Presque Isle lawyer who shirked taxes agrees to suspension of law license

Presque Isle lawyer Alan Harding, who will go to jail in December for not paying his state income taxes, has agreed to a six-month suspension of his license to practice law, according to the Maine Overseers of the Bar.
Heather Steeves | BDN
Presque Isle lawyer Alan Harding, who will go to jail in December for not paying his state income taxes, has agreed to a six-month suspension of his license to practice law, according to the Maine Overseers of the Bar.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff
Posted Nov. 03, 2011, at 6:27 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The Presque Isle lawyer who will go to jail in December for not paying his state income taxes has agreed to a six-month suspension of his license to practice law, according to the Maine Overseers of the Bar.

All but one of the six months are expected to be suspended, Aria Eee, assistant bar counsel for the board, said Thursday.

Alan Harding, 58, also agreed to submit his law practice to monitoring by a Bangor lawyer and take Continuing Legal Education classes about law practice management, she said.

The agreement, including the dates of Harding’s suspension, will be made final later this month when Maine Supreme Judicial Court Justice Joseph Jabar issues a ruling in the matter. Justices on the state’s high court oversee hearings in which the Board of Overseers recommends suspension or disbarment.

Marvin Glazier, the Bangor lawyer who represented Harding in the matter, declined to comment Thursday.

Harding pleaded guilty in June in Kennebec County Superior Court to not filing and paying about $100,000 in state income taxes over a six-year period ending in 2009.

Superior Court Justice Donald Marden sentenced the still-practicing attorney to 120 days in jail with all but 10 days suspended. Harding paid his back taxes before the sentencing, according to previously published reports.

Nonpayment of taxes was one of five complaints investigated by the Board of Overseers. The other complaints involved Harding’s neglect and/or mishandling of clients’ cases.

One involved a Hampden woman’s lawsuit against the town over a backup of sewage in April 2004 into a newly constructed home on Patterson Street. Another was filed by a man for whom Harding filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A third client complained to the Board of Overseers that Harding improperly handled her personal injury case and settlement payment.

All three cases, according to the petition for suspension, were neglected by Harding and he failed to respond in a timely matter to these clients’ attempts to resolve their matters.

In a fourth complaint, a Presque Isle physician said that she hired Harding to represent her in a dispute with a local hospital. Instead, Harding, without consulting privately with her, offered his services as a mediator to resolve the matter. That, according to the Code of Conduct that governs lawyers, was a conflict of interest. Harding violated other rules in his representation of the doctor, according to Eee.

The Board of Overseers recommended that Harding be suspended but did not suggest a period of time in its petition. Glazier argued against the suspension, stating it would create a hardship that would be detrimental to Harding’s staff, family and clients.

Harding has practiced law in Maine since 1978. The only previous disciplinary action against him was one complaint that was dismissed with a warning in 2005, according to documents filed with the Board of Overseers.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/11/03/news/aroostook/presque-isle-lawyer-who-shirked-taxes-agrees-to-suspension-of-law-license/ printed on August 22, 2014