Cars, Lawyer of the Day, Native Americans

Lawyers of the Day: Native American Tribe Says Their Attorneys Swindled Them for Cars and Nice Furniture

This girl is 1/64 Cherokee, tops.

UPDATE (12/17/2013, 3 p.m.): Please note that the claims made by the tribe in its lawsuit have been dismissed.

Ever since white people arrived on this continent, we have been no end of trouble for Native Americans. You would think that after a certain point, Caucasians would give them a break. You know, after basically destroying their entire race and civilization.

But no, whitey still can’t even leave Native Americans alone to their casinos and endemic alcoholism. Which brings us to today’s Lawyers of the Day.

Which attorneys are being accused by a Florida tribe of a “secret and sophisticated scheme” to get rich off exorbitant and extraneous legal fees?

Let’s see….

From the Miami Herald:

The Miccosukee Indians are accusing two Miami defense attorneys of operating a “secret and sophisticated scheme” to fleece them as they raked in millions of dollars in legal fees representing the tribe and several members during the past decade, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

The tribe says Guy Lewis, a former Miami U.S. attorney, and Michael Tein, also an ex-federal prosecutor, defrauded the Miccosukees by charging “excessive” fees for “unsubstantiated” work to support a “lavish lifestyle” of multimillion-dollar homes in upscale Pinecrest and a fleet of foreign luxury cars.

The suit not only lists a “fabulous collection” of new and classic cars, including a Mercedes, a Mustang Shelby Cobra, a Porsche, a Rolls-Royce, a Maybach, an Aston Martin, and more, but the complaint also includes interior decorating details, and real estate.

An observant tipster points out his favorite parts of the lawsuit:

What I find funny is the list of items that him and his partner Tein purchased with the funds.

Just a few are: Zeppelin, Urinal, Elaborate Prince’s Chair… and some others.

Despite their allegedly incredible furniture, the defendants are not taking the allegations sitting down. It is more like they are jumping up screaming and shouting like the guy in the movie reviews, except they are hopping mad instead of excited about a good film:

“We can’t wait to go to court on this,” Tein told The Miami Herald. “This lawsuit is almost comic.”

He said the Miccosukee Tribe’s current chairman, Colley Billie, is on the “ropes” because he has run its gambling casino “into the ground,” with the distribution of profits to tribal members in the “toilet.”

“He’s blaming everyone but himself,” Tein said. “It’s more cover-up and lies. In the end, the whole truth will come out.’

The malpractice suit brought against Lewis and Tein coincides with a sanctions hearing scheduled for next month, stemming from allegations that they committed perjury when they testified that two individual Miccosukee Tribe clients, a father and daughter ― not the tribe itself ― paid them $2 million to $3 million in a wrongful death case.

In the old, “Cowboys and Indians” days, “dispute resolution” for this sort of situation would have just meant pistols at dawn, out by the OK Corral. Thank goodness for modernity, but you have to appreciate the utter simplicity of old ways, right?

UPDATE (12/17/2013, 3 p.m.): Please note that the claims made by the tribe in its lawsuit have been dismissed.

Miccosukee Indian Tribe alleges ‘fraud’ in legal malpractice suit against former Miami U.S. attorney and law partner [Miami Herald]
Miccosukee Tribe of Florida v. Guy Lewis and Michael Tein [Complaint, 11th Judicial Circuit – Florida]

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