Golden Valley attorney suspended again for misappropriating clients' funds

  • Article by: Joy Powell
  • Star Tribune
  • March 12, 2014 - 9:33 PM

A Golden Valley attorney has been suspended from practicing law for 30 days for negligently misappropriating his clients’ funds and failing to keep proper trust account records.

The Minnesota Supreme Court found that Randall D. Tigue carried out the misconduct after being released from probation for similar violations, in which he was issuing checks to himself for amounts greater than the funds that were available for disbursement.

Tigue’s accounts were short and often overdrawn almost continuously from May 5, 2010, to June 14, 2012, the Supreme Court found.

Tigue admitted letting his maintenance of his accounts “slide” because he was no longer on probation, according to a disciplinary opinion that the state’s high court issued Wednesday.

The new petition for disciplinary action by the agency that oversees Minnesota lawyers alleges that Tigue again failed to properly maintain his trust account, leading it to become overdrawn repeatedly. A trust account is a bank account where lawyers hold funds belonging to clients and others in connection with legal representation.

Tigue was publicly reprimanded and placed on two years’ probation in October 2007 for failing to maintain his trust account books and records in connection with a 2005 overdraft.

He also was required to make his trust account books and records available to the director of the Office of Lawyers Professional Responsibility.

Tigue overdrew his trust account again in January 2012, leading to an overdraft. That happened because he did not maintain and reconcile his trust account, Wednesday’s opinion says. The disciplinary investigation ensued, and a referee’s findings were presented to the state Supreme Court.

Tigue also was ordered to hire a certified public accountant to supervise his maintenance of trust account books and records. He is to provide the director of the lawyer’s board with monthly certifications signed by the CPA, and to pay $900 in court costs.

Tigue, 65, lives in St. Anthony. He could not be immediately reached on Wednesday for comment.

A well-known lawyer specializing in First Amendment issues, Tigue represented Duluth head shop owner Jim Carlson, who last year was convicted of more than 50 counts of selling synthetic drugs from Last Place on Earth.

Joy Powell • 612-673-7750

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