Md. court disbars lawyer 5 years after complaints

January 25, 2001|By Greg Garland | Greg Garland,SUN STAFF

Nearly five years after two judges reported allegations of misconduct against lawyer Mark M. Tomaino to the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission and demanded an investigation, Tomaino has been disbarred.

The Maryland Court of Appeals found that Tomaino, 40, who is now a corporate lawyer in Rochester, N.Y., violated the rules of professional conduct for lawyers "by engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation."

The case that led to Tomaino's disbarment involved in part his representation in 1990-1991 of GeneSys Data Technologies Inc. in Hunt Valley. At the time, he was working for the firm of Weinberg & Green in Baltimore.

A Baltimore County jury concluded in 1996 that Tomaino, instead of protecting GeneSys, secretly engineered its demise. The jury found he had breached the contractual relationship with his clients and his fiduciary duty and committed fraud.

Two judges who dealt with the matter were so disturbed by his conduct that they reported him to the commission, which is supposed to protect the public from unscrupulous lawyers, and demanded an investigation.

Tomaino's actions were profiled in a 1998 Sun article that exposed how Maryland is lax in weeding out bad lawyers, often moving slowly to discipline them.

The commission brought the case to disbar Tomaino that led to the ruling by the Court of Appeals, which was released late yesterday. The ruling talks about the "professional carnage" Tomaino left behind when he went to Rochester in 1991. It says Tomaino's former law firm later found "improprieties in the lawyer's handling of four transactions unrelated to GeneSys."

Baltimore Circuit Judge Edward J. Angeletti held an initial fact-finding hearing and issued a report to the appellate court, describing Tomaino's "pervasive dishonesty" in a series of transactions.

Efforts to locate Tomaino last night for comment were unsuccessful.

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