THE STATE OF ARIZONA BAR WHICH OVERSEES ATTORNEY IS BROKEN – PART TWO
Written by: Mark and Carol Fairall
August 27, 2016
Protected by Copyright
THE ARIZONA BAR SALARIES ARE VERY HIGH
The Arizona Bar Association will soon be the most expensive Mandatory Membership Bar Association in the US with the soon to be annual membership fee of $690 a year. The second highest Bar Association with the Mandatory Membership fee is Alaska at $660. This inhibits economic growth because it is reported that new attorneys avoid Arizona because of the high cost of the quasi-union dues.
The Arizona Bar Association’s 2015 Taxes document the excessive compensation of eight key employees who earn over $100k per year before perks, which show:
1. $172k – Maret Vessella – Chief Bar Counsel
2. 214k – John Phelps – CEO
3. 141k – Kathy Gerhart – CFO
4. 173k – John Furlong – General Counsel/Deputy Bar
5. 146k – Amy Rehm – Deputy Chief Bar Counsel
6. 150k – Elizabeth Deane – Chief Member Services Officer
7. 146k – Lisa Fontes – Advertising Sales Manager
8*. 184k – Patricia Sallen – Director of Special Services
9. 131k – Richard Debruhl – Chief Communications Officer
TOTAL: $1.46 Million – 10% of Gross Income
* Patricia Sallen was terminated in 2015 and also received a $59K severance package.
To give you some comparison, the top paid Arizona leaders are:
1.$95k – Governor Doug Ducey
2. 90k – Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
3. 70k – Secretary of State – Michele Reagan
These are outrageously high salaries at the Arizona Bar Association. The Arizona Bar Association’s key people are taking advantage of the fact that the Arizona Bar Association has the highest Mandatory Membership Fees.
Source: 2015 Arizona Bar Tax Return
THE ARIZONA STATE BAR FAVORS ITS OWN WITH SPECIAL TREATMENT – PROOF TWO CASES
1. Scott E. Williams: Mr. Williams teaches landlord/tenant law required for attorneys by the Arizona Bar to keep their attorney licenses current. Mr. Williams gets favorable treatment at the Arizona Bar because he volunteers his time at the Arizona Bar.
The Bar has turned down our 2010 complaint for Williams aiding a slumlord and convicted felon scam seniors. The Bar never responded to our 2016 complaint for Williams violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Mr. Williams handles 10% of Arizona’s slumlord lawsuits against renters. Mr. Williams brags that judge are grateful because his election law representation helps them keep their jobs.
2. Nancy Greenlee: Ms. Greenlee is an attorney that works out of her home just representing lawyers who have Bar complaints. Her annual income is listed between $100K and $500K per year. Ms. Greenlee represented our former attorney which we filed a Bar complaint against because of his mistakes and lies to the court. We filed a Motion to Dismiss Counsel which the judge granted and replaced the incompetent lying lawyer.
Ms. Greenlee worked at the Arizona Bar from 1990 to 1996 in the attorney discipline area. The Arizona Bar only recommended that our former bad attorney take Bar taught classes. The Arizona Bar makes $2 million a year with required classes rather than the follow normal probation requirements.
We should have realized that we would get no satisfaction from our bar complaints because the Arizona Bar favors its own with special treatments, protection, and referrals.
THE CALIFORNIA STATE BAR PROBLEM – THE STATE LAWMAKERS HAD AN AUDIT TO DOCUMENT THE MESS
The California Bar was audited by the state lawmakers to review attorney complaint backlogs, financial irregularities, and influence peddling. That audit resulted in the termination of the California State Bar’s executive director Joe Dunn. This has been a five-year process, but the California dysfunctional attorney regulation system has not yet been fixed.
California is a Mandatory Membership State Bar with over 200,000 attorney members. The California lawmakers are looking to split the Bar into two functions: one – to regulate/discipline attorneys and two – to a trade association which promotes lawyers’ interests. The California lawmakers created the “Public Interest Task Force” to study and correct the broken California Bar Association.
It appears that the solution to fixing the California Bar will take longer because their Supreme Court did not like some of the new ideas. The former CEO of the California Bar, Joe Dunn, was fired two years ago for misspending, nepotism, deception, and influence peddling. Dunn sued and his lawsuit was just dismissed.
California lawmakers started their State Bar clean-up with an audit. That is what our lawmakers need to do at the Arizona State Bar. An audit is needed in order to fix the expensive and prejudicial Arizona mandatory attorney “quasi-union” that is failing both attorneys and the public.
THE ARIZONA STATE BAR BREAKS ITS OWN DIVERSION GUIDELINES
We wrote to the State of Arizona Bar recently informing it that the investigator, Hunter Perlmeter, broke the Diversion Guidelines. Diversion is the lowest attorney discipline level which requires an attorney to take an expensive Bar taught class. This is a $2 million money maker scam by the Bar to push attorneys into classes. The Diversion program is meant for low level poor office mismanagement which is minor and does not harm the client. That is not what happened to us. Mr. Perlmeter just hung up on us when we attempted to correct his illegal Bar decision.
We had our former attorney angrily refuse our monthly payment and then reported to the court that we had breached the attorney fee agreement contract. The attorney then lied to his boss and lied on the attorney billing statement stating we had refused to pay our monthly payment. We had emails to the contrary documenting the truth. That attorney was fired from the law firm after our Bar complaint was opened in August, 2015. However, the Bar recommended only a Diversion (class study) for our former attorney who:
1. lied to the judge,
2. lied on court paperwork,
3. disrespected and harmed us with his hostile anger,
4. lied to his law firm boss, and
5. lied on the law firm billing documents.
That attorney breached his own law firm’s contract. The Arizona Bar did not punish our former attorney for his lack of ethics and his “MAJOR” violation of Attorney Rules of Professional Conduct which harmed us. The Bar just sent the crooked attorney back to class.
The Bar failed to review all of our evidence before the bad decision. Our former bad attorney hired a lawyer, Nancy Greenlee, who only represents attorneys on Bar complaints. We suggest that our lawyer and Ms. Greenlee got preferential treatment.
This smacks because according to the Diversion Guidelines our former attorney was “NOT ELIGIBLE” for the Diversion Program because of his: dishonesty, deceit, misrepresentation, and lack of respect for the legal system. Who is the Arizona Bar protecting? It appears to be the lawyers. The Arizona Bar’s failure to follow the law, allowing preferential attorney treatment, and favoring the friends/past employees of the Bar is very shocking.
The Arizona Bar is not an impartial fair regulator of bad attorneys, but it is just a Mandatory “Good-Old-Boy” private attorneys’ club which fails the public. The public needs to know the truth about the broken and corrupt Arizona Bar.
We will keep you informed of the Bar’s answer.
2015 STATISTICS FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS BY THE ARIZONA BAR
In 2015, the Arizona Bar received 3,127 attorney complaints but only investigated 21% (664 complaints). The rest of the Bar complaints were eliminated by pre-screening with no investigations done. This eliminated 79% of the Bar’s investigative work in policing bad lawyers.
Only 156 (23%) of those lawyers received any disciplinary punishments of being: disbarred, suspended, reprimanded or received an informal sanction. The Diversion order (class requirement) is not considered a disciplinary Bar punishment.
That Diversion Order or class requirement is not reported on the Bar’s information concerning attorneys. Last year, 86 lawyers received Diversion orders which was the most used Bar regulation for complaints. Bar classes are very expensive starting at several thousand dollars per class. The Arizona Bar makes $2 million on its classes in the Diversion Order programs. The public has no idea which lawyers are required to attend Bar classes because those complaint decisions are not posted by the Bar.
It is rare for any attorney to be disbarred in Arizona. Last year, only 12 attorneys last year were disbarred, which is less than 4 out of 1,000 attorney complaints filed. This is eight times lower than the New York Voluntary Bar Membership statistics.
We suspect the Arizona Bar does not disbar attorneys because it would lose their annual mandatory Bar fees paid by the attorneys. A Voluntary Membership Bar is more aggressive in disbarring attorneys and better protects the public from bad lawyers. A Voluntary Membership Bar takes away the incentive to ignore bad lawyers by just requiring more attorney education.
Source: 2015 Arizona Bar Annual Report
THE GOLDWATER INSTITUTE FAVORS THE VOLUNTARY MEMBERSHIP FOR THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA
The Goldwater Institute is one of Arizona’s largest and most respected conservative “public policy think tanks.” It has studied the debate about the Arizona Mandatory Membership Bar Association. It recommends the passage of HB 2221 which would make the Arizona Bar a Voluntary Membership Association for two reasons, which are: it makes the Arizona Bar records public and it protects attorneys’ free speech rights.
HB 2221 would increase transparency of the Bar records to public records laws. Presently the Arizona Bar is exempt from normal public records requirements that all of the other regulatory agencies in the United States have to obey. The Arizona Bar likes to document in secrecy and fails to provide the records for its decisions to the public.
HB 2221 would stop the Bar’s ability to coerce attorney members and violate their free speech rights by supporting the Arizona Bar’s political activities. It would stop the forced funding of the Arizona Bar’s lobbying activities in areas unrelated to the regulation of the practice of law. Many Arizona lawyers object to being forced to pay the high $490 annual dues which contributes to the Bar’s agenda supporting political groups, gay bashing, and many other very biased opinions.
The Goldwater Institute article states that the Voluntary Membership Bar is not a radical idea. The Arizona Bar has stated that the passage of HB 2221 would destroy the Arizona Bar by making it less effective. That is false because the Voluntary Membership Bar already exists in 20 states, which are: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. Those 20 Voluntary Bar Membership states are functioning very well while being transparent and upholding the freedom of speech rights of its members.
The Arizona Bar was once a Voluntary Membership Association, but that was changed in the 1930’s during the great Depression. A group of lawyers lobbied the state lawmakers because they saw an opportunity to profit from a Mandatory Membership Arizona Bar. It is time to end the “Profit Focus” of the Arizona Bar Mandatory Membership organization and make it a “Service Focus” with a Voluntary Membership organization that provides a fair and a less expensive method of protecting the public from bad lawyers.
Source: Rebutting the State Bar of Arizona about HB 2221. – Working for A Better Bar
Attorneys who want to practice law in Arizona must pay the State Bar of Arizona mandatory member dues. The State Bar of Arizona uses this money to regulate the practice of law and to engage in other activities, including lobbying Read More Rebutting the State Bar of Arizona about HB 2221.
SOURCE: WORKINGFORABETTERBAR.ORG http://workingforabetterbar.org/2016/03/02/379/
THE ARIZONA BAR IS LOBBYING AND THREATENING ITS MEMBERS
The Arizona Bar emailed all 24,000 members to oppose HB 2221 which would make it a Voluntary Membership organization. This was a drastic attempt to retain the unjust power as a Mandatory Membership Organization. Again, the Arizona Bar is using forced payment monies for a political cause, which is wrong.
The Arizona Bar reports the “drastic changes” would create a “Frankenstein” version of the Bar. The Bar threatened that if HB 2221 passed, it would have to raise the already excessively high annual dues. Presently, attorneys pay $490 per year, but that will soon go up to $690 a year. This will make the Arizona Bar the most expensive Bar Association in the United States. Studies show that the Arizona Bar is spending 125% more than other state Bar Associations of the same size.
The Goldwater Institute report states that HB 2221 should be passed. The Arizona Bar members should not be forced to join the Bar. The attorneys should have the Freedom of Speech Rights restored by not being forced to pay for the bizarre and illegal lobbying efforts of the Arizona Bar.
It is difficult to understand why the Arizona Bar needs the $200 raise of its annual dues to $690. The Arizona Bar is a “Non-Profit,” but it is not being run that way. In 2015, the Arizona Bar’s income was $15,941,413, with expenses of $14,672,809. That means the Arizona Bar had an 8% surplus of over $1.2 million which it banked. The only answer why the Arizona Bar needs a raise in the required dues is to increase the outrageous nearly $1.5 million annual salaries paid to its top eight leaders.
The Arizona Bar is out of control with greed and excesses which needs to be changed to a Voluntary Membership organization.
Source: Arizona Lawyers Shouldn’t Be Misled: They Have Constitutional Rights, Too
Yesterday, the Arizona State Bar sent an email to the state’s lawyers urging them
GOLDWATERINSTITUTE.ORG|BY GOLDWATER INSTITUTE
HB 2221 “VOLUNTARY BAR” SHOULD NOT BE A POLITICAL ISSUE
The Arizona Senators who voted against HB 2221 are primarily Democrats. HB 2221 is not a union busting bill, but it is simply trying to reform the broken Arizona Bar.
It is interesting to note that 10 of the 20 states which already have a Voluntary State Bar Association are politically Democratic controlled. It appears more education is needed next year to fully inform the Senate lawmakers what the House lawmakers already know (it passed there). HB 2221 needs to be passed in order to restore Freedom of Speech Rights, allow better access to Bar records, and reduce the costs of the bloated and broken Arizona Bar.
TEN REASONS WHY ARIZONA SHOULD BE CHANGED TO A VOLUNTARY BAR MEMBERSHIP ORGANIZATION
1. Voluntary Bars have a longer successful history than Mandatory Bars.
2. Voluntary Bars tend to have a lower cost.
3. Voluntary Bars have higher ethical standards and results.
4. Voluntary Bars have less conflicts of interest.
5. Voluntary Bars do not lobby for unrelated political issues.
6. Voluntary Bars allow the lawyer the freedom to join.
7. Voluntary Bars do not violate their members’ freedom of speech.
8. Voluntary Bars have programs that entice membership not just to control attorneys.
9. Voluntary Bars also help their members who have personal problems of alcoholism, drug abuse, and mental problems.
10. Voluntary Bars do not place the burden of their costs on taxpayers are run by the donations of attorneys who see its value.
In our opinion, the Arizona Mandatory Bar is illegal because it violates the freedom of speech laws and fails to publicly disclose its decisions.
Source: 10 reasons a voluntary state bar is better than a mandatory bar.
Voluntary bar jurisdictions: Have a longer history than mandatory bar jurisdictions. The so-called integration movement didn’t start until 1913. That’s when the now…
THE STATE BAR OF ARIZONA IS BROKEN AND DANGEROUS
The attorney Jack Levine wrote in the ARIZONA REPUBLIC NEWSPAPER on 12/29/2015 that the Arizona Bar’s investigation process is wasteful, inefficient, and extravagant. The Arizona Bar investigations result in most cases being whitewashed focusing only on sole practitioners and new attorneys while ignoring egregious ethical violations by large law firms.
Mr. Levine reports that out of the 3,000 to 4,000 complaints, only 3.5% have any disciplinary sanctions. Those Arizona Bar investigations cost $4 to $5 million per year. Mr. Levine believes the investigatory functions of the Arizona Bar should be turned over to an independent three-member commission which should be staffed by non-lawyers. Finally, Mr. Levine reports that the public has lost confidence in the Arizona Bar because it is being totally run by lawyers who favor lawyers and are over compensated.
We know Jack Levine because he represented us against our bad contractor. He was successful in helping us get paid from the insurance company. We found Mr. Levine very competent with over 50 years of experience. It was interesting that the Arizona Bar resorted in smear tactics against Mr. Levine in the newspaper by the Arizona Bar’s president, Geoffrey Trachtenberg.
The Arizona Bar was so desperate that it resorted to public character assassination in the newspaper. Mr. Levine had problems with taxes and a previous partner, which resulted in disciplinary actions by the Bar. We submit that Mr. Levine was a victim of the Arizona Bar’s selective prosecution against its perceived enemies. We see the Arizona Bar plays favorites in its investigations. That is a major reason to eliminate the present Mandatory Bar Association by making it a fairer Voluntary Bar Association.
We take the Arizona Bar president’s rebuttal “with a grain of salt” because Mr. Trachtenberg cannot even tell the truth in his newspaper article. Mr. Trachtenberg stated the Arizona Bar disciplined 51% (383 attorneys) out of the 751 investigations. That was misleading because instruction dismissals and Diversity (class) requirements are not considered Bar disciplinary actions. The actual number of attorneys that received Bar disciplinary action last year was only 156, attorneys which is less than half of the Bar’s numbers at 23% of the 664 investigations. Mr. Trachtenberg clouded and distorted disciplinary numbers which made it appear that the Bar is more effective in disciplining attorneys. This shows you that you cannot believe the Arizona Bar. It cannot report the truth even about the number of disciplinary actions by over half in the Bar’s favor.
The Arizona Bar is a vindictive organization run by overpaid attorneys desperately trying to keep their nonperforming jobs by lying.
Source: My Turn: Arizona State Bar’s dysfunctional discipline
Lawyer: The Arizona State Bar’s investigation process is costly and rarely results in sanctions. There’s a better way. AZCENTRAL.COM
In the past seven years we had six Bar complaints (two for the same attorney) which involved being attacked and sued four times by our former senior living facility, Sun Grove Resort Village (SGRV).
We had money stolen by one attorney. The SGRV attorney presented false evidence in court, threatened our witnesses, broke trial procedure rules, and had a conflict of interest. That attorney and another attorney sued us again with a foreclosure lawsuit which violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by not properly verifying the debt, not properly serving us, and refusing to delay the Default Hearing when told by our mortgage company the lawsuit was improper. Lastly, we had two attorneys state in a hearing that they purposefully sabotaged our lawsuit, breached their contract, and lied to the court.
Not one of those five attorneys received any disciplinary punishments. In fact, the Bar informed us that it did not even review all of our evidence. The Bar investigator failed to listen to the Fee Arbitration Hearing recording where the attorneys admitted their Egregious Misconduct.
The Arizona Bar is DANGEROUS.