In the Matter of Mark A. Hidalgo, (admitted as Mark Anthony Hidalgo), an attorney and counselor-at-law: Attorney Grievance Committee for the First Judicial Department, Petitioner, Mark A. Hidalgo, Respondent.
proceedings instituted by the Attorney Grievance Committee
for the First Judicial Department. Respondent, Mark A.
Hidalgo, was admitted to the Bar of the State of New York at
a Term of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court for the
Second Judicial Department on October 22, 2008.
Dopico, Chief Attorney, Attorney Grievance Committee, New
York (Remi E. Shea, of counsel), for petitioner.
Respondent pro se.
W. Sweeny, Jr., Justice Presiding, Rolando T. Acosta, Karla
Moskowitz, Barbara R. Kapnick, Marcy L. Kahn, Justices.
Mark A. Hidalgo was admitted to the practice of law in the
State of New York by the Second Judicial Department on
October 22, 2008, under the name Mark Anthony Hidalgo.
Respondent last maintained a registered address within the
First Judicial Department. According to the Office of Court
Administration's records, respondent is delinquent in his
attorney registration. He has not filed a registration
statement nor paid the required fee for the 2016-2017
biennial period. Respondent, pro se, has not appeared in this
Attorney Grievance Committee seeks an order, pursuant to the
Rules for Attorney Disciplinary Matters (22 NYCRR)
§§ 1240.9(a)(3) and (5), immediately suspending
respondent from the practice of law until further order of
this Court, based upon his failure to cooperate with the
Committee's investigation of two disciplinary complaints
filed against him and uncontroverted evidence of professional
letter dated July 20, 2016, the Committee informed respondent
that he was the subject of a sua sponte investigation based
upon his failure to appear on two occasions before a justice
of the Supreme Court, Bronx County, in a case in which he was
counsel of record for the plaintiff. The letter, which
requested an answer explaining respondent's failure to
appear, was mailed to his last registered business address.
Respondent did not submit an answer, and the Committee's
letter was not returned. The Committee sent subsequent
letters to respondent's last registered business and home
addresses, but all of the letters were returned to the
Committee by the U.S. Postal Service as undeliverable and
marked "unable to forward." The Committee then
attempted to contact respondent at his last registered
telephone number, but received a recorded message that the
number had been "changed or disconnected." To date,
respondent has not answered the investigation.
2016, the Committee also received a separate complaint from a
client who alleged that his organization had retained
respondent in October 2015 to represent it in the sale of
real property. The client further alleged that after
respondent received the buyer's down payment of $22, 500,
he ceased communicating with the client, the real estate
broker, and the buyer's attorney.
letter dated September 22, 2016, the Committee requested
respondent's written answer to the client's
complaint. Copies of the letter were mailed to
respondent's last registered business and home addresses,
but all of them were returned by the U.S. Postal Service as
undeliverable and marked "unable to forward." To
date, respondent has not answered his client's complaint.
Committee obtained respondent's IOLA account records from
his bank for the period of December 2015 through April 2016.
The records show that respondent deposited the $22, 500 down
payment into his account on December 10, 2015. Nonetheless,
between December 11, 2015 and April 11, 2016, the IOLA
account balance repeatedly fell below $22, 500. Almost
immediately after the deposit, respondent made numerous
transfers to his business account and another trust account,
and issued checks unrelated to the real estate transaction.
The ending balance for respondent's IOLA account for
December 2015 was $17, 904.51, and, as of April 11, 2016, the
account balance had fallen to $0.01.
accordance with 22 NYCRR 1240.9, the Committee obtained
permission and served respondent with the instant motion by
substituted service, via first-class mail, priority mail, and
certified mail, return receipt requested, to his last
registered business and home addresses. However, he has not
submitted any response.
Court is empowered to order an interim suspension if it finds
that "respondent has engaged in conduct immediately
threatening the public interest. Such a finding may be based
upon... respondent's failure to comply with a lawful
demand of the Court or a Committee in an investigation or
proceeding under the Rules... or... other uncontroverted
evidence of professional misconduct" (22 NYCRR
1240.9[a] and ).The Committee has presented clear and
uncontested evidence that respondent has engaged in conduct
that immediately threatens the public interest, thus
warranting his suspension. Respondent's IOLA bank records
show that he converted and/or misappropriated the $22, 500
down payment involving his client's real estate
transaction. Moreover, respondent has failed to answer two
disciplinary complaints, and has failed to register and
provide his current contact information, which has frustrated
the Committee's investigation. Respondent's
professional misconduct, failure to cooperate with the
investigation, and failure to register are grounds for his
interim suspension (see e.g. Matter of Lessoff, 142
A.D.3d 107 [1st Dept 2016]; Matter of Rosabianca,
127 A.D.3d 142');">127 A.D.3d 142 [1st Dept 2015]; Matter of Banji, 106
A.D.3d 73 [1st Dept 2013]).
the Committee's motion should be granted and respondent
suspended from the practice of law, effective immediately,
until such time as disciplinary matters before the Committee