Canine Spending

Plus: Broward County's spiderman gets off easy this time, but he's still snarled in authorities' web

Ferneding has been fighting the charges related to the Trinity climb ever since. He defended himself without an attorney. On February 26, a jury found him not guilty of criminal mischief but guilty of trespassing. He could spend as much as 60 days in jail after next week's sentencing.

As for the mess in the yard, Jackson says the citation relates to the property next door, which is in Ferneding's name only. And she doesn't like authorities' tactics. She contends that ski-masked police officers carrying guns came to post a notice recently. (Doyon says there were no ski masks but that three officers came along for security.)

This week, they're preparing defense in both cases. "I'm going to defend my property," she says. "He's going to defend himself.... They chose the wrong address to invade."

Tim Ferneding at climbing time
Theresa Jackson
Tim Ferneding at climbing time

Fort Lauderdale lawyer Norm Kent has agreed to surrender his law license for 90 days. Alvin Entin, Kent's attorney, tells Undercurrents that Kent will admit his own negligence this week to Palm Beach County Judge Charles Burton, who is reviewing the Florida bar's findings that Kent mismanaged the trust account of a Fort Lauderdale cancer victim several years ago.

On October 29, 2001, the bar determined that Kent, also the publisher of a gay-oriented weekly newspaper, The Express, had commingled funds from his law-firm account with the estate trust of Robert Patterson, who died in 1994. The probe began in 1999 when Patterson's widow, Catherine, complained that Kent had sold estate-owned jewelry to a pawn shop without her knowledge; she also accused him of selling her husband's truck at a reduced price, as well as profiting from the sale of two BMW motorcycles. Proceeds of those sales, she said, were deposited in Kent's law-firm account.

The bar concluded that Kent had "failed to place certain funds into an estate account. Instead, he placed said funds into his own trust account." Kent told the bar during an April 2001 hearing that he had written "numerous personal checks from the trust account including paying personal bills, buying tickets to sports teams, and writing checks to cash."

Kent blamed "actual shortages" the bar found in his law-firm account on "sloppy bookkeeping" and what he characterized as his "hedonistic spending habits." In a letter to Express readers in December, Kent addressed the complaint but did not detail the bar's findings. He wrote that he was "negligent in the administration of record-keeping" and that "no client lost money and no allegation of theft was raised" in Patterson's complaint.

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