ORDER OF PUBLIC REPRIMAND
The Disciplinary Review Board having filed a report recommending that STEPHEN H. FEUERSTEIN of ENGLISHTOWN be publicly reprimanded for knowingly and willfully failing to carry out contracts of employment to their conclusion in violation of DR. 6-101(A)(2) and DR. 7-101(A)(2) and (3), and good cause appearing;
It is ORDERED that the report of the Disciplinary Review Board is hereby adopted and that STEPHEN H. FEUERSTEIN be and hereby is publicly reprimanded for his violation of DR. 6-101(A)(2) and DR. 7-101(A)(2) and (3); and it is further
Ordered that the Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board, together with this Order and the full record of this matter, be added as a permanent part of the file of said STEPHEN H. FEUERSTEIN as an attorney at law of the State of New Jersey; and it is further
Ordered that STEPHEN H. FEUERSTEIN reimburse the Administrative Office of the Courts for appropriate administrative costs in this matter, including the production of transcripts.
Decision and Recommendation of the Disciplinary Review Board
To the Honorable Chief Justice and Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of New Jersey:
Respondent is an attorney admitted in both New York and New Jersey, who is primarily engaged as a tax attorney in New York. His practice of law in this State, which he operates from his home in Englishtown, is essentially limited to a small number of real estate closings which are referred to him by friends or other clients. It is respondent's alleged unethical conduct in
three New Jersey real estate transactions which forms the focus of this proceeding.
In the most serious matter presented, respondent represented a couple named Nazareth in their purchase of a residence in Manalapan Township. The closing took place on October 2, 1980, and shortly thereafter the Nazareths provided respondent with $1,275.10 to be used to pay fees owed incident to the closing.*fn1 Respondent deposited these funds in a trust account which he maintained at a branch of the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Company in New York City.
Before disbursements were made a dispute arose between respondent and his clients concerning respondent's legal fee. As a result of his disagreement respondent unilaterally decided to take no further action in the matter. He did not distribute the funds entrusted to him by his clients to the proper parties and was totally uncommunicative with his clients, the title company and the savings and loan when they attempted on numerous occasions, both in writing and by telephone, to inquire as to why the fees had not been paid and certain required documents not filed.
Failing in his efforts to obtain respondent's cooperation in a cordial manner, Mr. Nazareth finally filed both an ethics complaint with the District IX Ethics Committee and a claim with the Clients' Security Fund. At the time of the ethics hearing, which was held on April 19, 1982, respondent testified that the funds paid him by the ...