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Justices fine Bloomington lawyer, suspend Indy attorney

January 30, 2014

The Indiana Supreme Court has fined a Monroe County attorney for practicing law while suspended. This week, the justices also suspended an Indianapolis attorney who pleaded guilty to felony wire fraud.

The justices Monday found Bloomington attorney David E. Schalk in contempt. Schalk was suspended in May 2013 for at least nine months. He was convicted of Class A attempted possession of marijuana after trying to set up a drug buy in 2007 with state witnesses in his client’s trial for dealing in methamphetamine. Schalk wanted to prove a witness was still dealing drugs.

The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in February 2011.

The Disciplinary Commission asserted in September 2013 that Schalk violated the suspension order by, among other things, representing two people in a guardianship proceeding. Schalk denied any misconduct.

Schalk worked on the matter before his suspension. Afterward, he filed documents in July and September 2013 purportedly as a pro se, pro bono litigant acting on behalf of the ward. He provided his attorney number under his signature line on the filings, did not withdraw his appearance on behalf of his clients, and he asserted he was acting on behalf of someone other than himself, the order notes.

For violating the suspension order, the justices imposed a $500 fine which must be paid within 60 days from Jan. 27.

On Monday, the justices also issued an order immediately suspending Indianapolis attorney Paul J. Page’s law license. Page, of Pittman & Page, pleaded guilty in 2013 to one count of wire fraud in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Indiana. He agreed to testify if called against co-defendants John M. Bales, a real estate broker, and Bales partner William E. Spencer in a Northern District case.

A 14-count indictment in South Bend alleged Page, Bales and Spencer defrauded the state and a bank over their purchase of a building in Elkhart and a subsequent lease deal with the state's Department of Child Services. A jury found Bales and Spencer not guilty.

Page was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for concealing the source of a $362,000 down payment on his purchase of the state-leased office building in Elkhart.

Page, also a developer, filed personal bankruptcy earlier this month.

Because of the felony conviction, the Disciplinary Commission asked the justices to enter the interim suspension. It shall continue until further order of the court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action.

Justice Mark Massa did not participate in the disciplinary order.

 

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