Fort Madison attorney has license suspended (IA)

FORT MADISON – A Fort Madison attorney and former long-time Lee County prosecutor had his license to practice law suspended for 60 days in an ruling issued Friday.

Attorney Gordon Liles of Fort Madison, who served as a part-time county attorney for Lee County for almost 30 years in addition to his own part-time law practice, was accused by the Iowa Supreme Court Attorney Disciplinary Board of forging a colleague’s name on a will for one of his clients.

According to court documents filed Friday afternoon, Liles made arrangements for his then-client, Maxine Puckett, to come to the county attorney’s office to execute her will on June 10, 2008. The will that was signed that day named Lisa Henshaw and David Andrusyk as witnesses to Puckett’s signature.

Although Andrusyk was not present when Puckett signed the will, Liles signed Andrusyk’s name as one of the witnesses.

When Puckett died in May 2009, Liles filed the will for probate. The ruling states that a vigilant employee at the clerk of court’s office questioned the authenticity of Andrusyk’s signatures. The employee then contacted Andrusyk who confirmed that the signature was not his. Andrusyk reported the incident to the disciplinary board.

Meanwhile, the district court held a hearing in the Puckett probate case which ended with the dismissal of the petition for small estate administration previously filed by Liles. Another petition alleging Puckett died intestate was filed by the Iowa Department of Human Services seeking reimbursement for a Medicaid lien.

The disciplinary board then filed a complaint accusing Liles of violating several provisions of the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct including a rule prohibiting dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation; a rule against making a false statement of fact and/or failing to correct that statement; a rule prohibiting conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice and a rule prohibiting the offering of false evidence.

A hearing on the complaint was then held where Liles admitted he forged the witness’s attestation of Puckett’s will and expressed his remorse and humiliation.

The disciplinary board recommended Liles receive a public reprimand. However, the Iowa Supreme Court stated that the court is not bound to follow the recommendation.

Citing a prior public reprimand imposed on Liles for representing two clients “under circumstances constituting a conflict of interest,” the court ruled that a 60-day suspension was warranted.

Liles is prohibited from practicing law for 60 days and was ordered to pay the court costs for the proceedings. He is to have his license reinstated immediately following the suspension if no objection to the reinstatement is made by the disciplinary board.

Attribution:

Fort Madison attorney has license suspended
Robin Delaney/MVM News Network
January 10, 2012
Daily Gate City
http://www.dailygate.com/articles/2012/01/10/news/doc4f0ca1e205634987054041.txt

Share
Updates