Miami-Dade County

Here’s why 5 lawyers were disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court

Five of the 15 lawyers suspended last month were from South Florida.
Five of the 15 lawyers suspended last month were from South Florida. Miami Herald File

Five attorneys from Miami-Dade and Broward counties made up a third of the 15 disciplined in the last month by the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar announced this week.

In alphabetical order:

▪  Sholom Boyer (University of Miami School of Law, 1999) from North Miami Beach has received a disciplinary revocation, a disbarment in effect, and can reapply for admission Feb. 21, 2021. The Bar alleges that a client’s case was dismissed because Boyer neglected it, and that Boyer misused trust funds then ignored a subpoena for trust account records. Boyer has been suspended for the latter since Jan. 22, 2016.

▪  George Charnota (Tulane Law School, 2001) of Coral Gables admitted to taking the money to do the job and twice not putting in the time to do it. Juan Aguilar’s DUI manslaughter conviction appeal died in 2014 when Charnota ignored the Third Court of Appeal warning that he had 10 days to file an initial brief. He never filed the brief. That same year, Ruben Salgado wanted to vacate and modify his plea agreement. Charnota took the $2,500 and did nothing. He also did nothing when the Florida Bar, upon receiving grievances from Aguilar and Salgado, started sending him letters asking him what he had to say about this. Charnota remains suspended until Oct. 12.

▪  Hollywood’s Carol Lynn Benson Kendall (University of Richmond School of Law) is suspended until further notice for failure to respond to a Bar inquiry. This is the second suspension in two years for the 72-year-old, who gained entry to the bar in 2002.

▪  Donald Kerner (Thomas W. Cooley Law School, 1999) is suspended untl Feb. 18, 2020, for several reasons. There was the $25,000 settlement he received for a widower in a personal injury case. The funds in the trust account fell below $25,000 several times, according to the referee’s report. Also, when hired to handle unpaid fee collection in 95 personal injury cases, there were documents missing in the trust account and some unexplained transfers.

▪  Coral Gables’ Eduardo Rigoberto Soto (UM School of Law) will get a public reprimand published in the Southern Reporter for his behavior in an immigration case. In 2014, accomplished Venezuelan horse trainer Gustavo Amaya retained Soto to get an O-1A nonimmigrant visa as an individual with extraordinary abilities. Six months later, Customs and Immigration asked Soto for more proof that Amaya wasn’t just another horse trainer. Soto didn’t talk to Amaya before submitting a response that got rejected by USCIS. Amaya claimed he didn’t find out about the rejection until a month later. Soto denies that. Either way, Amaya had only days to file an appeal. Amaya also said Soto’s office thwarted his efforts to keep track of his case, even telling him he wasn’t entitled to the case number as he wasn’t the named petitioner. Amaya eventually gained entry and trained at Gulfstream Park.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal