Justices suspend Portage attorney, former clerk-treasurer for conflict of interest conviction

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A northern Indiana attorney and former Portage clerk-treasurer has been placed under an interim suspension after being found guilty of felony conflict of interest.

Justices accepted the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission’s recommendation to immediately suspend Portage lawyer Christopher D. Stidham of Stidham Legal in an Aug. 10 order. 

His suspension will continue pending further order of the high court or final resolution of any resulting disciplinary action due to his guilty plea to Level 6 felony conflict of interest.

In his role as Portage clerk-treasurer, Stidham from January 2015 to December 2016 contracted with his then-girlfriend and current wife, Rachel E. Glass, on behalf of the clerk-treasurer’s office to perform bank reconcilement, migration of data and digitizing of certain record maintained by the office, according to court documents and a Northwest Indiana Times report. The value of the contracts was more than $250, for which Stidham failed to make written disclosures pursuant to Indiana Code § 35-44.1-1-4(d) or (e), court documents say. When the contracts were in effect, Stidham provided more than half of the support for Green.

Stidham “knowingly or intentionally had a pecuniary interest in a contract connected with an action by the City of Portage, said interest being that the contract resulted in an ascertainable increase in the net worth of R.G., a dependent of Christopher Stidham, in violation of Ind. Code § 35-44.1-1-4(b),” according to the plea agreement in State of Indiana v. Christopher Stidham, 64D05-2002-F6-001873.

The plea agreement, signed in April by Porter Superior Judge Jeffrey W. Clymer, ordered that Stidham serve one year in the Porter County jail with all time suspended to probation. He was also ordered to repay $56,564.55 before or at the time of sentencing.

“Respondent is ordered to fulfill the duties of a suspended attorney under Admission and Discipline Rule 23(26),” the Indiana justices wrote Tuesday in In the Matter of: Christopher D. Stidham, 21S-DI-304.

All justices concurred.

Stidham was admitted to the practice of law in Indiana in 2016 and has no prior discipline, according to the Indiana Roll of Attorneys.

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