VIRGIN ISLANDS BAR ASSOCIATION
GRIEVANCE FORM

PART A: INFORMATION ABOUT YOU - PLEASE KEEP CURRENT
It is necessary in order to timely process your grievance that all information be typed or printed legibly.

IF BLANKS ARE LEFT ON THIS FORM OR ALL QUESTIONS ARE NOT ANSWERED THE PROCESSING OF YOUR GRIEVANCE MAY BE DELAYED.

1.
NAME:
LAST FIRST MIDDLE

Simpson, George Russel

2.
MAILING ADDRESS: 6345 Smith Bay, Sapphire Bay West Condo. #C-4
CITY: St Thomas STATE: VI ZIP: 00802 PHONE: (340-774-2402)
3.
EMPLOYER: Self
4.
WORK ADDRESS:  Same

WORK PHONE: (340-774-2402 )

5.
MAY WE CONTACT YOU AT YOUR EMPLOYMENT? YES

6.
DRIVERS LICENSE # DATE OF BIRTH
NYS 358 073 945  Sept 25, 1937
7. NAME, ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER of person not in your household who can always reach you.
NAME: William Dzio  ADDRESS: 6345 Smith Bay, Sapphire Bay West Condo

PHONE: (340-715-5220)

8.
Are you represented by an attorney now?  No


9.
How did you hear about the grievance process: (Check One)
 xxx Website

10.
Do you understand and write in the English language? Yes

11. Please let us know as soon as possible if you have a special need or disability that will require a reasonable accommodation, and let us know what accommodation you are requesting.

IF ANY OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION SHOULD CHANGE IT IS NECESSARY THAT YOU ADVISE THE VIRGIN ISLANDS BAR ASSOCIATION IN WRITING IMMEDIATELY. PLEASE DO NOT WRITE ON THE BACK OF ANY PAGES OF THIS COMPLAINT FORM. USE ADDITIONAL PAPER IF NECESSARY. PLEASE WRITE ON ONE SIDE ONLY.


PART B: INFORMATION ABOUT ATTORNEY
COMPLAINTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED AGAINST LAW FIRMS AND MUST SPECIFICALLY NAME THE ATTORNEY AGAINST WHOM YOU ARE COMPLAINING. A SEPARATE GRIEVANCE FORM MUST BE COMPLETED FOR EACH ATTORNEY AGAINST WHOM YOU ARE COMPLAINING.

1. ATTORNEY NAME:  Andrew L. Capdeville
2. ADDRESS: PO Box 6572

CITY: St Thomas  STATE: VI  ZIP: 00804-6576

OFFICE PHONE: (340-774-2737)
HOME PHONE: (?)

3.Date attorney hired or appointed?  I did not hire him.  I don’t know when my Condo Association hired him.

4. What did you hire the attorney to do?:
I did not hire him.  He represented the Condo association, where I am an owner of a Condo.

5.Where did the activity you are complaining about occur? Island: St Thomas

IF BLANKS ARE LEFT ON THIS FORM OR ALL QUESTIONS ARE NOT ANSWERED THE PROCESSING OF YOUR GRIEVANCE MAY BE DELAYED.

PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT RULE 16 OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS RULES FOR LAWYER DISCIPLINARY ENFORCEMENT REQUIRE THAT ALL INFORMATION COMING TO THE ATTENTION OF THE INVESTIGATORY PANEL CAN BE MADE PUBLIC IF ANY SANCTION IS ISSUED OTHER THAN A PRIVATE REPRIMAND.

PART C: INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR GRIEVANCE

Explain in detail why you think this attorney has done something improper or has failed to do something which should have been done. Include the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of all persons who know something about your grievance. Attach copies of all court papers, canceled checks or receipts showing the payment of attorney's fees, and other documents relevant to your grievance. Attach additional sheets of paper if necessary.
(DO NOT SEND ORIGINALS, UNLESS REQUESTED.)

ALSO, PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT A COPY OF YOUR GRIEVANCE MAY BE FORWARDED TO THE ATTORNEY NAMED IN YOUR GRIEVANCE.

Mr. Andrew L. Capdeville is the lawyer who is retained by Sapphire Bay Condominiums West (SBCW), an association of which I am a member, by virtue of being an owner of a Condominium at SBCW. 

 

On October 6, 2003, I had applied for approval from the board of SBCW for a change in the window type on the front of my Condominium Unit.  The approval was required by the By-laws of SBCW.  Article V, Section 13 “Additions, Alterations or Improvements by Unit Owners” of the By-Laws is appended hereto as Exhibit K.  The By-laws further require that, if the Board does not return an answer to my written request (for a change in the outside of my condo) within 30 days, the change proposed is automatically approved.  They did not answer me within 30 days.  Therefore, in accordance with the By-laws, my request was automatically approved. 

 

Quoting from Article V, Section 13, second sentence:

 

“…The Board of Directors shall have the obligation to answer any written request by a unit owner for approval of a proposed structural addition, alterations or improvement in such unit owner’s apartment unit, within thirty (30) days after such request, and failure to do so within the stipulated time shall constitute a consent by the Board of Directors to the proposed addition, alteration or improvement.”

 

When the Board of Directors of SBCW realized that they had not responded in time to deny the window change, the Board of Directors of SBCW directed their lawyer, Mr. Capdeville, to send me letters.  In the letters from Mr. Capdeville to me, he knowingly lied about the facts, knowingly lied about the law, threatened to sue me, when he knew there would be no basis for the suit.  He falsely advised me on the law.  He forbade me from communicating with board members, except through a lawyer, which he demanded must communicate to the Board through him (Mr. Capdeville).

 

Mr. Capdeville’s conduct is so blatantly in violation of the “Current Rules Requiring Truthfulness and Honesty in Lawyering” that this case should be used in Law schools as an example of what Lawyers should not do. 

 

I am communicating with the Deans of various Law Schools to have this case entered into the curriculum and published in Law Reviews.

 

Here are the sequence of events:

 

On October 6, 2003, I requested in writing to change my window type.  Mr. Capdeville, in one of his letters to me, confirmed this fact.

 

On Dec 2, 2003, I received a letter Dated November 28, 2003 (Exhibit A) on SBCW letterhead, unsigned, but typed at the bottom “Sincerely yours, Board of Directors, Sapphire Bay Condominiums West”.  The letter contained the statement pertaining to my request for a change in window type:

 

“the Board of Directors has unanimously voted not to give consent for such an installation at this time”.

 

That statement was untrue.  I was at the Board meeting where the subject was discussed.  The subject of the window type change was discussed and tabled.  There was no vote.  The official SBCW Board minutes, when they were published for that meeting, reflected that there was no vote.  See:  Exhibit B, third page, second paragraph, last sentence:

 

“Following discussion, Steve Sokolow suggested that the Board review the matter in depth and let the owner know of its decision.”

 

I found out that the November 28, 2003 letter (Exhibit A) had been typed by a new board member, Jack Donohoe.  He told me that he had been asked to type the letter (I believe by Board President Steve Kerschner and Condo Manager, Frank Barry).  Jack Donohoe said that, when he typed the letter, he wondered why it contained the untrue statement about the vote, when there had not been a vote.  He had been at the Board meeting, and he knew there had been no vote on the question.

 

On December 2, I sent a letter to the Board (Exhibit C) informing them that I had taken steps to order the new window types, since the By-laws required that I be given notice within 30 days, and I was not given notice.  Therefore my request is automatically approved.

 

Mr. Capdeville wrote me a letter dated December 3, 2003 (Exhibit D).  In that letter he says about the November 10, 2003 Board meeting:

 

“ … the matter was discussed in depth at the meeting, and your request was unanimously denied”. 

 

That was a lie, and he and every member of the SBCW Board knew it was a lie.  There had been no vote on the matter.  There were many people at the meeting other than the Board members, who confirm that there was no vote, and the official minutes of the meeting (Exhibit B) confirm that there was no vote, no decision at all, much less a “unanimous decision”.

 

Mr. Capdeville in his Exhibit D letter went on to say: 

 

“Therefore, you cannot now claim that you have already contracted to have your windows replaced as you did not receive written denial within thirty days.” 

 

Mr. Capdeville knew that what he wrote to me was a lie.  He knew that the vote did not take place at the November 10, 2003 meeting, and he knew that the November 10, 2003 meeting took place after the thirty days had expired – one of his later letters admits that.

 

On December 11, 2003 (Exhibit E), I answered Mr. Capdeville’s Exhibit D letter.  In my letter I disputed his claim that there had been a vote at the November 10, 2003 meeting, and I told him that the 30 day time limit had been exceeded by the date of the meeting.

 

In that letter, I told Mr. Capdeville:

 

“Please don’t waste my time with any more lies and inaccuracies”.

 

He continued to send me letters containing lies and inaccuracies, threats, and demands.

 

On January 8, 2004, Mr. Capdeville wrote me a letter (Exhibit J) pertaining to the windows.

In that letter, he says:

 

“I understand your position is that because you made a request and did not receive an answer from the Board within thirty days that you have the right to make such structural alteration.  I can assure you that such is an erroneous position, one for which you shall be liable for damages if you foolishly proceed.”

 

Then he says:

 

“I am assuming you are correct in your position that you provided Frank Barry (the condo manager) with a copy of your written request on October 6, 2003”.

 

Then Mr. Capdeville says that:

 

“that meeting (November 10, 2003) would have been, for all practical purposes, almost exactly thirty days from the day the board would have been notified …”.  

 

It was 35 days – 5 days after the 30 days provided by the By-laws.  The By-laws don’t say “almost exactly thirty days”.  The By-laws say “thirty days”.  And thirty days were over on November 5, 2003.  Moreover there was no vote at the November 10, 2003 meeting, had it been held within the 30 day required time period.

 

Mr. Capdeville then says:

 

“The minutes show that you did indeed receive an answer”. 

 

That is not true, and Mr. Capdeville knew it.  The minutes (Exhibit B) show that there was no vote.  The matter was tabled.

 

Quoting again from the minutes:

 

“Following discussion, Steve Sokolow suggested that the Board review the matter in depth and let the owner know of its decision.”

 

Mr. Capdeville continues his untrue statements by saying:

 

“Every Board member that is recorded as speaking at the meeting spoke against your proposed alterations.” 

 

That statement is untrue and Mr. Capdeville knows it.  A review of the minutes (Exhibit B) shows that not one of the Board members was quoted as being against the proposed alterations.  Three board members are quoted pertaining to the window alteration proposal.  None of the quotes are “against” the proposed alterations.  The quotes directly from the minutes (Exhibit B) are: 

 

“Steve Kerschner read the rule concerning the issue and noted there are three situations permitted; Jalousies, open or screened.  He then asked the Board if they were willing to consider new front façade to the buildings.”

 

“Bud Wood commented that if the Board makes one exception to the rule, how could other changes be stopped.”

 

“Steve Sokolow suggested that the Board review the matter in depth and let the owner know of its decision.”

 

None of these three statements is “against” the proposed alterations.  Mr. Capdeville again misrepresented the facts.

 

Mr. Capdeville states: 

 

“Nonetheless, as a concession to you, the Board agreed to look into it further and provide you with a final answer.  You did not object to this added concession.”

 

This statement is untrue.  I did not, and would not have made any concessions.  I had already received an automatic approval due to the passage of 30 days called for by the By-laws.

 

In this same letter, Mr. Capdeville states: 

 

“On November 28, 2003, you were sent written notice that the Board, after additional consideration, had denied your request.” 

 

That is untrue and he knows it.  There was no additional consideration.  The November 28, 2003 letter contained the statement:

 

“the Board of Directors has unanimously voted not to give consent for such an installation at this time”.

 

As I have stated previously, that statement in the November 28, 2003 letter was untrue.  The Board had tabled the matter.  There was no vote.  The Board never reconvened to consider the matter. 

 

Even if the Board had voted to deny my request, it would have been too late, since the thirty day time period for Board consideration and response had expired.

 

Mr. Capdeville ends his letter by saying: 

 

“I feel confident in assuring you that no court of law or jury would find that the Board has not substantially complied with the requirements of Article V, Section 13.  I am also confident --- and authorized to warn you – that should you foolishly go ahead with your proposed structural changing of your unit that you will be sued for damages.  You will have a hard time, at that sorry juncture, convincing a court that you justifiably relied upon the Board members’ communications or lack thereof reasonably concluding that you had the right to alter your unit”.

 

This statement is not supported by the facts, and Mr. Capdeville knows it.  He threatened me, backed up only by lies and misrepresentations. 

 

What is distressing, is that he probably uses these tactics with less sophisticated people and gets away with it. 

 

Lawyers like Mr. Capdeville are the reason that “Rules Requiring Truthfulness and Honesty in Lawyering” exist.  These rules must be enforced rigorously to remove people like Mr. Capdeville from the legal profession.

 

There were three emails sent between myself and the Board member and secretary, Edith Rohrman.  Exhibit F is my first Email to Edith Rohrman.  Exhibit G is Edith Rohrman’s answer to my first Email to her.  Exhibit H is my return Email answering Edith’s Email to me.

 

In these emails, I strongly criticize Ms Rohrman for her “backsliding” as Secretary of the Board of SBCW.  She does not like the criticism, but it is my right to say what I think.  She is wrong, and she should be told that she is wrong.

 

On February 4, 2004, Mr. Capdeville wrote me a letter in which he said:

 

“Please be advised that your emails are deemed unprofessional, unfair, unjustified, insulting and amount to a vicious attack upon the board.”

 

I did not necessarily intend to be professional.   I believe that my emails were very fair and justified.  Mr. Capdeville does not say what parts of my emails he thought were unfair and unjustified.  His name calling is highly defamatory.  I did not present a vicious attack on the board, perhaps an attack on Ms Rohrman – one which was well justified for reasons I clearlly explained by the words in my emails.  Mr. Capdeville does not provide specific criticism, he just calls me names.  He defames me without cause.

 

Mr. Capdeville goes on to say(Exhibit I):

 

“Consequently, you are hereby advised to cease and desist from further communication with the individual board members, effective immediately, regarding the window issue.  Specifically, you are hereby directed to cease and desist from communicating with Edith Rohrman at her email address since you were not authorized to utilize that address.”

 

“Please be further advised that any further communications from you regarding any board matter should be communicated by your attorney to this office.  Should you have a problem with this directive and continue your diatribe and insulting address toward the Board Members, we will advise our client to pursue other legal remedies against you.”

 

Mr. Capdeville does not have the right to tell me who I can write and whose email address I can use.  He cannot tell me I must not communicate with the Condo Board except through my lawyer to him.  The By-laws of the Condo provide a mechanism for communicating with the Board, and I am going to use those mechanisms.  Mr. Capdeville thinks he has the right to remove my 1st Amendment rights.

 

Mr. Capdeville is a disgrace to the Legal profession and a disgrace to the Bar Association of the Virgin Islands.

 

Current Rules Requiring Truthfulness and Honesty in Lawyering:

 

Rules broken by Mr. Capdeville:

 

Rule 4.1.

 

In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:

 

(a)              Make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or

(b)              Fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.

 

Rule 4.4

 

In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

 

Rule 8.4.

 

It is professional misconduct for a lawyer to:

 

(a)      Violate or attempt to violate the roles of professional conduct, 

         knowingly assist or induce another to do so, through the acts of    

         another;

 

(c)     Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or

         misrepresentation;

 

(d)     Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of Justice;

 


PART D: ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE WAIVER

I hereby expressly waive any attorney-client privilege as to the attorney, the subject of this grievance, and authorize such attorney to reveal any information in the professional relationship to the Virgin Islands Bar Association.

I also understand this confidential process extends civil immunity to all communications between myself and the Virgin Islands Bar Association Professional Ethics & Grievance Committee. I understand this immunity does not extend to communications I may have with anyone else.

 

There is no Attorney-Client Privilege between myself and Mr. Capdeville.

DATE OF SIGNING: March 8, 2004
SIGNATURE

 

George R. Simpson
RETURN FORM TO:

Virgin Islands Bar Association
Post Office Box 4108
Christiansted
St. Croix, VI 00822-4108