A Long Island attorney has been censured for signing another lawyer's name on checks from the account of a woman for whom he served as court-appointed guardian.
The Appellate Division, Second Department, signed off on a petition from the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District charging Hampton Bays attorney Kevin Gilvary with two counts of professional misconduct, according to an order published Thursday [2/16].
Gilvary was appointed in 2007 to represent Maria Murray in a hearing to determine whether Murray was incapacitated, the order said. The Suffolk County Supreme Court then appointed attorney Marina Martielli to serve as Murray's guardian, the order said, until Martielli filed a motion to be relieved of her duties.
After the court granted Martielli's motion, Gilvary was appointed interim guardian for Murray. But because Gilvary neglected to file a $300,000 bond with the court, he was unable to access the guardian bank account that Martielli had opened for Murray, the order said.
Several months later, Murray's caretaker threatened to quit unless she was paid, the order stated. Since Gilvary was not authorized to sign checks from the guardian account, he signed Martielli's name in order to keep the caretaker from walking off the job, according to the order.
Gilvary apparently signed Martielli's name to several more checks payable to Murray's caretaker, and in one case signed a check made out to cash to reimburse himself for payments made to the caretaker, according to the order.
In November 2009, Gilvary was relieved of his guardianship and was eventually charged by the Grievance Committee with two counts of professional misconduct.
While the appeals court affirmed the charges, it noted that Gilvary was "fully compliant and cooperative" with the investigation. Further, the court said that Gilvary had presented evidence of his "good character" and observed that he was "experiencing personal, family and professional problems during the period in question."
David Besso, an attorney representing Gilvary, said he thought the Second Department "showed good judgment in rendering the decision" to censure, rather than disbar or suspend, Gilvary.
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Attorney Censured in Guardian Case