SPRINGFIELD – Hearing examiners have recommend that the Illinois Supreme Court censure David Fahrenkamp of Edwardsville, who cheated on taxes for 11 years.
On May 13, three examiners ratified an agreement on censure between Fahrenkamp and Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission administrator Jerome Larkin.
Censure means official condemnation.
Fahrenkamp preserved his license by paying two thirds of his debt to the Internal Revenue Service and promising to pay the rest.
He told the examiners he provided IRS with proceeds from selling a home, plus $50,000 from a lawsuit over an accident that killed his son Colin.
Larkin charged Fahrenkamp with misconduct in January, alleging his actions reflected adversely on the honesty of lawyers.
Larkin wrote that Fahrenkamp withheld income tax, Social Security tax, and Medicare tax from paychecks of Susie Wells and Kim Kiel, but didn't remit the amounts to IRS.
Larkin wrote that the Supreme Court reprimanded Fahrenkamp in 2000.
In February, Fahrenkamp admitted that failure to remit them was a criminal offense.
Larkin set a hearing and appointed lawyer Leo Konzen of Granite City as chairman.
Larkin appointed lawyer Kurt Reitz of Belleville and layman Richard Mark of Collinsville as examiners.
Fahrenkamp retained Eddie Unsell of Alton, who found three judges and four lawyers ready to testify to his client's honesty and integrity.
A week before the hearing, Larkin and Fahrenkamp agreed on censure.
"Respondent's misconduct did not result in his prosecution on criminal charges, with the attendant cost to the judicial system and greater potential to bring the profession into disrepute," Larkin wrote.
He wrote that Fahrenkamp founded a charity and served on boards of Special Olympics and Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance.
At the hearing, Springfield lawyer Edward Huntley substituted for Reitz.
Konzen asked about prior discipline, and Unsell said it was reciprocal from Missouri.
Unsell said Fahrenkamp didn't follow up on an appeal.
Konzen asked if it was a criminal appeal, and Unsell said yes.
Konzen told Fahrenkamp the Supreme Court might not follow their recommendation, and Fahrenkamp said he understood.
Konzen asked Unsell what effect it would have on his discipline if he didn't repay all he owed and the IRS indicted and convicted him.
Unsell said a five year statute of limitations would bar any IRS action.
Konzen asked if it would bar the commission from acting, and Unsell said no.
Commission lawyer Denise Church said he was probably right.
"I don't think it has come up," Church said.
Huntley said, "There is no charge pending?"
Church said no.
Huntley asked Fahrenkamp, "There is no installment agreement?"
Fahrenkamp said he would pay in lump sums.
Huntley asked what happened in 1995.
Fahrenkamp said, "I probably took on a lot more than I could manage."
He said a staff member left and the next wasn't as good.
He said that when his son died, in 2006, he wanted to face everything he pushed back.
"It caused me to look at life differently," he said.
After a recess, Konzen said the examiners accepted the commission's recommendation.
He said that if the court rejects it, they will start over with a new panel.
Fahrenkamp, age 57, has practiced law since 1978.