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WILLIAM R. LUCERO, PRESIDING DISCIPLINARY JUDGE, MARCY G. GLENN, HEARING BOARD MEMBER, JOHN M. HARIED, HEARING BOARD MEMBER.
OPINION AND DECISION IMPOSING SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO C.R.C.P. 251.19(b)
On April 8, 2014, a Hearing Board consisting of Marcy G. Glenn and John M. Haried, members of the bar, and William R. Lucero, the Presiding Disciplinary Judge (" the PDJ" ), held a hearing pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.18. Timothy J. O'Neill appeared on behalf of the Office of Attorney Regulation Counsel (" the People" ). Gregory A. Goodman (" Respondent" ) did not appear. The Hearing Board now issues the following " Opinion and Decision Imposing Sanctions Pursuant to C.R.C.P. 251.19(b)."
On summary judgment, the People proved Respondent had fabricated documents that
he gave to the People in response to a disciplinary investigation and that he produced to opposing counsel in a related civil suit. He then made false statements regarding those documents during the disciplinary investigation and in testimony during the civil trial. The PDJ concluded that Respondent had violated Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(3) (offering false evidence), 8.1(a) (making a false statement of material fact in a disciplinary matter), and 8.4(c) (engaging in dishonest conduct). The Hearing Board now finds that Respondent's misconduct warrants disbarment.
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The People filed a complaint on September 23, 2013. Respondent answered the complaint on October 24, 2013. An at-issue conference was held on November 6, 2013, and a two-day hearing was set for April 8-9, 2014.
On February 11, 2014, the People filed a " Motion for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support Thereof," seeking entry of judgment on all three claims in their complaint, which allege violations of Colo. RPC 3.3(a)(3), 8.1(a), and 8.4(c). Respondent did not file a response, although the People indicated in their motion that Respondent had expressed opposition to their requested relief. The PDJ granted the People's motion on March 24, 2014, and converted the two-day disciplinary hearing to a one-day sanctions hearing.
During the sanctions hearing on April 8, 2014, the Hearing Board heard testimony from John Lonnquist. The Hearing Board also considered the People's argument concerning sanctions.
III. FACTS AND RULE VIOLATIONS
Respondent took the oath of admission and was admitted to the bar of the Colorado Supreme Court on October 25, 2004, under attorney registration number 35992. He is thus subject to the jurisdiction of the Court in these disciplinary proceedings.
Facts Established in the Complaint
Respondent represented Kim Gaetano and her medical marijuana business, 420 Wellness Dispensary, LLC (" 420 Wellness" ), in a purchase-sale transaction involving Thomas S. Waldron, Sr. Respondent drafted the purchase-sale agreement on behalf of Gaetano and 420 Wellness.
On October 1, 2010, Respondent sent an email along with a draft of the purchase-sale agreement to Waldron. The email stated:
Attached is a draft purchase and sale agreement for your review. As we discussed, neither Kim nor Rich has signed off on this yet, so while I anticipate they would only have very minor changes to business points (if any), do keep that in mind. I'm also attaching the current form of 420's operating agreement. If these additional large investors came on board, this operating agreement is not going to be sufficient, I'm aware of that, we can address that as needed, but for the time being it's sufficient.
Waldron emailed Respondent on December 10, 2010, asking whether he would be willing to continue representing 420 Wellness if its ownership changed hands. On December 11, 2010, Gaetano and Waldron signed a revised purchase and sale agreement transferring to Waldron a fifty percent interest in 420 Wellness. On January 21, 2011, Respondent told Waldron that Gaetano was contemplating severing relations with Waldron's company, AgraTek, and Waldron responded two days later, asking Respondent to encourage Gaetano to identify her concerns.
On March 24, 2011, a lawsuit was filed against Respondent, Gaetano, and 420 Wellness by Green-VisionTek, LLC, which alleged that it owned the interests in 420 Wellness that previously had been purchased by
Waldron's company, AgraTek (" Green-VisionTek litigation" ). Green-VisionTek was represented by John Lonnquist.
Lonnquist filed with the People a request for investigation (" RFI" ) against Respondent on April 19, 2011, alleging that Respondent had misused his trust account funds by paying himself attorney's fees in connection with the purchase-sale agreement between AgraTek and 420 Wellness. The People sent Respondent a letter regarding Lonnquist's RFI on April 22, 2011, stating that the RFI implicated disciplinary rules involving competency, conflicts of interest, safekeeping of property, threatening prosecution, and dishonesty.
Respondent responded to the People on May 14, 2011. He attached to his response copies of five emails that he had ostensibly sent to Waldron on October 1, 2010, November 2, 2010, December 10, 2010, and January 12, 2011, as well as an attachment to his email of October 1, 2010. The copy of the email dated October 1, 2010, read:
Attached is a draft purchase and sale agreement for your review. As we discussed, neither Kim nor Rich has signed off on this yet, so while I anticipate they would only have very minor changes to business points (if any), do keep that in mind. I'm also attaching the current form of 420's operating agreement. Again, I'm fine communicating with you like this and you don't have to have your own attorney, but my job is to represent Kim, and while I can ...