Karen Y. Kirksey announced to Historic City News on behalf of The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, that the Florida Supreme Court has recently disciplined the following list of lawyers.
Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, fewer than five percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.
Some attorneys received more than one form of discipline.
The following lawyers are disciplined:
Henry Nissim Adorno, 2525 Ponce De Leon Blvd. Suite 400, Miami, suspended until further order, effective Oct. 28, following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1973) While representing clients in a class action lawsuit, Adorno settled with individual plaintiffs to the detriment of other plaintiffs. Adorno also took an excessive attorney fee. (Case No.SC09-1012)
April Ann Arendell, 5342 Lake Margaret Drive, Apt. 523, Orlando, suspended for 45 days, effective immediately, following an Oct. 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Further, upon reinstatement, Arendell will be placed on probation for three years and sign a rehabilitation contract with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. Arendell entered into an employment contract that created a conflict of interest and did not provide the customer with the proper attorney-client relationship. Arendell’s employment arrangement created a situation in which she assisted in the unlicensed practice of law and shared legal fees with non-lawyers. She also failed to complete and communicate loan modification case statuses with clients; and she failed to maintain minimum trust accounting records and comply with minimum trust accounting procedures. (Case Nos. SC10-1057 & SC10-1145)
Antonio R. Arnao, P.O. Box 1086, Clearwater, suspended until further order, effective 30 days from a Nov. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Arnao was found in contempt for failure to respond without good cause to official Bar inquiries. Arnao ignored numerous requests for a written reply or call to The Florida Bar’s staff. (Case No. SC10-1341)
Louis Barbieri, III, 271 17th St. N.W., Suite 2400, Atlanta, Ga., to be publicly reprimanded following a Nov. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2006) Barbieri was conditionally admitted to The Florida Bar and placed on probation for five years based on alcohol abuse issues. He failed to comply with the terms of the Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. contract. (Case No. SC10-857)
Debi Fay Chalik, 10063 N.W. 1st Court, Plantation, is publicly reprimanded by an Oct. 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1999) Chalik is also a member of The Kentucky Bar. In June, the Supreme Court of Kentucky publicly reprimanded Chalik for failure to timely file an advertisement. (Case No. SC10-1917)
Ryan Thomas Fasso, 2007 S. Pebble Beach Blvd., Sun City Center, suspended for two years, effective retroactive to April 26, following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2002) Fasso pleaded no contest in court to a felony charge of cocaine possession. As a result, he was suspended in April by the Supreme Court. In addition, Fasso was retained to represent clients in at least seven separate cases and he failed to communicate, missed hearings and oftentimes neglected to perform the work. (Case No. SC10-535)
Maurice J. Hall, 409 N. Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) Hall admitted that over the past 10 years, he continually and systematically misappropriated client and third-party funds from his attorney trust account for his own purposes. (Case No. SC10-1953)
Jay Clifton Halsema, 4446-1A Hendricks Ave., Suite 378, Jacksonville, suspended until further order, following a Nov. 8 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Halsema is the subject of several Bar disciplinary matters. He was also arrested in October and charged with organized fraud. (Case No. SC10-2112)
Frank J. Ingrassia, 8931 Wiles Road, Coral Springs, disbarred effective 30 days from an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Ingrassia admitted that he is the subject of an investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement with regard to his preparation of forged court orders. (Case No. SC10-2028)
Philip David Irish, 1920 N.W. 94th Ave., Miami, disbarred effective retroactive to Oct. 8, 2008, the date of his felony suspension, following a Nov. 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Irish was adjudicated guilty in court of six felony charges involving drugs. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison. (Case Nos. SC08-1375, SC08-1552, SC08-1891 & SC08-2398)
Bruce Gregory Kaufmann, 1564 Oakadia Lane, Clearwater, suspended until further order, effective immediately, following an Oct. 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) According to a petition for emergency suspension, Kaufmann appeared to be causing great public harm and is the subject of several pending disciplinary cases. Kaufmann engaged in an intentional pattern of obtaining fees, controlling assets and forcing individuals to pay him before he would resign as trustee. (Case No. SC10-1973)
Scott Kramer, 6650 W. Indiantown Road, Suite 200, Jupiter, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 11 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Kramer admitted that he continually and systematically misappropriated client funds held in trust, including projected attorney’s fees in some instances, before the settlement money had been received. A Bar compliance audit of Kramer’s trust account from January 1, 2005, through April 30, 2010, showed ongoing shortages. (Case No. SC10-1925)
Paul David Lazarus, 1 Financial Plaza, Suite 2510, Fort Lauderdale, suspended for 60 days, effective 30 days from a Nov. 4 court order. Further, Lazarus shall pay restitution of $2,500.00 and be placed on probation for two years. (Admitted to practice: 1977) Lazarus handled two separate criminal appellate proceedings in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal and he failed to provide adequate representation. Lazarus was indefinitely suspended from practicing before both the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. (Case No. SC10-826)
Guillermo Napoleon Lopez, 759 N.W. 22nd Avenue, Miami, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2005) Lopez facilitated the misappropriation of funds by his sister, Maria Teresa Lopez, a now-disbarred attorney. Lopez also served as the settlement agent for numerous transactions in which he failed to disburse monies in accordance with the Housing and Urban Development settlement statements, including mortgages that were required to be satisfied at closing. (Case No. SC09-1803)
Gregory A. Meeks II, P.O. Box 353, Ocoee, disbarred effective immediately, following an Oct. 15 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001) In November 2006, Meeks was suspended and unable to practice law in Florida. Meeks practiced law while suspended and he failed to inform the court or clients. In other instances, Meeks was retained by clients and failed to provide adequate representation. (Case Nos. SC09-437 & SC09-563)
Emmanuel Roy, 26 Court St., Suite 1503, Brooklyn, N.Y., disbarred effective retroactive to March 22, following an Oct. 19 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Roy, who was also a member of the New York State Bar, surrendered his license to practice law in New York after being charged with 38 counts of misconduct. In October 2009, Roy was arrested and indicted by the federal government for his involvement in a multimillion-dollar mortgage fraud scam. (Case No. SC10-806)
James Patrick Tarquin, 1111 N.E. 25th Ave., Suite 501, Ocala, placed on probation for three years effective immediately, following an Oct. 12 court order. Further, Tarquin will participate in a program offered by Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc., during the entire probation period. (Admitted to practice: 1991) The state of Florida charged Tarquin for driving while intoxicated; a misdemeanor, and for misdemeanor domestic battery. (Case No. (SC10-1918)
Sam Thankachen, 7144 Stirling Road, Hollywood, disbarred effective retroactive to February 17, 2010, the date of his emergency suspension, following a Nov. 1 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997) Thankachen received money from clients and other persons in exchange for ownership in real property or other ventures. The complainants did not receive the real property or other items and they did not get their funds back. (Case No. SC10-712)
As an official agency of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 88,000-plus lawyers admitted to practice law in Florida. Since Aug. 1, 2007, case files have been posted to attorneys’ individual Florida Bar profiles and may be reviewed at and/or downloaded from The Florida Bar’s website, www.floridabar.org.