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June 10, 2010
Victims of Attorney Theft Awarded More Than $400,000 by Clients' Security Fund

The Board of Commissioners of the Clients’ Security Fund of Ohio (CSF) awarded $411,230 to 52 victims of attorney theft at its meeting Wednesday. Eighteen former or suspended Ohio attorneys were found to have misappropriated client funds. Five deceased Ohio attorneys were also involved in the claims presented to the board.

Access the Supreme Court of Ohio's online docket for more information about the disciplinary cases against some of these attorneys.

Butler County

The board determined that two former clients of disbarred Butler County attorney Karan M. Horan were eligible for reimbursement of a total of $5,206.50 in fees paid for services that were not provided. Horan was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Aug. 26, 2009.

Clermont County

Two former clients of deceased attorney Sharon Baird were reimbursed a total of $5,000 for fees paid to Baird before her death on June 2, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

Cuyahoga County

The Board determined that former clients of four Cuyahoga County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Four former clients of deceased attorney David H. Drucker were reimbursed a total of $2,141 as a result of Drucker’s failure to provide the services requested before his death on June 24, 2008.

A former client of suspended attorney Blaine L. Gottehrer was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Gottehrer’s failure to provide the services requested. Gottehrer’s license to practice law was suspended indefinitely on March 17.

A former client of former attorney Brett M. Sabroff was reimbursed $3,000 as a result of Sabroff’s failure to provide the services requested. Sabroff was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Aug. 27, 2009.

A former client of suspended attorney Robert S. Spector was reimbursed $320 as a result of Spector’s failure to provide the services requested. Spector’s license to practice law was suspended indefinitely on March 19, 2009.

Fairfield County

A former client of former attorney Steven E. Zigan was reimbursed $1,000 as a result of Zigan’s failure to provide the services requested. Zigan was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on May 1, 2008.

Franklin County

The Board determined that former clients of six Franklin County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. A former client of former Franklin County attorney Philip L. Allen was reimbursed $1,500 as a result of Allen’s failure to provide the services requested. Allen resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on March 4.

Three former clients of suspended attorney Thomas J. Broschak were reimbursed a total of $15,500 as a result of Broschak’s failure to provide the services requested. Broschak’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on May 15, 2008.

A former client of suspended attorney Madry L. Ellis was reimbursed $3,500 as a result of Ellis’s failure to provide the services requested. Ellis’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on Oct. 16, 2008.

A former client of former attorney William A. Gardner was reimbursed $300 as a result of Gardner’s failure to provide the services requested. Gardner resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on June 18, 2009.

A former client of former attorney Andrew R. Haney was reimbursed $2,000 as a result of Haney’s failure to provide the services requested. Haney resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Aug. 30, 2007.

A former client of suspended attorney James D. Thomas was reimbursed $55,873.77 as a result of Thomas’ failure to distribute funds collected on behalf of his client. Thomas’ license to practice law in Ohio was suspended indefinitely on Feb. 25.

Hamilton County

The board determined that four former clients of suspended Hamilton County attorney Kenneth L. Lawson were eligible for reimbursement of legal fees paid to Lawson for services that he failed to provide. The board reimbursed a total of $89,000 to them. Lawson’s license to practice law in Ohio was suspended on July 31, 2009 following his criminal conviction.

Lucas County

The Board determined that former clients of three Lucas County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. A former client of deceased attorney Anthony P. Georgetti was reimbursed $2,000 for fees paid to Georgetti before his death on May 24, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

A former client of former attorney Gregg D. Hickman was reimbursed $24,000 as a result of his failure to distribute funds deposited with him on behalf of his client. Hickman was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Aug. 6, 2008.

Ten former clients of former attorney Karyn McConnell Hancock were reimbursed a total of $154,080.53 as a result of her conversion of client assets or failure to account for client funds. McConnell Hancock resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on April 29, 2008.

Montgomery County

The board determined that a former client of former attorney Charles E. Bursey II was eligible for reimbursement of $4,250 as a result of Bursey’s failure to provide the services requested. Bursey was permanently disbarred from the practice of law in Ohio on Dec. 2, 2009.

Stark County

The board determined that former clients of two former Stark County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Three former clients of former attorney Edward S. Asper were reimbursed a total of $1,134 as a result of Asper’s failure to provide the services requested. Asper resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Sept. 15, 2008.

Two former clients of former attorney Michael S. Russell were reimbursed a total of $625 as a result of Russell’s failure to provide the services requested. Russell resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 3, 2008.

Summit County

The Board determined that former clients of three former Summit County attorneys were eligible for reimbursement. Two former clients of former attorney Edward P. Markovich were reimbursed a total of $2,500 as a result of his failure to provide the services requested. Markovich resigned from the practice of law in Ohio, with discipline pending, on Oct. 16, 2008.

Six former clients of deceased attorney Lawrence R. Smith were reimbursed a total of $29,916.67 in fees paid to Smith before his death on June 17, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

Two former clients of deceased attorney David B. Wirsching Jr. were reimbursed a total of $6,882.53 in fees paid to Wirsching before his death on June 15, 2008. The board found that the services were not completed and the fee was not refunded.

The CSF was created in 1985 by the Supreme Court to reimburse victims of attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation. The CSF is not taxpayer funded, but funded entirely by registration fees paid by every Ohio attorney. Ohio has more than 42,000 attorneys engaged in the active practice of law. Less than one tenth of 1 percent of those attorneys is involved in CSF claims.

Law clients who believe they have sustained financial losses resulting from attorney theft, embezzlement or misappropriation should contact the CSF at 614.387.9390 or toll-free in Ohio at 1.800.231.1680.

Contact: Janet Green Marbley, 614.387.9390, or Chris Davey, 614.387.9250.