Court disbars Riverview lawyer; three others suspended

TAMPA — The Florida Bar announced Tuesday that four Tampa Bay area lawyers have been disciplined by the state Supreme Court.

The most serious punishment, disbarment, was levied against Heather Mary Ann Gray, 40, of Riverview.

Gray was suspended for three years in 2010 because clients, court officers and investigators could not reach her, according to records. Three clients said Gray took their money to file appeals but failed to file the motions in a timely fashion, if at all. Then, she didn't maintain communication with her clients or their families, according to a complaint.

Appeals court judges ordered Gray to file her appeals and motions on time for several cases, and to appear in court and explain why when she didn't. She failed to do either.

She also didn't respond to certified letters from the Bar or a hand-delivered letter from an investigator.

Then in February 2010, the Bar sent Gray a letter about another complaint filed against her, and she did not respond in the allotted time.

A referee recommended immediate disbarment.

Also disciplined:

• Randall Shanafelt, of Clearwater, was suspended for abandoning his practice for at least three months and not notifying the Bar that he was charged with domestic violence and battery on a law enforcement officer.

• Ryan Thomas Fasso, of Valrico, was suspended for six months for violating terms of an April 2010 suspension. The Bar said he didn't file his quarterly reports and contacted at least one client during his suspension.

• David Anthony Fontes, of Tampa, was suspended indefinitely and accused of misappropriating client trust funds.

Court disbars Riverview lawyer; three others suspended 02/28/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:32pm]

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