Lawyer suspended for nine months

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 19, 2001

Officials suspended an Ironton attorney from practicing law for nine months.

Friday, January 19, 2001

Officials suspended an Ironton attorney from practicing law for nine months.

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The decision, affecting Craig A. Allen, was filed Wednesday by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court in the case of Office of Disciplinary Counsel vs. Allen.

The board found Allen violated four attorney conduct rules while dealing with the Ohio Department of Liquor Control.

The court suspended Allen for 18 months, staying nine months of the suspension.

"Basically what they’re talking about happened over 15 years ago," Allen said.

Allen said he turned his practice over to David Dillon about two months ago.

"I should not comment further," he said.

The court found that over a nine-year period beginning in 1983, Allen falsified or forged signatures on applications to keep alive the liquor license of Shadybrook Inn, the Office of Disciplinary Counsel said.

Wednesday’s five-page order lists events starting in 1983 when Allen "represented Paul E. Carman in negotiations with James Heald to transfer Carman’s D-5 liquor permit, assets and inventory to Shadybrook Inn, a company that respondent (Allen) was later to incorporate and in which he and Heald would each have a 20 percent interest.

Allen filed incorporation papers and, in March 1984, a transfer of ownership for the liquor permit on Carman’s behalf. Carman moved to Kentucky in mid-1984.

"Although Carman believed he had transferred the assets of Shadybrook Inn and was not involved in its operation, the (Ohio Department of Liquor Control) sent annual renewal applications for the liquor permit to Carman From 1984 through 1992, respondent (Allen) signed renewal applications for the liquor permit in order that it not expire," the court said. The court found that Allen’s representation of Carman in sales of assets, actions that resulted in accrual of BES employment contributions and sales taxes against Carman and a 1991 lease violated conduct rules that state "lawyers shall not accept employment if the exercise of his professional judgment may be affected by the lawyer’s personal interests."

Signing Carman’s name as his legal agent also violated a code of conduct relating to fraud, the court stated.

The disciplinary panel noted that Allen has practiced for 33 years with no prior disciplinary action, that he cooperated in the investigation and that numerous letters attested to his good character, which led the panel to recommend 18 months suspension, nine of it stayed, the court wrote.