Bar Discipline article 616×372 px logo (john rindo)
The Florida Supreme Court has disciplined 14 South Florida lawyers, including five who lost their law licenses.
The court granted requests by Angel Manuel Garcia and Michael J. Scaglione, both of Coral Gables, for disciplinary revocation, which is tantamount to disbarment. Both may seek readmission after five years.
A complaint against Garcia alleged he improperly funded transactions for condominium conversion projects.
Scaglione had several disciplinary actions pending including one stemming from a guilty plea in federal court to money laundering.
Mikel David Jones of Boynton Beach, a former Palm Beach County aide to U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, was disbarred after he was convicted in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania of conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering. He is due for release from federal prison in 2015.
Miroslaw Thomas Lobasz of Lake Worth was permanently disbarred after being disbarred in 2011 but continued to practice law.
Charles Louis Neustein of Miami Beach was granted disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission in five years. A complaint alleged misconduct involving dishonesty, deceit, fraud or misrepresentation.
Carl Andrew Borgan of Miami was suspended following an allegation he hid marital assets in his trust account. When a family court judge froze the account, he took no action to get his clients’ funds released, including one client who died before the full disbursement of her settlement funds. Borgan refused to assist in obtaining the release of the funds to her survivors. He also showed a pattern of obstructing the administration of justice.
Miriam Mendieta of Miami was suspended for 90 days. A supervising attorney at the defunct Law Offices of David J. Stern, she failed to exercise her authority to ensure the actions of her subordinates followed Bar rules. The foreclosure firm was implicated in the robo-signing scandal. Firm attorneys were accused of failing to appear in court for conferences and hearings, preparing poor mortgage foreclosure files and filing documents that were improperly notarized, witnessed or dated.
Richard Gregory Toledo of Miami was suspended for 91 days. He executed attorney fee affidavits in foreclosure cases for Stern’s law firm as an independent contractor. An unknown number of affidavits processed by him were not executed by him in the presence of a notary. He also executed affidavits without reviewing the pertinent files.
Jorge Luis Suarez of Coral Gables also was suspended for 91 days for his work at Stern’s firm. He executed attorney fee affidavits as an independent contractor starting in 1997. An unknown number of affidavits processed by Suarez from 2007 to 2010 were not executed by him in the presence of a notary. Suarez executed an expert affidavit without reviewing the pertinent file more than once.
Five South Florida received public reprimands.
Bruce John Goldman of Coral Gables was placed on three years probation. An investigation of his trust account revealed commingling of personal and trust funds in excess of $200,000 in 2008. He also failed to maintain minimum trust accounting records for six years.
Andrew S. Goldwyn of Boca Raton was found in contempt for failing to respond to official Bar inquiries about a complaint in a timely manner.
Matthew Clark Kotzen of Hallandale Beach lacked diligence in reviewing the time entries submitted by lawyers in the firm’s client management system. A lawyer at the firm received payment for services not rendered.
Juan Carlos Martinez of Miami was ordered to pay restitution of $11,240 to a client. He had a conflict of interest by providing legal services to a client being sued by a former client.
Tomas A. Pila of Miami was ordered to pay restitution of $3,000 to a client. He was retained by a client to recover $60,000 lost as part of a mortgage investment. He failed to take significant action in the case and failed to stay in contact with his client. The client switched attorneys, and Pila took more than a month to hand over a copy of the file.