The state Supreme Court should readmit former Monroe City Councilman Arthur Gilmore Jr., who was convicted in 2013 for taking bribes, to the practice of law under a three-year probation period, the state Attorney Disciplinary Board says.
The Supreme Court disbarred Gilmore in 2016, because of Gilmore’s conviction under the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, Act.
After considering evidence from a hearing committee meeting in August 2018 as well as considering Gilmore’s appeal last month, the Attorney Disciplinary Board filed its recommendation to reinstate Gilmore in a Dec. 21, 2018 filing.
Some Attorney Disciplinary Board members opposed the recommendation for Gilmore’s readmission, arguing his conviction for an act of public corruption undermined the public’s trust in government and the legal profession.
“There is nothing in the record of these proceedings which would lead me to change that recommendation (that Gilmore be disbarred),” said Attorney Disciplinary Board member Brian Landry. “Public corruption in any form is the misuse of a public or government office for private gain. When Mr. Gilmore accepted bribes as a member of the city council, he violated this basic tenet of government.”
The conditions of Gilmore’s readmission, if approved by the Supreme Court, included Gilmore’s obligation to pay two consent judgments, meet other financial obligations and debts, provide copies of his monthly trust account statements, complete an ethics program, and avoid any acts of misconduct.
“Considering Petitioner’s disbarment was based on his committing bribery, the fact that he already has two civil judgments pending against him in suits on open accounts, and that uncontrolled personal debt could potentially make him susceptible to further misconduct, the Board believes that the financial oversight requirements detailed below would be reasonable and appropriate and recommends same,” stated the Attorney Disciplinary Board’s recommendation.
The Attorney Disciplinary Board’s filing noted that the Office of Disciplinary Counsel did not object to Gilmore’s readmission under a probation period.
Six members of the Attorney Disciplinary Board signed off on the recommendation to reinstate Gilmore while three board members opposed Gilmore’s readmission. The Attorney Disciplinary Board members who signed off on the recommendation included Pamela Carter, Sheila O’Leary, Dominick Scandurro Jr., Melissa Theriot, Charles Williamson Jr., and Danna Schwab.
Three members of the Attorney Disciplinary Board dissented from the recommendation: Landry, Linda Bizzarro, and Evans Spiceland Jr.
In her written reasons, Bizzarro indicated the testimony of witnesses did little to show Gilmore had the “requisite honesty and integrity to practice law.”
“Many of the witnesses testifying on his behalf said they had not been in contact with, or had limited contact with Mr. Gilmore since his disbarment and he admitted to such lack of recent contact in his sworn statement,” Bizzarro said. “One witness implied that the federal criminal conviction was not significant because it was based on only (two) occasions with a small amount of money.”
In his written reasons, Spiceland said there were high standards for those in the legal profession as well as even higher standards for those in elected office.
“Once violated it is a very difficult attribute to recover,” Spiceland said. “I see insufficient evidence that Mr. Gilmore has exhibited convincing evidence that would sway my opinion.”
In U.S.A. v. Robert “Red” Stevens and Arthur Gilmore Jr., former Monroe City Councilman Robert “Red” Stevens pleaded guilty to violating the RICO Act in May 2013 while a jury found Gilmore guilty in September 2013 of accepting cash bribe payments in violation of the RICO Act.
A federal grand jury indicted Gilmore for engaging in a racketeering enterprise in 2010. At the time, Gilmore was a member of the Monroe City Council and also worked as an assistant district attorney under then-Fourth Judicial District Attorney Jerry Jones.
The charges stemmed from Gilmore’s acceptance of money from Monroe businessman Eddie Hakim —who was the government’s key witness — in exchange for favorable votes on zoning and contract matters before the City Council. For example, in a recorded conversation from 2008, Gilmore discussed some business matters pending before the City Council that involved Hakim. During the recorded conversation, Gilmore said he was still taking campaign contributions (after his re-election).
“After (Gilmore) mentioned the campaign contributions, the developer (Hakim) gave (Gilmore) $1,000 saying all he asked for was a fair shake and that (Gilmore) do something for him to which (Gilmore) replied, ‘No problem,’” stated the Attorney Disciplinary Board’s filing.
Though Gilmore was found guilty of racketeering, he was acquitted of extortion. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of probation.
A federal appeals court upheld Gilmore’s conviction in November 2014, and he received early release from his three-year probation in late 2016.
In October 2016, the state Supreme Court disbarred Gilmore from the practice of law, though the disbarment was not permanent.