Clapp, Jayne and Francis. The opinion of the court was delivered by Francis, J.A.D.
This is an appeal from an order of the New Jersey Real Estate Commission which suspended the broker's license of appellant for the unexpired portion of the license year 1955, less one day.
The disciplinary action was taken under N.J.S.A. 45:15-17 which provides:
"The commission may, upon its own motion, and shall, upon the verified complaint in writing of any person, investigate the actions
of any real estate broker or real estate salesman, or any person who assumes to act in either such capacity within this State; and the commission may suspend for a period less than the unexpired portion of the license period, or may revoke any license issued under the provisions of this article, where the licensee, in performing or attempting to perform any of the acts mentioned herein, is deemed to be guilty of:
a. Making any false promises or any substantial misrepresentation; or
d. Failure to account for or to pay over any moneys belonging to others, coming into the possession of the licensee; or
e. Any conduct which demonstrates unworthiness, incompetency, bad faith or dishonesty; * * *."
Five complaints charging violations thereof were filed against Middleton. Three of them, Galasso, Brett and Garvin, charged that in each instance he had been given $100 as a deposit toward the construction of a home and an additional $25 as an application fee for a G.I. mortgage loan. In two of the cases it was alleged that credit was not given for the deposit at the time of closing, and that recovery was made over a year later only when the Veterans Administration intervened. In the third case the claim was that although the house was never built, the money had not been returned. (Reimbursement in this instance was made before the hearing.)
The other two complaints were interposed by Theodore C. Palmer and Leonard Burr. The Burr accusation was dismissed after hearing and requires no discussion.
The Palmer complaint alleged that he and Middleton formed John Middleton, Inc., for the building and selling of homes. Middleton became president, and Palmer secretary-treasurer. The corporation went into receivership and subsequently Palmer discovered a corporate check for $1,000 made payable to "cash-payroll," had been endorsed and cashed by Middleton. It purported to bear Palmer's signature as secretary-treasurer as required, but he asserted that ...