Florida Supreme Court Disciplines Tampa Bay Attorneys
One of the five was disbarred. Two others had their licenses revoked. One was suspended and one was reprimanded.
TAMPA BAY – The Florida Bar, the state’s guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 26 attorneys, disbarring two, revoking the license of 12, suspending nine and reprimanding three. Three attorneys were also given probation.
Five of the 26 were from the Tampa Bay area.
Attorneys suspended for periods of 91 days and longer must undergo a rigorous process to regain their law licenses including proving rehabilitation. Disciplinary revocation is tantamount to disbarment.
As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, The Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the more than 108,000 members of The Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at floridabar.org/attorneydiscipline.
Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that includes a rigorous background check and retaking the Bar exam.
The five from Tampa Bay:
David Drake Sharpe, Tampa, disbarred effective 30 days following a May 14, court order, (Admitted to practice: 2008) Sharpe engaged in improper delay tactics in a number of cases, a pattern that continued in disciplinary proceedings with his misrepresentations to the court, failure to act with diligence in handling clients’ cases, and his failure to respond to the Bar.
Anthony Gilbert Bossone, Palm Harbor, disciplinary revocation with leave to apply for readmission in five years effective immediately following a June 4 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1989) Bossone admitted to creating a false trial order for a client thus defrauding his client and the court. His neglect of the client’s case put it in danger of being dismissed and he failed to adequately communicate with his client. In other cases, Bossone allegedly failed to pay on known settled cases, refused to respond to the status of remaining cases, failed to pay settlement funds, collected fees without taking any action on the client’s behalf and did not diligently represent clients nor reasonably communicate with them. Bossone failed to respond to the Bar’s inquiries regarding these complaints.
Robert Alexander Craven, St. Petersburg, disciplinary revocation without leave to apply for readmission effective 30 days from June 18 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1982) Craven failed to inform his client regarding the receipt of funds, which he didn’t receive until he confronted Craven. Craven’s trust account records showed he misappropriated at least $55,211.80 in clients’ funds.
Thomas Neil Fischgrund, St. Petersburg, public reprimand with attendance and completion of the Florida Bar’s Trust Accounting Workshop effective immediately following a June 25 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1992) Fischgrund did not clearly explain to his adoption entity clients the distinction between initial non-legal adoption entity services and subsequent legal work, and he allowed his non-attorney executive director to handle all dealings and maintain bookkeeping without adequate supervision. Poor bookkeeping practices found for the adoption entity trust account had been rectified.
Steven Anthony Pellingra, Tampa, suspended for two years effective immediately due to respondent’s existing emergency suspension. (Admitted to practice: 2004) Pellingra misappropriated client funds as a result of his negligent trust accounting practices and record keeping.
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