Baker, 2655 S. Le Jeune Road, Ph. II-B, Coral Gables, suspended for 91 days, effective July 14, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Baker had a long-time business relationship with a client whom he assisted in an estate planning matter. A restatement of the trust provided that Baker, who prepared the documents at the instruction of the client, would receive $250,000 as a beneficiary of the reinstatement. Upon the death of the client, Baker disbursed the funds to himself and he additionally collected $110,000 for serving as trustee, personal representative, and attorney. Baker violated Bar rules involving conflict of interest. His acceptance of a substantial gift from a client was inappropriate and also violated Bar rules. (Case No. SC12-2725)

Jessica Ann Bennett, 13194 U.S. Highway 301 S., Riverview, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Bennett was found in contempt for non-compliance with the terms of an April 3, 2012, disbarment order. She was ordered to notify her clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals of her disbarment, and provide The Florida Bar within 30 days of her disbarment, a sworn affidavit listing the names and addresses of all persons and entities that were furnished a copy of her disbarment order. (Case No. SC12-1305)

Jennifer Aycock Bonifield, 1025 Professional Park Drive, Brandon, disbarred effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Bonifield abandoned her law practice and converted funds held in trust. She was found guilty of the following offenses: committing a criminal act, charging excessive fees, fraud and misrepresentation, and engaging in a pattern of neglect. In several instances, Bonifield failed to maintain adequate communication with clients, failed to work diligently on cases, and failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiries. (Case No. SC12-1188)

Chris Eugene Cadenhead, 420 E. Pine Ave., Crestview, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a May 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Cadenhead was adjudicated guilty in court of four federal felonies: conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bribery of a loan officer, conspiracy to commit mail and/or wire fraud, and mail fraud. He was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $906,399.64 jointly and severally with two other co-defendants. (Case No. SC13-753)

Libio Calejo, 2500 N.W. 79th Ave., Suite 102, Doral, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a May 15 court order. Further, Calejo was ordered to pay restitution of $9,700 to six separate clients. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Calejo represented approximately 20 debtors in federal bankruptcy court. Many of the petitions and schedules he filed contained inaccuracies, leading to amendments that also contained inaccuracies and resulted in unreasonable delays. Calejo’s failure to appear at a number of scheduled creditors’ meetings resulted in the dismissal of most of the bankruptcy cases. Calejo also failed to adequately communicate with clients, often leaving that responsibility to his nonlawyer personnel. (Case No. SC12-2729)

John Patrick Clement, 500 Marbella Circle, North Palm Beach, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a May 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Clement was found in contempt for noncompliance with the terms of a December 2011 disbarment order. Clement failed to respond to correspondence from the Bar and failed to appear at final hearings on Jan. 12, 2012, and February 10, 2012. (Case No. SC11-1458)

Kathleen M.P. Davis, P. O. Box 542796, Greenacres, suspended effective 30 days from a May 30 court order, until she fully responds in writing to Bar inquiries and until further order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Davis was found in contempt for failing to respond to multiple official Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC12-802)

Gayle Patricia Ellsworth, 5 Cedar Pond Drive, Apt. 7, Warwick, R.I., suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a May 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1985) Ellsworth is also a member of the State Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and on inactive status in the Rhode Island Bar. In July 2011, Ellsworth pleaded no contest and was found guilty of carrying a pistol without a license, a felony in Rhode Island. She was subsequently suspended from practicing law in Massachusetts based on the felony conviction. She failed to timely notify The Florida Bar as required. (Case No. SC13-900)

Robert W. Frazier, Jr., 507 S.E. 11th Court, Ft. Lauderdale, disbarred effective retroactive to April 1, 2011, following a May 2 court order. Further, Frazier shall pay restitution of more than $32,000 to one client. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Frazier intentionally and actively assisted a client in cashing a check that did not belong to either of them. He then turned the proceeds over to the client. (Case No. SC11-819)

Kevin Christopher Gleason, 4121 N. 31st Ave., Hollywood, to be publicly reprimanded following a May 15 court order. Further, Gleason shall attend ethics school. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Gleason filed a pleading in which he made disrespectful remarks to a judge about his handling of a case, then attempted to make amends by delivering a bottle of wine along with a personal note. (Case No. Sc12-1032)

Eric Richard Hospedales, 3350 S.W. 148th Ave., Miramar, suspended for 90 days, effective 30 days from a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) During an investigation that resulted from the filing of a complaint regarding foreclosure-related matters, Hospedales provided misleading and incomplete information to The Florida Bar and its agents. In statements to a grievance committee member, Hospedales contradicted an earlier written statement. He also failed to reveal pertinent information. (Case No. SC12-912)

Stewart Lawrence Jacobson, P.O. Box 120007, Clermont, to be publicly reprimanded following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1977) The Bar’s audit of Jacobson’s trust account revealed a shortage of approximately $30,000, but found no indication of intentional misappropriation. The shortage was due to negligent record keeping. (Case No. SC12-1941)

Stephen Gilman Kolody, 3625 Hidden Tree Lane, Ft. Myers, suspended for 91 days with reinstatement under Rule 3-7.10, effective 30 days from a May 15 court order. Further, Kolody shall pay restitution of more than $10,000 to two clients. (Admitted to practice: 1980) Kolody was found in contempt for noncompliance with a subpoena to produce trust accounting records. Kolody accepted fees in advance in two instances and subsequently failed to perform the services. (Case Nos. SC11-721 & SC12-1420)

Miquell Mack, 151 S.E. 8th Street, Ocala, to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter, following a May 15 court order. Further, Mack shall engage in mediation with three clients within six months to resolve the amount of restitution he shall make to each. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Due to Mack’s lack of competence and diligence in handling a legal matter, an order of default was filed against two of his three clients. Mack subsequently failed to timely advise them, nor did he take any action to attempt to have the default judgment reconsidered or appealed. (Case No. SC12-2726)

Jeffrey Allen McCann, 4371 Northlake Blvd., #249, Palm Beach Gardens, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) McCann was found in contempt for violating the terms of his April 2012 suspension order. Specifically, McCann was required to submit to The Florida Bar, a sworn affidavit listing the persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-1279)

Eduardo Julio Mejias, 427 Centerpointe Circle, Suite 1812, Altamonte Springs, to be publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for six months, following a May 15 court order. Further, Mejias shall repay the sum of $5,000 to a client and complete 10 hours of continuing education with at least five of the hours being ethics. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Mejias was hired to represent a client in a divorce case. He failed to attend two hearings at which material matters in the proceeding were presented, heard by the court, and decided. The case went against the interests of Mejias’ client. (Case No. SC12-882)

Rene Navarro, 6505 Blue Lagoon Drive, Suite 110, Miami, permanently disbarred effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Navarro was found in contempt for violating the terms of his January 2008 disbarment order. Navarro engaged in the practice of law, despite being disbarred. (SC12-1561)

Charles Edward Pellicer, 28 Cordova St., St. Augustine, to be publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for two years, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Pellicer took out a $20,000 loan from an elderly blind woman who was a former client. He also handled several legal matters for her after obtaining the loan. He failed to advise her to obtain independent legal advice regarding the loan. Pellicer failed to make the required loan payments for six months but later paid off the loan. Pellicer also commingled his personal funds with trust funds and failed to maintain his trust account records in substantial compliance with the rules. (Case No. SC12-1190)

Rita Rosato Pitassi, P.O. Box 7523, Delray Beach, suspended for three years, effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Pitassi was adjudicated guilty in court of one count of felony driving under the influence, for the third time in 10 years. Pitassi was sentenced to 150 days incarceration and five years probation. She was also released to a drug and alcohol treatment facility for 120 days of inpatient treatment, random drug testing during the period of probation, and her driver’s license was permanently revoked. (SC12-1892)

James Herbert Rainey, 1117 Clare Ave., West Palm Beach, suspended until further order, following a May 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Rainey appeared to be causing great public harm. A Bar investigation found that Rainey misappropriated client funds. He also misrepresented facts in a written response to a Florida Bar inquiry. (Case No. SC13-881)

Julio R. Ferrer Roo, 8500 W. Flagler St., Suite 105A, Miami, suspended for one year, effective immediately, following a May 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1971) Roo was found in contempt for violating the terms of his April 2012 suspension order. Specifically, Roo was required to submit to The Florida Bar a sworn affidavit listing the persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of his suspension order. (Case No. SC12-2137)

Laurie Schrier, 562 E. Woolbright Road, #217, Boynton Beach, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from an April 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Schrier failed to respond to multiple Bar inquiries regarding a complaint. (Case No. SC12-2164)

Mark David Tucker, P.O. Box 557818, Miami, disbarred effective 30 days from an April 30 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1981) Tucker was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a November 2010 suspension order that also placed him on probation for three years. Tucker failed to pay $72,950 to a former client within the three-year probationary period as required. (Case No. SC12-952)

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 reapply 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, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

[Revised: 08-15-2014]