BY BUDDY NEVINS
A Broward School Board candidate was suspended from the practice of law last year for charging an excessive fee and not doing any work.
Nick Steffens‘ client filed a complaint with the Florida Bar. When Bar investigators asked Steffens about the case, he ignored their questions, according to a consent agreement he signed.
Steffens was also accused in the complaint of agreeing to drop a Bar complaint against another lawyer in return for a legal settlement.
He agreed to a 10-day suspension, to repay his client $5,000 and to pay for the Florida Bar investigation. He was also ordered to attend the Bar’s monitoring and treatment program for those with personal problems.
In the consent agreement signed Sept. 7, 2011, Steffens blamed his wrongdoing on “economic strain” and “anxiety” over his spouse’s loss of a job.
The dry language of the Florida Bar complaint describes what Steffens, the respondent, is accused of doing:
(The) “respondent wrote a letter to opposing counsel agreeing to the withdrawal of a Bar complaint by his client, if a settlement was reached. A Bar grievance was filed, as a result. The respondent failed to respond to The Florida Bar inquiries concerning his improper letter. As to Florida Bar File No. 2011- 50,776(17F), the respondent represented Stewart Huffaker concerning a mortgage audit matter and received a fee of $5,000.00. The respondent did not perform any services and was discharged. Despite multiple requests, the respondent failed to return the fee and a Bar grievance was filed. The respondent failed to respond to Bar inquiries concerning his lack of diligence and failure to return a fee. As to Florida Bar File No. 2011-51,226(17F)OSC, as indicated in the aforementioned cases, the respondent failed to respond to official inquiries by bar counsel.”
He broke six of the Florida Bar’s ethics rules, according to the complaint and consent agreement.
Steffens did not answer an e-mail for comment.
A Democratic political activist, jumped into the race for an open Northwest Broward School Board District 4. There are now six candidates.
The other candidates are Louis Kushner, Andrew Landanowski, Jaemi Levine, Robert Mayersohn and Rochelle “Shelly” Solomon.