While the degree of culpability among those involved is disputed, there's no question in state disciplinary officials' minds that Morris I. Olmer
falsely reported the sale price of a West Haven, Conn., property and deserved punishment. Olmer, a member of the Connecticut Bar since 1953, characterized his handling of the real estate transaction as nothing more than sloppy oversight.He
and Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark A. Dubois' office agreed to a resolution on Jan. 18 in which Olmer
admitted "that he
neglected to inform his
client, the lender ... that the actual sale price of the property ... was not the sale price listed on the [Housing and Urban Development] form ... ." Olmer
also represented the seller and the buyer in the deal, according to his
signed agreement to disposition.
"[Olmer] is negligent, and it's very difficult to prove that anyone intended to defraud any financial institution," Pothin said.
delegated too much responsibility to paralegals and didn't scrutinize the numbers, Gallagher told The Connecticut Law Tribune.
(William Gallagher is of no relation to Thomas Gallagher.)
"clearly wasn't privy to any fraud here.
also admitted in his
disciplinary proceeding that he
"inadvertently failed to include [a] second mortgage on the HUD
[form] and pay off the second mortgage in the closing of the sale ... ."
told disciplinary authorities that he
knew of the second mortgage, but his
secretary forgot to include that information on the HUD form, and the omission slipped past him.
...The addendum also states that both Lucci and Thomas Gallagher agreed to use one attorney in the closing -- Olmer.
William F. Gallagher, Olmer's
counsel, said that his client didn't draft the addendum, either.
claimed Thomas Gallagher was responsible for inflating the sales price without his knowledge and that in the days leading up to the closing, Lucci
told Thomas Gallagher and Olmer
on several occasions that the sales price needed to be changed on the HUD document and that Cappetta's second mortgage needed to be added.
admissions constitute violations of Rule 1.1, "Competence," and Rule 4.1(2), "Truthfulness in Statements to Others," of the Rules of Professional Conduct.He
denied numerous other alleged ethics violations, including criminal conduct, fraud, misrepresentation and deceit.
Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Patricia King, who handled the case, said she
is satisfied with Olmer's
admissions and happy with the resolution."If other cases arise [from Olmer's
representation], we'll deal with them," she
said."If not, this is just an instance of incredibly bad judgment."
Under the agreement, Olmer's
suspension is to take effect Feb. 15, but he
is eligible for reinstatement after three months if he
satisfies specific conditions.They include taking and passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination, arranging for another lawyer acceptable to disciplinary counsel to double-check his legal work going forward and providing the court with proof of his malpractice insurance coverage.
special defense against interim suspension, Olmer
noted that, in his
53 years of private practice, his
disciplinary history includes only one reprimand in 1990.Olmer
has been the defendant in five civil suits charging malpractice since 2004.Two of those were dismissed. Olmer
also noted in his
defense that he
"has closed in excess of 1,500 loans, purchases and refinances in the last 10 years without incident and is fully insured."He
added that "[t]here is an absence of a selfish or dishonest motive" in the case.