Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Seven Tampa Bay lawyers disciplined by state Bar

TAMPA — Seven bay area lawyers are among those disciplined by the state Supreme Court during January, the Florida Bar announced Monday.

Warren Jay Knaust of St. Petersburg and Bruce Gregory Kaufmann of Clearwater were disbarred and can no longer practice law in the state.

The ruling came after Knaust pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit wire fraud affecting a financial institution, the announcement said. Kaufmann was accused of engaging in an intentional pattern of obtaining fees, controlling assets and forcing individuals to pay him before he would resign as trustee. Kaufmann also charged excessive fees, had conflicts of interest and used information obtained from clients to his benefit, the announcement said.

Both lawyers must wait five years to reapply.

The following five lawyers, according to the announcement, received public reprimands or suspensions:

• James Daniel Eckert of St. Petersburg was reprimanded after he wrote a letter threatening to sue a person who filed a complaint against him with the Bar unless the person withdrew it and apologized in writing.

• Thomas P. Fox of Tampa was suspended for 45 days and placed on a three-year probation for failing to diligently represent clients in seven cases. In many instances, Fox failed to keep clients informed, charged excessive fees and failed to communicate.

• David Eric Hammer of Lutz was reprimanded for acting contrary to his obligations to clients in two cases. In one instance, Hammer failed to participate in discovery and failed to appear at a deposition after the court denied his motion to withdraw.

• James M. Thomas of Dunedin was reprimanded and must complete ethics school after he was found guilty of professional misconduct for failing to keep a client reasonably informed and reasonably consulted about means to accomplish the client's objectives.

• Stephen G. Watts of Clearwater was reprimanded after he allowed his legal assistant to prepare a trust document for a client who insisted on making bequests to him and his wife.

Seven Tampa Bay lawyers disciplined by state Bar 02/28/11 [Last modified: Monday, February 28, 2011 11:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. North Korean missile launch may be testing rivals, not technology


    SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea's latest missile test Monday may have less to do with perfecting its weapons technology than with showing U.S. and South Korean forces in the region that it can strike them at will.

    A woman watches a TV screen showing a file footage of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Monday,. North Korea fired a short-range ballistic missile that landed in Japan's maritime economic zone Monday, officials said, the latest in a string of test launches as the North seeks to build nuclear-tipped ICBMs that can reach the U.S. mainland. [AP Photo/Lee Jin-man]
  2. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Samantha Bee on Florida felonies

    State Roundup

    Comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Florida, where she says "retirees and democracy go to die," to shed light on how the state makes it difficult for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Samantha Bee hosts Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Bee portrayed some of Florida’s felonies as not so serious on her show.
  3. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year


    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  4. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'


    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. []
  5. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]