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Saturday, August 10, 2019
Disciplinary Board: Lawyer Gary V Dubin Billed Client for 30 Hours in One Day
By Andrew Walden @ 10:32 PM :: 1270 Views :: Ethics, Judiciary

by Andrew Walden

Has a Honolulu lawyer invented time travel—or is he now set for his 15 minutes of fame? 

Governor John Waihee’s ‘Foreclosure Hour’ AM830 radio host, attorney Gary V Dubin, the former Attorney General of convicted mortgage scammer Keanu Sai’s so-called Hawaiian Kingdom, has failed in an effort to disqualify the entire Disciplinary Board of the Hawaii Supreme Court from hearing disbarment proceedings against him.

Dubin also failed in requesting the proceedings be sealed.

As a result, on August 8, 2019, hundreds of pages of formerly secret Disciplinary Board proceedings relating to four cases against Dubin have for the first time been made public. 

(See e-Court Kokua Case#SCAD-19-0000561 - ODC vs Gary V Dubin)

Among the tid-bits available to the public for the first time:  According to the “Report, Findings and Recommendation for the Imposition of Discipline” approved by the State Supreme Court Disciplinary Board, Dubin “personally billed (one client) for over 30 hours on a single day.”

The Disciplinary Board recommendations—calling for Dubin to be disbarred-- will next be taken up by the State Supreme Court itself.

We asked Dubin for comment, he responded:

The witch hunt I have been facing is little different than that haunting President Trump for the last few years: false charges, phony evidence, wasted time, conflicts of interest — even my conflicted hearing officer…facially looking just like Mueller….

Actually I am a Republican and the forces of evil that have been trying to pull my law license for decades in Hawaii are all Democrats….

Dubin is hammered in the Disciplinary Board report for “failure to cooperate” with the disciplinary proceedings.  Asked about the 30-hour day, Dubin, tells this reporter:  

That was a clerical error by an accountant having nothing to do with me. 

The actual accounting documentation shows that I did NOT bill 30 hours in a single day and that the client owes me tens of thousands of dollars overall.

The dates were just erroneously typed on the invoice.

You are quoting from unsubstantiated prosecutorial accusations designed to injury me by an out of control bureaucracy going after attorneys to increase their salaries and unless you print in full my rebuttal it will be obvious that your intent is also to injure me without any interest in the actual facts.

Your day in court is coming.

A 2013 Business Insider article, “10 Ways Lawyers Rip Off Clients” highlights “the notorious 1990s example of an energetic Cravath (lawfirm) attorney who billed 26 hours in a day, according to the Washington Monthly.”

We asked Dubin if he expected to become more famous than the 26-hour lawyer.  He did not directly answer the question but did say:

Your lack of objectivity is shameful and a complete abandonment of journalism ethics.

Attached is my Opening Brief before the Board that was completely ignored by the ODC as you are doing.

On page 27, for instance, I refute the claim of charging 24 hours in one day.

The exhibits to my Opening Brief are voluminous and fill a Banker’s Box….

Neither the ODC nor the Disciplinary Board can discipline attorneys.

The Hawaii Supreme Court can only do that and the Justices reviewed the evidence and not merely the phrases you like to quote and already have refused to suspend me, and the current claims and the current false accusations are the same identical ones.

You are injuring me with your false reporting and I further caution you that you are merely increasing the amount of your damages by abandoning false reporting.

Another thing that I am going to hold you liable for before a jury, to whom I will present this and all the other emails I have sent you, is your habit of writing and exaggerating in a reckless defamatory manner all of your story “headlines” which falsely make factual allegations that are not only not supported by the facts easily available to you or beforehand called to your attention, but which are not even supported by the false facts you report.

Dubin’s page 27 “refutation”, presented to the Disciplinary Board, June 1, 2018, by his attorney John Waihee, states: 

…Mr. Kern showed his true animus toward Respondent by his attempt to speculate at the hearing how Respondent's final accounting produced to Mr. Edstrom was supposedly in error, based on no personal knowledge of his, by challenging a few time entries which represented an infinitesimal fraction of the overall balance of fees and costs owed to Respondent by Mr. Harkey one based on more than 24 hours charged in one day, a clear accounting error by Respondent's office accountant who tabulates the hours and prepares the invoices as testified by Respondent….

Here are some highlights from the Disciplinary Board’s Findings:

A. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND A Petition for Discipline and Summons and Amended Petition for Discipline and Summons were filed with the Board on January 4, 2017 and January 9, 2017 respectively and duly served on Respondent. (DBF 1, 2, 3). ODC Petition 16-O-151 (Smith) alleged failure to report his criminal history in Respondent’s application for a Hawai‘i mortgage solicitor’s license. ODC Petition 16-O-147 (Andia) alleged overcharging clients and forging clients’ names on their settlement  check without their knowledge or permission. The ODC Petition 16-O-213 (ICA) alleged incompetence by repeatedly ignoring appellate court rules. ODC Petition 16-O-326 (Kern) alleged failure to provide client with timely accounting, overcharging, and mishandling of client trust account funds.

The Board accepted the Hearing Officer’s Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law and Recommendations for Discipline (DBF 71) and issued its decision February 13, 2019 to recommend DISBARMENT (DBF 104). Thereafter on April 3, 2019 Respondent submitted a motion for the Board to reconsider its decisions (DBF 104), and to disqualify the entire Disciplinary Board (DBF 110). After briefing (DBF 111, 112, 115, 117) and a hearing on the motion at which all parties were present and heard, (DBF 124 transcript) the Board decided to deny the motion specifically finding that there was no new evidence regarding the Hearing Officer and that the record did not support a finding for Board disqualification. (DBF 123)

The Board’s calculation of the disciplinary cases at bar is based on the most egregious conduct as follows:

In ODC 16-O-147 Respondent victimized his clients Mr. and Mrs. Robert Andia by overcharging $19,885.00 for his associates and by falsifying his legal research expense. He forged their signatures on their settlement check, deposited it into his CTA, and withdrew for himself a substantial portion of the funds all without the knowledge or consent of his clients. (DBF 71, FOF 61-121).

In ODC 16-O-326 Respondent did not provide a requested timely accounting, paid himself unearned fees from the client trust account (DBF 71, FOF 150-152), and personally billed for over 30 hours on a single day (DBF 48 p. 1021, Resp. Hrg. Part 1, Exhibit 1).

The Board did not determine which case was more egregious as there was overlapping misconduct.

4. Relevant aggravating or mitigating factors: The Board accepts the Hearing Officer’s finding of no factors in mitigation. (DBF 71 ¶ 207). The Board also accepts the Hearing Officer’s findings of factors in aggravation:

• Dishonest or Selfish Motive (DBF 71 ¶ 201)

• A Pattern of Misconduct (DBF 71 ¶202; see also CAAP-18-0000118 Order 5/17/19)

• Multiple Offenses (DBF 71 ¶ 203)

• Bad Faith Obstruction of the Disciplinary Process (DBF 71 ¶ 204)

• Refusal to Acknowledge Wrongful Nature of Conduct (DBF 71 ¶ 205)

• Substantial Experience in the Practice of Law (DBF 71 ¶ 206)

• Prior Disciplinary Offenses (DBF 71 ¶ 200)

D. RECOMMENDED DISCIPLINE

Based upon the accepted Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Matters in Aggravation and Mitigation, review of the records, and analysis of the relevant standards, the following discipline is recommended: DISBARMENT.

---30---

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