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Supreme Court suspends Spring Hill lawyer for three months

SPRING HILL — The Florida Supreme Court has suspended a Spring Hill lawyer for 91 days for engaging in actions that it said involved "dishonesty, fraud, deceit and misrepresentation" in a divorce case against his wife of seven years.

George Allen Routh, 82, who has practiced law in Florida for 53 years, was found culpable of infractions between 2005 and 2012 that occurred during the breakup of his marriage to Sarah Thompson. According to a complaint filed by the Florida Bar, many of Routh's actions were meant to deny his wife of her rightful benefit of joint assets.

In 1994, while Routh and Thompson were living together, the couple, who were in Pinellas County at the time, created a joint trust that included multiple marital assets, including a Safety Harbor office building she had owned since 1986, plus land in Pasco County. When the marriage began falling apart in 2005, Routh began transferring assets, without his wife's consent, from their joint trust into one he solely controlled.

In addition to cash and other jointly owned assets, Routh transferred the title to the Pasco land into his own trust, and later deeded the office building to his daughter, Jamie Cox. According to the complaint, Routh also loaned $283,000 in marital funds for a mortgage on Safety Harbor Complex LLC, which ultimately went to Cox. In divorce proceedings, Routh maintained that the promissory note for the $283,000 loan was not collectable for alimony purposes.

The court found that Routh repeatedly engaged in conduct that was both unlawful and contrary to honesty and justice.

A 1961 graduate of Stetson University College of Law, Routh's suspension began July 24.

The suspension was Routh's second by the Florida Bar. In 2000, he was suspended from practicing law for 30 days for failing to avoid a conflict of interest while representing a client in a guardianship matter.

Contact Logan Neill at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Supreme Court suspends Spring Hill lawyer for three months 08/04/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 4, 2014 9:34pm]
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