BEFORE THE HEARING BOARD
OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY REGISTRATION
AND
DISCIPLINARY COMMISSION

In the Matter of:

 BRIAN EDWARD KING,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 6273548.

 

Commission No. 07 SH 118

FILED -  December 4, 2007

COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Gary S. Rapaport, pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent, Brian Edward King, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 9, 2000, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or which brings the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

(Conversion of law firm funds)

1. Between 2000 and 2007, the law firm of Erwin, Martinkus and Cole, Ltd. ("the law firm") employed Respondent as an associate attorney.

2. Beginning in or about July 2002, the law firm and Respondent entered into an employment agreement that established Respondent's salary as 50% of the legal fees in matters that he was assigned or that he brought to the law firm. Under the agreement, Respondent was required to deliver to the law firm all checks and funds that he received for legal fees, the law firm would deposit the fees in its bank account, and the law firm was required to make periodic accountings and distributions. The agreement provided that Respondent would not practice law or represent clients independently of the law firm.

3. Between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2007, the above-described agreement between the law firm and Respondent was in effect.

4. In 2006 and 2007, the following persons retained or previously had retained the law firm to represent them in legal matters. On or about the dates listed below, each of the following persons, or others on their behalf, paid fees to Respondent, in the amounts listed below for the law firm's services:

Robert Drake

January 19, 2006

$500.00

Craig Zeilenga

February 13, 2006

$1,000.00

Justin Johnson

March 2, 2006

$2,500.00

Trent Janssen

March 3, 2006

$500.00

Jamie Ahn

March 6, 2006

$500.00

Momodou Sallah

March 20, 2006

$1,500.00

Bill Atkins

April 13, 2006

$2,500.00

Ken Mattox

April 14, 2006

$2,500.00

John Strode

April 27, 2006

$750.00

Terry Bishop

May 4, 2006

$500.00

Timothy Gillette

May 4, 2006

$2,000.00

Lori Heatherton

May 15, 2006

$270.00

Arian Clark

June 2, 2006

$7,500.00

Catherine Larimore

June 27, 2006

$1,500.00

Steven Stout

July 18, 2006

$1,000.00

Larry Arnold

October 30, 2006

$1,500.00

Amber Barrows

November 2, 2006

$1,000.00

Ronald Harrison

November 20, 2006

$350.00

Gary Muse

November 20, 2006

$300.00

Jennifer Speers

January 3, 2007

$1,500.00

Brian Finkler

January 3, 2007

$350.00

 

TOTAL

$30,020.00

All of the above-listed legal fees were paid by personal or business check with the exception of Ken Mattox, Ronald Harrison and Gary Muse, who paid cash to Respondent.

5. Respondent received the above-listed legal fees on behalf of the law firm and as an agent and fiduciary of the law firm.

6. At least 50% of the above-listed legal fees, in a total amount of $15,010.00, belonged to the law firm.

7. At no time did Respondent deliver any part of the above-listed payments to the law firm.

8. At no time did Respondent notify the law firm that he had received the above-listed legal fees.

9. Shortly after his receipt of each of the above-listed checks for legal fees, Respondent deposited them into his personal checking account number 7770014575, held jointly with his wife, Jennifer, at First Federal Savings Bank, Champaign, Illinois.

10. Respondent used all of the above-listed funds for his own personal purposes.

11. At no time did Erwin, Martinkus and Cole, Ltd., give authority to Respondent to deposit the above-listed legal fees into his own personal account or to use the law firm's portion of the above-listed legal fees for his own personal purposes.

12. By reason of the conduct set forth above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. conversion;

  2. breach of fiduciary duty to Erwin, Martinkus and Cole, Ltd.;

  3. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rule of Professional Conduct; and

  4. conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts of the legal profession into disrepute, in violation of Supreme Court Rule 770.

WHEREFORE, the Administrator requests that this matter be assigned to a panel of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held, and that the panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation for such discipline as is warranted.

Gary S. Rapaport, Senior Counsel
Illinois Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission
One North Old State Capitol, Suite 333
Springfield, Illinois 62701
Telephone: (217) 522-6838
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Illinois Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By:   Gary S. Rapaport
Counsel for the Administrator