Raleigh lawyer and former mayoral candidate disbarred for misappropriating money

May 6, 2013 

— A Wake County lawyer who ran a failed bid for Raleigh mayor two decades ago has been asked to surrender his law license after misappropriating money collected in personal injury cases.

Geoffrey H. Simmons, whose 1993 mayoral campaign was blemished by a misdemeanor assault conviction involving a teenage girl, was disciplined by the State Bar after a hearing in March.

The Raleigh lawyer, licensed in 1977, was accused of misappropriating more than $7,000 over a three-year period.

The disciplinary hearing panel of the bar found that Simmons put his personal interests ahead of his clients’ interests. The panel also found that Simmons made false statements about his conduct, showing himself “to be untrustworthy” and “caused significant harm to his clients and to third parties, namely the medical providers of his clients.”

The complain heard by the bar details Simmons’ actions in seven personal injury cases in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Though Simmons did much pro bono work and had “established a reputation for good character, veracity and truthfulness in social and legal communities,” the bar panel also noted problems from 1994 in which a proposed suspension was stayed.

Though the disciplinary panel considered a lesser punishment, the arbiters settled on disbarment to adequately protect the public, according to the order.

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