Archive for the ‘District of Columbia’ Category

Court Disbars Lawyer

June 23, 2008
The Court of Appeals found that H. Allen Whitehead violated the rules of professional conduct when he used $600,000 of estate assets to purchase a rent-stabilized residential property.

Whitehead later repaid the estate in full. Judge Lynne A. Battaglia wrote on behalf of the majority, “removal of the $600,000 without court approval was clearly a misappropriation.”

Whitehead was appointed conservator by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for the estate of Reginald V. Grayson, an adult disabled ward. It was Whitehead’s first appointment as a conservator.

According to the opinion and Whitehead’s own admission, he failed to familiarize himself with the District of Columbia rules regarding conservatorship. Whitehead was not aware he needed prior court approval to pay himself $40,200 in legal fees, or to use any assets of the estate. Whitehead had given the estate a note, deed of trust and assignment of rents. After becoming aware of his misconduct, Whitehead repaid the legal fees and paid the note in full with interest.

Whitehead was ultimately disbarred. Whitehead took exception to the findings that he only repaid the estate because the probate division asked about it and that he engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.

The court denied the exceptions. The court said Whitehead’s motivation was irrelevant.

“He intentionally took the money out of the conservatorship; its utilization, or lack thereof, does not alter the character of the misappropriation.”
Full Article and Source:
Court disbars lawyer for misuse of assets