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In re Daniel

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

April 14, 2016

IN RE IDUS J. DANIEL, JR., PETITIONER. A Suspended Member of the Bar of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. (Bar Registration No. 405077)

         Argued: February 10, 2016.

         Decided: February 22, 2016 [*]

          On Report and Recommendation of the Board on Professional Responsibility. (BDN-400-13).

         Wendell C. Robinson for petitioner.

         Dolores Dorsainvil Nicolas, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel. Wallace E. Shipp, Jr., Disciplinary Counsel, Jennifer P. Lyman, Senior Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, Jelani Lowery, Senior Staff Attorney, and William R. Ross, Assistant Disciplinary Counsel, were on the brief for the Office of Disciplinary Counsel.

         Before GLICKMAN and EASTERLY, Associate Judges, and FARRELL, Senior Judge.

          OPINION

          Per Curiam: In 2011 this court determined that Petitioner, Idus Daniel, had commingled client and personal funds in violation of Disciplinary Rule 1.15 (a), made false statements to an IRS agent in violation of Disciplinary Rule 8.4 (c), and had sought to conceal taxable income from the IRS by concealing it in two IOLTA and client trust accounts, again in violation of Disciplinary Rule 8.4 (c). See In re Daniel, 11 A.3d 291, 293-94 (D.C. 2011). We suspended Mr. Daniel for three years, with reinstatement conditioned upon a showing of fitness. Id. Given the nature of the misconduct at issue, we expressed " no doubt that if and when Daniel seeks reinstatement, his status with the IRS will be a relevant consideration." Id. at 302.

Page 797

          Mr. Daniel now seeks reinstatement.[1] Evaluating that petition under the criteria set forth in D.C. Bar R. XI, § 16 (d)(1)(a)-(b)[2] as interpreted by this court in In re Roundtree, 503 A.2d 1215, 1217 (D.C. 1985),[3] an Ad Hoc Hearing Committee of the Board of Professional Responsibility recommended that this court deny reinstatement. We agree that Mr. Daniel has failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence[4] that reinstatement is appropriate, and we accept the Hearing Committee's recommendation.

         We agree with the Hearing Committee that Mr. Daniel failed both to fully document his tax deficiencies and to substantiate his assertion that he had satisfied his tax obligations. His failure to submit adequate proof--in particular, his failure to demonstrate that he had come clean to the IRS[5]--is fatal to his petition for reinstatement. See In re Robinson, 705 A.2d 687, 688-89 (D.C. 1998) (recognizing that " in reinstatement cases[,] primary emphasis should be given to matters bearing most closely on the reasons why the attorney was suspended or disbarred in the first place" and declining to disregard petitioner's mismanagement of personal finances because it was " behavior reminiscent of actions that led to his disbarment" ).

         There is simply nothing in the record before us to show that Mr. Daniel ever advised the IRS in a meaningful way[6] that

Page 798

he had concealed taxable income such that it could reliably make an assessment of his tax obligations and any outstanding deficiencies. Given his history of dishonesty, his conclusory assertions that he was " all square" with the IRS are inadequate. Moreover, we give little weight to the documents he submitted a month after his second reinstatement hearing.[7] Specifically, the November 5, 2010, letter from the IRS approving a payment plan to address past deficiencies nowhere detailed what the IRS understood those deficiencies to be.[8] On the contrary, the letter indicated that the plan was " [b]ased on [Mr. Daniel's] payment proposal." [9] Similarly, the March 2012 notice of refund only reflected that discrete payments were made to address deficiencies in tax years 2001, 2002, and 2008, although Mr. Daniel's tax problems spanned a longer period of time.[10] And while the notice indicated that Mr. Daniel might be due a small refund after these payments, it qualified that a check would be mailed only if " you don't owe other tax or debt we're required to collect." [11] This notice patently did not indicate, much less establish, that Mr. Daniel fully disclosed his past concealment of income to the IRS so as to allow that agency to make an informed determination that Mr. Daniel had fulfilled his tax obligations.

         Should Mr. Daniel once again petition for reinstatement, he will have to provide some documentation that he has communicated with appropriate staff at the IRS to disclose his past concealment of funds and to ensure that the agency has accurate information from which it can assess his tax obligations and deficiencies from 1996 (when he opened the 329 IOLTA account[12]) through 2005. In addition and for the same time period, Mr. Daniel will have to provide documentation ...


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