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10/20/88 In Re Harold J. Green

October 20, 1988




JUSTICE CUNNINGHAM delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CLARK, Concurring in part and Dissenting part


This matter is before the court upon exceptions of respondent, Harold J. Green, to the reports of the Hearing Board and the Review Board recommending disbarment.

On June 26, 1986, the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed with the Hearing Board a single-count complaint against respondent for his conduct in connection with a loan of $24,000 to Judge Reginald Holzer.

The complaint charges respondent with giving or lending a thing of value to a Judge in violation of Rule 7-110(a) of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code) (107 Ill. 2d R. 7-110(a)); engaging in conduct circumventing a disciplinary rule through actions of another in violation of Rule 1-102(a)(2) of the Code (107 Ill. 2d R. 1-102(a)(2)); engaging in illegal conduct involving moral turpitude in violation of Rule 1-102(a)(3) of the Code (107 Ill. 2d R. 1-102(a)(3)); engaging in conduct prejudicial to the administration of Justice in violation of Rule 1-102(a)(5) of the Code (107 Ill. 2d R. 1-102(a)(5)); failing to report knowledge of a violation of Rule 1-102(a)(3) or Rule 1-102(a)(4) in violation of Rule 1-102(a) of the Code (107 Ill. 2d R. 1-103(a)); and engaging in conduct involving the appearance of impropriety in violation of Canon 9 of the Code (107 Ill. 2d Canon 9).

On January 7, 1987, the Hearing Board found that each allegation of misconduct had been proved by clear and convincing evidence, and recommended that respondent be disbarred. On May 27, 1987, the Review Board unanimously concurred with the Hearing Board's finding of facts and Conclusions of law, and recommended that respondent be disbarred.

The evidence regarding the facts in issue consisted of certain admissions of respondent, certain prior testimony which respondent had given to a grand jury in proceedings against Judge Holzer, and testimony at the hearing. The witnesses at the hearing testifying regarding the facts in issue were respondent and Hans Eigner, director of Harris Bank and Trust Company (Harris Bank). We herein summarize the evidence in the record regarding the sequence of events in question, and also regarding respondent's knowledge and motive relating to his actions.

The evidence establishes that respondent, now 83 years old, was born in 1905. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School and was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 1928. He engaged in the practice of law with his brother under the firm name of Green & Green for 10 to 15 years. Since his brother's retirement, respondent has had only one client, the Bank of Commerce and Industry . Respondent owns 95% of the stock in BCI. Respondent is primarily engaged in the business of banking but does still render some legal service to BCI. In none of the litigation relating to this disciplinary proceeding, however, did respondent represent either himself or BCI as legal counsel.

At all times relevant hereto, respondent knew Judge Holzer as a Judge but not as a social friend. On one occasion, sometime prior to June 1981, respondent encountered Holzer by chance at a social and dining club in Chicago, where each was a member and each was waiting to be seated. Respondent and Judge Holzer had a brief conversation, which respondent recounted as follows:

"HOLZER: How are you?


HOLZER: How's your bank doing?

RESPONDENT: I'm satisfied. How do you know I own a bank?

HOLZER: Everybody knows. [Would you or could you] make me a loan?

RESPONDENT: I have the money, but I wouldn't make you a loan, not because of you, but I don't like to lend money to politicians because you always have trouble trying to collect."

In September 1981, Robert Berliner of the firm of Levy and Erens filed a suit for BCI against Harry Iseberg. (Bank of Commerce & Industry v. Iseberg et al. (Cir. Ct. Cook Co.), No. 81-CH-4878.) The suit was filed to foreclose on the beneficial interest of a land trust pledged as collateral for a loan of approximately $900,000 which defendants allegedly had failed to repay. The case was assigned to Judge Holzer.

Between September 10, 1981, and October 4, 1981, Alvin Becker, an attorney who represented BCI in other matters, informed respondent that William Harte had been retained by Iseberg and Horwitz to file a third-party ...

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