Franklin, Matter of

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; CLIFFORD; CONFORD
Citation365 A.2d 1361,71 N.J. 425
PartiesIn the Matter of Benjamin FRANKLIN, III, an Attorney-At-Law.
Decision Date16 November 1976

Page 425

71 N.J. 425
365 A.2d 1361
In the Matter of Benjamin FRANKLIN, III, an Attorney-At-Law.
Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Argued April 6, 1976.
Decided Nov. 16, 1976.

Donald M. Malehorn, Morristown, for Morris County Ethics committee.

Richard L. Amster, Millburn, for respondent (Amster & Levin, Millburn, attorneys).

Page 426

PER CURIAM.

The respondent, an attorney at law of this State, was the subject of a complaint, filed with the Morris County Ethics Committee, that charged him with submitting 'exaggerated, fraudulent, or non-existent' expenses on his weekly reports, between January 1, 1973 and July 21, 1973, to the Rockaway Corporation, of which he was president and chief executive officer. This conduct allegedly violated (1) DR 1--102(A)(3) which provides a lawyer shall not '(e)ngage in illegal conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law' and (2) DR 1--102(A)(4) which prohibits a lawyer from engaging 'in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.'

In his answer the respondent conceded that he could not substantiate these expenses. However, he denied any violations of the Disciplinary Rules and claimed that his dispute with the Rockaway Corporation had been settled.

Although no testimony was presented at the formal hearing before the Ethics Committee, an Agreed Statement of Facts between the Ethics Committee's prosecutor and the respondent was admitted into evidence with three exhibits. These exhibits included that settlement agreement between the Rockaway Corporation and respondent, a report of Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co., certified public accountants, submitted to the Rockaway Corporation, and 12 weekly expense vouchers which respondent had submitted to the Corporation between May 12, 1973 and July 21, 1973. After the hearing respondent submitted an affidavit in which he acknowledged that 'some of the claimed reimbursements were insupportable.'

On the basis of this record the Morris County Ethics Committee submitted a presentment to this Court in which it found that respondent had submitted fraudulent expense vouchers to his employer between January and July 1973 and had [365 A.2d 1362] received 'reimbursement in substantial amounts for entertainment expenses which he never incurred.' The Committee

Page 427

concluded that this conduct violated DR 1--102(A)(3) and (4).

Respondent had practiced law in this State between 1947 and 1960. He then became general counsel and secretary to the Rockaway Corporation's corporate predecessor. On January 1, 1966, he was elected president and chief executive officer of the Corporation and continued in that capacity until August 3, 1973. He has not practiced law since January 1, 1966.

As an emolument of his position respondent was entitled to reimbursement of business expenses incurred for entertainment, food and liquor. The annual amounts which he incurred between 1966 and 1972 for these purposes ranged between $13,538 and $67,384. In the period between January 1, 1973 and July 23, 1973, these expenses totaled $44,037. The stipulated facts before the Ethics Committee included the assertion that '(n)either party to this stipulation is prepared to factually prove or disprove the validity of' any of these reimbursements. However, the letter report sent to the Rockaway Corporation by Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co. recited that individuals whom respondent claimed to have entertained were asked to verify the occasions. Based on the oral responses, no support for $11,775 out of the $44,037 of the 1973 expenses was found. In making this calculation the accountants included as unsupportable expenses those which were claimed for group meetings after at least half of the alleged participants had stated no meeting occurred.

The settlement agreement recited that differences had arisen between the Corporation and respondent in connection with expenses, for which respondent had been reimbursed between 1966 and 1973, in the aggregate amount of approximately $319,000. The agreement provided that Franklin would pay $5,000 and assign to the Corporation his interests in two pension plans which had a total aggregate value, including respondent's contributions, of $46,000. In

Page 428

return the Corporation released him from any expense account claims it might have had.

The third exhibit introduced at the hearing consisted of weekly expense reports between...

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28 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...is not committed in the attorney's professional capacity is immaterial. In re Suchanoff, 460 A.2d 642 (N.J. 1983); In re Franklin, 365 A.2d 1361 (N.J. Section 11.6, like current Sec. 10.6, would provide for registration of individuals to practice before the Office in patent matters. Paragra......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...is not committed in the attorney's professional capacity is immaterial. In re Suchanoff, 460 A.2d 642 (N.J. 1983); In re Franklin, 365 A.2d 1361 (N.J. Section 11.6, like current Sec. 10.6, would provide for registration of individuals to practice before the Office in patent matters. Paragra......
  • Greenberg, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 17, 1998
    ...that respondent had "an unblemished professional career and was highly regarded in the legal and general community"); In re Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 426-29, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976)(imposing one-year suspension on respondent based on evidence that while serving as corporate president of publicly ......
  • Hasbrouck, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 12, 1995
    ...for discipline. In re La Duca, supra, 62 N.J. at 140, 299 A.2d 405; In re Gavel, supra, 22 N.J. at 266, 125 A.2d 696; In re Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 429, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976). An attorney is obligated to adhere to the high standard of conduct required by a member of the bar, even though her a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
26 cases
  • Greenberg, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 17, 1998
    ...that respondent had "an unblemished professional career and was highly regarded in the legal and general community"); In re Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 426-29, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976)(imposing one-year suspension on respondent based on evidence that while serving as corporate president of publicly ......
  • Hasbrouck, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 12, 1995
    ...for discipline. In re La Duca, supra, 62 N.J. at 140, 299 A.2d 405; In re Gavel, supra, 22 N.J. at 266, 125 A.2d 696; In re Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 429, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976). An attorney is obligated to adhere to the high standard of conduct required by a member of the bar, even though her a......
  • McCann, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • June 7, 1988
    ...Matter of Huber, 101 N.J. 1, 4, 499 A.2d 220 (1985); In re Suchanoff, 93 N.J. 226, 230, 460 A.2d 642 (1983); In re Page 502 Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 429, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976); In re Carlson, 17 N.J. 338, 347, 111 A.2d 393 (1955); In re Genser, 15 N.J. 600, 606, 105 A.2d 829 (1954). Any misbeh......
  • Pepe, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • June 30, 1995
    ...and integrity that are essential for a person to engage in the practice of law constitutes a basis for discipline. In re Franklin, 71 N.J. 425, 429, 365 A.2d 1361 (1976); In re La Duca, supra, 62 N.J. at Page 569 140, 299 A.2d 405; In re Gavel, supra, 22 N.J. at 266, 125 A.2d 696. The oblig......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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