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05/17/89 In Re Howard I. Lidov

May 17, 1989

IN RE HOWARD I. LIDOV, ATTORNEY, RESPONDENT


SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

544 N.E.2d 294, 129 Ill. 2d 424, 135 Ill. Dec. 798 1989.IL.739

Disciplinary proceeding.

APPELLATE Judges:

CHIEF JUSTICE MORAN delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CLARK took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE MORAN

The Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission filed a one-count complaint alleging that respondent, Howard I. Lidov, loaned $4,000 in cash to then Judge Reginal Holzer in violation of Disciplinary Rule 7 -- 110of the Illinois Code of Professional Responsibility (1970) (Code). The hearing panel found that respondent gave a $4,000 cash loan directly to Holzer in violation of DR 7 -- 110of the Code and recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year. The Review Board adopted the hearing panel's findings and recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months. One member of the Review Board Dissented and recommended that the complaint be dismissed. Respondent filed exceptions to the report and recommendation of the Review Board (107 Ill. 2d R. 753(e)(5)).

The issues presented for review are: (1) whether respondent's conduct constituted a violation of DR 7 -- 110of the Code; and, if so, (2) what sanction, if any, should be imposed upon him.

The uncontradicted testimony of the respondent is as follows. Respondent was licensed to practice law in Illinois in April 1953. He first became acquainted with Holzer in the early 1960s. At that time, Holzer was president of the Decalogue Society and respondent was a member. Respondent and Holzer became better acquainted in the late 1960s when they were both guests at the home of a mutual friend. In subsequent years, the friendship between them grew. They would meet at various locations, including Holzer's chambers, to discuss matters which were of interest to the Jewish community. One topic they discussed was the Israel Bond Office in Chicago (Office), which respondent actively supported by purchasing and promoting the sale of Israel Bonds. In 1971, respondent tried the only case he had before Holzer.

In 1976, Holzer was a candidate in the general election for a vacancy on this court. During the summer of 1976, the Office held a dinner honoring Holzer. In order to promote its dinner, the Office planned to mail promotional materials. Holzer asked the Office if they would mail his campaign flyers with the materials promoting the dinner. The Office agreed to Holzer's request on the condition that he pay for the campaign flyers and the cost of mailing them.

Shortly thereafter, no specific date being shown in the record, Holzer asked respondent to come to his chambers. During this meeting, Holzer reminded him that he was running for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court. Holzer then told respondent that the Office recently held a dinner in his honor and explained the arrangement he made with the Office to mail his campaign flyers with the materials promoting the dinner. Holzer then told respondent that he had insufficient campaign funds to repay the Office for the cost of mailing and printing the campaign flyers.

Holzer knew that respondent actively supported the Office; therefore, he asked respondent to loan his campaign $4,000 so that he could repay the Office. Respondent agreed and, within 24 hours of the meeting, he removed $4,000 in cash from his safety deposit box. Respondent then went to Holzer's chambers, where he gave the $4,000 cash loan directly to Holzer. In return, Holzer gave respondent a $4,000 promissory note.

Holzer assured respondent that the loan would be repaid within 60 days. When 60 days passed and respondent had not been repaid, he persistently called Holzer, seeking repayment of the loan. Shortly thereafter, Holzer began making installment payments to respondent.

On March 21, 1977, while the loan was outstanding, respondent's case was randomly assigned to Holzer for pretrial. Over two months later, on May 31, 1977, while the loan was still outstanding, respondent's second case was randomly assigned to Holzer. Respondent is uncertain, but believes he informed opposing counsel in both cases of his loan to Holzer. Both cases were settled before proceeding to trial. The loan was fully repaid in early 1978. Respondent did not charge Holzer interest on the loan.

The first issue presented for review is whether respondent's conduct constituted a violation of DR 7 -- 110of the Code. DR 7 -- 110of the Code, at ...


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