Civil Litigants Chelsie Buchanan & Raymond Stull Seek Justice in Oregon
The Oregon State Bar is firmly in the #DefundTheBar category. Here’s what she submitted to LIT today in a follow up to our article about rogue Oregon attorney Erik Graeff. We’ve asked for more supporting documentation and will update accordingly.
JUN 16, 2021
Our case is one of property theft, development fraud and Corruption and collusion on the part of our state agencies here in Oregon; and one of a corrupt Judge and self dealing Bar Association.
Because of the implications of our case, the Bar Association and the other agencies here have gone to Great Lengths to keep our story and case from being heard in any way possible, including barring us and blocking us from testifying on our behalf multiple times.
This is why “failing to notify a client” is even in the same discussion as shooting at someone.
I have attached a letter to the Supreme Court which is why Erik got five years suspension instead of three, I have their answer to my letter and an additional response to them if you’d like to read that as well.
However, they’re still not hearing the facts of our case, helping our family, addressing the policies that have allowed for these things to happen or holding anyone accountable.
Would you hire this attorney – Scottie Allen – to defend you in a Texas court? @statebaroftexas thinks it’s perfectly fine and we wondered why. Now we know… https://t.co/wNotwIlAso #OperationWhiteout #txlege @SupremeCourt_TX @HoustonChron @statesman @dallasnews @TexasTribune pic.twitter.com/zyvwCXFlub
— LawsInTexas (@lawsintexasusa) June 15, 2021
Attorney Erik Graeff Not Disbarred for Violent Felony.
The Oregon State Bar’s failure to protect the public A few days before Christmas in 2017, Portland-area attorney Erik Graeff exchanged several heated emails with Terrance “Terry” Hogan, another attorney with whom Graeff was working on a case.
Graeff spent the rest of the afternoon drinking beer in a local bar, apparently blacking out but still managing to drive 30 minutes through rush hour traffic to Hogan’s office in Beaverton. There, Graeff fired six rounds from his 9 mm handgun at the building. One of Graeff’s bullets shattered a window and missed the firm’s office manager by mere inches.
The crime was shocking in and of itself, but it also should have had immediate consequences for Graeff’s professional law license. After all, an attorney who believes that guns are an appropriate means of settling legal disputes is a clear and direct danger to the public, whom the Oregon State Bar is supposed to protect.
However, the Bar refused to immediately suspend Graeff’s law license while the criminal investigation played out. And even worse news for the Oregon public is that the Bar had ample warning about Graeff’s threats and acts of violence, including complaints that they had received from before the shooting.
The complaints that the Bar ignored are disturbing.
On August 24, 2017, the Bar received notice that Graeff had physically assaulted his former client’s wife earlier that very day: Graeff had “laid hands on her and shoved her against a wall,” which resulted in “visible injuries” and the filing of a police report.
Just a few months later, in November, another complaint against Graeff came in to the Bar, from former clients Chelsie Buchanan and Raymond Stull.
The pair provided the Bar with an email from Graeff in which Graeff threatened to
“simply break” Stull’s “goddamn face,”
and announced that he kept licensed firearms in his office,
“so you have been warned.”
In early February, 2018—after the Beaverton shooting, but before his arrest for that incident—the Bar received yet another complaint about Graeff.
That victim forwarded a threatening and profane email he had received from Graeff, which stated:
“You listen to me you son of a bitch. I have had it with bad reviews from people whose case I don’t take. I was attentive and generous with you. Take your ing fraudulent review down, or I will show you a real legal battel [sic].”
In the two months after his arrest in late February 2018, the Bar received two more complaints about Graeff. One client alleged that Graeff had intimidated and scared her with abusive language, telling her to
“shut the f up” and “forget [she] ever heard”
that a court date had been scheduled in her matter. Another client said that Graeff had threatened him and his wife over the phone.
Even after this eight-month avalanche of claims about Graeff’s violent threats and conduct, it took the Bar another nine months to suspend him—seventeen months in total—and the Bar did so only after Graeff had pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the shooting incident.
In other words, the Bar acted only after their licensee got his due process, and, moreover, the Bar acted only after another of their licensees, attorney Hogan, had been injured by Graeff.
To boil that down even further, the Bar showed no concern over Graeff’s violent and abusive threats to his non-lawyer complainants, and the Bar only acted after Graeff turned violent and abusive against another lawyer.
Even worse, almost all of the complaints against Graeff were dismissed outright by the Bar, and the single one that did proceed—that of former clients Buchanan and Stull—went forward on charges unrelated to Graeff’s violent threats against them.
Unbelievably, the Bar only charged Graeff with “failure to keep clients informed” about the status of their legal matter.
His face-breaking threat was apparently okay with the Bar because Graeff was only threatening an ordinary citizen—not a lawyer.
After he pleaded guilty and served less than a year in prison for Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Reckless Endangerment, the Bar finally proceeded with their disciplinary case against Graeff, which consisted only of the shooting incident, felony drug manufacturing charges, and Buchanan and Stull’s watered-down charges.
Graeff was sanctioned in 2020 with a three-year suspension from the practice of law.
Rather than simply being grateful that he was not disbarred for literally shooting up another lawyer’s office, Graeff appealed his suspension to the Oregon Supreme Court, who heard oral arguments in the case in early January, 2021.
Ironically, the same Bar who charged Graeff with failure to keep his clients informed, failed to keep Graeff’s victims Buchanan and Stull informed about how the disciplinary case against him was proceeding.
The Bar told Buchanan and Stull nothing about the progress of the Supreme Court case, and they first heard about the case progress from me, when I sent them copies of the court filings and a video of the oral arguments.
After reading the filings and watching the video, Buchanan and Stull sent a letter to Chief Justice Martha Walters and the other six Supreme Court Justices, informing them of the Bar’s “gross negligence” — including, but by no means limited to, the Bar excluding them from testifying at Graeff’s disciplinary trial and failing to heed their clear warnings about Graeff’s unhinged behavior and violent threats.
“The Bar failed to intervene when Graeff threatened us,”
Buchanan told me,
“And then someone got shot at. Graeff even wrote a letter to the Bar trying to paint us as crazy just a few days after he shot into an occupied office building. Talk about crazy. I guess the Bar only cares when it’s another lawyer who gets hurt.”
The Oregon State Bar exists in order to protect the public against misconduct by the attorneys it licenses. If only the Bar had listened to the victims of Graeff’s misconduct instead of springing to action only when one of its own licensees needed help, then there wouldn’t be so many appalling stories like Buchanan and Stull’s.
Unfortunately, there are many more of these stories; and in a shocking number of them, the Bar allows the lawyers to weasel out of founded ethics charges by gaslighting the victims, calling their own former clients crazy, and aggravating the harm the lawyers inflicted.
Buchanan and Stull’s letter—regarding their negligent treatment by the Bar and the disturbing underlying case that Erik Graeff was working on for them — can be read here in its entirety. (It’s also below in LIT’s article).
Chelsie Buchanan & Raymond Stull
March 25, 2021
Re: Administrative Matter I Supreme Court Case no. S067639, Erik Graeff
During the most recent hearing before you, concerns about Mr. Graeff’s conduct toward us were a point of concern and it is our desire to aver our position.
It was also discussed during this hearing, that the Bar and the Court are concerned with public trust, we are the public and the gross negligence by our legal system have egregiously and irreparably damaged our family; financially, emotionally and physically.
The Bar had a responsibility to mitigate the damages caused to us by our first attorney Dale Roller, (disbarred in 2017) and they did not. Mr. Roller had at least 17 complaints against him and a slew of victims before he even got to us, all allowed by the Bar.
If they’d properly disciplined and/or removed Mr. Roller as the Federal Bankruptcy Judge in our case suggested, he wouldn’t have been in the pool of attorneys for us to choose from.
Had the Bar appropriately and conscionably dealt with Mr. Roller and the facts of our case specifically, there would have been no need for us to bring a malpractice case against him and subsequently Mr. Graeff, in the first place; not to mention the damage Mr. Roller caused others prior to us.
After we alerted Mr. Graeff of our realization of the extreme and overtly suspicious Judicial bias in our case, he subsequently turned to the same Judge, Norman “Norm” Hill of Polk County, resulting in either his request for withdrawal or removal from our case (Judge Hill’s law firm improperly completed transactions regarding our farm prior to becoming a Judge; his name is on the bottom of the documentation he used to rule against us).
This is an extremely troubling conflict of interest by the Judge who is also the chairman of the States Judicial Ethics Committee.
During the recent hearing before you, it was verbalized several times that Mr. Graeff “was taken off of our case”.
Also, prior to realizing the extent of the inappropriate involvement of this Judge (from Webb, Martinis and Hill, the firm we had previously retained to represent our property), we told Mr. Graeff that we would not like our case to be heard in front of him again because of the nature of this Judge during the improper eviction of us from our land.
After his secret withdrawal, our notice was sent to a wrong address. We do not believe this was accidental as our mailing address has been consistent for 20 years now.
Norman Hill’s brother currently of Webb, Martinis and Hill, our old law firm and the Judges law firm, are the new representation of our property. We have still been disallowed from gathering additional personal property from our land by this firm, despite extensive efforts by Jess Glaeser and Jeff Mutnick.
During this time and due to the Bar’s self-proclaimed “wasting policy”, Erik’s “representation” of us and subsequently Jess Glaeser (whom the Bar forced to resign from our case days prior to settlement conferences) and Jeff Mutnick’s “representation” of us, it resulted in the PLF/Bar Association/Dale Roller’s attorneys Johnston Mitchell et al., to waste $125,000 of our damage money to pay themselves, even though all facts of our case had been admitted.
In addition, they blended the two separate malpractice cases together only allowing us to be compensated by one policy even though our damages exceeded both policy limits combined.
Outside of the most significant problems regarding the facts of our case that lead to us being in the Judicial realm at all, our ability to be compensated for our total damages have been grossly limited due to the Bar’s self-dealing practices and policies.
Mr. Graeff has admitted and then was allowed by the Bar to retract the charges against him, regarding his conduct in our case, several times. We were present at Mr. Graeff’s Bar trial, but were not allowed to testify.
We were advised through email in advance, by Amber Lynott, that our presence at the Trial Panel hearing would not be necessary as Mr. Graeff’s actions toward us were already admitted and our presence or testimony would not be needed.
The Bar has gone to great lengths, such as this example, to not allow the facts of our circumstances to be heard. Mr. Graeff even seems to be ridiculing the Bar for the actions of the Bar in his brief.
During this time at one of our many visits to the Bar, Ms. Lynott also taunted our family when she said she knew at least 3 attorneys that could help with our problem, but was not at liberty to share that information with us.
We are also aware that Ms. Amber Bevacqua-Lynott and Theodore “Ted” Reuter from the Bar’s disciplinary staff (who both worked extensively on our case) have opened up private practices to assist problem attorneys out of malpractice cases. Causing further damage to the public, in our opinion.
The Bar has completely excluded us from process. It is suspicious and questionable.
The Bar has gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent a record from being made or from findings being made regarding our case.
The fact that he was not interim suspended until after pleading in the criminal case despite the fact that he had four separate Bar complaints that alleged verbal and physical threats-suggests that the Bar was only concerned with the effect of Graeff’s misconduct on other attorneys.
The Bar seemed determined to protect Graeff from any consequences from the harm he did to his clients or the public.
This is also supported by the fact that none of the other four Bar complaints (alleging verbal and physical threats) were brought by the Bar; AND the fact that our complaint about verbal/physical threats were not brought by the Bar.
We notified the Bar and the Portland Police the day after Mr. Graeff sent us an email threatening us with gun violence and physical violence. He also withheld critical documents, failing to return them to us, and withheld a check that he was supposed to release to us.
Once again, they failed to hear concerns brought by the public and because of this, Mr. Graeff was allowed to shoot into an occupied building almost killing someone 3 weeks later.
The Bar seems concerned only with protecting the image of the legal profession to the point where they will inflict further harm upon victims of attorney misconduct by covering up complaints. They gloss over their own failures to regulate.
We just want to be heard and receive Justice against those who have been involved in the atrocities committed against us. The Bar’s rules and conduct have thus far obstructed our ability to be heard. We have been and continue to be violated.
Despite the fact that we’ve been in consistent contact with the Bar regarding Mr. Graeff’s case they have failed to notify us of their decisions or other proceedings. We were forwarded the link to the oral arguments NOT by the Bar, but by journalist Stephanie Volin.
It is odd that the briefs are not accessible online, as they are in [some other cases]. The briefs were also sent by Volin and not the Bar. Additionally, there was some question as to how we heard about the Motion for Summary Judgment, we were notified by the opposing counsel.
They got our address correct while our attorney and the biased and corrupted Judge who improperly withdrew him did not, even though our address is public record.
The more we speak to and collaborate with other victims of attorney misconduct, the Bar’s self-regulatory misdealings and the protection of self-dealing Judges, the more skeptical and aware we are of ever trusting them again or having faith that they have the public’s best interests at heart.
We have also found it extremely difficult to find additional representation after the removal of so many of our attorneys thus far and the Judicial misconduct in our case.
This has forced us to take our story to the public forum in hopes of finding Justice or help there.
As we started speaking with other victims of attorney misconduct and the Bar’s misconduct, we heard about an attorney who was being treated unfairly by the Bar, Andrew Long.
We learned that he was a good attorney who cared about his clients, but was being treated like Erik Graeff should have been treated.
We reached out to Andrew Long and shared our experiences with him.
He seemed very kind and was compassionate. It was clear that Long and his wife were struggling financially because he could not practice law. Long told us that the Bar put a “warning” about him in the Oregonian.
It was the kind of warning we felt should have been made about Graeff’s threats.
Long told us that he was no longer able to teach in colleges and had trouble finding any work at all because the Bar portrayed him as a monster.
Yet oddly, Judge Norman Hill is allowed to teach ethics at Willamette University and comment on the the ethics decisions of other Judges. Long was most upset that the Bar’s actions and publicity harmed his custody case so that he could no longer see his young children. That part of his story is heartbreaking and seems to harm innocent children.
They attacked Long and damaged his whole life, but they protected Graeff and allowed him to practice even after he threatened clients and even after he almost killed someone. One of us went to Long’s trial and tried to testify, but Mark Turner excluded it. This has made us even more eager to testify against Graeff and have our circumstances heard.
We have been victims of Judicial bias and misconduct (this Judge has also harmed many others) and subsequently multiple bad attorneys in a row.
At no point did the Bar take any actions to mitigate the harm they caused us, or to help us escape the cycle of attorney misconduct that continues to cripple our family’s rights, and efforts to have our rights recognized under the law.
Oppositely, they have made great efforts to silence us and expire any possible statutes of limitations.
It is also our opinion that their extreme efforts to hide the facts of our case and their response to us is because of the implications that our case highlights regarding the practices of our agencies and officials and the desire to protect this self-dealing and abuse of the public, by protecting criminal officials and using their self insured and self-proclaimed “wasting policy”.
Not disbarring a shooter, drug manufacturing, violent attorney who misleads and miscommunicates critical information to his clients, causing substantial damage to their physical and financial well-being, only continue to perpetuate the distrust of the public and jeopardize your profession as a whole.
In addition, allowing Judges such as Norman Hill to be protected, also impacts public trust and perpetrates harm. As it sits, too much damage has already been done to the public by these practices.
In addition, allowing Graeff to change his testimony and admissions without allowing witness testimony, would be another violation of the public’s rights.
We respectfully submit this letter for your consideration in this verdict and wish it to be included in the facts of this case.
From: OJD INFO <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Apr 1, 2021 2:19 PM
Subject: In re Graeff, S067639
Cc: email@example.com,”firstname.lastname@example.org ” <email@example.com>
Dear Ms. Buchanan and Mr. Stull:
Thank you for your letters to the Justices of the Oregon Supreme Court.
However, the letters relate to the merits of a matter currently pending before the court: In re Graeff, S067639.
The Court and its justices cannot accept or consider informal contacts about the merits of a pending case.
The Court can only accept formal filings from the parties.
Again, thank you for writing to the Oregon Judicial Department.
From: chelsie buchanan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Apr 2, 2021 9:07 AM
Subject: Re: In re Graeff, S067639
To: OJD INFO <email@example.com>
Our letter was an administrative letter to Chief Justice Martha Walters, who is the Administrative head for the OJD. Please ensure that our letter and this information is handed to her to read in that capacity.
The court shouldn’t be referring to our case in their discussions if we can’t even speak to defend ourselves or share our experiences. This continues to harm our family, as we continue to be silenced and not receive help for these life destroying atrocities that have been brought upon us by officials we are supposed to be able to trust.
We have been victimized by Mr. Graeff and others. We’ve been party to other testimony against him, in regards to our own complaints, his trial for almost KILLING someone and Andrew Long.
The court spent a significant amount of time during the latest hearing with Mr. Graeff discussing our family. Is this yet another attempt by the courts and agencies to not hear our issues?
We notified the Bar prior to Mr. Graeff’s nearly deadly outburst with a firearm of his written threats of gun violence toward us and they failed to stop him.
The near death experience of an innocent person was completely preventable if not for the Bar’s actions.
We will continue to follow these problems, communicate to the public and press and we will continue to address our concerns in conjunction with these other issues…as it seems the handling of such issues is providing many opportunities to do so.
It is not fair or right that the court is seemingly choosing to protect officials instead of the public. Please hold these individuals accountable, help restore the lives that have been broken and restore the public’s trust in what should be a righteous system and not one of abuse and self dealing.