Yesterday evening, Legal Times reporter Jeff Jeffrey reported that at-large council candidate Dee Hunter is facing strong reprimand from the D.C. Bar Counsel for, among other things, allegedly keeping settlement proceeds without informing his clients.
Bar counsel accuses Hunter of violating a number of ethical rules, including committing criminal acts (forgery and theft), misappropriating funds, failing to maintain complete and accurate financial records, and “engaging in conduct that involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit and/or misrepresentation.” The charges carry a maximum penalty of disbarment.
Now Hunter isn’t the only candidate to have a history before the bar counsel. When running for mayor in 2006, it came out that Adrian M. Fenty had been lightly reprimanded for mishandling the affairs of an elderly client. The charges against Hunter are more serious.
Hunter did not immediately return a phone call from LL. Here’s what he told Jeffery:
“These allegations are completely, absolutely, 100 percent untrue,” Hunter said. “It’s hard to think it’s a coincidence that they’re coming out days before the election. After the hearing, it will be clear that I’ve done nothing wrong.”[…]
Hunter declined to go into detail about the bar counsel charges, saying only when dealing with a heavy caseload “sometimes things fall through the cracks.”
“In my career, I’ve had times where I had a caseload of hundreds of cases,” Hunter says. “I was acting as attorney, paralegal, secretary, bookkeeper, and file clerk. Under these circumstances, did I make some mistakes? Yes. Did I ever do anything intentionally wrong? Never.”
Hunter also ran into the legal system earlier this year, when a woman filed for a stay-away order against him after a Jan. 2 altercation. That petition was eventually denied by a Superior Court judge.
His troubles don’t end there: Hunter is also having his ballot petitions challenged by former at-large candidate Adam Clampitt, now a supporter of fellow independent Michael A. Brown. In a conversation with LL last week, Hunter said he believed Clampitt’s challenge would be summarily dismissed. A pre-hearing on the matter is scheduled for today.
UPDATE, 4:05 P.M.: Clampitt’s claim has been dismissed, says Board of Elections and Ethics spokesperson Dan Murphy. Clampitt did not challenge enough signatures to potentially take Hunter below the 3,000 necessary, so Hunter will appear on the November ballot.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery