Legal Ethics

Facing Prison, Prominent Fla. Lawyer Still Has Many Friends

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Disbarred and facing a prison sentence, a once-prominent member of Palm Beach County’s political structure still had a significant team of well-wishers in his corner as he was sentenced today to a two-year federal prison term in a corruption case .

William Boose III, 63, kissed his former law partner, Alan Ciklin, on the cheek and apologized to the court, the Florida bar and his family at the court hearing before he was sentenced, reports the Palm Beach Post. He asked to be assigned to a drug and alcohol abuse treatment unit.

Some 100 well-wishers attended, according to the newspaper, and “nearly 100 letters attesting to his virtues were submitted to the court, many from county movers-and-shakers who had been Boose’s partners in land deals or won lucrative zoning with his influence.”

Boose pleaded guilty in July to misprision of a felony and is being fined $25,000 and will forfeit $400,000 concerning his role in a land deal that secretly earned $1.3 million for Tony Masilotti, the former chairman of the county commission, the Post reports. He was the fifth defendant to be sentenced in the high-profile case.

An attempted cover-up is what got Boose into trouble, after FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents began investigating: “Instead of reporting Masilotti’s hidden real estate deals to law enforcement, the defendant chose to deny his own involvement and knowledge, deny the identity of his true client and alter his own internal notes and files,” states a prosecution filing. “In our information and document-driven society, attorneys are the tools by which the ever-deepening well of public corruption is dug.”

A 1969 graduate of the University of Florida College of Law, Boose worked for the county for about five years before going into private practice as a lobbyist and land-use lawyer. Before his downfall, he was considered the dean of state land development lobbyists.

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