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State Bar prosecutors are seeking to disbar a former San Francisco deputy district attorney, claiming he bilked a professional basketball player out of more than $2.2 million. Githaiga Ramsey, the 41-year-old son of retired Alameda County Superior Court Judge Henry Ramsey Jr., is accused of misappropriating the funds of Jason Caffey, a power forward with the Milwaukee Bucks who met Ramsey in 1999 while playing for the Golden State Warriors. The 18-count charging document, filed in State Bar Court last week, also accuses Ramsey of defrauding Caffey in real estate deals involving houses in Oakland and near Atlanta. “It’s hard to find a case where the charges of misconduct are more serious than this case,” State Bar Deputy Trial Counsel Esther Rogers, who’s prosecuting the case, said Tuesday. Ramsey, now in private practice in Oakland, couldn’t be reached for comment. But his attorney, San Francisco’s Doron Weinberg, said Tuesday that Ramsey “categorically denies” misappropriating Caffey’s funds. Those allegations “have been investigated criminally by the FBI,” the Weinberg & Wilder partner said, “and there has been a determination that there were no criminal offenses.” However, Weinberg said Ramsey admits that he failed to “scrupulously follow” the professional rules of conduct insofar as dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s in every matter involving Caffey. “We think that the allegations of failure to follow the requirements of the rules support some sort of disciplinary action,” he said, “but we don’t believe that, standing alone, they would warrant anything resembling disbarment.” Ramsey, a Hastings College of the Law graduate, joined the Bar in July 1996. According to the State Bar’s charging papers, in 1999 he entered into an agreement with Caffey to serve as his agent through his own company, GDR Sports & Entertainment Management. Ramsey, who was working for the San Francisco DA’s office at the time, was to be paid $250 per hour for all “legal and promotion services.” Prosecutors say Ramsey and Caffey set up a joint checking account at Union Bank of California, which Ramsey allegedly raided for the next two years for his own personal and business expenses. They also accuse Ramsey of purchasing Caffey’s $1 million home in Oakland’s upper Rockridge neighborhood at a discount price that cheated Caffey out of thousands of dollars. Additionally, Ramsey allegedly used Caffey’s money to make a $100,000 down payment on a $460,000 house north of Atlanta, and intended to raid their joint account to make monthly mortgage payments. Two years ago, Caffey sued Ramsey in San Francisco federal court, accusing him of many of the same charges raised by the State Bar. In that case, Caffey said Ramsey had agreed to represent him for $60,000 a year, then fleeced his accounts for more than $900,000. The State Bar’s paper trail led to an additional $1.3 million in allegedly misappropriated funds. The Bar looked into whether Ramsey, who left the DA’s office in November 2003, had a conflict of interest in representing Caffey while serving as a deputy DA. That never became an issue in the federal case, however, and Rogers says it won’t be raised by the State Bar. Caffey’s suit against Ramsey settled last year to the parties’ mutual satisfaction, said Eric Farber, a partner in San Francisco’s Farber & Co. who represented Caffey in federal court, and Oakland attorney John Burris, who represented Ramsey. The terms are confidential. Burris said, however, that Ramsey disputed the allegations in federal court. “The relationship they had was a complicated one,” he said. “It wasn’t just an attorney-client relationship. It was more probably a business manager, a roadside manager.” In a 2003 motion to dismiss Caffey v. Ramsey, 03-0419, Burris attacked Caffey’s allegations and referred to the now 31-year-old as a “recently wealthy professional athlete” who sought Ramsey’s assistance “in managing his funds, satisfying debts, paying girlfriends, attorneys and child support.” He also said that Ramsey’s “somewhat sloppy transactions” didn’t constitute fraud. “In the context of representing a young professional athlete who lived an extravagant lifestyle with tremendous income and equally tremendous expenditures,” Burris wrote, “each of the alleged ‘transfers’ were nothing more than legitimate transactions related to services rendered by Mr. Ramsey for the benefit of [Caffey].” Weinberg, who has about three weeks to respond to the State Bar allegations, is taking much the same position. “Nothing that Mr. Ramsey did had either the purpose or the effect of depriving Mr. Caffey of money, or of unfairly providing money to Mr. Ramsey,” he said. “Everything that Mr. Ramsey did was intended to benefit his client and to serve his client’s best interests.” Weinberg said Ramsey is “really disappointed” by the State Bar charges. “He sincerely believes he was motivated by two things — serving his client and establishing himself as an effective and reputable sports agent,” Weinberg said. The State Bar Court case is In the Matter of Ramsey, 183386.

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