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In re Molovinsky

January 28, 1999


Before Schwelb and Farrell, Associate Judges, and King, Senior Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Notice: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the Atlantic and Maryland Reporters. Users are requested to notify the Clerk of the Court of any formal errors so that corrections may be made before the bound volumes go to press.

On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility

Submitted January 7, 199

Petitioner Gale Molovinsky seeks reinstatement as a member of the District of Columbia Bar. This court disbarred him in 1983 following his conviction for conspiracy with intent to defraud, forge, make, counterfeit and alter obligations of the United States. 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 471, and 2. The report of the Board on Professional Responsibility summarizes the conduct resulting in Molovinsky's conviction, recounts his activities since his disbarrment (and release from prison), carefully applies the criteria governing a petition for reinstatement, and recommends that the petition be denied. We deny the petition for the reasons stated by the Board, set forth verbatim (with deletions) in what follows:


On May 5, 1980, Respondent [Molovinsky] and a Mr. Edward S. Sparrow first met with Special Agent Steven Israel, an undercover agent of the U.S. Secret Service. Respondent and Sparrow expressed a willingness to manufacture and sell counterfeit currency to the agent. Respondent stated that he thought they would be able to provide a finished product of $20 bills by the end of the month, for a price of twenty to thirty cents on the dollar. The parties discussed the possibility of apprehension. Respondent identified himself as a lawyer. He stated that as first time offenders, they would not go to jail. Respondent had a telephone conversation with the agent the following day. The topics of that conversation included the counterfeiting plates which Respondent had, the production of new plates, the production and sale of counterfeit currency, Respondent's desire to eliminate Mr. Sparrow as a partner in the arrangement, and the consequences of detection and prosecution.

Respondent attended a subsequent meeting with Special Agent Israel and Special Agent Thomas Lightsey, acting undercover, on May 9, 1980. Mr. Sparrow was informed of, but had decided not to attend this meeting. Respondent and the agents discussed the details of the counterfeiting plan in detail. In addition to the plates, Respondent showed the agent a counterfeit $5 bill. Respondent also advised the agents that, if caught, they could face multiple felony charges. As the parties left the meeting, they were arrested. The next day, after Respondent called and told him of his arrest, Mr. Sparrow voluntarily appeared at the Secret Service's Washington Field Office and gave a complete, written account of the plan to sell counterfeit currency. In a subsequent meeting, Sparrow described the extensive efforts he and Respondent made over a period of several months to plan the production of counterfeit bills. . . .

Respondent was disbarred by the Court of Appeals of Maryland on July 13, 1984. In 1990, Respondent filed a petition for reinstatement in Maryland, which was denied. Respondent's Reinstatement Questionnaire filed in this proceeding did not reveal either his 1990 petition nor the Maryland court's action. Respondent filed a second petition for reinstatement in Maryland in 1994. The Court of Appeals of Maryland denied this second petition on February 10, 1998.

Shortly after his release from prison, Respondent founded Executive Suite, an employment counseling firm for attorneys and other professionals. For a fee of $200 to $600, Respondent assisted in the preparation of a customer's resume and provided a mailing list of prospective employers. Throughout the company's existence, Respondent was involved in considerable litigation with customers, private organizations, and the District of Columbia. Respondent estimated that he filed seven to ten cases each year in Small Claims Court to enforce contracts with his clients. However, Respondent's disputes with his customers were due, in many instances, to his alleged failure to provide the promised services. A July 8, 1996 Legal Times article, "Job Service Sued as Scam," described Respondent's dispute with Brian Henneberry, who refused to pay Respondent "after deciding Molovinsky was running a scam." Respondent had sued to recover the $400 balance on Henneberry's $600 contract. However, Henneberry filed a counterclaim alleging fraud. On a motion for summary judgment, Superior Court Judge Satterfield found that the contract was void and that Respondent operated an employment counseling service without a license, in violation of the District of Columbia Employment Services Licensing and Regulation Act of 1984. D.C. Code §§ 36-1001, et seq.; Molovinsky v. Henneberry, Civil Action No. 027374-95 (Sup. Ct. July 31, 1996). Respondent relocated his business to Rosslyn, Virginia in early 1997 and began trading as Resume Doctor and Career Network. Although the Reinstatement Questionnaire required Respondent to reveal any civil complaint alleging fraud during the period of disbarrment, Respondent responded "none" to this inquiry (No. 21), and did not refer to Henneberry's claim in that or any other section of the questionnaire.

In another civil action brought by prospective female clients, Respondent was found to have sexually harassed women who responded to his Executive Suite advertisements in 1990. The jury awarded three individuals and The Fair Employment Council of Washington damages in the amount of $79,000, and the Court affirmed the award. Molovinsky v. The Fair Employment Council of Greater Washington, Inc., 683 A.2d 142 (D.C. 1996). Respondent failed to reveal this adverse judgment in his response to the Reinstatement Questionnaire (No. 15). Respondent has made no attempt to satisfy this judgment.

In District of Columbia v. Molovinsky, Civil Action No. 0003808-97 (Sup. Ct. May 20, 1997), the Corporation Counsel sought to vacate judgments retroactively that Respondent had obtained against seven individuals, based on employment counseling services he performed when he was not licensed. Respondent consented to entry of a restraining order. Respondent failed to disclose this action in his response to the Reinstatement Questionnaire.

In his brief to the Hearing Committee, Respondent stated that he has worked as a law clerk since his incarceration, "at times without compensation, assisting other practicing attorneys in complex legal matters, [that he] represents himself pro se in legal matters before trial and appellate courts . . . and, in addition to reviewing developments on the law via publications as already noted above, speaks to actual practitioners each day." However, Respondent introduced no evidence of his being employed in a legal office since his incarceration. No practitioner testified ...

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