8 lawyers drew serious state penalities in 2011

  • Updated: January 14, 2012 - 4:50 PM

Eight Minnesota lawyers were either disbarred or suspended for a least a year in 2011.

Here's a look at the conduct that led the Minnesota Supreme Court to discipline them, as outlined in court orders.

Trent C. Jonas, North Oaks, disbarred in February.

Jonas, as an owner of two title companies, failed to record more than 3,000 mortgages and remit more than $1.5 million meant for title-insurance premiums and mortgage payoffs.

He was convicted in federal court of wire fraud and use of an "illegal monetary instrument." He was sentenced to two years in prison and ordered to pay $5.3 million in restitution.

Jay G. Swokowski, Anoka, disbarred in April.

Swokowski neglected seven clients' cases or improperly kept their fees, failed to pay a legal judgment and forged a client's signature.

Jason L. Blashack, Lester Prairie, suspended in February for at least three years.

Blashack pleaded guilty in June 2010 in McLeod County to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a person between 13 and 15 years old. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 10 years of probation and must register as a predatory offender, court records show.

Nathan K. McLean, St. Paul, suspended in January 2011 for at least three years.

McLean failed to diligently and competently represent a number of clients, communicate with them, put fees in trust or return files or fees.

McLean must retake and pass the bar exam's professional responsibility portion.

Jo M. Fairbairn, Minneapolis, suspended in September for at least 18 months, permanently barred from being a signer on a trust account.

Fairbairn temporarily removed funds from a client trust account in order to pay her company's operating expenses.

Eric A. Forstrom, Huntington Beach, Calif., suspended in November for one year.

The state imposed reciprocal discipline on Forstrom after a California court suspended him for falsely telling police and his insurance company that his car had been stolen, when in fact he abandoned it after an accident. Forstrom also was criminally convicted for his actions.

Dennis R. Letourneau, St. Louis Park, suspended in January 2011 for at least one year.

Letourneau failed to properly represent a client who was given the wrong prescription at a pharmacy. The client experienced severe medical issues after taking the drug. The case was dismissed for a number of issues, including late legal filings by Letourneau.

Lawrence W. Ulanowski, Brainerd, suspended in August for at least one year.

Ulanowski submitted frivolous claims, made misrepresentations to a court, violated court rules, harassed opposing counsel, improperly withdrew from representing a client and improperly threatened a client with criminal prosecution.

He must retake and pass the professional responsibility portion of the bar exam and prove he has undergone moral change before being reinstated.

Hard Data digs into public records and puts a spotlight on rule breakers. Contact me at jfriedmann@startribune .com.

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