The Florida Bar Association has ruled that Sam Goren, acting general counsel of the North Broward Hospital District, did not act incompetently or violate professional ethics standards in giving advice to the board, which led to the firing of the district's two lead attorneys and the hiring of Goren's firm to that powerful position.
UPDATE: Had the hard copy but had to wait a few hours to upload the document itself. Here it is.
We've gone over this issue many, many times on this blog. I'm not surprised by the bar's ruling. This is an organization that has a tradition of protecting the status quo. Not even bribing a murder witness, apparently, is grounds for suspension, let alone disbarment.
After the jump, let's compare the two sides of the story at the heart of the bar complaint.
The complaint was filed by former associate general counsel Joe Truhe, who on May 14 was fired along with the general counsel, Marc Goldstone, on the basis that they were not licensed to practice law in Florida.
When he filed his complaint in July, Truhe did not include a detail that we discovered only last week: that it was Goren who advised Goldstone as to how he was to serve the district as he waited to gain admission to the Florida Bar. That claim is made in the whistleblower lawsuit Goldstone filed against the district.
If so, it means that Goren is just as much -- if not more -- to blame for Goldstone's initial efforts to apply for authorized house counsel status, when in fact that route of gaining admission to the bar is not available to a recently hired general counsel retained by a tax-levying district. (Instead, that attorney must sit for the bar exam.) That oversight is even fishier when you consider the person who gained most from it: Goren himself.
Goren has not granted interviews on this subject, nor has the attorney representing him and other parties in the whistleblower suits.
The claim in Goldstone's suit is very serious. If Goren did not, in fact, advise Goldstone about the way he should comport himself as he awaited admission to the bar, then Goldstone has perjured himself.
But if Goren did provide that advice, then he's the one who's being duplicitous, and the bar just missed an opportunity to hold him accountable for it.