Saturday, August 18, 2012

Attorney's disciplinary hearing delayed: Foothills Regional Airport (KMRN), Morganton, North Carolina

By: Julie N. Chang | Morganton News Herald 
 Published: August 18, 2012

Morganton --   A disciplinary hearing in front of the North Carolina State Bar has been delayed for a Burke County attorney who is already under a stayed five-year suspension.

Clyde Gary Triggs was scheduled to appear before the Disciplinary Hearing Commission on Thursday, but his hearing was continued and rescheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 20.

In addition to his upcoming disciplinary hearing, Triggs may play a role when the FBI completes its investigation at Foothills Regional Airport.

Triggs is a registered agent for Burkemont Service Center of Morganton, which was one of several businesses listed in an attachment to the FBI’s search and seizure warrant served June 5. Agents seized documents related to Burkemont Service Center, which is owned by Foothills Regional Authority board member Randy Hullette.

RANMAC and Hullette Aviation, other businesses owned by Hullette, are also named in the warrant.

Hullette has retained Triggs in the past, acquiring his services to file a lien against Foothills Flying Club, resulting in a default judgment awarding Hullette $9,918.25.

Triggs is also professionally linked to former airport manager Alex Nelson, who, with former airport employee Brad Adkins, is explicitly named in the FBI warrant. The warrant called for records involving Nelson and Adkins.

Triggs is a registered agent for South ATC Enterprises, which was incorporated Aug. 25, 2011 by Alex and Tammy Nelson of Lenoir.

The N.C. State Bar’s amended complaint against Triggs, filed on July 6, 2011, includes nine claims for relief concerning clients and their cases spanning from 2004 to 2011. Triggs is accused of violating several Rules of Professional Conduct.

The bar claims Triggs has failed to act with reasonable diligence in several cases, failed to keep his clients informed about the status of their cases, violated several rules by filing a client’s pleading with false verification, failed to surrender a client’s file materials, failed to promptly respond to reasonable requests for information and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, deceit and misrepresentation by concealing information.

Triggs filed a response in May 2011 and an amended response Aug. 11 to address the ninth claim. He denies that he violated any Rules of Professional Conduct and makes a motion to dismiss the claims.

Triggs’s filing admits to many of the paragraphs in the bar’s complaint, such as factual information regarding the existence of an attorney-client relationship and information established by dated documents.

The Hildebran attorney also denies many of the claims, such as his failure to respond to clients, his alleged responses to clients or his failure to respond to clients’ requests.

The disciplinary committee in 2008 stayed his five-year suspension upon several conditions including that he not violate any provision of the revised Rules of Professional Conduct.

At the time, the committee found that Triggs had experienced, beginning or before 1996, “chronic cash flow problems,” according to the findings of fact the bar filed. “Triggs frequently borrowed money from clients, employees and others to cover payroll checks to his employees and to pay other office expenses.”

The committee chose to suspend Trigg’s law license but stayed the suspension after it concluded that Triggs had failed to promptly pay the IRS funds withheld from paychecks of his law firm’s employees, failed to maintain a sufficient balance in his trust account at all times to cover the amount required to pay a client’s subcontractors, used his client’s money for purposes other than disbursing to subcontractors, entered a business transaction with a client and failed to communicate the terms of the loan agreements in writing, filed to advise a client to seek the advice of independent legal counsel on transactions and failed to obtain a client’s informed consent in writing to the essential terms of the transactions.

The committee included several terms and conditions for Triggs to adhere to in order for the suspension to remain stayed. Those included, but weren’t limited to, paying fees, paying the IRS, retaining an accountant and submitting to random audits.

Triggs also has been censured twice by the Grievance Committee of the N.C. State Bar.

According to the bar, “a censure is a written form of discipline more serious than a reprimand, issued in cases in which an attorney has violated one or more provisions of the Rules of Professional Conduct and has caused significant harm or potential significant harm to a client, the administration of justice, the profession or a member of the public, but the misconduct does not require suspension of the attorney’s license.”

The grievance committee first censured Triggs in 1996 for borrowing money from his clients and entering loan transactions that were not fair to his clients.

The committee censured him again in 2009 for several violations including charging a client for time spent drafting and filing a motion to withdraw from a case, refusal to respond to repeated requests from a client for his own files, arranging a “clearly excessive fee” and failure to adequately explain his fees.


No comments:

Post a Comment