Orlando attorney reprimanded, on probation after mishandling homeowner's association's case

Article Courtesy of The Florida Record

By Karen Kidd

Published September 17, 2019


TALLAHASSEE Longtime Orlando attorney John Arthur Leklem has been reprimanded, ordered to pay restitution and placed on probation following an Aug. 15 Florida Supreme Court order after he allegedly mishandled a homeowners' association's case, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.

"Leklem represented a homeowners' association and failed to diligently handle the case and to maintain clear and adequate communication," the state bar said in its Aug. 29 announcement of the discipline and the Supreme Court's order. "In a second matter, The Florida Bar's audit of his trust account revealed technical violations but no evidence of misappropriation, and no client lost any money."

In its single-page order, the Supreme Court approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before reprimanding Leklem and placing him on two years' probation. The high court also ordered Leklem to pay about $3,930 in costs.

Florida court orders are not final until time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion does not alter the effective date of Leklem's reprimand.

Leklem was admitted to the bar in Florida on Nov. 19, 1976, according to his profile at the state bar website. Leklem had no prior history of discipline in more than 40 years of practice, according to the consent judgment filed with the court.

The consent judgment also includes Leklem's conditional guilty plea.

Leklem represented himself throughout the disciplinary proceedings, according to the consent judgment. In addition to agreeing to his reprimand and other discipline, Leklem also agreed to repay $2,500 to the homeowner's association.

Allegations against Leklem stem, in part, from a state bar audit of his trust account, which "revealed he did not maintain the minimum required trust accounting records and did not follow the minimum required trust accounting procedures," the consent judgment said. "The audit was initiated as a result of a dishonored check for [Leklem]'s fees. [Leklem] immediately corrected the matter."

The state bar's audit did not find evidence of misappropriation, and no client funds were endangered, according to the judgment.