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  1. Business

Lawyer accused in DUI setup puts St. Petersburg home on market for $2.9 million

Lawyer Robert Adams could lose his license to practice law. 

ST. PETERSBURG — Robert Adams, one of three lawyers accused of participating in a drunken driving setup, has put his St. Petersburg home on the market for $2.9 million.

Adams, who could lose his license to practice law, said Monday that the decision to sell had nothing to do with a bruising battle to clear his name.

"The sale of my home is absolutely not related to legal fees incurred in the Bar proceedings," Adams said in an email. Instead, he and his wife have found the 7,000-square-foot house on Snell Isle "simply too much for two people with our boys becoming of high school and college age."

The Florida Bar has accused Adams and colleagues Stephen Diaco and Adam Filthaut of conspiring to have attorney C. Philip Campbell arrested for driving under the influence and removed from a multimilllion-dollar defamation lawsuit against one of their clients, radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

When the case went to trial in 2013, Campbell was representing Clem's broadcast rival, Todd "MJ" Schnitt.

If Adams, Diaco and Filthaut are found responsible, they could be permanently disbarred. A referee who heard days of seamy testimony in the Bar's case against them is expected to make his recommendation soon on what punishment, if any, the three should face.

A Tampa lawyer who has defended other lawyers accused of professional misconduct said Bar cases can be "phenomenally expensive."

"It would be surprising to me if the defense (of Adams, Diaco and Filthaut) hadn't strapped everybody involved," said Scott Tozian, who has represented Campbell. "This has gone on a long time and a lot of work has gone into it. It's hard to imagine they haven't all taken a tremendous financial hit."

The Tampa homes of Filthaut and Diaco are not on the market, according to the Multiple Listing Service.

Adams and his wife bought their waterfront mansion on Coffee Pot Bayou for $2.4 million in 2007. Records show they owe about $2 million, most of it on a mortgage they took out in December.

The house, with a gated driveway, has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen and a wine cellar. What the listing calls a "tropical paradise" outside includes a large pool and spa, a dock and two boat lifts.

Built in 1959, "the home is one of the most unique and beautiful homes in St. Petersburg as the listing reflects," Adams said in his email. It is currently one of the most expensive homes listed in the St. Petersburg area.

Adams, 46, graduated from Stetson University College of Law and was admitted to the Bar in 1996. He said he and his wife plan to divide their time between St. Petersburg and Florida's east coast, though he did not say where.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at smartin@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.

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