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Lawyers hit with misconduct charges

ASPEN The Colorado Supreme Court is seeking disciplinary action against two Aspen lawyers. The court filed a complaint in mid-May detailing 14 claims involving lack of diligence, fraud and dishonesty in testimony. The attorneys, Alan Feldman and Jeffrey Wertz, of the Allen, Wertz and Feldman law firm will appear at a status conference in the next few weeks, said a Supreme Court spokesman.Wertz said he plans to file a formal response to the complaint, but declined to discuss its contents. Feldman declined comment. The state’s high court issues a complaint only after a lengthy investigation and review by a committee. According to the Supreme Court’s website, by the time a formal complaint is made, private censure is ruled out, and the court has grounds for either public censure, suspension or disbarment.”It’s a complex process, and we certainly take the process very seriously,” said John Gleason, Supreme Court regulation counsel, whose office investigated the case for several months. “When it gets to this point it’s been through our investigation process.”According to the complaint, Felman and Dennis Barker began an attorney-client relationship when Barker, owner of Barker Gang Garage, was sued by his landlord for back rent. The first claim alleges that Feldman did not file a timely response to a motion and that left Barker without defense in the case. Soon after that, Barker obtained a patent for a retractable top for a Jeep that he invented. When Barker defaulted on a payment from the landlord case, the Supreme Court alleges that Feldman convinced Barker to form an LLC – Aspen Barker Top – for the patent, because otherwise the landlord would take the patent as payment. “Respondent Feldman knew that at that time the landlord had not obtained a judgment,” states the Supreme Court complaint. “His statement was dishonest.”The Supreme Court claims Feldman counseled Barker to convey the patent to a newly formed LLC though the conveyance violated a section of the Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act that states property cannot be transferred with intent to hinder, delay or defraud creditors. Once the new LLC was formed, the court claims Feldman and Wertz systematically took control of the company and edged Barker out – counter to the operating agreement of Aspen Barker Top. Barker said that since he had invested $250,000 in the patent, when he lost control of the patent he felt that the patent and invested cash had, in effect, been stolen. He is currently pursuing a civil case in Pitkin County District Court to regain control of the patent. Regulation Counsel Gleason said criminal charges are up to the local district attorney. Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols has not decided whether or not she will file criminal charges in the case. In the Supreme Court case, the heaviest judgment would have the result of disbarment. Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com


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