Florida Bar Presents New Evidence Of Mark Stopa Wrongdoing. Florida Bar Demands Immediate Suspension For Stopa
The Florida Bar Association has presented new evidence of Attorney Mark Stopa wrongdoing. The Bar is seeking an immediate emergency suspension of Stopa. They claim he appears to be causing great harm to the public by practicing law.
The Florida Bar says Stopa continues to engage in the misconduct that got him in the first place.
The Florida Bar filed a petition with the Florida Supreme Court. The petition presents more evidence of Mark Stopa wrongdoing. Lawyers allege that Stopa settled cases without his clients’ knowledge.
They also allege that he failed to disclose his ownership of a company to which a client deeded her house. In addition, the Bar alleges Stopa instructed one client to lie about the amount he had borrowed.
That client is currently facing felony perjury charges.
The petition calls for immediate suspension:
The Florida Bar’s Accusations Of Mark Stopa Wrongdoing
Stopa settled a California woman’s foreclosure case in April without her knowledge or authorization. The woman did not learn about the settlement until another attorney told her the lender had agreed to $7,000 in relocation assistance.
In 2014, Stopa’s firm told client Beverly Mellow that an investor was interested in buying her home. She executed a quitclaim deed that year to Quest Systems LLC.
Stopa failed to disclose he has an ownership interest in Quest Systems. The bar claims Stopa failed to explain the legal ramifications of signing the deed. They also state Stopa failed to advise her to seek independent counsel concerning the transaction and failed to obtain her written informed consent. Stopa has continued to fight the foreclosure on behalf of Quest Systems.
Last year, Stopa told client James Goeke to mislead the court. Stopa told Goeke to tell the court he only borrowed $30,000 on a line of credit although Goeke had previously said in a deposition that he owed about $190,000. Stopa “knowingly encouraged or allowed his client to take the stand and provide false testimony,” the petition says.
The Florida Bar presented evidence of Stopa filing numerous motions that contained false statements that delayed litigation. These delays had a detrimental effect on the court system. The Bar alleges Stopa continued filing the motions despite warnings from Judge Sharpe-Byrd to stop doing so.
Stopa would immediately be barred from accepting any new clients if he is placed in emergency suspension. Additionally, he could not withdraw money from any trust accounts or financial institutions related to his law practice.
Judge Claims Mark Stopa Wrongdoing Is Due To His Mental Health Issues
Pinellas County Judge Linda Allan had stopped short of calling for disbarment of Stopa. She recommended a one year and limited to appellate work for an additional year. In addition, she is recommending he undergo a year of mental health counseling.
Judge Allan, cited Stopa’s angry outbursts against some trial judges that they threw him out of their courtrooms.
However, Allan also heard from appellate judges who called Stopa a well-prepared, intelligent attorney.
Judge Allan wrote in her report:
The Florida Bar has recommended disbarment as the appropriate sanction. The Referee understands this perspective, particularly in light of (Stopa’s) persistence in blaming others and resistance to acknowledge the wrongful nature of his belligerent and angry conduct toward judges and others. However, the Referee believes that an attorney of (Stopa’s) legal talent, intellectual abilities, and many well-served clients deserve a structured opportunity for rehabilitation.
Stopa originally claimed he was going to appeal:
New Evidence of Mark Stopa Wrongdoing Emerges. Stopa Decides To Start New Company
Stopa claims he is starting a company to help homeowners facing foreclosure:
Stopa is calling the venture Shining Armor. He claims the company would help borrowers negotiate short payoffs. Basically, Stopa is starting a loan modification company.
Shining Armor is backed by investors with deep pockets according to Stopa. However, he refused to elaborate.