TN: Attorney John E. Clemmons Suspended After $50,000 Taken From Disabled Ward

A prominent Nashville attorney has been temporarily suspended from the practice of law following the discovery that he paid himself $50,440 from the estate of a ward in a nursing home without the approval of a judge.
The state Supreme Court concluded that allowing John E. Clemmons to continue practicing law “poses a threat of substantial harm to the public.”

Clemmons’ actions came when he was serving as conservator of the Rutherford County man, a legal arrangement overseen by a judge when a person is determined unable to handle their own affairs, often for medical reasons, and an outside person is given that authority.

Clemmons, who has also served as a conservator in cases in Nashville, has been ordered to inform all of his current clients of the suspension and cease any legal representation by May 2. He is barred from taking on any new cases and must return any property in his possession belonging to existing clients.

In its petition to the state Supreme Court, the Board of Professional Responsibility cited the findings of Rutherford County Chancery Court officials who discovered that Clemmons had been making regular payments to himself without submitting a request to the court as required.

The court also found that Clemmons was unable to account for an additional $16,500 expended from the ward’s estate.

The unauthorized payments were in addition to $7,780 in fees which were approved by the court. But even in the approved fees the judge questioned Clemmons request.

“The court was concerned that the conservator sought to recover compensation at the rate of $200 an hour for services which are more appropriately charged by a paralegal or untrained persons at a far less hourly rate,” court records show.

In an affidavit filed along with the complaint, Rutherford County clerk and master John A.W. Bratcher detailed conversations with Clemmons in which the Nashville attorney admitted paying himself without authorization and offered alternative ways he could pay back the money.

“Mr. Clemmons admitted that he did write checks to himself without court approval but that he had two to three proposals on how he can pay the money back,” the affidavit states.

“Mr. Clemmons, the affidavit states, “indicated that he did not wish to be removed as conservator and that he hoped that this would not be reported to anyone else. He said that he was willing to do everything that he could to get the matter corrected.”

Among the repayment plans proposed by Clemmons were the sale of 100 acres of family property in Davidson County and the use of future Social Security benefits earned by he and his wife.

Bratcher recommended that Clemmons be removed immediately and disclosed that he was reporting the matter to District Attorney General Bill Whitesell and the Board of Professional responsibility. Whitesell did not respond to a request for comment.

Chancellor Robert E. Corlew 3rd removed Clemmons as the conservator of Russell Church on March 5 of this year citing the $50,400 in unauthorized payments, the $16,500 in withdrawals “with no explanation” and Clemmons failure to obtain a bond as required by the court.

Corlew ordered that a new conservator, Mark Polk, take immediate steps to seize all the bank and investment accounts of the ward. Polk said Thursday he is still in the process of reviewing the bank and other records of the conservatorship and will be reporting his findings back to the chancery court.

Bratcher said that Clemmons had no additional cases pending in Rutherford Chancery Court. Tim Townsend, spokesman for the Davidson probate court said Judge Randy Kennedy had removed and replaced Clemmons from the four cases in which he was currently serving as a conservator or administrator. He said Kennedy also had appointed another attorney to determine whether Clemmons had any role in any other pending cases involving state Corrections Department inmates..

Full Article and Source:
Lawyer’s License Suspended After $500,000 Taken From Disabled Client


9 Responses to “TN: Attorney John E. Clemmons Suspended After $50,000 Taken From Disabled Ward”

  1. Thelma Says:

    How do we know Kennedy didn't open the door for Clemons to do his own thing?

  2. StandUp Says:

    John Clemons is one of the lawyers involved in the Robert Thurman case. Somebody needs to be auditing the files — all of them — and it shouldn't be Judge Randy Kennedy!

  3. Finny Says:

    Let's go over this: Both John Clemmons and Jeanan Mills Stuart operated and profited in Judge Kennedy's courtroom. How many more? Think somebody should be getting out the disinfectant?

  4. Luis Says:

    Kennedy is busy with "CYA" now.

  5. Karen Says:

    Looks like TEAM PROBATE is busting up! Hooray!

  6. Jessica Says:

    Thank you Board of Professional Resposibility!

  7. Anonymous Says:

    I don't have an ouce of sympathy for the heat on Kennedy. And this lawyer just adds more heat to the fire.

  8. Mike Says:

    Sounds like Mr. Clemmons follows the typical pattern. It's ok to do bad to others, but when it happens to the perp, he/she cries like a little baby.

  9. Patti Says:

    I wish Clemmons was the only threat to society but he's got a buddy named Housch who is just as much of a threat as Clemmons. Mabye they're taking a look at Housch right now!

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