Former Mayoral Candidate Jim Moore's Law License Was Suspended For Spending a Client's Money During His Campaign

Thumbnail image for jimmooreandjimfoster.jpg
Jim Moore, left, with former County Judge Jim Foster
Jim Moore was, for a time, the frontrunner in the race to succeed Tom Leppert as Dallas mayor, if only because he declared his candidacy long before anyone else.

His star shone only briefly, however, as the criminal defense attorney pulled out of the race three months before the actual election and before official filing period began, citing "finances -- we simply don't have the money it will take to win this election, and are not likely to raise the funds needed within the next 90 days."

Some recent disciplinary filings by the State Bar of Texas suggest that there may have been a little more to the story. The organization sued Moore on Wednesday over possession of his client's legal files, which it alleges he has abandoned at his Oak Lawn office. And that filing contains the tidbit that Moore's license to practice law is suspended.

According to an agreed order signed on August 7, 2012, Moore was representing a woman named Yvonne Sorsby in a personal injury lawsuit against Lowe's. The suit was quickly settled for $25,000, but Moore didn't tell Sorsby when he had received the money. Instead, he "signed Sorsby's name on the settlement check and deposited in into his (attorney trust) account, but spent the funds for his own purposes."

The agreement doesn't specify what those purposes were, but the timing -- he received the settlement check on December 15, 2010 -- coincides with his ill-fated push for mayor. As a result of the misconduct, Moore's law license was suspended for five years.

Moore had a previous disciplinary order from 2006. In that case, he was placed on probation for two years after stopping payment on a check written to Parkland as part of a client's settlement agreement.

The receptionist at Moore's office said he had retired and didn't have contact information for him. He has not yet responded to a Facebook message seeking comment. So, we're still working on that.

Update at 3:52 p.m.: Moore, who just called, admits to a technical violation of state ethics rules in that he never sent Sorsby a settlement sheet. He simply told her up front that she'd get about $15,000.

He says he wound up paying her $17,500, which, he points out, was more than they had agreed to. The charge that he spent the money on himself is absolute bullshit, and they know it."

As for the legal files he's being sued for, Moore says they're sitting in his Oak Lawn office. The cases are all closed, and he says he told the State Bar that they are free to go through them. He's nearly 70. He's had enough of the legal profession.

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