Saturday, July 22, 2006
Look Who's Controlling WAIF: Donald Shabazz's History File
Who should be running a community radio station, a disbarred attorney, or someone who has a clean background and history? Well unfortunately, the history files of several WAIF board members brings into question several speculative thoughts. Is Donald Shabazz running WAIF the way in which he ran his law practice, the way he treated his clients or lets just assume a combination of the two.

For your own good, I would encourage you to read this entire entry and learn of WAIF's current chairman of the Board. Dispicable!


SUPREME COURT OF OHIO, JANUARY TERM, 1995 [74 Ohio St.3d 24]

CINCINNATI BAR ASSOCIATION v. SHABAZZ.

(Case No. 94-2668--Submitted September 12, 1995--Decided November 8, 1995.)

HEADNOTES: Attorneys at law--Misconduct--Permanent disbarment--Conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation--Conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law--Practicing without license--Disobedience of order of suspension--Significant history of professional misconduct.

PRIOR HISTORY: ON CERTIFIED REPORT by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court, No. 94-55.

In February 1993, respondent, Donald A. Shabazz, last known address in Cincinnati, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0024227, was suspended from the practice of law in Ohio for two years, the second year of which was suspended in favor of a monitored probation period, after he was found in violation of DR 6-101(A)(3) (neglect of a legal matter), 9-102(A) (commingling funds), 9-102(B)(3) (failure to promptly account for client's funds), and Gov.Bar R. VI (failure to register as an attorney). See Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1993), 66 Ohio St. 3d 4, 607 N.E.2d 438. On May 4, 1994, the stay of the second year of respondent's suspension period was revoked due to the certification of further findings of misconduct and recommendations of suspension against him, and due to his failure to pay sanctions issued for noncompliance with Continuing Legal Education requirements. See Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1994), 69 Ohio St. 3d 1431, 631 N.E.2d 641. On July 13, 1994, respondent was suspended from the practice of law for an additional six months for further violations of DR 6-101(A)(3) and 9-102(B)(3). Respondent was ordered to serve the six-month suspension after he served the suspension issued in 1993, and he was required to subsequently submit to a one-year monitored probation period. Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1994), 69 Ohio St. 3d 535, 634 N.E.2d 994.

On August 15, 1994, relator, Cincinnati Bar Association, charged respondent with further professional misconduct, this time involving violations of, inter alia, DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving fraud, deceit, dishonesty, or misrepresentation), 1-102(A)(6) (conduct adversely reflecting on fitness to practice law), and 3-101(B) (practicing without license in violation of professional regulations), and Gov.Bar R. V(6)(A)(1) (disobedience of order of suspension). Respondent was served notice of the complaint, but did not answer. A panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court ("board") considered the matter on relator's motion for default, filed pursuant to Gov.Bar R. V(6)(F).

Respondent [Donald Shabazz] acknowledged in writing during relator's investigation that (1) he had prepared a letter for certain clients in a contract dispute in November 1993, while his license was under suspension; (2) he had signed the letter using the name of another attorney without that attorney's authority; (3) he had received $ 150 in payment from the clients for whom he prepared the letter; and (4) he had subsequently prepared a complaint for filing in common pleas court on their behalf. The panel considered respondent's acknowledgment prima-facie evidence of misconduct and concluded that relator had otherwise complied with Gov.Bar V(6)(F).

Accordingly, the panel granted the motion for default and found respondent in violation of the Disciplinary Rules cited in the complaint. It rejected the sanction suggested by relator--permanent disbarment--and recommended that respondent receive an indefinite suspension from the practice of law. The board adopted the panel's report, including its findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation.

OPINIONBY: Per Curiam.

OPINION: Upon review of the record, we concur in the board's findings that respondent violated DR 1-102(A)(4), 1-102(A)(6), and 3-101(B), as well as Gov.Bar V(6)(A)(1). However, we cannot concur in the recommendation to impose an indefinite suspension. In Disciplinary Counsel v. McDonald (1995), 71 Ohio St. 3d 628, 629, 646 N.E.2d 819, 820, we disbarred an attorney on motion for default, despite the board's recommendation to indefinitely suspend, because he had a significant history of professional misconduct and had ignored our previous order of suspension. McDonald requires the same sanction here. THEREFORE, WE ORDER THAT RESPONDENT [DONALD SHABAZZ] BE PERMANENTLY DISBARRED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN OHIO. Costs taxed to respondent.

DISPOSITION: Judgment accordingly.

JUDGES: MOYER, C.J., DOUGLAS, WRIGHT, RESNICK, F.E. SWEENEY, PFEIFER and COOK, JJ., concur.

COUNSEL: Klaine, Wiley, Hoffman & Muerer and Franklin A. Klaine, Jr.; Lindhorst & Dreidame Co., L.P.A., and James L. O'Connell, for relator.

------------

SUPREME COURT OF OHIO, JANUARY TERM, 1994 [69 Ohio St.3d 535]

CINCINNATI BAR ASSOCIATION v. SHABAZZ.

(Case No. 94-553--Submitted May 10, 1994--Decided July 13, 1994.)

HEADNOTES: Attorneys at law -- Misconduct -- Six-month suspension to be served consecutively to prior suspension with one year of monitored probation to follow -- Failure to pay client's subrogated medical bills after retaining an amount from settlement to pay them.

PRIOR HISTORY: On Certified Report by the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court, No. 93-27.

On February 24, 1993, this court suspended respondent, Donald A. Shabazz of Cincinnati, Ohio, Attorney Registration No. 0024227, for two years for multiple violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Cincinnati Bar Assn. v. Shabazz (1993), 66 Ohio St.3d 4, 607 N.E.2d 438. Following the first year of the suspension, the remainder of the suspension was to be stayed and respondent would be placed on monitored probation for the balance of the sanction.

In a complaint filed June 21, 1993, relator, Cincinnati Bar Association, charged respondent with one count of misconduct, alleging that he had violated DR 1-102(A)(4) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation), 6-101(A)(3) (neglecting a legal matter entrusted to him), 7-101(A)(1) (failing to seek the lawful objectives of his client), 7-101(A)(2) (failing to carry out a contract of employment for professional services), 7-101(A)(3) (causing prejudice or damage to one's client during the course of the professional relationship), and 9-102(B)(3) (failing to maintain complete records of all funds of a client coming into possession of the lawyer and render appropriate accounts to his client regarding them).
An evidentiary hearing on the matter was held before a panel of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline of the Supreme Court ("board") on February 11, 1994. The stipulations, testimony, and documentary evidence indicated that in 1989, Natalie Young retained respondent to represent her in an automobile accident case. As a result of the accident, Young incurred medical bills totalling $ 563.80. On July 23, 1991, through respondent's efforts, Young's personal injury claim was settled for $ 5,150. At the time of the foregoing settlement, respondent received his one-third contingency fee of $ 1,716 and retained an additional $ 563 to pay the subrogated medical bills, remitting the balance of the settlement to Young.

When respondent failed to pay the medical bills, Health Care Recoveries, Inc. sent him a statement dated July 8, 1992 concerning the unpaid balance. Respondent could not recall receiving this statement. In January and February 1993, Young received collection letters concerning the unpaid medical bills. Young contacted respondent's office several times by telephone but respondent never returned her calls. Respondent claimed that he never received any messages from Young about the medical bills. Young filed a grievance with relator on March 10, 1993. On April 15, 1993, relator advised respondent that Young's complaint had been filed against him. On April 19, 1993, respondent sent a cashier's check in the amount of $ 563.80 to Health Care Recoveries, Inc.

In mitigation, respondent [Donald Shabazz] claimed that during the time of the settlement, he was under a great deal of stress as a result of his prior disciplinary proceeding and difficulties with his former law partner. Respondent further testified that he had experienced a large turnover of secretarial staff and that he was unaware that Young's medical bills had not been paid until being contacted by relator in April 1993, at which time he promptly remitted the full amount. Relator recommended that respondent be indefinitely suspended, and respondent requested a public reprimand.

The panel concluded that respondent had violated DR 6-101(A)(3) and 9-102(B)(3), and recommended the imposition of an additional six-month suspension to be served consecutively to respondent's prior sentence, with the existing one-year monitored probation to follow. The board adopted the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of the panel, and further recommended that costs be taxed to respondent.

OPINIONBY: PER CURIAM.

OPINION: We concur in the findings and recommendation of the board. Donald A. Shabazz is hereby suspended from the practice of law for an additional six months, to be served consecutively to his prior suspension, with the one year of monitored probation to follow. Costs taxed to respondent.

DISPOSITION: Judgment accordingly.

JUDGES: Moyer, C.J., A.W. Sweeney, Douglas, Wright, Resnick, F.E. Sweeney and Pfeifer, JJ., concur.

COUNSEL: Klaine, Wiley, Hoffman & Meurer and Franklin A. Klaine, Jr.; Lindhorst & Driedame and James L. O'Connell, for relator.

Donald A. Shabazz, pro se.
posted by Derrick D. Blassingame @ 3:55 PM  
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WAIF in CityBeat
"Watching at WAIF," 2/22/06

"Letters," 3/01/06

"Naughty Stepchild," 5/03/06

"Letters," 5/10/06

"Letters," 5/19/06

WAIF at The Beacon
"Media Wars! WAIF v. CityBeat" 2/26/06

"Is Donald Shabazz Putting WAIF in Danger?" 2/28/06

"Complaints Filed With FCC," 4/01/06

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Updates in the fight to reform WAIF, a community radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio at 88.3FM.
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Derrick Blassingame and The Dean of Cincinnati are former WAIF hosts. They know first-hand some problems inside the organization. Both decided to contribute to this site, in an attempt to save Cincinnati's community radio station!

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