A Nashville attorney, whose license to practice law was recently suspended, has been charged with theft of more than $60,000 from a client.
John E. Clemmons, 65, was charged last week with theft from a retired teacher.
While serving as the conservator of the Rutherford County resident, Clemmons paid himself more than $50,000 in fees without court approval.
Paul Housch, Clemmons’ attorney, said his client already had entered a not guilty plea to the criminal charge. He declined to respond to the charge, stating that it would be addressed in court. An initial hearing is scheduled for June 7.
The charges were initially spelled out in an April order from the state Supreme Court which indefinitely suspended Clemmons’ license to practice law, concluding that allowing him to continue posed “a threat of substantial harm to the public.”
Chancellor Robert E. Corlew III on March 5 removed Clemmons as Russell Church’s conservator. Rutherford County Clerk and Master John A.W. Bratcher then referred the matter to District Attorney General Robert Whitesell, whose office brought the charges to a grand jury.
The indictment was unsealed last week.
Clemmons also is facing charges in a civil case brought by the daughter of a woman for whom Clemmons served as a conservator for more than four years. The suit charges that Clemmons misappropriated about $450,000 from the estate of Nannie P. Malone, who died last year.
The suit on behalf of Malone’s daughter, Teresa A. Lyle, charges that Clemmons breached his fiduciary duty and failed to properly account for thousands of dollars in proceeds when Malone’s property was auctioned. The insurance company that provided a bond for Clemmons under his services in the conservatorship has filed a cross claim against Clemmons for the value of the $300,000 bond.
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Nashville Attorney Faces Theft Charges in Conservatorship Case
Tennessee Attorney John E. Clemmons, Court Appointed as Conservator, Sued for Breach of Fiduciary Duty, Conversion, and More