Currently banned from practicing law ‘offender’ Matt Gaetz
This is a bar tab. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-FL) may regret not paying.
Faced with a wave of accusations that he had engaged in the sex trafficking of minors – and was preparing for criminal charges – Gaetz allowed his license to practice law in his home state of Florida to expire.
Gaetz had failed to pay the fees he owed the Florida Bar, which regulates attorneys there, on Wednesday, prompting the organization to view him as a “delinquent” and “unauthorized to practice law in Florida”.
The Bar’s public directory, which lists only one Matthew Louis Gaetz II, previously showed him in good standing in July, according to the Internet Archive.
It may sound like an oversight, but Gaetz’s office attributes it to a career change.
“Congressman Gaetz is no longer actively engaged in the practice of law. He is focused on representing his constituents in Congress, not in the courtroom, ”said director of communications for his office, Joel Valdez.
This explanation may seem reasonable enough. But four attorneys who spoke to the Daily Beast noted that it’s extremely rare for attorneys to do this. Instead, lawyers who step back from their legal obligations normally pay a lower fee of $ 175 to remain “inactive” but still “member in good standing.”
“He clearly doesn’t take his lawyer’s license very seriously when he doesn’t take the time to pay the $ 265 membership fee,” said Daniel Uhlfelder, a Santa Rosa Beach lawyer who lives in the Gaetz district. “He’s not a serious lawyer. He is not a serious member of Congress. He is not a serious person. It’s a small but symbolic example of that.
The Daily Beast has learned that the Florida Bar has twice called Gaetz a “delinquent” in the past two years. The organization temporarily cut it off in 2019 and again in 2020, as Gaetz has not claimed that he is properly managing and protecting client money in trust accounts. Lawyers have to follow strict rules to make sure they don’t steal or misuse money that belongs to the people they represent.
In 2019, he also violated the professional organization’s “civility standards” for playing the role of Trump’s attack dog. Gaetz threatened Trump Organization attorney-turned-whistleblower Michael Cohen on the eve of his revealing testimony in Congress, tweeting: “Do your wife and stepfather know about your girlfriends?” When Gaetz later apologized, the group grievance committee let him get away with it, but not before issuing a “letter of advice” saying his behavior was “unprofessional, reckless, insensitive and exhibited a lack of judgment “.
Although Gaetz is a Republican who protests against government financial aid and hurricane relief, he started his legal career making money suing local governments. In a saga that made headlines in Florida, Gaetz portrayed a woman who successfully sued her county and raked in thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Former Gaetz client Suzanne Harris was quoted recently in the Northwest Florida Daily News as saying, “I think the Walton County government trembles every time it hears her name.
Gaetz started out with Keefe Anchors & Gordon, a law firm in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. When he went to Congress, he was instrumental in having his former mentor, Larry Keefe, appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida in 2019 by then-President Donald Trump.
Gaetz has been under intense public scrutiny since March following a bombing New York Times report that he is under investigation for his role in the sex trafficking of minors, and The New York Times reported Thursday evening that two top federal prosecutors had joined the legal team investigating allegations of child sex trafficking against Gaetz.
The Daily Beast previously revealed how Gaetz befriended a local Florida tax agent and allegedly used him to arrange paid sex with college girls. The Daily Beast also obtained a confession letter from its winger, Joel Greenberg, noting how Gaetz paid for sex with several women, as well as a girl who was 17 at the time.
Although Gaetz has not been charged with a felony, Greenberg has pleaded guilty and is cooperating widely with federal investigators. Meanwhile, Gaetz has assembled a legal team for a possible indictment.
It is this potential criminal case, however, that makes some think that Gaetz did not pay his attorney’s dues to prevent his license from being ruthlessly revoked.
“It could be a calculated move. I think he’s preemptively trying to remove a level of scrutiny from the bar, ”said Cris Dosev, real estate developer and Marine Corps Operation Desert Storm veteran. He ran unsuccessfully against Gaetz in a Republican primary last year.
Gaetz did not pay his annual dues of $ 265 by the October 1 deadline, which means he now owes an additional $ 150 reinstatement fee, a $ 50 late fee, and is expected to sign a petition. asking the group’s executive director to let him come back.
Gaetz could have sent a paper check or paid online by credit card with a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
“I don’t think they’re taking Venmo, so maybe that was the problem,” Uhlfelder said.