MAC ANDRES CHAMBERS
VSB Docket No. 00-080-0491
2. On July 1, 1998, Mr. Chambers served as settlement agent for a real estate closing involving the sale of property belonging to Billie A. Golding and Janis R. Golding, sellers. The net proceeds to the sellers from the sale were $12,538.75. At the time, Mr. and Mrs. Golding were estranged.
3. At approximately 2:00 P.M. on July 1, 1998, Mr. Chambers conducted the closing, although only Mr. Golding was present. Mrs. Golding endorsed the settlement documents later that evening at approximately 7:30 P.M. Initially, Mrs. Golding advised Mr. Chambers that she would refuse to endorse the documents. According to Mrs. Golding, she endorsed the documents later that evening only upon Mr. Chambers' assurance that she would receive one half of the sales proceeds. Mr. Chambers, however, issued the entire sales proceeds to Mr. Golding the next day. According to Mr. Golding, Mr. Chambers prepared the check payable to Golding Appraisal Company only. Concerned that this would be taxed to his company, Mr. Golding asked Mr. Chambers to add the following language to the payee line, "BILLIE GOLDING T/A," so that he could deposit the funds into his own account. Mr. Chambers did not seek the consent of Mrs. Golding before doing this.
4. Mr. Chambers explained to the Virginia State Bar that he issued the check to Mr. Golding and his business at Mr. Golding's request. He stated further that Mr. Golding asked him to do this as he was leaving the office following the closing, and that Mrs. Golding did not object. Both Mr. and Mrs. Golding, however, testified that they did not appear at the closing together, but that they appeared at separate times, Mr. Golding in the afternoon at about 2:00 P.M., and Mrs. Golding in the evening at about 7:30 P.M.
5. Thereafter, according to Mrs. Golding, she repeatedly tried to contact Mr. Chambers to inquire about her check and went to his office three or four times, but was never able to speak with Mr. Chambers. She said that his secretary repeatedly advised her that her check had been mailed to her, and that she could not have a copy, because Mr. Chambers had taken the file home.
6. Thereafter, on or before July 31, 1998, Mr. Chambers
prepared a settlement agreement on behalf of Mr. Golding. The
agreement provided, in pertinent part, for Mrs. Golding to
relinquish her rights to various monies and claims held by Mr.
Golding, including her interest in the July 1, 1998 sale of the
aforementioned property. The agreement, which Mrs. Golding
refused to sign, provided that the sale in question resulted in a
loss of approximately $15,000 (fifteen thousand dollars). The
settlement statement that Mr. Chambers previously prepared in his
fiduciary capacity, however, clearly showed net proceeds to the
Goldings of over $12,000 (twelve thousand dollars), which Mr.
Chambers paid directly to Mr. Golding.
DR 5-105. Refusing to Accept or Continue Employment if the
Interests of Another Client May Impair the Independent
Professional Judgment of the Lawyer.
(D) A lawyer who has represented a client in a matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or substantially related matter if the interest of that person is adverse in any material respect to the interest of the former client unless the former client consents after disclosure.
DR 6-101. Competence and Promptness
(D) A lawyer shall inform his client of facts pertinent to the matter and of communications from another party that may significantly affect settlement or resolution of the matter.
DR 9-102. Preserving Identity of Funds and Property of a Client.
(B) A lawyer shall:
(4) Promptly pay or deliver to the client or another as requested by such person the funds, securities, or other properties in the possession of the lawyer which such person is entitled to receive.
The Committee finds that as a matter of law, the bar did not prove violations of the following Disciplinary Rules, and they are dismissed in accordance with Council Rule of Disciplinary Procedure V(A)(4)(f)(1)(a): DR 5-105 (A), (B), and (C), and DR 6-101 (B) and (C). The Committee finds further that the bar did not prove a violation of DR 1-102(A)(4) under the clear and convincing evidentiary standard, and it is dismissed accordingly under Council rule of Disciplinary Procedure V(A)(4)(f)(1)(b)(iii). Finally, the bar having withdrawn the violations of DR 9-102(B)(1), (2), and (3), those charges are dismissed accordingly.
(Following the announcement of the Committee's findings, Mr. Martin Lightsey
announced that he had to leave because of a prior commitment. He was released accordingly, and,
with the consent of the Respondent and his counsel, the Committee received evidence and
argument in aggravation and mitigation, and retired to deliberate on the issue of sanction without
Mr. Lightsey participating.)
P. Brent Brown, Chair
Edward L. Davis, Assistant Bar Counsel