SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 19 ATTORNEYS
Summaries of orders issued March 21 – April 25, 2019
The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 19 attorneys – disbarring one, revoking the licenses of three, suspending 13 and publicly reprimanding two. One attorney also had to pay restitution, and two others were also put on probation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 106,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam.
Thomas Klemens Almquist, 1512 S. Richard Ave., Tampa, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from an April 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010), In two cases, Almquist accepted fees from clients, but did little to no work. He failed to respond to the clients’ and The Florida Bar’s repeated inquiries. (Case No. SC18-1656)
Christopher John Bondani, 2106 Sawgrass Village Drive, Ponte Vedra Beach, suspended for 10 days and placed on a three-year period of supervised probation, effective 30 days from an April 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010) Bondani was arrested twice in October 2017 for driving while under the influence. In Duval County, he entered a no contest plea to the amended charge of reckless driving, a second-degree misdemeanor, and in St. Johns County, he entered a no contest plea to the charge of driving under the influence, a misdemeanor. The trial courts in both cases adjudicated him guilty and sentenced him to 12 months of probation with conditions of supervision. (Case No. SC19-521)
Richard Luther Bradford, P.O. Box 6999, Brandon, suspended for three years, effective immediately following an April 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1995) Bradford was held in contempt of the court’s Nov. 2, 2017, and May 3, 2018, orders for failing to fully comply with requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension. (Case No. SC19-208)
Stephanie Brunner, 1342 Colonial Boulevard, Suite C20, Fort Myers, emergency suspended, effective May 8, following an April 8 court order. (Admitted to Practice: 1996) Brunner was placed under emergency suspension for misappropriating client funds and failing to maintain required trust account records. (Case No. SC19-503)
Michael David Fender, 620 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs, emergency suspended until further order of the court, effective 30 days from an April 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Fender abandoned his law practice, neglected client matters, lacked competence, failed to maintain adequate client communication, failed to earn his fees, failed to return documentation to his clients, and engaged in an ongoing pattern of behavior that presented a threat to his clients and the judicial system. He also failed to respond to the bar’s investigative inquiries. (Case No. SC19-628)
Raul Enrique Garcia, Jr., 9130 S. Dadeland Blvd., Miami, suspended from the practice of law for three years, effective 30 days from an April 23 court order. Upon reinstatement, Garcia will be placed on probation for one year (Admitted to practice: 1990). Garcia improperly dealt with trust funds involving five client settlements. Further, he did not properly maintain trust accounting records. (Case No. SC17-1234)
Alexander N. Kapetan, Jr., 4400 N. Federal Highway, Lighthouse Point, disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from an April 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Kapetan filed a petition for disciplinary revocation, which was granted, after he entered a plea to three felony charges and was sentenced to five years of probation. (Case No. SC19-274)
Frederick Leone, Jr., 6009 Sea Ranch Drive, Unit 306, Hudson, publicly reprimanded by an April 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) Leone represented himself in a matter and did not serve the opposing party with a copy of the pleadings he filed, nor copy them on communications with the judge’s judicial assistant. Responding to an adverse ruling, he made intemperate remarks about the judge. (Case No. SC18-2018)
Juan Fernando Alban Naranjo, 3625 N.W. 82nd Ave., Suite 405, Doral, disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from an April 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Following the initiation of contempt proceedings in federal court caused by his failure to appear at court hearings, as well as an unrelated allegation of lack of communication and diligence in a client matter, the court granted Naranjo’s petition for disciplinary revocation. (Case No. SC19-284)
Jason Eddie Negron, 33 Lake Lorraine Circle, Shalimar, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a March 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Negron failed to respond to three of four insufficient funds notices and to provide additional information regarding client credit card fees to The Florida Bar, resulting in a subpoena for trust account records. Negron failed to cooperate with the auditor’s requests for trust account information and failed to maintain the minimum required trust accounting records. (Case No. SC18-1494)
Shant Norsigian, 25987 Woodward Ave., Apt. 106, Royal Oak, Michigan, publicly reprimanded, effective immediately, following an April 16 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007). Norsigian failed to notify clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension. Norsigian was found to be in contempt for failing to timely respond to official bar inquiries (Case No. SC19-213)
Eugene Keith Polk, 317 N. Spring St., Pensacola, suspended for one year, effective 30 days from a March 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Polk was appointed to represent his client on a criminal appeal. He failed to diligently represent or communicate with his client, to comply with appellate rules and orders, and to timely respond to The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC18-1107)
Adam Ruiz, P.O. Box 565, Tallahassee, suspended for 91 days, effective May 18, following an April 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2000) Ruiz was hired to handle immigration matters. After doing minimal work, he failed to communicate with the clients, failed to respond to requests for information and failed to complete services. While on probation ordered by the Supreme Court in September 2016, a new disciplinary complaint was filed against Ruiz, thereby putting him in contempt of that order. (Case No. SC18-744)
Nathaniel H. Speights, P.O. Box 33152, Washington, D.C., suspended for three years, effective 30 days from an April 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) In one case, Speights failed to adequately investigate and file a proper personal injury claim. Although given multiple opportunities to amend his lawsuits, he failed to do so, and the case was dismissed with prejudice. In another case, Speights was appointed as a personal representative in a probate case. Even though the case settled at mediation, he failed to timely disburse the estate’s funds and attempted to charge the estate an excessive fee, which was denied by the court. The court removed Speights as personal representative of the case. (Case No. SC18-1027)
Sabrina Starr Spradley, 207 Tropic Isle Drive, Apt. 107, Delray Beach, suspended for 18 months with conditions and restitution, effective immediately, following an April 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) In two separate matters, Spradley made unprofessional, disparaging and threatening statements in emails to an opposing attorney and a judicial assistant. In two other matters, Spradley took on legal representation, received payment and provided little or no action in the matters. (Case No. SC18-1592)
Stuart Jared Starr, 5241 SW 9th St., Fort Lauderdale, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from an April 10 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1970). Starr was held in contempt of the court’s May 24, 2018, order for failing to notify clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension. (Case No. SC19-255)
Sheldon Jerome Vann, 301 West Bay Street, Suite, 14, Jacksonville, suspended until he fully responds in writing to an official Bar inquiry, and until further order of the court, effective 30 days from an April 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2009) Vann failed to respond fully to an official Bar inquiry. The Florida Supreme Court held him in contempt and ordered his suspension. (Case No. SC18-2101)
Peter Milan Predrag Vujin, 1200 West Ave., Apt. 824, Miami Beach, permanently disbarred, effective immediately, following a March 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Vujin threatened the opposing party with criminal action to gain an advantage in a civil matter and misrepresented the matter to the Bar. He was previously disciplined for similar and additional misconduct, for which a disbarment recommendation had been made. Vujin failed to respond to an order to show cause issued by the Florida Supreme Court regarding the recommended sanction. (Case No. SC17-1949)
Ethan Marcus Wayne, 927 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, disciplinary revocation, effective immediately, following an April 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2007) Wayne pleaded guilty to the felony of engaging in a monetary transaction affecting interstate commerce by, through and to a financial institution, in criminally derived property of a value greater than $10,000 that is, property derived from health care fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §1957 and 2. (Case No. SC19-345)