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Archive for Friday, February 15, 2013

Kansas Supreme Court orders disbarment of Lawrence attorney for ‘squandering’ $2.6 million

February 15, 2013

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— The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday ordered the disbarment of Lawrence attorney Douglas Lee Baker based on numerous misrepresentations of $2.6 million in securities he sold in gold mining companies.

Baker had sought a one-year probationary period in which his practice of law would have been placed under certain conditions.

But the court rejected that request, citing what it said were violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct.

The court said Baker "knowingly made misrepresentations and material omissions involving 36 investors in six states.

"He raised approximately $2.6 million and squandered all of the investors' money. The investors received no return on their investment, including no dividends, interest, or return of principal."

A telephone call left for Baker was not immediately returned.

Baker, an attorney since 1975, had served in several public offices during his career.

In 1976, he became city attorney for Frontenac and also served as a representative in the Kansas House for four years.

He later got into the oil business and then the gold business. He practices law in Lawrence.

In 2001, Baker formed several gold mining companies after he started acquiring claims for mining operations in Idaho and Arizona, according to the court opinion.

He made numerous misrepresentations to the investors in the companies, his misconduct was motivated by "dishonesty and selfishness," and he used investors' money for his personal benefit, according to a hearing panel of the Kansas Board of Discipline of Attorneys.

An Idaho court ordered him to pay $2.96 million, including $2.6 million in restitution to investors and $360,000 in penalties. He paid $500 toward the judgment.

Baker didn't take exception to the findings of the hearing panel, the Supreme Court's opinion stated.

The panel recommended a two-year suspension of his law license.

But Baker requested a one-year period of probation, arguing that the dispute was related to business interests, not the practice of law, and that he had become a different person.

But the court said Baker made a "paltry effort" to make restitution. Baker asked for mitigation given his public service, but the court said his years of public service didn't have anything to do with acts of misconduct committed 20 years later.

In arguing for probation, Baker said he planned to attend 9 hours of continuing legal education in management and ethics and that he would meet weekly with his spiritual leader. The court rejected those arguments too.

Comments

Robin Jones 1 year, 10 months ago

Must have been a Democrat when in the House since no party affiliation is mentioned.

deec 1 year, 10 months ago

Name: Douglas L. Baker Born: July 4, 1950 Died: Occupation: Attorney County: Crawford Town: Pittsburg Party: Democrat District: 3 Chamber: House 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980

http://www.kslib.info/government-information/legislative-information/kansas-legislators-past-and-present/babb-to-bard.html

jesse499 1 year, 10 months ago

( that he would meet weekly with his spiritual leader) That would be FRED I'm thinking.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't know Republican Sen. Bill Frist and his family HCA/HMO took Medicare for billions yet got got elected to the Senate,Bill was elected as Senate President,cut a deal with the USA gov't and still walked away will billions in profits.

Reagan/Bush Savings and loan fraud and the Bush/Cheney home loan fraud seemed to be republican initiatives.

In fact all 3 incidents seem to be republican initiatives.

George_Braziller 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh what a sacrifice that would have been. Every attorney is already required to take a certain number of hours of continuing education per year to maintain their license.

"In arguing for probation, Baker said he planned to attend 9 hours of continuing legal education in management and ethics and that he would meet weekly with his spiritual leader. The court rejected those arguments too."

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Interesting that the Disciplinary Administrator's Office and the Panel of attorneys who heard the case both recommended to the Kansas Supreme Court that Baker only be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two years. Because the panel's recommendation of discipline is only advisory, that recommendation does not prevent the Supreme Court from imposing sanctions greater or lesser than those recommended by the panel or the Disciplinary Administrator.

In their opinion, the Supreme Court wrote:

"The Respondent wrongfully used some of the investors' money for his personal benefit, rather than for reasons related to the purposes of the investments. The Respondent spent the money. The Hearing Panel concludes that the misconduct in this case was clearly motivated by dishonesty and selfishness."

By the way, you can view the entire opinion here: http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2013/20130215/108206.pdf

The opinion doesn't explain how much of the investor's money was actually used to fund mining operations and how much was diverted by Baker for personal use. Sufficie it to say, he made material misrepresentations in securing investors, and spent all the money, without returning a dime of the 2.6 million dollars.

Let's not mince words here, folks. The guy committed fraud and theft. I don't understand why both the Disciplinary Administrator and the Hearing Panel both recommended a sanction of only a two year suspension. The guy is a crook and the Supreme Court did the right thing in disbarring him. Although the rules do allow a disbarred attorney to reapply (I think they have to wait five or ten years), for all practical purposes this guy will never practice law again, which is a good thing.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

From the opinion:

" The respondent did testify: "I feel bad that they [the 36 investors] lost their money. I mean they were my friends." There is reason to question the sincerity of that remorse, however, when only $500 of $2.6 million has been repaid"

With a "friend" like Baker, who needs enemies.

Elise32 1 year, 10 months ago

Your personal vendetta against this person is obvious. It's both repulsive and sad.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

How many lives did he put in ruin? Maybe bankruptcy? How about prison time?

otto 1 year, 10 months ago

Always wondered how this guy lived the high life, but never seemed to work all that hard.

Elise32 1 year, 10 months ago

The high life? Your idea of the high life is clearly distorted.

Elise32 1 year, 10 months ago

Do any of you people commenting on this article actually know this man? Before slandering someone's name (and I speak to both the writer of this article and those commenting) and ruining their reputation maybe you should think twice. Doug Baker is a great man with a heart of gold and he would never intentionally hurt or defraud anyone. He is a great man and it is tragic to read such lies. People throughout the history of time have made mistakes. We are human. None of you are any better. How can you say such hateful and judgemental things about someone you don't even know?

Carmiletta Penny 1 year, 10 months ago

I do actually know this man and he ruined his own reputation. This is not the only time he has deceived others for his own selfish gain. He finally got caught. The court said he showed no remorse. Read the facts of the case.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Elise32, as you just signed on today, and have made five posts, all with regard to this specific article on Mr. Baker, you apparently have a dog in this fight. Perhaps you are a family member or close friend?

I never heard of Mr. Baker until reading today's article. But I did read in full the order of disbarment, which I linked above, which reads in pertinent part:

On June 29, 2012, the respondent filed exceptions to the final hearing report. See Supreme Court Rule 212(e) (2012 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 368). In doing so, the respondent did not take exception to the hearing panel's findings of fact or conclusions of law pertaining to the violations of KRPC 4.1 (2012 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 605) (truthfulness in statements to others); KRPC 8.4(c) (2012 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 643) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation); and KRPC 8.4(g) (engaging in any other conduct that adversely reflects on lawyer's fitness to practice law), or to the aggravating factors cited by the hearing panel. As such, those portions of the report are deemed admitted. Supreme Court Rule 212(c) (2012 Kan. Ct. R. Annot. 369) ("Any part of the hearing report not specifically excepted to shall be deemed admitted."). As a result, it is undisputed that the respondent violated the Idaho and Washington securities acts by misrepresenting and omitting material facts in an offer or sale of a security; he repeated this act at least 36 times; these acts involved dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; he gained control of over $2.6 million of investors' money; he wrongfully used some of that money for his personal benefit rather than for reasons related to the investments; and, at the time of the hearing, he had satisfied only $500 of a $2.6 million judgment.

IN OTHER WORDS, HE LIED ON NUMEROUS OCCASIONS TO OBTAIN CONTROL OF 2.6 MILLION DOLLARS IN INVESTMENTS, SOME OF WHICH HE CONVERTED TO PERSONAL USE.

SOUNDS TO ME LIKE HE LIED TO FOLKS AND THEN STOLE PART OF THEIR MONEY.

Sorry, but a "great man" doesn't lie, cheat and steal.

Are you his wife? The opinion also mentioned that he used some of the proceeds to set his wife up in a real estate business which generates around 8K per month in income. All that income, and he has only been able to afford to make restitution of $500.00.

Might I suggest you cease while you are ahead. Your comments only serve to embarrass yourself and Mr. Baker further.

youknownow 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe he can gain employment with the city sanitation department.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Please don't insult our sanitation employees. They work hard, do a great job, and make an honest living.

otto 1 year, 10 months ago

Then where is the 2.6m? And why doesn't he give it back?

Elise32 1 year, 10 months ago

Do you know anyone that has 2.6 million laying around?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Allegations contained in a complaint found at the following webpage

http://finance.idaho.gov/Securities/Actions/Civil/ArizonaMining/AZID_Baker_Comp.pdf

state that in 2001, Baker purchased a home on Boulder Street in Lawrence for $283,700. The source of funds for purchasing that home was the AZID operating account.

$283,700 isn't exactly 2.6 mil, but selling his upscale home and applying the proceeds to restitution would be the right thing to do, especially considering the fact that investors who lost every single penny apparently paid for the fancy diggs.

George_Braziller 1 year, 10 months ago

I'd love to have access to $2.96 million for only $500.

"An Idaho court ordered him to pay $2.96 million, including $2.6 million in restitution to investors and $360,000 in penalties. He paid $500 toward the judgment."

pace 1 year, 10 months ago

How convenient to find god while you have your hands in someone else's pocket.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Mr. Baker should have stayed in Idaho where it gets so cold he would have been forced to keep his hands in his own pockets.

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

He just said spiritual adviser. His spiritual adviser, judging by his actions, appears to be Mammon.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Mr. Baker is apparently a Catholic. I've never met Father Mammon. Is he new?

Katara 1 year, 10 months ago

No, I believe Mammon and the Catholic Church are pretty well acquainted.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

So how long has this Mammon dude been around?. A couple of years? Or a couple of thousand years?

otto 1 year, 10 months ago

No because according to the article he squandered it, hence the reason for my comments

Elise32 1 year, 10 months ago

Just because it's written in an article doesn't make it true.

webmocker 1 year, 10 months ago

Suggested punctuation adjustment: You're just digging, . . . . :-)

youknownow 1 year, 10 months ago

True, I don't know Mr. baker from a hill of beans , (pardon the expression), but no offense to you Elise. A great man shows his greatness, by the way he treats the smaller man.

restoration3 1 year, 10 months ago

May I say, that when I agreed to the "terms of use" in order to comment on this and any other article, I agreed that I would not make defamatory or harmful comments. I am sorry to say, it seems as though, some of you have forgotten. I, along with Elise, wonder how many of you know Mr. Baker personally? I find it very interesting that it is so easy for people to crucify others when they don't know the whole story. I believe that is called foolishness. Mr. Baker is one of the most kind hearted, loving people that I have had the priviledge to meet. I have known Mr. Baker and his family for many years. They have lived anything but the "high life" as one person has stated. "Pace", don't be so quick to judge a man's journey through life. You do not know what has transpired in Mr. Baker's life, those of us who know him, do know. Please do not be a brainless human that swallows everything you read in a newspaper.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Restoration3, did you read the Supreme Court opinion. Until it is proven otherwise, i will take their findings at face value, i.e., that Mr. Baker lied to investors to obtain their money, and then diverted some of those funds to personal use. Last time I read, such acts were against the law.

I don't need to know Mr. Baker to conclude that he was dishonest in his business dealings and that we are better off with him not being able to practice law.

And by the way, I never met Bernie Madoff, but i think he was also a dishonest crook.

Oh, one other thing, Restoration3. You wrote "May I say, that when I agreed to the "terms of use" in order to comment on this and any other article, I agreed that I would not make defamatory or harmful comments." You forgot to mention the fact that you signed on specifically to defend your friend, Mr. Baker, as this is your first post. As a new poster, as far as posting etiquette goes, don't you think you should defer to those of us who have been commenting on these boards for years? We are well aware of the rules, and as far as I can tell, no one has violated them.

pace 1 year, 10 months ago

You buy the bridges you wants to. You referring to me as a brainless fool because I am not gong in on the bridge deal only speaks to your poor argument.

Hudson Luce 1 year, 10 months ago

Go to http://finance.idaho.gov/Securities/CivilActions.aspx and see entry at: Arizona Idaho Mining, LLC; Douglas L. Baker

There are four files available which can be downloaded to your computer as PDF files:

Complaint (August 12, 2004) Judgment: Defendant Arizona Idaho Mining, LLC (October 12, 2005) Order Granting Summary Judgment Against Defendant Baker (December 7, 2006) Judgment and Permanent Injunction As To Defendant Baker (December 18, 2006)

The third file is the most interesting If this is the same guy, I'm surprised he wasn't disbarred back in 2006, when this ruling was handed down. The Douglas L Baker in this case pocketed about $850,000 of his investors' money, and made tons of misrepresentions about the "mining" operations.

By the way, as a rule, confidence men are always great guys until you do business with them.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for the info, SteamFortySeven. One of the complaints filed against Mr. Baker in Idaho, which can be found at this link:

http://finance.idaho.gov/Securities/Actions/Civil/ArizonaMining/AZID_Baker_Comp.pdf

alleges that in 2001, Baker purchased a home on Boulder Street in Lawrence for $283,700. The source of funds for purchasing that home was the AZID operating account. The complaint further alleges that Baker was the direct beneficiary of another $216,000 in funds from that same operating account.

I am surprised he was not prosecuted for theft.

But then again, considering the comments made by Restoration and Elise, perhaps those allegations are untrue, as I certainly cannot image a kind and great man like Mr. Baker stealing folk's money to buy himself an expensive home.

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

"The third file is the most interesting If this is the same guy, I'm surprised he wasn't disbarred back in 2006, when this ruling was handed down."

He hasn't been an active member of the Idaho bar for years. I am pretty sure the reason he wasn't disbarred in 2006 was that it simply took time for news of the 2006 ruling to reach Kansas officials. The Disciplinary Administrators Office only takes action when a complaint is filed with them. My guess is that a jilted investor caught wind of the fact that he was a practicing law in Kansas and saw fit to file a complaint against Mr. Baker.

bearded_gnome 1 year, 10 months ago

okay, Elise or Resstoration3, if we're wrong to believe the duly appointed judicial and securities authorities of Idaho, please explain. we're also to assume that the Kansas authorities were then simply duped?


He made numerous misrepresentations to the investors in the companies, his misconduct was motivated by "dishonesty and selfishness," and he used investors' money for his personal benefit, according to a hearing panel of the Kansas Board of Discipline of Attorneys.

---looks like somebody ought to have been given criminal charges and jail time given such findings?

Bob Forer 1 year, 10 months ago

Gnome, apparently neither Elise nor Restoration understand the difference between character and reputation.

“Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.” --Abraham Lincoln

Cant_have_it_both_ways 1 year, 10 months ago

One of the hardest things to find is a Democrat with his hands in his own pockets.

racerx 1 year, 10 months ago

The KU B-Ball scammers were all great people too and are being unduly persecuted....if you talk to their family and friends.

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