A Brooklyn attorney indicted for allegedly stealing the proceeds of a million-dollar real estate transaction has been disbarred by a Brooklyn appellate panel.
Robert C. Fontanelli was disbarred by the Appellate Division, Second Department on Wednesday after failing to respond to grievance committee proceedings.
Fontanelli was immediately suspended in October after grievance committee charges of professional misconduct asserting he converted more than $1 million in funds entrusted to him.
In February, Fontanelli was stopped by troopers in Dutchess County for having an expired inspection sticker on his vehicle and suddenly tried to flee, according to state police. He was tracked down a short distance away and charged with resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration. When Fontanelli was taken into custody, authorities learned New York City police had a larceny warrant out for him.
Fontanelli was subsequently indicted by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office on first- and second-degree grand larceny charges (NYLJ, Feb. 7). He has pleaded not guilty in that case.
Presiding Justice Randall Eng and Justices William Mastro, Reinaldo Rivera, Peter Skelos and Leonard Austin decided Matter of Fontanelli, 2013-07395.
Kathryn Donnelly Gur-Arie appeared for the grievance committee.
Separately, the Second Department disbarred Ira Seplow of Rockaway Park, who resigned in the face of grievance committee probes into complaints he neglected an estate matter and misused client funds connected to a real estate transaction. Seplow represented himself in his resignation and acknowledged he could not successfully defend himself the grievance committee brought charges on the allegations.
Justices Eng, Mastro, Rivera, Skelos and Mark Dillon decided Matter of Seplow, 2013-09814. Mark DeWan appeared for the grievance committee.
The decisions can be found on page 6 of today’s print edition.