Two Long Island lawyers were disbarred after offering their resignations in the face of disciplinary probes they acknowledged they could not successfully fight.
The Appellate Division, Second Department on Wednesday announced the disbarment of John Durst, Jr. of the Durst Law Firm in Syosset and Reinelda Elizabeth Urena De Checo of Freeport.
Durst’s resignation stems from representing Cirro Rodriguez in a Worker Compensation benefit matter. Durst controlled part of a $500,000 settlement and was supposed to buy an annuity for Rodriguez. But he “misappropriated the funds by applying them to a use other than that for which they were intended,” said the ruling.
Durst sent monthly payments to Rodriguez for about three years beginning in June 2005, but started making “scattered payments” through late 2012 and then stopped altogether. The ruling noted Durst, admitted in 1981, did not comply with the grievance committee’s subsequent investigation. He then was advised he would face professional misconduct charges, including misappropriating client funds.
In Urena De Checo’s case, her resignation noted a disciplinary investigation had gathered evidence that could result in professional misconduct charges, including neglect of client matters, converting client funds and failure to cooperate with the grievance committee. She was admitted in 2003.
Presiding Justice Randall Eng and Justices William Mastro, Reinaldo Rivera, Peter Skelos and Thomas Dickerson decided Matter of Durst, 2013-10006. Justices Eng, Rivera, Skelos, Mark Dillon and Ruth Balkin decided Matter of Urena De Checo, 2012-01158. The decisions appear on page 5 of the print edition.