Ex-law director’s license suspended

NILES — Former Niles Law Director J. Terrence Dull’s law license was suspended Tuesday by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Dull, who has practiced law since 1976, used $37,000 a client gave him to deposit in an investment trust for personal expenses, the court’s opinion states.

The Board of Professional Conduct recommended to the court in April a one-year license suspension with six months stayed, however, the court ruled Dull’s actions required a more severe sanction — a two-year suspension with the second year stayed on the condition he complete compliance education on the rules regulating client trust accounts within six months and that he commit no further misconduct.

Dull created an investment trust in 1996 in which he was the trustee and his client, Joseph Scaglione, was the grantor, the opinion states. Scaglione gave Dull $45,000 in 2011 and told him to invest the money in a Vanguard fund, but Dull instead deposited the money into his client trust account, the opinion states.

In 2012, Scaglione asked Dull for $8,000, which Dull paid by check from his client trust account. In 2015, Scaglione requested $27,000 to buy a car, but Dull told him he no longer had the money because he had withdrawn the remaining $37,000 for personal use, the opinion states.

Dull admitted from 2011 to 2013, he periodically withdrew Scaglione’s money to cover expenses associated with increased overhead from moving his practice to a new location. Dull hoped he would make enough money to refund the account before Scaglione requested more money, the opinion states.

Dull refunded $37,000 to Scaglione and paid him an additional $11,550, which represented lost interest and opportunity from Dull’s failure to initially invest the money, the opinion states.

Dull’s actions weren’t associated with his time as law director, but only with his private practice. The Supreme Court noted Dull had no prior disciplinary record in his 40-year legal career.

He did not return a message seeking comment.