Editors Choice

Texas Lawyers Gone Rogue, the July List of Lawyers Disciplined and Hand-Picked for Infractions due to Lack of Connections at the State Bar of Texas

According to State Commission on Judicial Conduct records, Megan Nicole Grigsby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and associate municipal court judge in Waskom, has been suspended without pay. The first indictment for theft, the value of $2500 or more but less than $30,000, is hinged to the second indictment of Abuse of Official Capacity, meaning the property came into her possession because of her status as a public servant, according to the indictment. Both are state jail felonies.

23 Texas Lawyers Disciplined on July List, Many with Multiple Infractions.

Disciplinary Actions — July 2019 State Bar lists (from the State Bar of Texas)

General questions regarding attorney discipline should be directed to the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office, toll-free (877) 953-5535 or (512) 453-5535. The Board of Disciplinary Appeals may be reached at (512) 475-1578. Information and copies of actual orders are available at www.txboda.org. The State Commission on Judicial Conduct may be contacted toll-free, (877) 228-5750 or (512) 463-5533. Please note that persons disciplined by the Commission on Judicial Conduct are not necessarily licensed attorneys.

Official List

Houston area

SUSPENSIONS

 

On April 1, 2019, Tyesha Yvette Elam [#24026819], 47, of Houston, received a six-month fully probated suspension effective April 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Elam failed to keep a client reasonably informed, failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, represented a client in a matter adverse to her former client in a substantially related matter, failed to hold funds belonging to a client separate from her own property, failed to refund advanced payments of unearned fees, and engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Elam violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.09(a)(3), 1.14(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(3). She was ordered to pay $1,300 in restitution and $1,300 in attorneys’ fees.

READ THE OPINION

High Profile Lawyer Casie Lynn Gotro Suspended

In the highly charged TWIN PEAKS TRIAL Gotro successfully recused a judge (with a hand-written motion, no less). But she didn’t have a Silver Bullet and the State Bar jumped at the chance to get revenge.

On April 5, 2019, Casie Lynn Gotro [#24048505], 46, of Houston, received a judgment of fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Gotro failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; upon termination of representation, failed to surrender papers and property to which her client was entitled and failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned; and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Gotro violated Rules 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution and $1,734.11 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 5, 2019, Casie Lynn Gotro [#24048505], 46, of Houston, received a judgment of partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Gotro neglected the legal matter entrusted to her; failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information; upon termination of representation, failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned; and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Gotro violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution and $816.15 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 5, 2019, Casie Lynn Gotro [#24048505], 46, of Houston, received a three-year active suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Gotro neglected the legal matter entrusted to her, failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information, failed to hold funds belonging in whole or in part to a third party that were in Gotro’s possession in connection with the representation separate from her own property, and failed to promptly deliver to a third person funds that they were entitled to receive. Upon termination of representation, Gotro also failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned and failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure. Gotro violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution and $894.05 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On April 24, 2019, William E. Jones [#10964700], 60, of Houston, received a three-year active suspension effective April 5, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Jones neglected the legal matter entrusted to him. Jones further failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of his case and failed to promptly comply with his reasonable requests for information. Upon his termination, Jones failed to refund unearned fees. Furthermore, Jones failed to respond to the grievance. Jones violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $200 in restitution and $1,872 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses. Jones has filed a notice of appeal.

READ THE OPINION

 

On April 22, 2019, William E. Jones [#10964700], 60, of Houston, received a three-year fully probated suspension effective April 5, 2022. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Jones neglected the legal matter entrusted to him. Jones further failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of her case and failed to promptly comply with her reasonable requests for information. Upon his termination, Jones failed to refund unearned fees. Furthermore, Jones failed to respond to the grievance.
Jones violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $850 in restitution and $1,275 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On April 3, 2019, Tara Nicole Long [#24032680], 44, of Houston, accepted a six-month fully probated suspension effective April 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that in representing a client, Long neglected the legal matter entrusted to her and failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of the legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Long violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). She was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On May 29, 2019, Eraka Watson [#24001879], 46, of Texas City, accepted a one-year fully probated suspension effective June 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that between May 2014 and March 2017, while representing her client, Watson neglected the legal matter entrusted to her and failed to keep her client reasonably informed about the status of her legal matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information. Watson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). She was ordered to pay $575 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Eraka Watson is a Family Attorney in Texas. Click Eraka’s … also known as Eraka Childs … She was admitted to practice law in Texas in 1997

per Avvo Profile

Visit Law Firm of Eraka Childs; ChildsLawFirm.com

 

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

On April 5, 2019, Casie Lynn Gotro [#24048505], 46, of Houston, received a judgment of public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 4 Grievance Committee found that Gotro engaged in the practice of law when her right to practice had been administratively suspended for failure to timely pay required fees. Gotro violated Rule 8.04(a)(11). She was ordered to pay $1,884.11 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Rest of the state

JUDICIAL ACTIONS

To read the entire public sanctions, go to scjc.texas.gov.

Megan Nicole Grigsby, Justice of the Peace accused of Crimes of Moral Turpitude

Rest of the state

On May 21, 2019, the State Commission on Judicial Conduct issued an order of suspension without pay to Megan Nicole Grigsby, justice of the peace, Precinct 1 and associate municipal court judge for the city of Waskom, Waskom, Harrison County.

Harrison County JP suspended without pay after indictment on theft, abuse of official capacity charges.

HARRISON COUNTY, TX – A Harrison County justice of the peace has been suspended without pay.

According to State Commission on Judicial Conduct records, Megan Nicole Grigsby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and associate municipal court judge in Waskom, has been suspended without pay.

Her suspension type is listed as 15a, which the commission says is “issued by the Commission after a federal or state grand jury has handed up an indictment or information charging a judge with felony offense or a misdemeanor offense involving official misconduct or a crime of moral turpitude.”

On Monday, a Harrison County grand jury had indicted Grigsby on two felony counts.

The first indictment for theft, the value of $2500 or more but less than $30,000, is hinged to the second indictment of Abuse of Official Capacity, meaning the property came into her possession because of her status as a public servant, according to the indictment. Both are state jail felonies.

Grigsby was arrested Thursday, May 16, and released later that day after posting bond of $10,000.

In Re Inquiry Concerning Honorable Guy Williams.

On May 17, 2019, the Special Court of Review issued its opinion, as well as a concurring and dissenting opinion, on matters appealed from the State Commission on Judicial Conduct proceedings; Special Court of Review Opinion, Docket No. 19-0001, In Re Inquiry Concerning Honorable Guy Williams.

READ THE 31-PAGE OPINION HERE

RESIGNATIONS


On May 28, 2019, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation, in lieu of discipline, of Daniel Lucius Brown [#03108300], 65, of San Antonio.

Apparently you can resign when you are already suspended from practicing law in the State of Texas…

At the time of his resignation, Brown had eight grievances pending alleging that he made misrepresentations to a client to secure a loan from the client then neglected the client’s case and did not repay the money; served as trustee of a trust, converted trust funds to his own use, and failed to deliver funds to the persons entitled to receive them; received money to fund a client’s real estate transaction and failed to safeguard the client’s money, failed to keep the money separate from his own funds, and failed to deliver funds promptly to the person entitled to receive the funds; undertook to represent a client who filed a grievance against him and failed to respond to the grievance; represented a buyer in the sale of a business and received money for the work and to fund the purchase and falsely held himself out as an attorney when he was suspended from practicing law in violation of a disciplinary judgment and converted the money to his own use, practiced law while not authorized to do so, engaged in criminal acts and dishonesty, failed to respond to the grievance, and failed to return an unearned fee; handled a real estate dispute between neighbors while he was suspended from practicing law in violation of a disciplinary judgment and failed to respond to the grievance or return the unearned fee; undertook to handle the estates of a client’s parents and neglected the matter, failed to communicate with the client, made misrepresentations to the client, failed to return the client’s file or unearned fees, and practiced law while suspended in violation of a disciplinary judgment; and represented a client in a boundary dispute with a neighbor and neglected the case, failed to communicate with the client, made misrepresentations to the client, and when discharged, failed to return the unearned fees.

Brown violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.01(b)(2), 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 1.08(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.14(c), 1.15(d), 3.04(d), 8.04(a)(1), 8.04(a)(2), 8.04(a)(3), 8.04(a)(7), 8.04(a)(8), 8.04(a)(10), 8.04(a)(11), and 8.04(a)(12).

 

 

On April 30, 2019, the Supreme Court of Texas accepted the resignation, in lieu of discipline, of William Alfred Dominguez [#24006209], 56, of Austin.

At the time of Dominguez’s resignation three disciplinary cases were pending against him involving one probate matter and two family law matters.

Dominguez neglected his clients’ legal matters, failed to keep clients reasonably informed about the status of the matters and failed to promptly comply with reasonable re-quests for information. He further failed to promptly render full accountings when requested.

When terminated, Dominguez failed to surrender papers and property to which the clients were entitled and failed to refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Dominguez also failed to timely furnish a written response to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel in one case.

Dominguez violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(b), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8).

READ TEXAS SUPREME COURT JUDGMENT

lit-i-gate-v2-1080

SUSPENSIONS


On May 23, 2019, Richard R. Alamia [#00964200], 72, of Edinburg, agreed to a two-year partially probated suspension effective August 1, 2019, and ending July 31, 2021. Alamia shall be actively suspended from the practice of law for 30 days beginning August 1, 2020, and ending August 31, 2020. An evidentiary panel of the District 12 Grievance Committee found that Alamia failed to explain a matter to the extent necessary to permit the client to make an informed decision. Alamia violated Rule 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $1,400 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

SCOTTIE ALLEN’S DISCIPLINARY RECORD IS A RESUME UNTO IT’S OWN SELF

On May 20, 2019, Scottie Allen [#01058020], 59, of Dallas, received a 36-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first five months to be actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Allen neglected a legal matter entrusted to him, failed to keep his clients reasonably informed about the status of their cases, failed to promptly comply with the clients’ reasonable requests for information, and failed to return unearned fees. Allen further failed to timely respond to the grievance in one of the matters. Allen violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $17,100 in restitution and $1,715 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On May 3, 2019, Veryl E. Brown [#03177050], 62, of Seguin, accepted a two-year fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found that Brown neglected clients’ matters, failed to keep clients reasonably informed, failed to comply with a prior disciplinary judgment, failed to comply with cessation of practice rules and practiced law while his license was suspended, and failed to respond to grievances in a timely manner. Brown violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.03(b), 8.04(a)(7), 8.04(a)(8), 8.04(a)(10), and 8.04(a)(11). He was ordered to pay $150 in restitution and $300 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On March 6, 2019, Hector De Pena Jr. [#05656500], 75, of Corpus Christi, accepted a one-year fully probated suspension effective March 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found that De Pena failed to keep a client reasonably informed and failed to return unearned portions of fees in a timely manner.  Pena violated Rules 1.03(a) and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $250 in restitution.

 

 

On May 8, 2019, T. Wesley Holmes [#09908495], 55, of Dallas, agreed to a 48-month active suspension effective May 15, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Holmes failed to hold funds belonging to a third person that were in Holmes’ possession in connection with the representation separate from Holmes’ own property. Holmes failed to promptly deliver to the third person funds that the third person was entitled to receive. Upon request by the third person, Holmes failed to promptly render a full accounting regarding such funds. Holmes engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation. Holmes violated Rules 1.14(a), 1.14(b), and 8.04(a)(3). He was ordered to pay $987,807 in restitution and $1,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ OUR FEATURED ARTICLE ON “WES HOLMES”

 

 

 

On March 4, 2019, Nicolas A. LaHood [#24030360], 46, of San Antonio, received a one-year fully probated suspension effective March 5, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that LaHood made an extrajudicial statement that a reasonable person would expect to be disseminated by means of public communication when he knew or reasonably should have known that it will have a substantial likelihood of materially prejudicing an adjudicatory proceeding and used means that had no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person. LaHood violated Rules 3.07 and 4.04(a). He was ordered to pay $9,700.92 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On April 8, 2019, Charles Foster Malloy [#12868850], 57, of Dallas, received a three-year fully probated suspension effective April 15, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Malloy failed to keep his client reasonably informed about the status of the case and failed to promptly comply with the client’s reasonable requests for information. Malloy also failed to hold funds, which belonged to a member of the client’s family and were in Malloy’s possession in connection with the representation, separate from Malloy’s own property. Malloy violated Rules 1.03(a) and 1.14(a). He was ordered to pay $9,000 in restitution and $2,100 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On May 1, 2019, Dennis R. Martin [#13059400], 70, of San Antonio, accepted a three-year fully probated suspension effective June 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Martin neglected clients’ matters, failed to keep clients reasonably informed, and failed to refund unearned portions of fees. Martin violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

Melynda G. Pearson earns 4 Disciplinary Orders from the State Bar

Click Image to View Orders on State Bar of Texas Profile

Click Image to View Orders on State Bar of Texas Profile

 

On April 24, 2019, Melynda G. Pearson [#00787534], 50, of Texarkana, received a 24-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that Pearson failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response and did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so. Pearson violated Rule 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $2,884.75 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 24, 2019, Melynda G. Pearson [#00787534], 50, of Texarkana, received a 24-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 1 Grievance Committee found that beginning in 2014, Pearson represented the complainant in a divorce matter. In representing the complainant, Pearson neglected the legal matter entrusted to her by failing to have the final decree correctly state the ruling of the court regarding retirement benefits. Pearson failed to keep the complainant reasonably informed about the status of her divorce matter and failed to promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from the complainant. Pearson failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response and did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so. Pearson violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $2,985.25 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 26, 2019, Melynda G. Pearson [#00787534], 50, of Texarkana, agreed to a 24-month partially probated suspension effective May 1, 2019, with the first three months actively suspended and the remaining 21 months probated to begin on August 1, 2019, and end on April 30, 2021. Pearson failed to timely file a response to the grievance. Pearson violated Rule 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $675 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

On May 10, 2019, Kaushik Rambhotla [#24079175], 36, of San Antonio, agreed to an 18-month partially probated suspension, effective May 15, 2019, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Rambhotla neglected a client’s matter and failed to keep a client reasonably informed. Rambhotla violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $400 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

On May 10, 2019, Kaushik Rambhotla [#24079175], 36, of San Antonio, agreed to an 18-month partially probated suspension effective May 15, 2019, with the first three months actively served and the remainder probated. An evidentiary panel of the District 10 Grievance Committee found that Rambhotla neglected a client’s matter and failed to keep a client reasonably informed. Rambhotla violated Rules 1.01(b)(1) and 1.03(a). He was ordered to pay $400 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On March 15, 2019, Zenaida Sanchez [#17573800], 59, of Alice, accepted a six-month fully probated suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 11 Grievance Committee found that Sanchez neglected a client’s matter, failed to keep a client reasonably informed, failed to comply with a prior disciplinary judgment, and failed to respond to the grievance in a timely manner. Sanchez violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 8.04(a)(7), and 8.04(a)(8). She was ordered to pay $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On April 26, 2019, Jerome Neal Stein [#19128290], 61, of Addison, agreed to a 24-month active suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that in October 2017, the complainant hired Stein to represent the complainant in a child custody matter. Upon request by the complainant, Stein failed to promptly render a full accounting of legal fees paid and/or work performed by Stein. Stein, without the complainant’s consent or authorization, charged the complainant’s credit card multiple times for purported legal fees. Stein engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation by using the complainant’s credit card without authority and billing for services Stein did not perform. Stein violated Rules 1.14(b), 8.04(a)(2), and 8.04(a)(3). He was ordered to pay $2,780 in restitution and $450 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 25, 2019, Jerome Neal Stein [#19128290], 61, of Addison, agreed to a 24-month active suspension effective May 1, 2019. The 14th District Court of Dallas County found that Stein committed professional misconduct by violating Rules 8.04(a)(2) [A lawyer shall not commit a serious crime or commit any other criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a lawyer in other respects] and 8.04(a)(3) [A lawyer shall not engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation]. Stein was ordered to pay $2,100 in restitution and $700 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

On April 24, 2019, Jerome Neal Stein [#19128290], 61, of Addison, agreed to a 24-month active suspension effective May 1, 2019. An evidentiary panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that in October 2017, Stein was retained to represent the complainant in a child support matter. In representing the complainant, Stein neglected the legal matter entrusted to him by failing to appear at a child support review hearing. Upon termination of representation, Stein failed to promptly refund advance payments of fees that had not been earned. Stein failed to timely furnish to the Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel a response or other information as required by the Texas Rules of Disciplinary Procedure and did not in good faith timely assert a privilege or other legal ground for failure to do so. Stein violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,000 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

 

Jerome Stein's State Bar of Texas Disciplinary Record....

On May 30, 2019, Taj Adarryl Warren [#24060802], 41, of Dallas, received a 36-month partially probated suspension effective June 1, 2019, with the first six months actively suspended and the remainder probated. An investigatory panel of the District 6 Grievance Committee found that Warren neglected a legal matter entrusted to him; failed to explain the legal matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation; and upon termination of his representation, Warren failed to surrender papers and property to which his client was entitled. Warren violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(b), and 1.15(d). He was ordered to pay $500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

PUBLIC REPRIMANDS

No reprimand Opinion on lawyer Menes profile

Reprimand Opinion on lawyer Groves profile

On March 19, 2019, John Michael Groves [#24092460], 31, of El Paso, accepted a public reprimand. An evidentiary panel of the District 17 Grievance Committee found that Groves neglected clients’ matters, failed to keep clients reasonably informed, failed to refund unearned fees, failed to properly safeguard clients’ funds, and failed to respond to grievances in a timely manner. Groves violated Rules 1.01(b)(1), 1.03(a), 1.14(a), 1.14(b), 1.15(d), and 8.04(a)(8). He was ordered to pay $1,006 in restitution and $800 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

READ THE OPINION

 

On May 9, 2019, Nonye Jude Menes [#24004815], 52, of Dallas, agreed to a public reprimand. The 14th District Court of Dallas County found that Menes committed professional misconduct by violating Rules 1.01(b)(1) [In representing a client, a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to the lawyer], 1.03(a) [A lawyer shall keep a client reasonably informed about the status of a matter and promptly comply with reasonable requests for information], and 1.03(b) [A lawyer shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the representation]. Menes was ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution and $1,500 in attorneys’ fees and direct expenses.

Jude Menes is a Nigerian-American attorney and founder of Menes Konsult Firms, in partnership with Europlaw, a group of firms dedicated to advising and guiding foreign investors and relations in Africa.

Tell us something about your firms, would you?

Our firms resulted from collaborative efforts of African professionals in Diaspora, local African professionals, and citizens of other continents committed to contributing to Africa’s development through healthy foreign investments and business relations by foreign companies. We represent foreign companies and investors to successfully operate in Africa by check-mating the risks and costs associated with fraud, corruption and other local issues. Our clients are both foreign and African corporations, governments, individuals, and NGOs (Non-profits)

Our teams/network of Drivers, Housekeepers, Cooks, Attorneys, Accountants, Business Specialists and others provide services ranging from the mundane to the professional. Because we have active members in all continents, we leverage our background, credibility, expertise, experience, and resources to ensure safety, security, and profitability of clients’ investments. We also help African governments/companies to access foreign funding for their viable projects. Africa benefits from our clients’ investments; Our clients’ businesses are successful; and Our firms’ founders fulfill their commitment to contribute to Africa’s development. It’s a WIN, WIN, and WIN deal!

Where are the firms operational?

Dallas, Texas; West Palm Beach, Florida; Abuja, Nigeria; Pretoria, South Africa; Kigali Rwanda; Lomé, Togo; Cotonou, Republic of Benin; Duala, Cameroon; Gaborone, Botswana; Port Louis, Mauritius; Exeter, United Kingdom; Guangzhou, China

When were these firms founded and by whom?

The firms got started in 2014 by myself and Barrister Andre Vorster. Principal owners/shareholders are Attorney Jude Menes, Barrister Andre Voster, Barrister Martin Bekker, and Dr. Jerald Feinstein.

Could you identify a common problem that your clients tend to face in doing business in Africa?

Fraud, scams, corruption and lack of quality, reliable, and credible workforce and professional services. Clients also face the problem of Africans’ lack of understanding of the right and proper ways of doing business and knowing what foreign investors are really looking for in order to invest in a particular country or project. We Africans also need to realize that there are unlimited needs and investment opportunities in the world, but willing and able investors are very limited.

How best can this issue of fraud and scams be mitigated for the long term?

More Africans in the diaspora need to get involved in doing business in the Africa and they need to be encouraged to do so. They can serve to provide professional services and on-the-job practical trainings and re-trainings to both the regular and professional workforce of local Africans. Because Africans in the diaspora have interests in the continent that are beyond the urge to make money and profits, they are in a better suited and better motivated to help re-educate our people. They will also be in a better position to make sure that Africa is getting good deals from foreign investors rather than deals that take advantage of Africa. But Africans in the diaspora need to be encouraged in order to get actively involved.

What does a would-be foreign investor in Africa need to know before taking a first step in?

It is important to know that there could be a learning curve in doing business in Africa. Some type of hand-holding may be necessary by a firm like ours. Africa is a different world and even within Africa each country has different ways. Our people are polite but that is not to be taken for weakness, nor should one be easily carried away by appearances. Look before you leap.

In what direction will the firms be going this year?

We are positioning our firms to be the number one got-to firm for foreign investors who are interested in expanding into Africa. On the other hand, we will become the one stop shop for African governments and private companies with viable projects needing funding. Our goal is to be available to every African government. We have added more reliable and vetted foreign investors who are specifically interested and motivated to invest in Africa. So, we are aggressively expanding our network of strategic partners and business consultants who are not only interested in making money but have passion for developing Africa. We are regularly vetting and bringing into our firms willing and able African professionals in the diaspora, local African professionals, and professionals from other continents with tremendous experience and expertise for making things happen.

We are currently putting together a group of foreign investors (companies and individuals) to establish an entertainment city in one of the African countries. This city will be an entertainment destination for every continent because it will be the Hollywood+Las Vegas+Disneyland in Africa!

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