PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A local lawyer who hadn’t paid his income taxes since 2003 has been banned from practicing law for the next month, according to the Board of Overseers of the Bar.
Alan Harding, 58, also served eight days in jail as a result of a Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruling in June after he pleaded guilty to not filing and paying about $100,000 in state income taxes over a six-year period ending in 2009.
He was sentenced to serve 10 days of a 120-day jail sentence, but according to Aroostook County Jail, Harding got two days off for “good time.” The jail time was served in December.
According to a press release issued this week by the Board of Overseers, Harding since has been ordered to serve 30 days of a six-month suspension of his license to practice law, with the sentence to be served from Dec. 22, 2011, until Jan. 21, 2012.
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. A second client was dissatisfied with how Harding managed his bankruptcy case and a third complained about Harding improperly handling her personal injury case.
All three of those cases were neglected by Harding and he failed to respond in a timely matter to these clients’ attempts to resolve their matters, according to findings filed by Maine Supreme Judicial Court Associate Justice Joseph Jabar.
In a fourth complaint, a Presque Isle physician said 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.
In addition to the jail time and suspended work time, Harding will have to inform all his clients of his suspension, his office will be supervised for one year, he will take six hours of classes on law practice management and he will pay a $500 fine.
BDN journalist Judy Harrison contributed to this report.