Lack of ethics, much? From the Houston Press:
Frank Mann, the lawyer representing Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, is facing investigation by the State Bar of Texas’s disciplinary office for a possible ethics violation related to an e-mail he sent “outing” the widow, Nikki Araguz, during her mayoral campaign.
Mann represented Araguz and her first husband in a 2002 bankruptcy case. Earlier this year, he represented Heather Delgado, Thomas Araguz’s ex-wife, in a bitter custody dispute, and is now representing her in a motion to void Nikki’s and Thomas’ 2008 marriage.
In an April deposition of Nikki Araguz, Mann got her to admit that she was born Justin Graham Purdue; he also asked about her medical history. Mann then used the information in a May 6 e-mail titled “Public Information on Nikki Araguz who is running for Mayor of Wharton, Texas.”
Possible ethics violation?
And – since this blog isn’t a court of law, Frank Mann’s past can be brought in to convict him in the court of public opinion…
you know, the way he disclosed information about Nikki in order to sabotage her campaign? And now to sabotage her legal interests? The difference is, of course, evn though I am a lawyer, this clown wasn’t my client – and I definitely didn’t learn this info via attorney-client confidentiality:
It’s not Mann’s first dance with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel: in 1990, Mann agreed to a fully probated 36-month suspension for “misrepresentations of fact concerning the dates of his hospitalization for alcohol and substance abuse in an affidavit offered in support of a motion to retain.” (The suspension was stayed; he was allowed to actively practice, but was placed on probation.) The Office of Disciplinary Counsel also ruled that, in one case, Mann “assigned away 100 percent of any attorney’s fees” and then “intervened in the pending lawsuit, claiming an interest in attorney’s fees.”
In 1997, Mann was suspended for five and a half years and was not eligible to practice for the first 36 months. In that case, among other things, the Counsel found that Mann’s paralegal “affixed [a] client’s signature from a prior document to a proposed modification, without the client’s consent.” Mann wasn’t in the office at the time, but he was “responsible supervision and instruction of his staff and for ensuring that his staff follows the law and the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.”
Okay – the paralegal thing doesn’t necessarily call into question his honesty, just his competence at overseeing his employees.
According to Mann:
all of the information in his May 6 e-mail was gleaned from the deposition, and not from his earlier representation of Araguz and her first husband.
He also said that, when he represented Nikki Araguz in the 2002 bankruptcy, he did not know anything about her sexual identity and only focused on financial matters.
To be absolutely fair: Yes, its is possible that that is accurate.
If I can find a bookie who’ll give me odds, however, I’ll put $20 down against it. Sadly, I suspect the ‘official’ paper trail will not yield the type of dot-connecting that will force the State Bar to disbar the guy. Nevertheless, I have trouble believing that in 2002 the subject of any and all former names of a bankruptcy petitioner was never discussed during either the proceedings themselves or at some point during representation of that petitioner.