N.O. councilman says investigation into his legal work should have no bearing on council work

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wwltv.com

Posted on March 27, 2014 at 5:13 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 27 at 5:20 PM

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: kmoore@wwltv.com | Twitter: @katiecmoore

NEW ORLEANS - City council member James Gray said Thursday that the disciplinary investigation into his work as a lawyer should not reflect on his work as a council member.

The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board recommended Wednesday that the state Supreme Court disbar Gray or suspend his law license for a minimum of two years.

“About the procedure, I say talk to my lawyer. About what I can say to my constituents is look at all the good stuff we're getting done in the district,” Gray said.

Just weeks ago, Gray won re-election to his seat on the City Council. The Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board made the recommendations after digging into four complaints Gray's former clients made against him.

“The basis of the allegations were that he did not provide competent representation. Secondly, it was that he failed to communicate with his clients, and thirdly, that after he failed to communicate with his clients, he did not return the files,” said WWL-TV Legal Analyst Donald “Chick” Foret.

The 38-page report finds Gray violated some of the rules of professional conduct in all four cases.

Gray's attorney, Ernest Jones said the report is just one step above a complaint that's not conclusive or binding and that, "Even if you believed all the allegations there's no grounds for this kind of harsh recommendation."

Foret said he thinks investigators based that recommendation on three things: “This was a pattern that was shown by James Gray. Secondly, that he did not cooperate with the investigation and thirdly, that he didn't show any remorse to his clients.”

Gray said Thursday that he doesn't feel that the investigation into his law practice should have any bearing on his job as a council member.

“My job as a councilman should be measured by what I do as a councilman and you got it correct. We're still dealing with mere allegations,” he said.

Gray now has the chance to appeal to a three-person appellate panel. They then forward their recommendations to the state Supreme Court, which will make the ultimate determination about any wrongdoing and any disciplinary action.

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