In a summary of orders issued February 13 – March 27, 2019 obtained by Historic City News this week, The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 21 attorneys – disbarring one, revoking the licenses of nine, one of whom was from St Augustine, suspending nine and publicly reprimanding two. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
As an official arm 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 more than 106,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at www.floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
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 includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam.
Christopher William Adamec, 1822 West Cobblestone Lane, St. Augustine, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective March 14, following a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) The Bar was investigating complaints that Adamec collected excessive fees and falsified invoices and failed to provide competent representation. He was arrested for theft of client funds and entered a plea to the charge of Grand Theft in excess of $100,000, a first-degree felony. After his Petition for Disciplinary Revocation was filed, Adamec was sentenced in January to 22 months in prison and 10 years of probation. (Case No. SC18-2132)
Brett Allen Mearkle, 547 Selva Lakes Circle, Atlantic Beach, suspended until further order of the court, effective immediately, following a March 19 court order. (Admitted to practice 2003) Mearkle failed to respond to two official Florida Bar inquiries. (Case No. SC18-2112)
Diego Handel, 149 South Ridgewood Ave., Suite 220, Daytona Beach, emergency suspended effectively immediately until further order of the Supreme Court, following a March 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1984) Handel was suspended and his law office trust account frozen after a Florida Bar audit showed he misappropriated client funds. He was previously suspended indefinitely by a Dec. 10, 2018, Supreme Court order for failing to fully comply with The Florida Bar’s subpoena for his law office trust account records. He also failed to maintain his trust account in substantial compliance with the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. (Case No. SC19-283)
Gregory Vance Beauchamp, 107 E. Park Ave., Chiefland, emergency suspended, following a March 12 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1974) Beauchamp appeared to be causing great public harm by misappropriating client funds. (Case No.SC19-332)
Cyrus A. Bischoff, P.O. Box 801222, Miami, disciplinary revocation effective immediately, following a March 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2001). While suspended from the practice of law by the Florida Supreme Court, Bischoff acted as escrow agent and negotiated funds through his trust account. Bischoff tendered a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation, which was granted by the court. (Case No. SC18-2067)
Daniel Robert Brinley, P.O. Box 210171, Royal Palm Beach, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective 30 days from a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Brinley neglected client matters and made misrepresentations to clients concerning the status of their cases. One of the matters included an allegation of misappropriation. (Case No. SC18-2052)
Brian Neil Greenspoon, P.O. Box, 880112, Boca Raton, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek readmission after five years, effective immediately following a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2003) Greenspoon filed a Petition for Reinstatement following a three-year suspension. The Bar’s investigation discovered that Greenspoon had client contact during his suspension. Greenspoon dismissed the Petition for Reinstatement and filed a Disciplinary Revocation. (Case No. SC19-144)
Divya Khullar, 4786 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac, public reprimand by a March 26 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2012) Khullar failed to timely respond to a Bar inquiry. The Supreme Court of Florida held him in contempt and publicly reprimanded him. (Case No. SC18-2083)
Jeffrey Greenfield Klein, 10337 Parkstone Way, Boca Raton, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for readmission after five years, effective immediately following a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1983) In 2012 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York, the U.S. Attorney charged Klein with Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud; Wire Fraud; Conspiracy to Engage in Money Laundering; and Money Laundering. The charges were part of a 40-count indictment charging 12 people with participating in a large-scale international “boiler room” stock fraud scheme. In 2018, Klein pleaded guilty to the charge of Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud and was sentenced to three years of probation with the first six months home detention and restitution of $134,261.53. (Case No. SC19-18)
Mark Howard Klein, 11555 Heron Bay Blvd, Suite 200, Coral Springs, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Klein failed to inform his client that the opposing party (lender) in a foreclosure case filed a motion for summary judgment or that the trial court granted the opposing party’s motion for summary judgment. (Case No. SC18-153).
Ashley Ann Krapacs, 401 East Las Olas Blvd., Suite 1400, Fort Lauderdale, emergency suspended until further order of the Supreme Court of Florida, following a February 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2016) Krapacs engaged in an escalating harassment campaign against two attorneys representing the opposing party in a civil matter, as well as disparaging a circuit court judge. Because of her social media attacks and threatening behavior, one attorney obtained an Injunction for Protection Against Stalking against her and the other filed a defamation lawsuit against her. (Case No. SC19-277)
Marvin Kurzban, 2650 S.W. 27th Ave., Miami, disciplinary revocation, effective 30 days from a February 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1970) Kurzban was discourteous and unprofessional in civil proceedings, resulting in a mistrial. Upon retrial, additional misconduct occurred. Kurzban tendered a Petition for Permanent Revocation, which has been accepted by the Florida Supreme Court. (Case No. SC19-176)
Esmond Jude Lewis, 5237 Summerlin Commons Blvd., Suite 404, Fort Myers, suspended for 91 days, effective 30 days from a March 27 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Lewis was held in contempt of the court’s Dec. 20, 2018, order for failing to fully comply with notifying clients and the judiciary as ordered by the court. (Case No. SC19-233)
Albert W. Pucylowski, 501 N. Magnolia Avenue, Suite E, Orlando, emergency suspended until further order of the Supreme Court of Florida, following a February 13 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1998) Pucylowski abandoned his law practice without taking any steps to protect his clients’ interests. In three separate matters, his failure to appear in court caused arrest warrants to be issued for his clients. Pucylowski also failed to respond to any of the Bar’s investigative inquiries. (Case No. SC19-190)
Allison Catherine Ridenhour, P.O. Box 2622, Oldsmar, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a March 7 court order. In addition, Ridenhour is ordered into a two-year rehabilitation contract with FLA, Inc., fee arbitration and payment of disciplinary costs. (Admitted to practice: 1999) In three separate client matters, Ridenhour did not perform work after accepting fees and failed to respond to clients. She also failed to respond to official inquiries by Bar counsel and a grievance committee. (Case No. SC19-238)
Cory Scott Robins, 3850 S. University Drive, Unit 290841, Davie, disciplinary revocation, effective 90 days from a February 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1997). Robins improperly disbursed funds from his trust account. He tendered a Petition for Disciplinary Revocation, which was granted by the court. (Case No. SC18-2038)
James M. Schneider, Palm Hill Villas, Unit 7, 1212 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, disciplinary revocation, effective April 6 following a March 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1976) In March 2018, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida filed a superseding 35-count indictment charging Schneider with among other offenses Conspiracy to Commit Securities and Wire Fraud; Securities Fraud; Wire Fraud; Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering and Money Laundering. Following a December 2018 jury trial, he was found guilty of 33 of the 35 counts and sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay more than $19 million in restitution. (Case No. SC18-2123)
Frank Nathan Tobolsky, 834 Chestnut St., Suite 206, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, disbarred effective 30 days from a February 28 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Tobolsky misappropriated $32,500 of client funds held in trust to pay personal debts, including various gambling debts. (Case No. SC18-1157)
Hugh Charles Umsted, 5709 Gulf Drive, New Port Richey, emergency suspended, effective immediately following a March 21 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1991) Umstead appears to be causing great public harm based upon his misappropriation of at least $82,647 in client funds. (Case No. SC19-430)
Albert John Vidal, P.O. Box 363, Silver Springs, disciplinary revocation with leave to seek admission after five years, effective 30 days from a March 7 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1986) Vidal was alleged to have failed to provide two separate clients with diligent representation and failed to maintain adequate communication with them. Vidal was further alleged to have failed to respond in a timely manner to the Bar’s investigative inquiries. (Case No. SC18-2068)
Peter James Yanowitch, 255 Alhambra Circle, Suite 700, Coral Gables, to be publicly reprimanded, following a March 14 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Yanowitch failed to fully disclose a potential conflict of interest with a client who was seeking an investor visa in the United States. The client invested funds in a company co-owned by Yanowitch, but he failed to inform the client of the potential for a conflict, advise the client to seek independent counsel, or secure informed consent. (Case No. SC18-1866)