Monday, June 13, 2016

Long and Marmero look to "Discipline by Consent" to resolve ethics complaint.

Douglas M. Long
In a September 3, 2014 article, I wrote about an attorney ethics complaint having been filed against then Cumberland County Freeholder (and now Cumberland County Democratic Party Committee Chairman) Douglas M. Long and his law partner Albert K. Marmero that claimed that law firm trust account funds were being "regularly invaded and utilized as a 'line of credit' to fund the firm's operating expenses."  In a subsequent article, I called out Long and Marmero for suggesting in filed documents that the firm's bookkeeper, without Long's or Marmero's knowledge, reached out to Long's brother for a $10,000 cash loan to keep the firm's accounts from being overdrawn.

Today, I was informed by Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) Director Charles Centinaro that Long and Marmero are looking to throw in the towel.  In a June 13, 2016 e-mail, Centinaro wrote that "[a] Motion for Discipline by Consent has been filed with the Disciplinary Review Board in [Long's and Marmero's] Docket Nos. XIV-2012-0300E and XIV-2012-0301E.  However, the DRB has not yet approved the motion.  Therefore, as you now know, the Motion for Discipline by Consent is not yet available for public inspection."

According to OAE rules, Discipline by Consent is "a procedure whereby a respondent may agree with an investigator, presenter or ethics counsel to admit facts constituting unethical conduct and recommend specific discipline or a range of specific discipline, subject to review by the Disciplinary Review Board." 

Unfortunately, Centinaro's interpretation of the rules, with which I disagree, is that the motion under consideration, which would tell us the quantum of discipline that Long and Marmero agreed to accept, is confidential.  If the motion is granted, however, the terms of the consent and the discipline imposed will be subject to public disclosure.