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Michael Bauer, a fund-raiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, was suspended from practicing law in the District for nine months by the D.C. Court of Appeals on Sept. 27. That ruling was the same punishment handed down by the Supreme Court of Illinois in September 2006, which punished Bauer for breaching his fiduciary duty as a trustee for his brother’s children after taking about $300,000 from their account. Bauer was a nonpracticing lawyer with Chicago’s Espiritu & Associates, a court reporting firm Bauer sold in 2005. He is also a nationally known fund-raiser for Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Bauer serves on a panel that advises the campaign on gay and lesbian issues and was a delegate to the 2000 and 2004 Democratic national conventions. As trustee, Bauer was authorized to borrow funds from the account. Between July 2003 and May 2004 Bauer borrowed $197,000 from the trust, according to court documents. While that was allowed under the guidelines, Bauer was already in default on an earlier loan of roughly $100,000. The Illinois court found that Bauer engaged in misconduct, including a breach of fiduciary obligations because he “was aware that his own precarious financial condition” made the additional loans “less than a prudent investment for the trust.” Court documents show Bauer has not indicated what he did with the money. He did not return calls seeking comment. In its ruling, the D.C. Court of Appeals said Bauer did not contest the proposed nine-month suspension by the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel. Bauer told the Bar Counsel he has not practiced law in D.C. or Illinois during the past 20 years, according to court documents. Earlier this year, Obama was criticized for not removing Bauer from the campaign.
Dimone Long was recommended for disbarment by the D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility earlier this month for a litany of reasons, one of which was a conviction for second-degree assault. Long, name partner at Long & Associates, was charged with attempted first-degree murder in Prince George’s County, Md., and on Feb. 8 was convicted of a lesser crime, second-degree assault. But it wasn’t just the criminal case that led to the disbarment recommendation. According to Bar Counsel, Long, a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, admitted to lying to two clients about the status of their personal injury cases. Long told his clients their cases were not moving forward because the insurance adjustor was uncooperative. Long failed to mention that he never made an attempt to pursue the cases. Long, who was also licensed to practice in Maryland, was disbarred by the state in April. Both Maryland and D.C. cited six issues in Long’s record that led to disbarment, including competence, diligence, dishonesty, misconduct, and criminal acts.
Tony Dates was a self-employed handyman looking to buy property in the District when he came across John W. Stewart Jr.‘s solicitation letter. Dates retained the lawyer for the routine task of filing tax-sale claims on two District properties. According to court records, Dates gave Stewart a check for $3,300 for legal fees; he also gave the city a down payment of $3,000 for the two properties. But rather than working for his client, Stewart used Dates’ money for himself. Within a few months, less than $100 was left of the retainer and Stewart was dodging Dates’ phone calls. Making matters worse, Stewart missed mandatory filing deadlines for the properties � though he did attempt to backdate one of the filings �which meant Dates had to forfeit his $3,000 down payment and didn’t get the properties. In the end, Stewart’s fraudulent lawyering cost Dates more than $6,000. It was for a litany of similar complaints � 16 in all � that earlier this month the D.C. Court of Appeals disbarred Stewart. The court noted that the level of “dishonesty, misrepresentations, gross incompetence, and negligence in the handling of client matters, over a course of several years, is breathtaking.” The court found Stewart took money from clients, altered documents, lied to clients about the status of their cases, and ultimately refused to comply with subpoenas issued by the D.C. Office of Bar Counsel and the appeals court; both were investigating complaints against Stewart brought by clients. Stewart began practicing in the District less than a decade ago as a solo practitioner, marketing himself to people who had purchased real estate at the District’s tax foreclosure sale held annually in July. According to the appeals court, Stewart owes his former clients $36,930 � money he must repay before applying for reinstatement. Stewart did not return calls seeking comment.
The D.C. Board on Professional Responsibility recommended Oct. 3 that Stephen Williams be suspended for what amounts to wasting the time of a Connecticut court. Williams could not be reached for comment. Williams, a solo practitioner in Connecticut who received his D.C. law license in 1989, was stopped for speeding in April 2004 and fined $148. But instead of using his Connecticut address, Williams gave the police officer a post office box number in Hong Kong. The police mailed all the traffic ticket correspondence to the Hong Kong address and, when Williams failed to respond, his license was suspended. A year later, Wililams was stopped by police and issued a summons for driving with a suspended license. Instead of seeking reinstatement, Williams responded by declaring a legal fatwa against the ticket administering process, including the Central Infraction Bureau, and the commissioner of motor vehicles. The Connecticut court suspended Williams for conduct designed to “obfuscate, inflame, and attenuate a simple legal proceeding.”
Nathan Carlile can be reached at [email protected].

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