Tony DeGidio, a Republican member of the Lucas County Board of Elections, will lose his law license for up to two years under a suspension handed down today by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court suspended Mr. DeGidio’s license for using money from his client trust account to pay personal and business expenses.
Mr. DiGidio’s license was suspended for two years, although it could be reinstated after one year if he completes an approved continuing legal education course on the proper use and maintenance of a client trust account.
In the court’s 6-1 decision, the court adopted the findings of the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline, which determined that between August, 2010, and June, 2011, Mr. DiGidio commingled personal and client funds in what should have been a dedicated trust account and wrote checks from that account to pay personal and business expenses. On one occasion, the board found, he overdrew the account which resulted in a check to pay the filing fee in a client’s federal court case being dishonored.
The disciplinary board also said he failed to provide requested information about the situation, failed to appear for a scheduled deposition in the case, and had to be prosecuted through default proceedings.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor cast the dissenting vote on the court’s decision, saying she would impose an indefinite suspension as the appropriate sanction for Mr. DiGidio’s misconduct.
Mr. DeGidio last month survived an attempt by fellow Republicans in Lucas County to remove him from the elections board, but the effort is being renewed.
Ron Rothenbuhler, chairman of the four-person elections board as well as chairman of the Lucas County Democratic Party, said the board has been advised by its attorney that it must hold a second hearing on the question of whether Mr. DeGidio is a legal resident and a legal voter in Lucas County. He said the date for that second hearing will be set when the board meets on Tuesday.