V I R G I N I A:
BEFORE THE VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLINARY BOARD
IN THE MATTER OF VSB Docket: 99-000-2831
ROY REID YOUNG, III
This cause came to be heard the 22nd day of June 2001, before a duly convened panel of the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board composed of John A. Dezio, Second Vice-Chair, presiding, Randy I. Bellows, Roscoe B. Stephenson, III, Werner H. Quasebarth and Deborah A.J. Wilson. Charlotte P. Hodges appeared as Counsel to the Virginia State Bar ("VSB" or Bar). The Respondent, Roy Reid Young, III was present and represented by counsel, Michael L. Rigsby, Esquire.
All legal notice of the date and place was timely sent by the Clerk of the Disciplinary System, in the manner prescribed by law.
The Chair opened the hearing by polling the Board members to ascertain a member conflict of interest that would preclude a member from serving. No conflicts were presented and the hearing proceeded as scheduled.
The matter to be heard arose from an Order entered by the Virginia State Bar Disciplinary Board on August 22, 2000. The matter, having previously been continued, was set for a hearing before the Board pursuant to Virginia State Bar Regulations under the Virginia Consumer Real Estate Settlement Protection Act, Section (3)(C).
The Bar alleged that the Respondent's conduct violated Virginia Code Sections 6.1-2.21 C, D and 6.1-2.26 A, and Sections III and V (1)(B) and (C) of the Regulations issued by the Virginia State Bar in accordance with the Consumer Real Estate Protection Act (CRESPA).
Respondent's Exhibits A through E were admitted into evidence without objection. The Bar objected to the admission of Respondent's Exhibit F into evidence. Following argument by both counsel, the Board sustained the Bar's objection. VSB Exhibits 1 through 4 were admitted into evidence without objection. VSB Exhibits 5 and 6 were marked and offered but were not received into evidence.
STIPULATED FINDINGS OF FACT
The parties hereto, through counsel, made the following stipulations as set forth in the Bar's letter of August 4, 2000, to the Respondent:
1. At all times relevant hereto the Respondent, Roy Reid Young, III ("Respondent" or "Mr. Young") has been an attorney licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. On or about December 1997, the Respondent acted as settlement agent in a real estate closing in which Jimmie Foley and Jennifer Foley were the buyers and Shirlene C. McCallister was the seller. Prior to the December 1997 closing, Mr. Young had failed to register as a settlement agent with the Virginia State Bar.
3. From July 1997 through July 1998, the Respondent conducted approximately 161 real estate closings.
4. At the time of each real estate closing, Respondent was not registered with the Virginia State Bar, as required by CRESPA.
5. At the time of these closings, including that of Mr. and Mrs. Foley, the Respondent did not have a surety bond of at least $100,000.00 or a blanket fidelity or employee dishonesty insurance with least $100,000.00 in coverage.
6. Respondent testified that he instructed Susan Pilson, his legal assistant, and employee of 18 years, to complete the necessary paperwork for registration with CRESPA and submit it to the Virginia State Bar for processing.
7. The Report of Investigation, which was prepared by VSB Investigator Clyde K. Venable and admitted into evidence as Respondent's Exhibit D, established that all the necessary paper work was completed but sat on Ms. Pilson's desk.
8. Ms. Pilson testified that Respondent's CRESPA application and related paper work was inadvertently placed in a file but was never forwarded to the State Bar for processing.
9. The Respondent testified that he inquired of his staff regarding the status of his CRESPA registration and was told that he was registered.
10. On the mistaken belief that he was properly registered and in compliance with CRESPA, the Respondent conducted approximately 161 real estate closings between July 1997 and July 1998.
11. During a routine inquiry by Respondent's paralegal regarding CRESPA filings, Respondent became aware that he was not registered as required by Virginia Code Sections 6.1-2.21, et seq.
12. According to the Respondent, appropriate steps were taken to register him with the Virginia State Bar and to bring him into compliance with the provisions of CRESPA.
13. At the time this Complaint was filed, Respondent was in compliance with CRESPA.
NATURE OF VIOLATION
The Bar alleges that the Respondent violated Sections 6.1-2.21 C, D, 6.1-2.26 A., Sections III, and V (1)(B) and (C) of the Regulations issued by the Virginia State Bar in accordance with the Consumer Real Estate Protection Act (CRESPA).
Virginia Code Section 6.1-2.21 C states in relevant part that:
A settlement agent shall exercise reasonable care and comply with all applicable requirements of this chapter and its licensing authority regarding licensing, financial responsibility, error and omissions or malpractice insurance policies, fidelity bonds, employee dishonesty insurance policies. . . .
Sections 6.1-2.21 D and 6.1-2. 26 A set forth the specific requirements for compliance with CRESPA and related provisions thereto.
The facts, as stipulated by the parties, establish that the Respondent failed to register with the Virginia State Bar, as required by Section 6.1-2.26 A, and was not in compliance with CRESPA from July 1997 through July 1998. The Board recognizes that Respondent relied upon his staff to complete his CRESPA registration and that his failure to register under CRESPA was not motivated by ill will or improper motive. However, regardless of motive, it was the Respondent's personal responsibility to insure that his CRESPA registration had in fact been completed and filed, and was in order. Given the importance of strict compliance with the terms of CRESPA, and given the length of time and number of real estate transactions during which the Respondent was neither registered nor in compliance with CRESPA, the Board finds that a significant sanction must be imposed. Therefore, the Board imposes a fine of $1,500. 00.
ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that in accordance with Virginia Code Section 6.1-26 D, Respondent shall pay a fine in the amount of $1,500.00, upon entry of the this order.
FURTHER ORDERED, that the Clerk of the Disciplinary System send an attested and true copy of this Opinion and Order to Respondent, Roy Reid Young, III by certified mail, return receipt requested, at his address of record with the Virginia State Bar, 60 West Church Street, P.O. Box 1312 Martinsville, Virginia 24114 and to Michael L. Rigsby, Respondent's Counsel, Suite 160, 9030 Stony Point Parkway, Richmond, Virginia 23235, and to Charlotte P. Hodges, Bar Counsel, Virginia State Bar, 707 East Main Street, Suite 1500, Richmond, Virginia 23219.
Catharina M.K. Blalock, Chandler & Halasz, P.O. Box 9349, Richmond, Virginia 23227, (804) 730-1222, was the reporter for the hearing and having been duly sworn, transcribed the proceedings.
ENTER THIS ORDER THIS __ DAY OF __________ __, 2001
VIRGINIA STATE BAR DISCIPLNARY BOARD
John A. Dezio
Second Vice Chair