Topeka — 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.