CHICAGO – Prominent Filipino American lawyer Alfonso S. Bascos coughed up $50,000 to settle with a “citation to recover” case filed against him in connection with a power of attorney (POA) he had prepared for a Filipina caregiver, Carmelita Pasamba.
The POA enabled Pasamba to gain access to a bank account and other assets of her ward, Marshall F. Davies, who lost more than $350,000 as a result of the questionable arrangement.
Despite the settlement, Bascos, 80 years old, is not yet off the hook. He faces suspension or disbarment hearing before the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC). In September 2016, ARDC will rehear his case. This came after the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the lawyer’s six-month suspension of his law practice in Illinois based on a joint motion filed by an ARDC hearing panel and Bascos himself.
The panel likened Bascos case to the attorney in Kubiatowski, M.R. 25679, 2011PR00012 (Jan. 18, 2013) who was suspended for “one year and until further order of the court.” In three separate incidents, Kubiatowski prepared wills and powers of attorney for elderly clients without first consulting with them, without determining their interests or whether they were competent to execute the documents and without inquiring about their finances and health.
Kubiatowski charged excessive fees in one case, allowed a client’s agent to improperly withdraw funds from her account and allowed the client’s agent to use some of the withdrawn funds to pay for his services.
Bascos case was also compared to Capozzoli, M.R. 18371, 00 CH 37 (January 2, 2003), in which the attorney was suspended for six months for his “incompetent handling of an adoption matter in which he represented an adoptive couple.”
The settlement came before the case for citation to recover was set to go into trial before Cook County Probate Court Judge Daniel B. Malone last July 12.
Attorney James Burton and Burton’s supervisor, Dawn Lawkoski-Keller, appeared for Cook County Public Guardian, and John Lally and Arcadio “Jun” Joaquin, Jr. appeared for Alfonso Bascos.
Provisions of settlement “are not construed as an admission of guilt or finding of fault.”
Burton said had the case gone to trial, he would have asked Bascos to pay back whatever remaining balance caregiver Carmelita Pasamba dissipated from retired Chicago City Hall Engineer Marshall F. Davies, who lost nearly $1 million in assets.
When Pasamba took Davies to Bascos in 2008 to ask Bascos to prepare her power of attorney so she could be a co-signatory to Davies’s checking account, Pasamba also asked Bascos to change Davies’ Pour-Over Will and Trust although Bascos did not talk to Davies “alone,” an act which Bascos described to a panel as a “mistake” and “I regret what happened to Mr. Davies.”
Dr. Geoffrey Shaw, a licensed psychiatrist, who interviewed Davies in June 2011, said Davies “suffered from severe dementia in September 2008.”
Lacking the capacity to make personal and financial decisions as early as April 24, 2008.”
Aside from the $50,000 paid by Bascos, the Public Guardian was able to recover $41,200 from Carmelita Pasamba and her husband, Edgardo Pasamba; $10,000 from Pasamba’s son, Dennis Pasamba, and $2,000 from Pasamba’s adult daughter, Donabel Copon for a total of $103,200.
Bascos graduated with honors from San Beda College’s Liberal Arts in 1954, obtained his law degree from the University of the Philippines in 1958, master of arts in economics from UP in 1969, passed the Philippine Bar in 1959, practiced law in the Philippines from 1959 to 1970.
Bascos immigrated to the U.S., passed the State of Illinois Bar in February 1976 and established his practice in the same year. ([email protected])