DISCIPLINARY proceeding instituted by the Grievance Committee for the Second, Eleventh, and Thirteenth Judicial Districts. The respondent was admitted to the Bar at a term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the Third Judicial Department on January 23, 1996. By decision and order on application of this Court dated June 14, 2007, the Grievance Committee was authorized to institute and prosecute a disciplinary proceeding against respondent and the issues raised were referred to the Honorable Herbert Altman, as Special Referee to hear and report.
Published by New York State Law Reporting Bureau pursuant to Judiciary Law § 431.
This opinion is uncorrected and subject to revision before publication in the Official Reports.
A. GAIL PRUDENTI, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA, ROBERT A. SPOLZINO and HOWARD MILLER, JJ.
The Grievance Committee served the respondent with a petition dated July 17, 2007, containing seven charges of professional misconduct. After a preliminary conference on October 21, 2007, and a hearing on January 7, 2008, and April 2, 2008, the Special Referee sustained all charges except for a portion of charge three. The Grievance Committee moves to confirm the Special Referee's report to the extent that it sustained the charges, to disaffirm the report to the extent that it did not sustain a portion of charge three, and to impose such discipline upon the respondent as the Court deems appropriate. The respondent has neither cross-moved nor submitted any papers in response to the Grievance Committee's motion.
Charge one alleges that the respondent commingled funds entrusted to him as a fiduciary, incident to his practice of law, with personal funds, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibilities DRs 9-102(a) and 1-102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.46[a], 1200.3[a]).
Between approximately April 1, 2004, and October 31, 2005, the respondent maintained an IOLA account at Commerce Bank entitled "Law Office of Jan Alex Dash—Attorney Trust Account." During that time, he also maintained an IOLA account at Bank of New York entitled "Jan Dash—IOLA account." Funds entrusted to the respondent as a fiduciary, incident to his practice of law, were deposited into those accounts. The respondent also deposited personal funds into those accounts and allowed earned legal fees to remain on deposit there. In addition, the respondent drew checks for personal expenses on those IOLA accounts.
Charge two alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibilities DRs 1-102(a)(4) and (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a], ).
Between approximately April 2004 and May 2004, the respondent deposited funds into his Bank of New York IOLA account in connection with a real estate transaction referenced Charles to Lang/234 Realty Corp. On or about May 4, 2004, the respondent disbursed $2,000 to Edwin Drakes, a suspended attorney, as and for a purported broker's commission in connection with the aforesaid transaction. No brokerage agreement was ever signed by the clients. The respondent's closing statement falsely stated that the funds were paid to him rather than to Drakes.
Charge three alleges that the respondent engaged in conduct that adversely reflected on his fitness as a lawyer, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibility DR 1-102(a)(7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a]).
On or about November 19, 2004, the respondent deposited funds into his Commerce Bank IOLA account in connection with a real estate transaction referenced Campbell to Youn. On or about November 24, 2004, the respondent disbursed $5,000 to Drakes, a suspended attorney, as and for a purported broker's commission in connection with the Campbell to Youn transaction. No brokerage agreement was ever signed. The respondent failed to prepare and/or produce any closing statement disclosing that said funds were paid to Drakes.
Charge four alleges that the respondent improperly disbursed escrow funds to a suspended attorney, in violation of Code of Professional Responsibilities DRs 1-102(a)(5) and (7) (22 NYCRR 1200.3[a], ).
Following the suspension of Drakes on April 1, 2004, the respondent appeared as attorney on behalf of Drakes's client, Elise Dean, in connection with a surplus money proceeding. On or about July 6, 2004, the respondent received $12,051.09 on behalf of Dean and deposited said funds into his Commerce Bank IOLA account. ...