Yakima Attorney Suing Pasco for $25 Million Has Spotted Past
The attorney representing the widow of Antonio Zambrano-Montes has had some issues with the Washington State Bar Association in his legal career.
He's helping Teresa D. Jesus-Ruiz file a $25 million claim against the City of Pasco and his name is George Paul Trejo Jr. He was admitted to practice in Washington in 1990, and has a suspension and a reprimand on his record, according to the Washington State Bar Association website.
In June, 2003, Trejo was reprimanded for several violations for failing to properly represent four different clients. According to the Bar Association website:
George P. Trejo Jr. of Yakima, received a reprimand, and was ordered to pay approximately $6,500 restitution, on June 6, 2003, following a hearing. This discipline is based on his failing to diligently represent four clients, and charging excessive fees in 1997 and 1998."
Then, in June of 2008, he was suspended from practicing for three months over what the Bar Association called "conduct involving trust-account irregularities." Again, from the Bar Association website:
"George Trejo Jr. (WSBA No. 19758, admitted 1990), of Yakima, was suspended for three months, effective June 12, 2008, by order of the Washington State Supreme Court following an appeal. This discipline resulted from conduct involving trust-account irregularities and lack of supervision of a non-lawyer assistant. The suspension is to be followed by two years’ probation. For more information, see In re Disciplinary Proceeding Against Trejo, 185 P.3d 1160 (2008)."
The Bar Association said he did not maintain proper bookkeeping, and could not provide documentation showing individual clients' trust account balances, where the money came from, and, he used trust-fund money to pay a personal debt. From the Bar Association website:
"Mr. Trejo did not maintain a bank account in Washington for his personal or business funds. When Mr. Trejo received a check or wire transfer from a client, the funds were deposited into the trust account regardless of their nature....
...Mr. Trejo deposited money into the client trust account and then issued a trust-account check to pay for a personal debt."
The discipline notification on the Bar Association website also lists a "Ms. G" who was at the time his sole employee, but not an attorney. The website says Ms. G was engaged in a check-kiting scheme using trust-fund money. 12 times she wrote checks to herself from the account, then when her personal account was sufficiently funded, she would deposit the money back in the trust. This check-kiting resulted in the trust fund becoming overdrawn, drawing the attention of the Bar Association. The overdraft delayed payments to one of his clients who was receiving Labor and Industries money from that trust account. Trejo Jr was charged with a lack of supervision of his employee. The site does not say if she is still employed at Trejo Law.
No further action shows on the website file, which indicates it was last updated in January, 2014.