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

In the Matter of:

STEVE ANTHONY KUBIATOWSKI,

Attorney-Respondent, 

No. 1539132.

 

Commission No. 2011PR00012

FILED - March 15, 2012

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Jerome Larkin, Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, by his attorney, Gina M. Abbatemarco pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), complains of Respondent Steve Anthony Kubiatowski, who was licensed to practice law in Illinois on November 18, 1963, and alleges that Respondent has engaged in the following conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute:

COUNT I
(Breach of fiduciary duty in relation to Anna Polachanin)

1. In October 2000, Anna Polachanin executed a power of attorney for property naming her friend Julia Sobarnia as her agent. Polachanin had known Sobarnia for 40 years, and she and Sobarnia attended the same church. Polachanin was 86 years old in October 2000, and she had no natural heirs or descendents.

2. Between October 2000, and January 2008, Polachanin did not revoke the power of attorney she had granted to Sobarnia.

3. In January 2008, when Polachanin was 94 years old, she required surgery for breast cancer. Also, as of January 2008, Polachanin was suffering from dementia, which impaired her ability to function independently, and which rendered her incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

4. As of January 2008, Polachanin's estate consisted of approximately $780,000 in cash, held in bank accounts in Polachanin's name.

5. Between January 2008 and March 2008, Sobarnia discussed Polachanin's circumstances with Volodymyr Bochko, a handyman who worked in the building in which Sobarnia resided. Volodymyr Bochko told Sobarnia that his daughter Irene Bochko ("Bochko") would be willing to care for Polachanin. Bochko, a native of the Ukraine, was then 25 years old, and her most recent employment had been as a waitress at Café Europa in Chicago.

6. In March 2008, Bochko and Kateryna Shchudlo, an acquaintance or associate of Bochko, began working as live-in caregivers for Polachanin.

7. On several occasions after Bochko and Shchudlo began working as Polachanin's live-in caregivers, Sobarnia attempted to contact Polachanin by telephone. On those occasions, Bochko and Shchudlo either did not answer the telephone, or told Sobarnia that Polachanin was unable or unwilling to speak to her.

8. In April 2008, Bochko and Volodymyr Bochko met with Respondent and requested that Respondent prepare powers of attorney for health care and property that would name Bochko as Polachanin's agent. Respondent agreed to prepare the powers of attorney.

9. At the time he agreed to prepare powers of attorney for Polachanin, Respondent took no steps to determine the state of Polachanin's health, or whether Polachanin had previously executed any powers of attorney. Further, Respondent did not request or receive any information concerning Polachanin's finances, assets, or net worth.

10. By virtue of Respondent's agreement to draft powers of attorney in relation to Polachanin, Respondent entered into an attorney-client relationship with Polachanin. As a result, Respondent owed a fiduciary duty to Polachanin that required him to exercise the utmost good faith and fair dealing with respect to her.

11. Shortly after the meeting referred to in paragraph eight, above, Respondent prepared powers of attorney for health care and property that named Bochko as Polachanin's agent, and that granted Bochko power to act on Polachanin's behalf. The powers of attorney both provided that they would become effective immediately upon execution. Neither power of attorney provided for the revocation of any prior powers of attorney.

12. On April 22, 2008, Bochko and Shchudlo brought Polachanin to Respondent's office, and Respondent met with Polachanin outside the presence of Bochko and Shchudlo to discuss the powers of attorney. During that meeting, Respondent explained to Polachanin the difference between the power of attorney for health care and the power of attorney for property, but he did not ask Polachanin whether she had executed any prior powers of attorney or wills.

13. Respondent further did not explain to Polachanin, in his April 22, 2008 meeting with her, that the powers of attorney would become effective immediately upon execution, or that if Polachanin executed the powers of attorney, she would be granting Bochko total access to, and control over, her assets. Rather, Respondent falsely told Polachanin that if she were to execute the powers of attorney, she would continue to have full control over her financial affairs unless and until she could no longer function mentally or physically, at which time Bochko would be able to exercise her powers as agent pursuant to the powers of attorney.

14. Respondent's conversation with Polachanin outside the presence of Bochko and Shchudlo, referred to in paragraphs 12 and 13, above, lasted for about 10 minutes.

15. During the conversation referred to in paragraphs 12 through 14, above, Respondent did not make a reasonable inquiry into Polachanin's capacity to understand or execute the powers of attorney. Had he done so, he would have discovered that Polachanin was suffering from dementia, and that she was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

16. Following Respondent's conversation with Polachanin as described in paragraphs 12 through 14, above, Polachanin, Bochko, and Shchudlo executed the powers of attorney.

17. During or shortly after the April 22, 2008 meeting described in paragraphs 12 through 14, above, Bochko and Shchudlo gave Respondent a check, drawn on an account belonging to Polachanin and bearing Polachanin's signature, in the amount of $300, representing Respondent's fee for preparing the power of attorney.

18. On or about May 31, 2008, Shchudlo used the power of attorney to open a joint bank account at Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union held in the names of Shchudlo and Polachanin. At that time, Shchudlo deposited $54,631.68 in funds belonging to Polachanin into the account.

19. Between May 2008 and August 2008, Bochko and Shchudlo caused at least $465,727.61 in funds belonging to Polachanin to be transferred to, or otherwise deposited into, the Selfreliance account referred to in paragraph 18, above, or to a separate Selfreliance account held by Bochko and Volodymyr Bochko.

20. Between April 22, 2008, and September 7, 2008, Respondent had no contact with Polachanin.

21. On or about September 7, 2008, Polachanin contacted Respondent and requested his assistance in connection with the preparation of a will.

22. At the time he agreed to prepare a will for Polachanin, Respondent took no steps to determine the state of Polachanin's health. Further, at the time he agreed to prepare the will, Respondent did not make a reasonable inquiry into Polachanin's capacity to understand or execute a will. Had he done so, he would have discovered that Polachanin was suffering from dementia, and that she was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

23. Between September 7, 2008, and September 15, 2008, Respondent prepared a will for Polachanin pursuant to her request. The will named Bochko as Polachanin's sole heir.

24. On September 15, 2008, Bochko and Polachanin came to Respondent's office, and Respondent met with Polachanin outside Bochko's presence to discuss the will. During that conversation, Respondent did not ask Polachanin any questions regarding the nature or extent of her assets, or how she held title to them.

25. At no time prior to, on, or after September 15, 2008 did Respondent take any other steps to obtain any information regarding the assets in Polachanin's estate.

26. At no time prior to, on, or after September 15, 2008 did Respondent make a reasonable inquiry into Polachanin's capacity to understand or execute the will. Had he done so, he would have discovered that Polachanin was suffering from dementia, and that she was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

27. Between May 2008 and October 2008, Bochko and Shchudlo caused at least $414,700 of Polachanin's funds to be transferred to their own bank accounts, and ultimately, to bank accounts located in the Ukraine, including an account located in the Ukraine belonging to Volodymyr Bochko.

28. On December 18, 2008, the Circuit Court of Cook County appointed the Cook County Public Guardian as the plenary guardian of Polachanin's person and estate in a matter entitled Robert F. Harris, Cook County Public Guardian, Plenary Guardian of the Estate and of the Person of Anna Polachanin v. Bochko, et al., no. 2008 P 7759. Following a hearing held in case number 2008 P 7759 on March 31, 2009, at which neither Bochko nor Shchudlo appeared despite having been served with notice, the Court found that Bochko and Shchudlo had breached their fiduciary duties toward Polachanin, and it revoked Bochko's and Shchudlo's agency under the powers of attorney prepared by Respondent.

29. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. breach of fiduciary duty;

  2. failure to provide competent representation to a client (Polachanin), in violation of Rule 1.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);

  3. failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client (Polachanin) to make informed decisions regarding the representation, in violation of Rule 1.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990);

  4. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(a)(4) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (1990); and

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

COUNT II
(Breach of fiduciary duty in relation to Valeria Krzmien)

30. In 2010, Valeria Krzemien ("Krzemien") was 93 years old. She was a widow who had no children and lived on West Higgins Avenue in Chicago ("the Higgins property"), which she owned.

31. In or about 2007, Krzemien began receiving communion from Father Thaddeus Dzieszko ("Dzieszko") in her home. Krzemien had previously attended Saint Constance Catholic Church, where Dzieszko then served as pastor.

32. As of at least March 2009, Krzemien was suffering from dementia, which impaired her ability to function independently, and which rendered her incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

33. As of April 2010, Krzemien's estate consisted of approximately $27,000 in cash, held in bank accounts in her name, and the Higgins property, which was valued at $175,000.

34. In April 2010, Dzieszko contacted Respondent and requested that Respondent prepare a land trust agreement and deed for Krzemien. Respondent agreed to meet with Krzemien and Dzieszko and to prepare the land trust agreement and deed.

35. By virtue of Respondent's agreement to draft a land trust agreement and deed for Krzemien, Respondent entered into an attorney-client relationship with Krzemien. As a result, Respondent owed a fiduciary duty to Krzemien that required him to exercise the utmost good faith and fair dealing with respect to her.

36. On April 9, 2010, Respondent went to Krzemien's home and Respondent met with Krzemien outside the presence of Dzieszko to discuss the land trust agreement. During that meeting, Respondent explained to Krzemien that she had to designate a beneficiary of the land trust. Krzemien told Respondent that she did not want her niece, Olga, to receive her property. Respondent then suggested to her that she name Dzieszko as the beneficiary. Respondent further told Krzemien that she would remain the owner of the Higgins property and that Dzieszko would receive the property after she died. Respondent did not ask Krzemien whether she had executed any prior powers of attorney or wills.

37. At the time he agreed to prepare a land trust agreement for Krzemien, Respondent took no steps to determine the state of Krzemien's health, or whether Krzemien had previously executed any land trust agreement, or power of attorney. Further, Respondent did not request or receive any information concerning Krzemien's finances, assets, or net worth.

38. On April 9, 2010 Respondent, or someone at this direction, sent Dzieszko by facsimile a copy of a warranty deed dated December 2, 1996, by which Krzemien took title to the Higgins property, and a printout from the Office of Cook County Treasurer for the property which showed that the first installment of the 2009 real estate taxes had not been paid.

39. At no time did Respondent advise Krzemien that the first installment of the real estate taxes had not been paid or that if she could lose the property if she did not pay the taxes. At no time did Respondent inquire of Krzemien or Dzieszko concerning whether anyone was assisting Krzemien in managing her finances or concerning payment of the real estate taxes to the Cook County Treasurer.

40. Shortly after the April 9, 2010 meeting referred to in paragraph 36, above, Respondent prepared a land trust agreement and deed that named Dzieszko as trustee, and that granted Dzieszko power to act on Krzemien's behalf with respect to the property.

41. On April 19, 2010, Respondent met with Dzieszko and Krzemien to discuss the land trust agreement and deed that Respondent had prepared. At that time, Respondent explained to Krzemien that she would remain the owner of the property and that Dzieszko would receive the property after she died.

42. Respondent did not explain to Krzemien, in his April 9, 2010 and April 19, 2010 meetings with her referred to in paragraphs 36 and 41, above, that effective immediately upon execution of the land trust agreement, Dzieszko had the right to sell or encumber her property, that the land trust agreement irrevocably appointed Dzieszko for such purposes. Respondent also did not explain that, under the land trust agreement if Dzieszko predeceased her, her property would become part of her estate, which would have led to Olga receiving the property as Krzemien's only statutory heir. Rather, Respondent falsely told Krzemien that if she were to execute the land trust agreement, she would continue to have full control over the property until she died, at which time Dzieszko would receive the property pursuant to the land trust agreement.

43. During the April 19, 2010 meeting, Respondent did not ask Krzemien any questions regarding the nature or extent of her assets, or how she held title to them.

44. At no time prior to, on, or after April 19, 2010 did Respondent take any other steps to obtain any information regarding the assets in Krzemien's estate.

45. During the conversation referred to in paragraphs 41 through 43, above, Respondent did not make a reasonable inquiry into Krzemien's capacity to understand or execute the land trust agreement. Had he done so, he would have discovered that Krzemien was suffering from dementia, and that she was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on her own behalf.

46. Following Respondent's conversation with Krzemien as described in paragraphs 41 through 43, above, Krzemien executed the land trust agreement and deed.

47. During the April 19, 2010 meeting described in paragraphs 41 through 43, above, Krzemien gave Respondent cash in the amount of $300, representing Respondent's fee for preparing the land trust agreement and deed.

48. On or about April 20, 2010, Respondent recorded the deed executed by Krzemien with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

49. On October 6, 2010, the Circuit Court of Cook County appointed the Cook County Public Guardian as the temporary plenary guardian of Krzemien's person and estate in a matter entitled, Robert F. Harris, Cook County Public Guardian, Plenary Guardian of the Estate and of the Person of Valeria Krzemien, no. 2010 P 5924.

50. On or about, October 6, 2010 a representative from the Public Guardian's office contacted Dzieszko and Respondent about the land trust agreement and deed Respondent had prepared for Krzemien. The representative requested that Dzieszko sign a deed which conveyed the Higgins property back to Krzemien's estate.

51. On or about October 13, 2010, Dzieszko executed a deed which conveyed Krzemien's property to her estate.

52. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. breach of fiduciary duty;

  2. failure to provide competent representation to a client (Krzemien), in violation of Rule 1.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  3. failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client (Krzemien) to make informed decisions regarding the representation, in violation of Rule 1.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  4. conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

  5. conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, in violation of Rule 8.4(d) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

COUNT III
(Breach of fiduciary duty and excessive fees in relation to Jan Bez)

53. In June 20, 2003, Jan Bez ("Jan") executed a will and living trust prepared by Respondent. The will and trust named Jan's brother, Antoni Bez ("Antoni"), as his personal representative and first successor trustee. Bez was 80 years old in June 2003, and he had no spouse or descendents.

54. Between June 2003, and September 2009, Jan did not amend or revoke his will or trust.

55. On September 30, 2009, when Bez was 86 years old, he amended his June 20, 2003 trust and executed a power of attorney for property. The amendment and power of attorney, which Respondent prepared, named Antoni as Jan's first successor trustee and agent and Father Stanislaw Czarnecki ("Czarnecki") as second successor trustee and agent to Antoni. Jan also changed the distributions of the trust to his beneficiaries. Under the amendment, Antoni was to receive a 40% share of trust property, Czarnecki a 20% share, and the remaining 40% of the trust shares were to be distributed to Jan's other relatives.

56. In or about March 2010, Respondent received a call from Czarnecki, who informed Respondent that Jan had been found by neighbors wandering the streets disoriented and had been taken to Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.

57. As of at least March 2010, Jan was suffering from dementia, which impaired his ability to function independently, and which rendered him incapable of making personal and financial decisions on his own behalf.

58. As of March 2010, Jan's estate consisted of approximately $90,000 in cash, held in bank accounts in Jan's name and Jan's condominium on North Chester Avenue in Chicago ("the Chester property").

59. Between March 17, 2010 and March 19, 2010, Respondent visited Jan on two occasions at Gottlieb Hospital. During that time, Jan told Respondent that two neighbors, Linda and Lucia, had taken $12,000 in cash from him, and that they had taken his keys to his home and were living in his condominium.

60. During one of the visits with Jan referred to in paragraph 59, above, Czarnecki met with Respondent and requested that Respondent prepare powers of attorney for health care and property that would name Czarnecki as Jan's agent. Respondent agreed to prepare the powers of attorney.

61. At the time he agreed to prepare powers of attorney for Jan, Respondent knew the state of Jan's health and specifically he knew that Jan had begun to suffer from dementia since Respondent's contacts with him in September 2009. At that time Respondent also knew that Jan had been admitted to the hospital for wandering the streets in a disoriented state, and that Jan was in need of protection because of his vulnerability to financial exploitation by his neighbors. Further, Respondent did not request or receive any information from Jan, Czarnecki or any other source concerning Jan's finances, assets, or net worth.

62. By virtue of Respondent's agreement to draft powers of attorney in relation to Jan, Respondent entered into an attorney-client relationship with Jan. As a result, Respondent owed a fiduciary duty to Jan that required him to exercise the utmost good faith and fair dealing with respect to him.

63. Shortly after the visits referred to in paragraphs 59 and 60, above, Respondent prepared powers of attorney for health care and property that named Czarnecki as Jan's agent, and that granted Czarnecki power to act on Jan's behalf. The powers of attorney both provided that they would become effective immediately upon execution.

64. On March 23, 2010, Respondent visited Jan at Gottlieb Hospital, and met with Jan outside the presence of Czarnecki to discuss the powers of attorney. During that meeting, Respondent explained to Jan that someone would need to pay his bills, and that Jan's brother Antoni was in Poland and would not be able to do so. Respondent did not explain to Jan the difference between the power of attorney for health care and the power of attorney for property, or that if Jan executed the powers of attorney, he would be granting Czarnecki total access to, and control over, his assets.

65. Respondent further did not explain to Jan that, under the September 30, 2009 power of attorney Jan had executed, Antoni could resign as Jan's agent and Czarnecki would become the successor agent. Therefore, Respondent did not have to prepare, and Jan did not have to execute a new power of attorney to appoint Czarnecki as his agent.

66. During the conversations referred to in paragraphs 64 and 65 above, Respondent knew that Jan did not have the capacity to understand or execute the powers of attorney. Respondent knew at that time that Jan was suffering from dementia, and that he was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on his own behalf.

67. Following Respondent's conversation with Jan as described in paragraphs 64 through 65, above, Jan executed the powers of attorney.

68. Sometime between March 23, 2010 and April 30, 2010, Jan was released from Gottlieb Hospital and was transferred to Regency Nursing Home in Niles, Illinois.

69. Between May 1, 2010 and May 3, 2010, Respondent visited Jan on two occasions at Regency Nursing Home. During those meetings, Jan told Respondent that he did not want to remain at the nursing home and wanted his brother Antoni to come back to Chicago from Poland. Respondent agreed to contact Antoni and ask him to come back to Chicago.

70. Sometime between May 3, 2010 and May 25, 2010, Antoni arrived in Chicago from Poland.

71. On or about May 26, 2010, Czarnecki paid Respondent $3,000 as his fee for Respondent's services on Jan's behalf between March 15, 2010 and May 11, 2010.

72. On or about July 5, 2010, Antoni met with Respondent at Respondent's office and requested that Respondent prepare powers of attorney for health care and property that would name Antoni as Jan's agent. Respondent agreed to prepare the powers of attorney.

73. At the time he agreed to prepare powers of attorney for Jan, Respondent knew that Jan did not have the capacity to understand or execute the powers of attorney. Respondent knew at that time that Jan was suffering from dementia, and that he was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on his own behalf. Further, Respondent did not request or receive any information from Antoni, Jan or any other source concerning Jan's finances, assets, or net worth.

74. On or about July 5, 2010, Respondent visited Jan at Regency Nursing Home, and met with Jan to discuss the powers of attorney. During that meeting, Respondent explained to Jan that Antoni would live in Jan's condominium and pay expenses related to the condominium. Respondent did not explain to Jan the difference between the power of attorney for health care and the power of attorney for property, or that if Jan executed the powers of attorney, he would be granting Antoni total access to, and control over, his assets.

75. Respondent further did not explain to Jan that under the March 23, 2010 power of attorney Jan had executed, Czarnecki could resign as Jan's agent and Antoni would become the successor agent and that therefore, Respondent did not have to prepare, and Jan did not have to execute, a new power of attorney to appoint Antoni as his agent.

76. During the conversation referred to in paragraphs 74 through 75, above, Respondent knew that Jan did not have the capacity to understand or execute the powers of attorney. Respondent knew at that time that Jan was suffering from dementia, and that he was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on his own behalf.

77. Shortly after the meeting referred to in paragraph 74, above, Respondent prepared powers of attorney for health care and property that named Antoni as Jan's agent, and that granted Antoni power to act on Jan's behalf. The powers of attorney both provided that they would become effective immediately upon execution.

78. On or about July 10, 2010, Respondent and Antoni visited Jan at Regency Nursing Home, and Respondent met with Jan outside Antoni's presence to discuss the powers of attorney. During that meeting, Respondent explained to Jan that Antoni would live in Jan's condominium and pay expenses related to the condominium. Respondent did not explain to Jan the difference between the power of attorney for health care and the power of attorney for property, or that if Jan executed the powers of attorney, he would be granting Antoni total access to, and control over, his assets.

79. Respondent further did not tell Jan that under the powers of attorney Antoni could pay himself fees from Jan's assets, that if Jan chose Antoni as his power of attorney Jan would have to pay Antoni's living expenses (in addition to expenses related to the condominium) while in Chicago, and that those payments in fees and expenses to Antoni could deplete Jan's assets such that Jan would not have assets left to pay for his future nursing home care.

80. During the conversation referred to in paragraphs 78 through 79, above, Respondent knew that Jan did not have the capacity to understand or execute the powers of attorney. Respondent knew at that time that Jan was suffering from dementia, and that he was incapable of making personal and financial decisions on his own behalf.

81. Following Respondent's conversation with Jan as described in paragraphs 78 through 79, above, Jan signed the powers of attorney.

82. Sometime between July 2010 and September 2010, Antoni caused Jan to be moved from Regency Nursing Home to Central Baptist Village Nursing Home ("Central Baptist") in Norridge, Illinois.

83. Beginning in or about April 2011 and continuing into May 2011, Respondent, Antoni, and representatives from Central Baptist engaged in discussions concerning Jan's decreasing assets and his ability to pay for his future care at Central Baptist. During these discussions, Central Baptist representative Savitre Tubrung asked Respondent to complete a Medicaid application for Jan to ensure payment of Jan's future care at Central Baptist.

84. Between April 13, 2011 and April 20, 2011, Respondent drafted check numbers 1135, and 1142, made payable to Respondent, on Jan's checking account number ending in the numbers 5497 at Bank of America, in the amounts of $2,000 and $2,300, respectively. Antoni signed the checks at Respondent's direction and shortly thereafter, Respondent deposited the checks into one or more bank accounts that were used for Respondent's own business or personal purposes.

85. Between April 13, 2011 and April 20, 2011, Respondent drafted check numbers 1136, and 1141, made payable to Antoni, on Jan's checking account number ending in the numbers 5497 at Bank of America, in the amounts of $2,000 and $2,300, respectively. Respondent then instructed Antoni to sign them. Antoni signed the checks at Respondent's direction and shortly thereafter, Antoni deposited the checks into one or more bank accounts that were used for Antoni's own business or personal purposes.

86. On May 2, 2011, Antoni drafted check number 1137, made payable to Respondent, in the amount of $2,000, and drawn on Jan's checking account number ending in the numbers 5497 at Bank of America. Respondent then deposited the checks into one or more bank accounts that were used for Respondent's own business or personal purposes.

87. By instructing Antoni to make the payments, referred to in paragraphs 84 through 86 above, Respondent intended to deplete Jan's assets for the benefit of himself and Antoni, and to keep Central Baptist from being paid for services provided to Jan, thereby advancing Respondent's and Antoni's interests ahead of Jan's.

88. Between May 2, 2011 and June 21, 2011, Antoni caused at least $8,890.85 of Jan's funds to be transferred to himself in the form of cash payments from Jan's checking account ending in the numbers 5497 at Bank of America.

89. Sometime between May 11, 2011, and June 16, 2011, Antoni caused Jan's condominium on North Chester to be listed for sale for $55,000, based on a market analysis of the property's value, provided to him by the real estate agent. On or about June 16, 2011, Antoni accepted a cash offer of $35,000 from Salvatore Ruggiero to purchase Jan's condominium. On that date, Respondent agreed to represent Antoni, as Jan's power of attorney, with respect to the sale of the property.

90. On or about July 21, 2011, Respondent attended the closing on behalf of Antoni for the sale of Jan's condominium. On that date, Respondent received check number 552762 from Attorneys' Title Guaranty Fund, Inc., made payable to Respondent in the amount of $1,600, which represented his fee for his representation in the sale.

91. As of February 23, 2012, the date the Inquiry Board of the Commission voted that a complaint be filed against Respondent, Respondent had not performed sufficient services on Jan's behalf to justify the retention of fees in the amount of at least $10,900 (referred to in paragraphs 71, 84, 86 and 90), above, which were drawn from funds belonging presently or potentially to Jan.

92. By reason of the conduct described above, Respondent has engaged in the following misconduct:

  1. overreaching;

  2. breach of fiduciary duty;

  3. failure to provide competent representation to a client (Jan Bez), in violation of Rule 1.1(a) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  4. failure to explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit a client (Jan Bez) to make informed decisions regarding the representation, in violation of Rule 1.4(b) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  5. charging and collecting an unreasonable fee in violation of Rule 1.5 of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010);

  6. representing a client when the representation of that client may be materially limited by his own interests, in violation of Rule 1.7(a)(2) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010); and

  7. engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation, in violation of Rule 8.4(c) of the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct (2010).

WHEREFORE, the Administrator respectfully requests that this matter be assigned to a pane of the Hearing Board, that a hearing be held pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 753(b), and the Panel make findings of fact, conclusions of fact and law, and a recommendation of such discipline as is warranted.

Gina M. Abbatemarco
Counsel for the Administrator
Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission
130 East Randolph Drive, Suite 1500
Chicago, Illinois 60601-6219
Telephone: (312)565-2600
Respectfully submitted,

Jerome Larkin, Administrator
Attorney Registration and
Disciplinary Commission

By: Gina M. Abbatemarco
Counsel for the Administrator