Embattled lawyer faces civil suit for non-payment for client funds
Yet another attorney-at-law is in legal hot water with a former client.
Vonda Pile, who is already facing four criminal fraud charges including money laundering, is expected to appear in the High Court next month to defend a civil suit against her related to one of the criminal matters.
Anstey King, a Barbadian currently residing in the United States, has claimed in a lawsuit that Pile owes him more than $200,000 – money he alleges was wired to her to expedite the purchase of a parcel of land at Maxwell, Christ Church on his behalf.
King, who told Barbados TODAY he is now represented by attorney Bobby Clarke after firing three previous lawyers, said the matter dates back to January 2009, when Pile showed him the land.
The complainant is alleged to have signed the necessary paperwork and mailed the lawyer a deposit of US$20,000, informing her that he would return to Barbados in the summer and they could close the purchase at that time.
He told Barbados TODAY he subsequently wired the balance of the money on the said land transaction to Pile, who had done legal work for him and his family over a long period.
It is alleged that upon returning to Barbados and viewing the property that was subject to the transaction, King realized it was not the property contemplated in the original agreement and asked to be immediately discharged from the agreement.
King also alleged that when he requested his repayment it was not immediately forthcoming.
He claimed Pile wired him US$48,991.78, leaving a balance of US$96,008.22 which he said she has not yet paid.
In a judgment dated October 13, 2011, the Supreme Court directed the attorney to pay her former client the sum of $212,928.50, inclusive of interest and costs of $4,700, with interest at a rate of 10 per cent per annum, commencing October 14, 2011.
However, the court later struck out the order, after finding that the claim was improperly filed.
When contacted, Pile did not admit to owing King. In fact, she insisted that it was she who was owed.
“He [King] brought an action and it failed and the court ordered costs,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Clarke admitted this afternoon that the court order had been struck out because it was incorrectly filed by the previous attorney and he had therefore applied to the court for a date to start the process over.
King also reported that he attended all the hearings of the Disciplinary Committee of the Barbados Bar Association in connection with Pile’s case several years ago but has still not heard from that body.
He said he was also disappointed and frustrated that his former lawyer was still practising even though she was charged with a crime.
When Pile first appeared in the magistrate’s court in July 2011 on a charge that she stole US$96,008 belonging to King between April 29, 2009 and October 26, 2010, she was placed on $500,000 bail.
She also faces charges of stealing $205,481 between January 11, 2007 and March 16, 2011, being the proceeds of a Royal Bank of Canada cheque payable to Patricia Hall; and two counts of engaging in money laundering, in that she disposed of the sums of US$96,008 and $205,481, being the proceeds of crime.
Just last week, less than a month after it was reported that he had failed to pay a former client money owed from the sale of his deceased aunt’s property, Speaker of the House Michael Carrington handed over the outstanding funds. The Bar Association is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. at its headquarters to address issues recently reported in the media.