October 1, 2021 Disciplinary Actions
The Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 13 attorneys, disbarring four, suspending five, revoking the licenses of one, and reprimanding three. Two attorneys were ordered to pay restitution and two were placed on probation.
David Wayne Aring, 7534 Greybirch Terr., Port Richey, disbarred effective immediately following a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Aring pleaded guilty to receipt of child pornography, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C. §2452A(a)(2) on November 23, 2020. On February 16, 2021, Aring was sentenced to 90 months in federal prison, followed by supervised release for life. Aring failed to notify The Florida Bar of his arrest and institution of felony charges. (Case No: SC20-1874)
Santiago Asconapé, 5515 S. Park Ave., Hinsdale, IL, suspended for one year effective immediately following a September 17 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2010) Asconapé was held in contempt of the court’s order, dated November 5, 2020, for failing to comply with Rule 3-5.1(h) requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel and tribunals of his suspension. (Case No: SC21-798)
Robert W. Bauer, 3721 N.W. 40th Terr. Suite B, Gainesville, disbarred permanently effective immediately following a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) In Supreme Court Case No: SC19-1824, Bauer obtained a proprietary interest in his client’s litigation while offering financial assistance to the client to pursue unfounded litigation. Bauer failed to advise his client to seek independent counsel and advice prior to obtaining a priority interest in the litigation. In a separate matter, Bauer billed a client in spite of performing no legal services. In another matter, Bauer failed to diligently represent a personal injury client which led to the client’s claim being barred by the statute of limitations. When confronted, Bauer misrepresented the status of the case to the client and failed to disclose that her claim was barred. Bauer also misrepresented the status of his client’s claim to the grievance committee. Once SC19-1824 was set for trial, Bauer abandoned his clients and failed to properly advise the courts in which he had ongoing litigation. (Case No: SC21-668)
William H. Beck, P.O. Box 8544, Lacey, WA, suspended for one year and ordered to pay restitution effective 30 days following a September 9 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) Beck closed his law practice without proper notice to a client while charging an unreasonable pending case fee. Beck moved out of state and neglected a separate client matter, failed to maintain consistent communication, failed to appear in court, and failed to timely respond to the Bar’s inquiries. (Case No: SC21-309)
Betty Blanco, 2103 Coral Way, Suite 815, Miami, disciplinary revocation with leave to readmission after five years effective 30 days from a September 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1994) Blanco was involved in six disciplinary matters, involving neglect of client matters, failure to return unearned fees, and failure to account for funds in trust. Blanco failed to comply with the Bar’s subpoena for trust account records. (SC21-1131)
Terra Neshonda Carroll, P.O. Box 650214, Vero Beach, disbarred effective immediately following a September 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2008) While suspended, Carroll engaged in the practice of law by meeting with a former client’s sister and discussing Carroll’s plans for deposition and trial strategy. Carroll repeatedly communicated with the former client’s sister about the client’s matter while suspended. (Case No: SC20-233)
Leslie Ann Ferderigos, 10454 Birch Tree Ln., Windermere, public reprimand by publication and probation for one year and required attendance at The Florida Bar’s Advertising Workshop effective immediately following a September 23 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2017) Ferderigos made unprofessional remarks and disparaging statements about opposing counsel and the trial judge in letters, emails, and court pleadings. In addition, Ferderigos posted a video to her YouTube channel where she discussed a guardianship matter that she described as “another heavily litigated case of mine” and detailed facts related to the parties and legal issues. While Ferderigos utilized stock video footage and stock photos, Ferderigos did not provide any written or verbal disclaimers that this was a dramatization and not an actual event. (Case No: SC21-549)
Stephen Michael Jones, 390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300, Orlando, permanent disbarment effective immediately following a September 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) Jones failed to comply with the terms of his emergency suspension from the practice of law, which was effective December 9, 2020. Jones failed to submit to The Florida Bar the required affidavit containing a list of persons/entities to which he gave notice of his suspension and provided a copy of the order of suspension. Jones also improperly engaged in the practice of law following the order of suspension and failed to participate in this disciplinary proceeding. (Case No: SC21-304)
Kenneth Ray Misemer, 5645 Nebraska Ave. New Port Richey, public reprimand by publication and completion of The Florida Bar’s Ethics School effective immediately following a September 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) Misemer filed a Petition for Administration and was appointed personal representative of a long-time client and friend who passed away. Misemer failed to timely administrate the estate which resulted in additional fees and taxes imposed on the estate. After disciplinary proceedings commenced, Misemer worked diligently to close the estate. In mitigation, Misemer made full and free disclosure to the Bar and had a cooperative attitude toward the proceedings. Misemer made a timely good faith effort to make restitution and personally paid all additional fees and taxes imposed on the estate. (Case No: SC21-238)
Brooks Richard Siegel, 3323 N.E. 163rd St., Suite 504, North Miami Beach, public reprimand by publication and probation for one year with the possibility of early termination no earlier than December 2021 effective 30 days following a September 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2017) Siegel was involved in a Lemon Law Case where he failed to supervise nonlawyer agents and delayed obtaining a settlement and communicating with his client. Siegel was charged with ethical misconduct encompassing diligence, communication, and failing to supervise nonlawyer assistants. This case is a reciprocal discipline case from the Supreme Court of Arizona (Case No: SC21-366)
Michael D. Stewart, 325 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 3323, Miami, suspended for two years and ordered to pay restitution effective 30 days following a September 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) The Supreme Court approved an Unconditional Guilty Plea for Consent Judgment involving five cases regarding client neglect and the failure to adequately communicate with clients. Two of the cases also included a failure to respond in writing to an official Bar inquiry. (Case No: SC21-474)
Barbara Jean Throne, P.O. Box 303, Blountstown, suspended for one year effective immediately following a September 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Throne was held in contempt of the court’s order, dated January 7 for failing to comply with Rule 3-5.1(h) requirements of notifying clients, opposing counsel, and tribunals of her suspension. (Case No: SC21-1167)
Jordan Garrett Weinkle, 1688 Meridian Ave., Suite 440, Miami Beach, emergency suspended effective immediately following a September 3 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2015) Weinkle misappropriated funds held in trust to pay property taxes in a mortgage transaction. Weinkle made misrepresentations and failed to respond to Bar inquiries regarding this matter. (Case No: SC21-1246)
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 109,000 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. Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.