4 Tampa Bay area attorneys disbarred or suspended by Florida Supreme Court

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Four Tampa Bay area attorneys are among 13 attorneys who were recently disbarred, reprimanded, or had their licenses revoked or suspended by the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders.

The Florida Bar released the following information about the local attorneys–

  • Zaharias A. Papantoniou, Suite B-General Counsel, 14411 U.S. Highway 19 N., Clearwater, disbarred effective immediately, following a Jan. 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 2011) Papantoniou was retained to represent a client on two occasions. One was for an expungement of his misdemeanor arrest record. In both instances, Papantoniou failed to enter into a fee agreement and did not confirm in writing whether the fee was nonrefundable. Papantoniou subsequently failed to communicate with the client regarding the status of his case. When the client applied for a job, he learned that the application was rejected because his arrest record had not been expunged. Papantoniou failed to respond to official Bar inquiries regarding the matter. (Case No. SC16-903)
  • James Franklin Lowy, 14375 Myerlake Circle, Clearwater, disbarred retroactive to October 15, 2015, following a Jan. 5 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1996) A Bar audit found that Lowy did not maintain the required trust account records, including a cash receipts and disbursements journal, monthly bank reconciliations and individual client ledger cards. Lowy received settlement payments on behalf of clients who were victims of an investment fraud scheme but he paid incorrect amounts to clients, overpaid himself, and failed to maintain a sufficient balance in the trust account to cover payments. Lowy also commingled funds. (Case No. SC15-1741)
  • Garry Lee Potts, 13575 58th St. N., Suite 126, Clearwater, disbarred effective immediately, following a December 22, 2016, court order. (Admitted to practice: 1988) Potts represented a client in a personal injury matter. When the case settled, Potts kept an attorney’s fee of $8,333 and disbursed $8,523 to the client. Thereafter, the client made multiple attempts to contact Potts regarding his remaining balance of $7,794, but Potts did not respond. Potts also failed to respond to The Florida Bar’s inquiries, nor did he respond to a Bar subpoena to produce financial records. (Case No. SC16-838)
  • Steve D. Kackley, 457 S. Commerce Ave., Sebring, suspended for 30 days, effective 30 days from a Dec. 22 court order. (Admitted to practice: 1975) Further, upon reinstatement, Kackley will be placed on probation for four years. Kackley was found in contempt for failing to comply with the terms of a Dec. 12, 2013, court order. Kackley was required to participate in a rehabilitation program with Florida Lawyers Assistance, Inc. He tested positive for alcohol and other prohibited substances during random tests in December 2015 and February 2016. (Case No. SC16-431)

According to The Florida Bar, court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline.

Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

Discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles.To view discipline documents, follow these steps.

Additional information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint can be found here.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON RIGHT NOW: 

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