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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Major Bashinsky and the Curious Actions of the Alabama State Bar

A memorial service is being held this morning for Birmingham attorney Major Bashinsky at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Mountain Brook. Judging by the actions of the Alabama State Bar, it's as if Bashinsky already has been buried for several days.

Bashinsky's body was positively identified last Tuesday after it was recovered from a water hazard at the Highland Park Golf Course in Birmingham. Law-enforcement officials still have not released a cause of death. But Sloan Y. Bashinsky Jr., Major's older brother, has written on his blog that a private source told him that Major was shot in the head beside the golf-course pond--and a pistol was recovered.

Where does the Alabama State Bar enter the picture? While conducting research for a post, I checked the Bar's online directory last Thursday evening for information about Major Bashinsky. This was about 48 hours after his body had been positively identified and roughly three days before an obituary would appear in the local newspaper. But Major Bashinsky's record on the Alabama State Bar Web site already had been wiped clean.

It's possible that an official death certificate had not even been prepared at that point. But it was already as if Major Bashinsky never existed for the Alabama State Bar.

A source with close connections to the Alabama legal community tells Legal Schnauzer that he knows of at least one other situation where the Bar acted in a similar fashion. That involved Guntersville lawyer Jeff Carr, who died in February 2009 under mysterious circumstances at age 38. In that case, the Bar wiped Carr's record clean immediately and did not run an obituary about him in the Alabama Lawyer.

Is the Alabama State Bar trying to distance itself as quickly as possible from the death of Major Bashinsky? Does someone at the State Bar know something about the case that the rest of us do not know?

The answers to those questions remain unclear, but I know from first-hand experience that the Alabama State Bar is a sham organization that is more interested in covering up legal wrongdoing than in exposing it.

I filed a bar complaint against William E. Swatek, the Pelham attorney who started our legal headaches and has a 30-year record of unethical activities in the legal profession. Swatek has been disciplined three times by the Alabama State Bar, including a suspension of his license for acts of fraud and deceit, and that is supposed to make him subject to extra scrutiny in the future. But the Bar did not even investigate my complaint against Swatek.

More recently, I timely filed a bar complaint against Jesse Evans and Michael Odom, the two attorneys I originally hired to defend the bogus lawsuit Swatek brought on behalf of my criminally inclined neighbor, Mike McGarity.

Evans and Odom, who were then with the Birmingham firm of Adams & Reese/Lange Simpson and now are at Haskell Slaughter, took almost $12,000 of my money and proceeded to keep their mouths shut while Shelby County Judge J. Michael Joiner cheated me raw.

Not only did Evans and Odom engage in gross legal malpractice, they probably participated in a criminal conspiracy. They had to know that Joiner was committing honest-services mail fraud, intentionally ruling unlawfully in my case, and they did nothing--violating their duty to report such wrongdoing to the proper tribunal.

When I filed my bar complaint against Evans and Odom, Alabama State Bar General Counsel Tony McLain tried to claim that I had failed to meet the six-year statute of limitations. (I waited to the last minute to file because I didn't want the State Bar's confidentiality rules to interfere with writing about my experiences on this blog.) When I made it clear that I had followed the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure to the letter, McLain said that he would place my complaint with the Bar's Client Security Fund, which is designed to reimburse people who have been cheated by their own lawyers.

By placing my case with the Client Security Fund, McLain seemed to be admitting that the complaint was filed in a timely fashion. It's now more than a year later, and I still haven't heard anything from the Alabama State Bar.

Jesse Odom and Michael Odom are with a large Birmingham firm, and the Alabama State Bar seems to be doing its best to make sure they are not held accountable.

Experience has taught me that the State Bar has a "cover-up mentality." And I wonder if Major Bashinsky's mysterious death has caused that mentality to click into high gear.

10 comments:

Robby Scott Hill said...

"Normally, the local papers & The State Bar do an extensive obituary reciting the late attorney's record of service, but it didn't happen in Mr. Carr's case although he had been the Attorney of Record for the Marshall County Personnel Board, the late Chairman Billy Cannon of the Marshall County Commission & a disgraced Former Chairman of The Marshall County Republican Party. How did Mr. Carr die? The record doesn't say and those who know the circumstances aren't speaking about it publicly. Jeff worked for the most powerful people in Marshall County and took a lot of their secrets and dirty laundry to an early grave."

http://bolivarian-revolution.blogspot.com/2009/02/did-alabama-attorney-jeff-carr-die-of.html

Louise said...

I enjoy reading your blog and have
thought about responding long enough. There is legal remedy within the law for dealing with lawyers. It is called the criminal complaint.
There are people who can help you.

legalschnauzer said...

Louise:
Thanks for writing. I would welcome any suggestions on specific people to contact. My impression so far has been that law enforcement is overseen by lawyers, and they tend to protect members of the tribe. But I'm willing to try to break through that. Feel free to respond here or at my personal e-mail--rshuler3156@gmail.com

legalschnauzer said...

Louise:

Thank you. I will check out those resources.

Best,

LS

Anonymous said...

Did you file a complaint against Richard Poff with the state bar? If so, what happened with that complaint?

legalschnauzer said...

Haven't filed a complaint with bar against Poff. Had so many other things on my plate that I just haven't done it. Possible the 6-year SOL has run on that one. I have very little faith in the Alabama State Bar. As bad as Poff was, the behavior of Evans and Odom was far worse--and the bar has done nothing but stonewall on that. And Bill Swatek was worst of all, and they did zip on it. Plus, Poff has been through bankruptcy, so I'm not sure you can get blood out of a turnip.

Anonymous said...

How did the state bar stonewall you?

legalschnauzer said...

This passage from the post above pretty well explains it:

When I filed my bar complaint against Evans and Odom, Alabama State Bar General Counsel Tony McLain tried to claim that I had failed to meet the six-year statute of limitations. (I waited to the last minute to file because I didn't want the State Bar's confidentiality rules to interfere with writing about my experiences on this blog.) When I made it clear that I had followed the Alabama Rules of Disciplinary Procedure to the letter, McLain said that he would place my complaint with the Bar's Client Security Fund, which is designed to reimburse people who have been cheated by their own lawyers.

By placing my case with the Client Security Fund, McLain seemed to be admitting that the complaint was filed in a timely fashion. It's now more than a year later, and I still haven't heard anything from the Alabama State Bar.

Robby Scott Hill said...

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Ultimately the best way to deal with most of these glue sniffing, cockroaches is to give them plenty of bad press and watch their business shrivel up as they lose customers. They play a game called capitalism and the best way to hit them is in the pocketbook. Firms like Bradley Arant are already relying on government contracts to stay afloat. Once they lose their benefactor in the Governor's Office, GAME OVER.

Anonymous said...

I want to say that Alabar has been a back and forth letters between myself and my old attorney. Results are zero. Attorney will not concede that he overcharged, left case in shambles, and has attacked me personally. What recourse do we clients have? Thank you for posting your experience and names of bad lawyers.