Commission calls for suspension of Oak Brook attorney
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Updated: April 29, 2013 9:56AM
The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission is calling for the immediate suspension of Burr Ridge resident and Oak Brook attorney Kathleen Niew.
The request for interim suspension, considered a rarity at the hearing stage of a case, comes in response to a two-count complaint filed by the commission Dec. 17, 2012.
“It is our position that her continuing ability to practice constitutes a danger to the public,” said James Grogan, spokesman for the disciplinary commission.
The Illinois Supreme Court will rule on whether to suspend Niew’s law license after she has a chance to respond to the commission’s petition, Grogan said.
The complaint accuses Niew of conversion of client funds and failure to promptly deliver funds in connection with three real estate transactions.
Niew is accused of using more than $2 million of client funds without permission from the client to do so.
According to the commission’s complaint, Niew advised a couple in late 2011 to transfer $2.34 million in savings into her client fund account, for later use in real estate transactions. The clients intended to use the money to purchase rental properties.
The couple attempted to close on several transactions in August 2012. Despite claims by Niew that she had requested the funds be wired from her account, the money never arrived, the complaint states.
As of Aug. 28, 2012, the balance in the client fund account was $75,739.96, according to the complaint. Failure to close on the transactions caused the client to forfeit $138,000 in earnest money, the complaint states.
The website for the Oak Brook-based Niew Group law firm, theniewgroup.com, was no longer operating as of Wednesday morning. Phone calls were still being answered at the Oak Brook office.
Niew also is known as host of a Saturday morning financial call-in show on 560 AM.
Niew was twice disciplined before. In 1989 she was censured for falsely stating under oath that she was not married while attempting to obtain a license to marry Stanley Niew. In fact, according to the commission, both were married at the time.
Niew’s license was suspended for nine months in 2001 for falsely notarizing false signatures and making false statements to the commission, according to the petition for interim suspension documents filed March 13.