Ingram files Florida Bar Ethics Complaint against Lee

Having watched the unfolding saga known as the Hillsborough County Commission the last few years, I have begun to wonder if you could write fiction as good as this. I mean seri0usly folks, we’ve got a commissioner who was convicted in civil court of sexual harassment (which county taxpayers are on the hook for to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars), a county administrator and county attorney who allegedly gave themselves secret pay-raises, and now we discover the same two clowns were inappropriately collecting e-mails involving them and an ongoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation. These people could make Congress blush.

Enough is enough. The culture of corruption and abuse of power by bureaucrats and elected officials must stop. 

By Chris Ingram 

Having watched the unfolding saga known as the Hillsborough County Commission the last few years, I have begun to wonder if you could write fiction as good as this. I mean seriously folks, we’ve got a commissioner who was convicted in civil court of sexual harassment (which county taxpayers are on the hook for to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars), a county administrator and county attorney who allegedly gave themselves secret pay-raises, and now we discover the same two clowns were inappropriately collecting e-mails involving them and an ongoing Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation. These people could make Congress blush. 

I for one have had enough. 

We elect the bozos who hire (and have the authority to fire) these people. So ultimately “we the people” are to blame if we wonder why these court jesters are still around come Friday. 

After watching the county commissioners do next to nothing (with the exception of Mark Sharpe up to this point), I took this issue into my own hands and have filed the following complaint against Hillsborough County Attorney Renee Lee with the Florida Bar. 

If you too have had enough, contact your county commissioner at (813) 272-5660 and tell them to fire Pat Bean and Renee Lee — and if they don’t, tell them you plan to fire them come next election whatever they are running for! 

The complaint against Ms. Lee is below. If there were an organization that oversaw the “ethics” of Pat Bean, I’d be filing a complaint against her too.  

 The Florida Bar Inquiry/Complaint Form 

PART ONE:  Your Name/Address: Chris Ingram,  Tampa, Fla. 33615 

Attorney’s Name: Renee Lee Address: 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa  State: Fla.  Phone:813-272-5670  Zip Code: 33602 

PART TWO: The specific thing or things I am complaining about are: 

Hillsborough County Attorney Renee Lee in her capacity as County Attorney, engaged in activities which have been referred to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and which are in violation of the public trust expected of attorneys-at-law as outlined in the Rules of Professional Conduct of the Florida Bar. It is in my opinion, that upon thorough review of the actions of Ms. Lee in her capacity as Attorney for the County of Hillsborough, the Florida Bar will determine that Ms. Lee was in fact in Violation of a Rule of Professional Conduct for her role in her and/or County Administrator Pat Bean’s request for e-mails involving an ongoing audit and about a Florida Dep. Of Law Enforcement inquiry into Ms. Bean and Ms. Lee’s secret pay raises. Clearly Ms. Lee has a personal interest in the FDLE matter and audit issue in as much as she was a potential target of both issues. 

More specifically, I allege Ms. Lee is in violation of, Rule 4-8.4 Misconduct which states: 

A lawyer shall not: 

(a) violate or attempt to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through the acts of another; 

Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-8.4(a) 

(b)   commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects;

 Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-8.4(b)

(c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; and, 

Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-8.4(c) 

(e) state or imply an ability to influence improperly a government agency or official; 

Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-8.4(e) 

Specific to this complaint, I note that the St. Petersburg Times (Mar. 10, 2010) has reported: 

“However, Lee never addressed comments made by Commissioner Rose Ferlita earlier in the meeting. News accounts have noted that Ferlita read e-mails from one of Barnes’ employees during a January meeting in which she was dressing down the auditor. 

Ferlita said Wednesday that Lee gave her the e-mails. And she said later that Lee volunteered them, perhaps while trying to be helpful. Lee declined comment after the meeting.” 

Clearly if true, Ms. Lee’s actions are in violation of this section. 

Furthermore, as it relates to Ms. Bean’s request for e-mails regarding the audit, I believe the ethics committee will find Ms. Lee in violation of RULE 4-1.2 OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF REPRESENTATION (d) Criminal or Fraudulent Conduct. A lawyer shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist a client, in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is criminal or fraudulent. 

The key part of this section is what a reasonably attorney should know. Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, I believe it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-1.2(d) in as much as Ms. Lee should have known that the request for the e-mails (which Ms. Bean acknowledges receiving) was inappropriate. 

If a lawyer comes to know or reasonably should know that a client expects assistance not permitted by the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law or if the lawyer intends to act contrary to the client’s instructions, the lawyer must consult with the client regarding the limitations on the lawyer’s conduct. See rule 4-1.4(a)(5). 

Again, the key part of this section is what a reasonably attorney should know. Through her actions with County Administrator Pat Bean, I believe it will be found that Ms. Lee violated 4-1.4(a)(5) in as much as she should have known her actions or those requested of her were in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct in as  much as she should have advised Ms. Bean that her request for e-mails involving an ongoing audit and about a Florida Dep. Of Law Enforcement inquiry into Ms. Bean and Ms. Lee’s secret pay raises. 

According to the Florida Bar, RULE 4-8.4 MISCONDUCT  comments suggest that “Lawyers holding public office assume legal responsibilities going beyond those of other citizens. A lawyer’s abuse of public office can suggest an inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney.” 

I believe the position Ms. Lee holds qualifies, and that her abuse of the responsibilities she holds as County Attorney demonstrate her inability to fulfill the professional role of attorney when using even the most minimal standards of application as set forth by the Florida Bar. 

PART THREE: The witnesses in support of my allegations are: [see attached sheet]. 

Ken Hagan, Commissioner
Rose Ferlita, Commissioner
Kevin White, Commissioner
Al Higginbotthom, Commissioner
Jim Norman, Commissioner
Mark Sharpe, Commissioner
Kevin Beckner, Commissioner
Pat Bean, County Administrator
Jim Barnes, County Auditor
Florida Department of Law Enforcement 

 PART FOUR: Under penalty of perjury, I declare the foregoing facts are true, correct and complete to the best of my knowledge. 

_____________________________
Christopher Ingram 

____ — ____ — ________ 

(End of complaint as submitted) 

Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of www.IrreverentView.com. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@IrreverentView.com

By submitting an e-mail comment you consent to your comment and first name being posted on the Irreverent View website. If you wish to remain completely anonymous, please state so in your e-mail.

18 thoughts on “Ingram files Florida Bar Ethics Complaint against Lee”

  1. Comment to Ben: My complaint is against Ms. Lee as a member of the Bar. Her “defense” is her own responsibility, not the county’s and therefore will not cost the taxpayers a dime.

    Chris Ingram

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  2. Thanks Chris. This bunch has become a national embarrassment.
    I have read editorials from people all over the country about this inept group. In fact, the “Trib” did their op-ed today on this clown collection.

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  3. I don’t blame you. After 29 years as an attorney, I can completely feel your rage. However, the Fla Bar will not even discipline an attorney until CONVICTION of a crime. I am sure that they will “poo poo” this complaint as a political hot potato. But good luck with it anyway.

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  4. Both Lee and Bean have developed quite a pattern of bad behavior. It seems they are quite adept to walking the fine line. Thanks for filing your complaint. I live in Hillsborough and very active in our attempts to hold our government accountable. Several Board members that I met with and provided a three ring binder full of documents that demonstrated the deceit that ocurred in their 1% scheme. It runs deep in the circle of wagons they have placed around them. The only Commissioner who was willing to do anything was Kevin Beckner. Thanks, Chris for helping us fight the battle for accountable government.

    United Citizens’ Action Network (U-CAN)

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  5. Dear Chris,

    I hope that you are prepared to pay attorney’s fees when they are awarded for the totally wrong information yu have based this complaint on. If you have not been listening, Pat Bean pulled her own emails from her own IT Department. The legal department had nothing to do with it, but that doesn’t matter when you promote lies to get people to read the dumb stuff you write. Keep bloggin, cause I think they let you do that from the poor house.

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  6. If you seek truth, justice and the American way, this is not the site for you. This guy is a radical self-serving wanna be. Don’t read the junk. Politicians are embarrassed to be associated with him. It is all about the money-more readers, more money for ads . . .all to benefit him -not you.

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  7. I in my haste in commenting earlier omitted Mark Sharpe as one of our Commissioners that did, in fact, seek to dismiss Ms. Bean.

    Hoping all others will put this silliness and total lack of professional behavior to rest once and for all.

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  8. Tampa…we’ve been following your pain here in Fort Myers.
    Politicians will ruin a community. We document it every day.
    Ed Ryan
    Publisher
    TheGatewayGazette.com

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  9. Sorry to spoil all the fun. While, as suggested above, you will not be “torted to the poorhouse,” (quoting from a character on “The Sopranos”), neither will your complaint be more than a bug on Attorney Lee’s windshield. I lack the time that bloggers have on their hands to research issues of questionable merit. All I know comes from the Tampa Tribune. Even given your competitive advantage, I evaluate your Bar complaint as a facile collection of “he said/she said/I read.” In 6-9 months the Bar will respond, saying, in effect, “Thank you O so very much! Now please go away. ”

    Sorrrrrreeeeeeeeee . . .

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  10. Oops. Meant to say “All I know ON THIS LATEST OF COUNTLESS HILLSBOROUGH COMMISSION DUMBNESSES comes from the Tampa Tribune.” I have learned a few things in this life that I did not read in the Trib. Very few, of course.

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  11. Wow! These are some very deep and encouraging words to the taxpayers. I for one agree that these scumbags need to wake up and work for the people, as opposed to the other way around.

    I dare say however, it is true what some of these posters have been saying, a blog can only give us so much info without citing solid sources, how about a follow up post?

    Like

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