High-Profile ‘Crockefeller’ Case Puts Spotlight on Lawyer’s Own Issues
Posted Aug 21, 2008 1:57 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
The Massachusetts attorney representing the suspect dubbed "Crockefeller" by tabloids apparently hasn't hesitated to take a prominent role in high-profile news coverage of the criminal case against the bogus blueblood.
The alleged kidnapping, by wealthy "Clark Rockefeller," of his own 7-year-old daughter had already captured international media attention, and then his reported status as a "person of interest" in the disappearance and presumed murder of a young California couple, while he was living in their guesthouse more than 20 years ago, made the situation even more intriguing.
But even as all the media attention has given attorney Stephen Hrones the kind of publicity that money can't buy, it has also put his work as a lawyer under a spotlight. Among other issues, Hrones, 66, has been sued four times for legal malpractice since 2004, and the Office of Bar Counsel is urging that his license to practice be suspended for two years, reports the Boston Herald.
The Office of Bar Counsel is seeking to discipline Hrones for his alleged role in allowing a former paralegal in his office, Lionel Porter, to pass himself off as co-counsel to Hrones. "Hrones admits authorizing Porter to solicit new clients on his behalf, and sharing their fees," the newspaper writes.
Says Hrones: “I’m the first to admit, I didn’t properly supervise this guy." However, Hrones says he fired Porter last year, and that, he implies, should pretty much be the end of it. “I was careless, but I don’t think I did anything wrong. I was doing this guy a favor. No good deed goes unpunished,” he tells the Herald.
The Herald story, he tells the Docket, a Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly blog, was retaliation by the newspaper for the fact that Hrones' high-profile client, a German national whose real name is Christian Gerhartsreiter, recently granted interviews to the Boston Globe and NBC's Today and not the Herald.
“It’s payback,” Hrones says of yesterday's front-page Herald story. “There is no question about it. The Globe interview was today, and the Herald was furious.”
Meanwhile, his client remains in jail in Boston.
Boston Globe: "The Rockefeller Case"
Boston Globe: "How impostors like Clark Rockefeller capture our trust instantly--and why we're so eager to give it to them."
Boston Channel: "Woman Recalls Strange Date With Rockefeller"
Los Angeles Times: "Bloodstain could offer best evidence in San Marino couple's 1985 disappearance"
Los Angeles Times: "Coroner's office disposed of most skeletal parts in San Marino mystery case"
New York Post: "NBC Lands First With Crockefeller"
ABAJournal.com: "Brother IDs Wealthy Dad Who Allegedly Abducted Daughter"
ABAJournal.com: "7-Year-Old Taken By Wealthy Dad is Found Safe in Baltimore"