Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Hillsborough

Florida Bar moves to suspend lawyer facing 31 complaints. But no one can find him.

José Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, abandoned his law practice, according to the petition from the Florida Bar.
The Florida Bar wants the state’s highest court to immediately suspend the law license of Tampa attorney Jose Angel Toledo, ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo. [FACEBOOK PAGE | Su Abogado Hispano]
Published Oct. 22
Updated Oct. 23

Click here to read this story in Spanish

TAMPA ― The Florida Bar wants the state’s highest court to immediately suspend a Tampa attorney’s law license after he failed to respond to complaints that he stopped communicating with clients and withheld settlement money.

José Angel Toledo is the subject of 31 disciplinary complaints filed with the Bar by his clients and one medical provider, according to a petition the Bar filed Friday with the Florida Supreme Court. Toledo “appears to be causing great public harm,” according to the petition.

Toledo, 45, is the ex-husband of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Tampa Republican. The two have four children together and were married about 13 years before she filed for divorce in 2017, according to court records. The divorce was declared final Oct. 8.

Jackie Toledo did not respond to requests from the Times for comment.

A warrant has been issued for José Toledo’s arrest for contempt of court over his failure to pay his ex-wife $122,000 in overdue family support, according to court records. Her lawyers filed a document in August saying they believe he may have left the country. Jackie Toledo has no idea where he is, according to the records.

Jose Toledo of Tampa has advertised his law practice extensively on billboards and broadcast commercials. [Facebook]

Toledo advertises on Spanish-language TV and on billboards as “Su Abogado Hispano,” your hispanic lawyer. His practice areas include personal injury, workers compensation, immigration, bankruptcy and criminal defense.

The complaints against José Toledo say he stopped responding to client inquiries and failed to distribute funds in legal settlements. The complaints echo one another, with some clients saying they never received money from settlements and others saying they had trouble getting in touch with him.

Calls to his law firm eventually rang to a disconnected line, according to the complaints.

The Bar started looking into the complaints in July. The petition says an investigator has been unable to locate or contact José Toledo.

Some clients retained another attorney, Jose De Jesus Aguilera, but he also has been unable to reach Toledo, the petition said. In July, Aguilera made several trips to Toledo’s law office at 5631 Hoover Blvd., but each time the lights were off and the door was locked.

Later that month, Toledo was served with a subpoena to produce his firm’s bank records by Aug. 1, according to court records. He asked for and was given an extension until Aug. 5.

In the 2½ months since then, the Bar hasn’t received a response from him.

The landlord at Toledo’s law office had him evicted in late September. The eviction complaint says Toledo hadn’t paid his rent since January. Days later, a Bar investigator entered the office and found nine filing cabinets and six credenzas filled with clients’ files.

The Florida Bar is looking for Tampa attorney José Toledo, shown here with his wife Jackie Toledo before she ran for state Legislature and before they divorced. [MYRIAM WARREN | Times (2014)]

The Bar’s petition accuses Toledo of seven violations of rules governing the legal profession. The Bar also has asked the Florida Supreme Court to order him not to touch any client funds. If a lawyer is found to have misappropriated client money, the Bar helps provide compensation through a Clients’ Security Fund.

A document filed in August by a lawyer for Jackie Toledo says it is believed José Toledo consulted with other attorneys about transferring his cases to them in order to avoid disclosing his full income as part of the divorce case.

Other court records describe a precarious financial situation.

During their marriage, the couple “enjoyed a very high standard of living,” according to a judge’s order in the divorce case. Their living expenses in 2016 totaled almost $800,000. They owned multiple homes and sent their children to a private school, paying tuition of about $50,000 a year.

The judge’s order states that most of their income was from Jose Toledo’s law practice.

José Toledo was ordered to pay his ex-wife $20,000 a month in temporary support. At one point, he was in arrears more than $188,000. Some of that was paid off and Toledo was ordered to pay the remaining $122,000 by the end of 2019, but has not done so.

Jackie Toledo expressed concerns in court about her ex-husband’s abuse of alcohol and drugs and a judge questioned Jose Toledo’s behavior around his children, saying he has not demonstrated an ability to properly care for them, according to court records.

For his part, José Toledo accused his ex-wife of causing disruptions at his law office by showing up unannounced, according to the records.

Tampa police arrested Toledo at his New Tampa home in March on a charge of domestic battery involving a woman described as his girlfriend. An arrest report says they were living together when he struck her during an argument. The State Attorney’s Office later dropped the charge.

In August, the owner of the New Tampa home filed suit against Toledo, saying he had failed to pay rent and had caused “extensive physical damage” to the property before moving out.

A notice in the court file indicates that a process server located Toledo on Sept. 28 at an address in Miami. He was given a copy of the lawsuit complaint and a summons. It was unclear if he is still there.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Jose Vasquez, Jr., 22, of Tampa was charged with manslaughter on Monday after a man he fought outside the Brandon Crossroads bowling alley on Nov. 10, 2019 died from his injuries, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    The man Jose Vasquez, Jr. fought outside of Brandon Crossroads hit his head twice on the pavement and died on Saturday, deputies said.
  2. Earlier today• Hillsborough
    Beau, Vivi, Peter and Meredith are available for adoption at Tampa Bay area shelters. Times
    Tampa Bay area shelter pets
  3. Philanthropist David Straz Jr. and his wife Catherine celebrate in March after he advanced into the Tampa mayoral run-off election. Mr. Straz has died at the age of 77. TAILYR IRVINE  |  Times
    The former mayoral candidate who lost to Tampa Mayor Jane Castor earlier this year, died Monday while on a fishing trip in Homosassa. His name, and legacy, are integral to Tampa.
  4. Jimi Hendrix fan Chase Corley worked to raise money online for a historical marker honoring his guitar idol. GoFundMe.com
    The historical marker is the first in the Tampa area to honor a musician. Credit the man who founded the UT guitar club.
  5. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. Tampa Bay Times
    The teens were waiting for a HART bus when they were struck by a vehicle involved in a chain-reaction crash, police said.
  6. An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that two-thirds of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, or about 9 million people who don’t receive low-income subsidies, will see their monthly premium increase for next year if they stay in their current plan. To sort through your options, visit the Times' Medicare guide at tampabay.com/news/health or contact Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, a state program commonly known as SHINE. Contact them at 1-800-963-5337 or information@elderaffairs.org. MICHELE MILLER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    About 9 million people with Medicare Part D plans will see higher premiums if they don’t make a change before Dec. 7, a new study says.
  7. The Jackson House in downtown Tampa in February. The historic building was a rooming home for African Americans including celebrities during the segregation era. On Monday, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik announced a $1 million gift toward its preservation. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    The gift from the Tampa Bay Lightning owner and his wife will help preserve the African American landmark in Tampa.
  8. Much work has been completed on the Selmon Extension project, but we still have a way to go before the construction and ongoing detours on Gandy Boulevard end by the projected fall 2020 completion date. MONIQUE WELCH  |  Monique Welch | Times
    The ongoing project along Gandy Boulevard began in February but still has a lot of work left before its projected fall 2020 completion date.
  9. In this file photo, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is announcing arrests in a sting operation that targeted unlicensed contractors. [Times (2018)]
    Monday morning, Sheriff Chad Chronister will announce the results.
  10. Hillsborough County deputies are seeking a man and woman suspected of using a stolen credit card. They are shown here in screenshots taken from surveillance video at a Walmart in Seffner, one of six stores where the credit card was used. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Surveillance video shows two people leaving a Walmart in Seffner with a shopping cart full of merchandise.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement