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Attorneys make misconduct case against Pritchard

Published: Sun, November 1, 2009 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Marc Kovac

The lawyer, who also serves as an Austintown trustee, faces possible suspension Monday.

COLUMBUS — Atty. Warren “Bo” Pritchard made himself scarce when needed by his clients and took thousands of dollars in fees without completing promised legal services, according to documents filed by the Mahoning County Bar Association with the Ohio Supreme Court.

In an 88-page filing Thursday, the bar association alleges multiple incidents of misconduct, ranging from clients who paid hundreds of dollars up front for services they never received to others in which Pritchard failed to show up for court appearances or make timely case filings.

Attempts to reach Pritchard on Friday were unsuccessful. His listed office phone was disconnected, and his cellular number was not accepting voicemail. Court documents note the bar association’s comparable unsuccessful attempts to reach Pritchard as part of the filing process.

“Respondent acquires new clients by making various promises, obtains advance legal fees for services to be performed and subsequently provides minimal or no legal services,” according to the complaint. “Respondent fails to respond to reasonable inquiries by his clients and, as a result, his conduct caused financial hardship or harm to his clients and in some cases a loss of legal rights.”

It added, “[Pritchard] has engaged and continues to engage in a course of conduct that poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public and that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.”

Pritchard was admitted to practice law in Ohio in 1982, but he failed to register with the Ohio Supreme Court in September, as required. He has until Monday to pay a $400 fee to bring his registration up to date.

“If he doesn’t register by Monday, he is suspended,” said high court spokesman Bret Crow.

Pritchard is also an Austintown Township trustee up for re-election Tuesday.

The bar association began looking into issues with Pritchard in April, when William DiRenzo filed a complaint alleging misconduct.

According to court documents, Pritchard sold DiRenzo a property on state Route 46 in Austintown Township in early 2006, then offered to sell him an adjoining parcel.

DiRenzo subsequently provided a $28,000 check for the latter, payable to Michael B. Dockry, Austintown Township administrator — a licensed attorney who “was previously a partner of or shared office space with respondent,” according to documents. DiRenzo later submitted an additional $1,500 check for the property.

But for months, DiRenzo was unable to obtain a deed and repeatedly contacted Pritchard. He later determined that the property in question was owned by someone else.

“To date, Attorney Pritchard has failed to either provide the deed of sale to the property in question or return the money to me,” DiRenzo said in an affidavit included with the court filing.

A “steady stream” of complaints about Pritchard has surfaced since the Mahoning County Bar Association began looking into the DiRenzo issue.

“Respondent’s propensity to prey upon his clients poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public and warrants this court’s immediate action,” according to documents.

Pritchard is seeking re-election this week as township trustee; he is one of four candidates vying for two seats. He’s been a trustee for about 15 years.

He served as chairman of the Mahoning County Republican Party in the mid-1990s and has run for several political offices in the past, including state representative, county commissioner and county judge.

The Mahoning Bar Association filing was made Thursday. The high court’s Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline next will determine whether there is probable cause to proceed with a hearing in the matter or dismiss the case.

The process can take more than a year to complete, officials say.



Warren ‘Bo’ Pritchard

Among the allegations of misconduct in a filing by the Mahoning County Bar Association with the Ohio Supreme Court against attorney Warren “Bo” Pritchard:

The Bury matter: Earlier this year, Margaret Bury retained Pritchard to assist in a bankruptcy filing, paying him more than $1,000 in advance for the work. Pritchard promised to complete the filing “within a week,” according to documents. But since then, Pritchard has not returned calls, and his phone lines have been disconnected, according to documents. The bankruptcy filing has not yet been made.

The Cenneno matter: In April 2008, Gerald Cenneno retained Pritchard for a breach of contract case against a local church, paying $1,200. The initial filing was made, but subsequent ones were not, and a judgment was later issued against Cenneno in the case.

Pritchard did not make appropriate legal actions in the case or return phone calls to Cenneno, according to documents.

The Yancsurak matter: Pritchard was appointed counsel for the estate of Steve Yancsurak in Columbiana County. He failed to appear before that court for related hearings and was subsequently found in contempt and arrested.

The DiDomenico matter: In September 2007, Amy and Joseph DiDomenico paid Pritchard $1,700 to handle legal proceedings in a dispute with a roofer. After initial filings in the case, Pritchard missed meetings with the DiDomenicos, who attempted to contact him, with no success. Pritchard missed multiple filings and court appearances in the case afterward. During a meeting with him in March of this year, Pritchard told the couple, “he was going through a divorce, his wife had left him and his files were intentionally disorganized and/or tampered with,” according to documents.

The Lorent matter: In April, Evelyn Sue Lorent paid Pritchard $1,300 for legal advice related to a bankruptcy filing and another issue. She was unable to reach the attorney afterward.

The Hovanes matter: In mid-2008, Carol Hovanes paid Pritchard $1,300 for legal advice related to a bankruptcy filing and a foreclosure action. After making an initial court filing, Pritchard admitted that he forgot to make the bankruptcy filing. Hovanes could not reach Pritchard afterward.

The Corll Matter: In mid-2008, Duane and Tracie Corll paid Pritchard $1,300 to assist in a bankruptcy filing. Pritchard later lost their files. It took him months to make the initial filing, and he later missed court hearings. Their bankruptcy was turned down due to a failure to file required information, which had been provided to Pritchard.

Source: Mahoning County Bar Association filing with the Ohio Supreme Court.


1Thesilentmajority(5 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Where were the neighbors???

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2saddad(655 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago


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3RFederer(116 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Glad to see that Bo hasn't changed much since high school.

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4Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

"But for months, DiRenzo was unable to obtain a deed and repeatedly contacted Pritchard. He later determined that the property in question was owned by someone else.

Yep, DiRenzo has been Bo'd !

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5xytown(63 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Will Michael Dockry and Bo Pritchard be adequatley investigated and charged with Felony Theft by Deception and Complicity to Felony Theft by Deception relative to the Direnzo allegations?

Will Pritchard and Dockry be investigated by the Austintown Police, BCI or the other Trustee's relative to this matter and other transgressions?

Will Dockry and Pritchard be dealt with internally or be required to respond to the tax payers and IRS for obvious involvement in this matter which clearly show's active participation in a criminal act and misconduct in office not to mention a display of very poor judgement?

The public deserves answers to these questions as well as why the check for $28,000.00 was placed in Dockry's name for property that was not their's to begin with.

I am interested in other readers thoughts. Maybe I am looking to much into this but it certainly sounds like corruption has infested the Austintown Township Hall and where there's smoke there is fire! What else has occured that has not yet been revealed. Maybe this is just the tip of the iceburg. Does Dockry have any comment?

Your thoughts?

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6xytown(63 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

It would appear reasonable for David Ditler and Lisa Oles to respond to the residents of Austintown concerning what action they will take.

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7movedout(4 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

It seems that no one is wondering why this all happened. It's odd that the robbery that took place at his office is ignored in this article, seeing that if his work is on the computer he'd obviously have lost it. The fact that he is going through a divorce during all of this, and that his wife was his secretary and business partner up until a year ago, is completely ignored. It seems to me that every year around the begining of November local people are ripped apart in the press and by their neighbors, yet long time residents can't figure out why high school and college students can't wait to get out of the area! It's the conduct of the residents... Hell, Trafficant almost won an election while in jail! The focus on Bo's actions, and they've been completely misrepresented in this article (in early July he went to the Bar Association himself because he knew he couldn't help his clients and needed to get them help), is fine if we're going to look at everyone else's actions in depth.

The entire Valley is a festering mess of people who'd sooner stab each other in the back than work together. THAT's why there are no jobs. THAT's why no one who gets an education wants to stay. THAT's why this story is important... it shows that everyone screws up. In fact, Bo probably screwed up less that the clients that didn't get their bankruptcies in... So he's worse than everyone filing bankruptcy because he promised to help and took money? People are foreclosing and filing bankruptcy, breaking their promise to pay the money they borrowed (which is theft), and the person they hired to ensure they'd get away with stealing thousands and thousands of dollars does the same thing and we're mad at him? It seems basic microeconomics and all religious beliefs can be thrown out the window ("do on to others as you would have done to you" makes this seem funny... someone who's legally finding a way not to pay money they rightly should pay is having the same thing done to them by their lawyer! The irony is PERFECT) along with any form of self reflection and honesty. That's what I expect from this area though, hence why I left (along with the majority of the college graduates from my age group). Maybe we should try to find ways to keep the intelligent and educated people in the area, instead of showing them we hate people like that. Don't worry when you don't though... Educated people are leaving all the time. Soon it will just be factory workers, and then everything will be fine!

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8xytown(63 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Movedout I agree with the great majority of your post however you failed to comment on the Direnzo matter involving Dockry? How is that related to the divorce, lost files and a check being made out to Dockry?

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9movedout(4 comments)posted 6 years, 8 months ago

Why aren't the Fyes being looked into or asked about this? They're the ones who own the property (DiRenzo's money was a part of that deal)

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10pritch_o9(3 comments)posted 6 years, 6 months ago

the thing with the vindicator is that it does not give you the full story. does anyone know about what our future trustee does in his spare time? no, but you will soon enough. and you will have to live with him or for four years.
only time will tell. i hope your all happy with what these articles have done to the pritchard family.

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