elgin_jones_web_13.jpgLAWYERS DISCIPLINED
Steven Lippman of Fort Lauderdale, who was an attorney at Scott Rothstein’s law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler, is serving time in a federal lock-up over a fraud conviction.

Now the Florida Bar Association has announced Lippman has been disbarred for conspiring with Rothstein and others in a check-kiting scheme at the now defunct firm. The Florida Bar also announced that Eduardo Exposito of Miami has been permanently disbarred after being found in contempt for continuing to practice law after he was temporarily disbarred in 2010. Alexander Joseph Alfano of Coral Gables was suspended for 10 days for failing to communicate with a client in an immigration case.

Thomas W. Dvorak of Fort Lauderdale was suspended for three years for failing to comply with a previous order from the Bar. Petia Dimitrova Knowles of Cooper City was suspended for one year for violating attorney-client privilege by discussing confidential matters with prosecutors. Thomas C. Matevia of Palm Beach Gardens was suspended for three years for failing to complete 41 clients’ mortgage loan modifications. Robert Victor Rossenwasser of North Miami was suspended for 90 days over complaints surrounding mortgage loan modifications. Linda Marie Smith of Miami was reprimanded for commingling trust account and personal funds.

The Department of Economic Opportunity is set to implement a new policy that requires out-of-work people to have an email account and access to a computer in order to receive unemployment benefits. People with disabilities or language impairments may be exempt from the requirements which are otherwise mandatory. Automation and computer-based programs are inevitable but that doesn’t mean such requirements should be dropped on people all of a sudden.

A sensible approach would be to announce the changes and then gradually implement them over a 12-month period or so. Then there should be a collaborative effort with libraries and school districts to ensure people who require computer training or access to a computer can get help. This is yet another mandate from Gov. Rick Scott’s administration that shows a callous and inconsiderate approach to people. This administration is already using its heavy-handed approach in implementing policies. I hope this one is taken back to the drawing board.

Palm Beach County

Delray Beach Mayor Woodrow McDuffie and city commissioners have passed an outrageous noise ordinance. It increases the penalty for loud noise violations from $250 for first-time offenders to $1,000. The penalty for a second violation has skyrocketed from $500 to $5,000. Repeat offenders will pay $15,000. 

“Read for the Record Challenge” is a national event in which children across the country read a book simultaneously with a celebrity, politician or community leader. This year, Boynton Beach Mayor Woody Hay read aloud the Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad books at the city’s library.


J. Russell Greene, president of Grand Bank & Trust of Florida, announced the sale of four of its six branches, in Jupiter, Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, to Indiantown-based Harbor Community Bank. The West Palm Beach-based Grand Bank & Trust also transferred $50 million in deposits, $20 million in loans, the real estate of the Jupiter branch and a two-acre commercial parcel in Port St. Lucie to Harbor Community.

Broward County

Marcus Pittman, 32, of Fort Lauderdale has been charged with the 2009 murder of Willard McCleary, a 69-year-old Lauderhill man. McCleary was found on Aug. 30, 2009, in his apartment dead from stab wounds and some of his personal belongings were missing. Pittman had befriended McCleary and stolen his money and car, police said. He was caught, police said, after officers tracked jewelry and other items belonging to McCleary to local pawnshops and DNA on the items matched Pittman’s.

Former Fort Lauderdale Police Officer Jefferson Alvarez has been convicted of falsifying a report and perjury related to a 2010 traffic stop and arrest of James Kennedy Thompson. Alvarez gave detailed information about the traffic stop – although he did not make the stop as claimed. Two other officers did so, with Alvarez arriving at the scene afterwards. Prosecutors offered Alvarez a plea agreement in which he would plead guilty to a misdemeanor and not have to serve jail time. He rejected the offer and now is a convicted felon. He was fired from the department months ago.


Dee Jony Etienne, 30, was arrested in the stabbing death of his mother in an apparent domestic dispute. Coral Springs police said officers found the body of Joceleine Pericles, 53, in the front yard of a home. Etienne fled the scene and was found hiding behind a gas station near the home, police said. He is charged with murder.

Miami-Dade County

First Citizens Bank & Trust Co. won a $4.4 million lawsuit, plus interest and fees, in a judgment against Toptrez LLC. The site, located at the southeast corner of Southwest 336th Street and 172nd Avenue in Homestead is vacant now but was used as farmland and was slated for major development. The 20-acre plot is now headed for the auction block on Oct. 17 in an effort to satisfy the judgment.

It’s been nine months since the grand opening of the new casino at Miami Jai-Alai. The lavish venue has 1,035 slot machines, a new poker room, electronic blackjack, roulette and domino games. It also has new restaurants and a theater/hall where live events are held. Now Miami Jai-Alai is facing an $84 million foreclosure lawsuit. ABC Funding filed the lawsuit against Florida Gaming Centers and Florida Gaming Corp., owners of the jai alai. Another fronton located in Fort Pierce and owned by the same companies is also snared in the lawsuit. According to the companies’ filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, revenue is down and liabilities are up.

Travares Santiago, Dedrick Brown and Willie Barney were arrested in the robbery and shooting of an off-duty Miami-Dade police officer. Police said the men, each 20 years old, confronted the unnamed officer as he was leaving church and demanded his jewelry and cash. He was then shot in the chest and his attackers fled in a car. They were captured hours later following a massive manhunt, police said.