Redmond lawyer faces complaints
Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin
Published Nov 6, 2013 at 04:00AM
The Redmond School Board member who resigned last month is embattled in two lawsuits and two complaints being considered by the Oregon State Bar's disciplinary counsel's office.
Lisa Klemp was elected to the Redmond School Board in May. She resigned Oct. 30, citing the impending birth of her first child.
Meanwhile, Klemp is accused by several attorneys and others of misconduct ranging from engaging in a romantic relationship with a client to conflict of interest and knowingly taking gifts that were acquired with improper funds.
Reached by phone on Tuesday, Klemp called the accusations “smoke and mirrors” and said the allegations are “frivolous and have no basis in fact or law,” she said. “They just made a bunch of allegations, and if you look at the public record that the bar has, there is really no factual evidence submitted with the complaints.”
A bar complaint is first reviewed to determine if it warrants further investigation; it is then sent to the disciplinary counsel's office for further investigation. The complaint is then either dismissed for lack of evidence or submitted to the State Professional Responsibility Board for review.
Both lawsuits, filed in Deschutes County Circuit Court, are related to the complaints currently being investigated by the Oregon State Bar.
The first lawsuit, filed last month by Linda Jordan, names both Klemp and Theodore Andrach Jr., and alleges abuse of a vulnerable person and asks for nearly $450,000.
That lawsuit and a series of bar complaints — filed by Jordan, her attorney, Linda Ratcliffe, and attorneys Beau Kellogg and Joel Kent — center around the alleged relationship between Klemp and Andrach. According to the complaints, Jordan serves as trustee for Lauren Robertson Wells, who is serving time in the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville for assault. Wells and Andrach are in the process of divorcing, according to court records.
The complaints allege Klemp represented the couple in 2012 when they were contemplating bankruptcy, and then represented Andrach when he filed for bankruptcy that year. Both complaints allege Klemp and Andrach are now romantically involved and Klemp is pregnant with the man's baby.
Wells and Andrach had a prenuptial agreement that kept their property separate, according to the complaints, and in 2008 Wells suffered a traumatic brain injury and has since been diagnosed with a variety of mental illnesses and disorders.
In September 2012, the complaints allege, Klemp visited Wells at Deschutes County jail and had her sign power of attorney to Andrach, who then allegedly “utilized the (power of attorney) to misappropriate funds from various credit and deposit accounts in Wells' name, and thereafter use the misappropriated funds for his and Klemp's benefit.”
The lawsuit also alleges Andrach forged Wells' signature, and from May 2012 to August 2013 was assisted by Klemp in misusing Wells' funds.
Among the allegations, that Andrach and Klemp sold about $150,000 of Wells' antiques; spent more than $43,000 from Wells' checking accounts, and racked up more than $85,000 on Wells' credit cards and lines of credit. Using that money, the lawsuit alleges, the pair made a variety of purchases, including new vehicles, trips to the Oregon coast and California, computers and payments to the Oregon State Bar for Klemp.
“In fact, with respect to some or all of the financial abuse, Ms. Klemp was engaged in an attorney-client relationship with (Wells),” the lawsuit alleges.
Other details are included in the bar complaints. Ratcliffe identifies 11 rules of professional conduct she believes Klemp violated, and points out that since Klemp signed Andrach's 2012 bankruptcy petition, she knew he was unemployed and had a yearly income of less than $12,000.
“However, she continued to benefit from Mr. Andrach's unfettered spending from Ms. Wells' bank accounts and credit card,” Ratcliffe wrote.
The bar complaints also identify several other alleged financial improprieties, suggest Klemp furnished her office with antiques that belonged to Wells and that she accepted checks from Andrach for legal fees made out and signed from Wells' personal checking account.
In Kellogg and Kent's related bar complaint, they provide a bill from Klemp to Wells that purports to show she was representing the woman at the time her relationship with Andrach began. The pair are representing Wells in her divorce from Andrach.
Klemp said she believes the bar complaints are an attempt to force Andrach to submit to certain terms in his divorce.
“In my opinion it's to force somebody to walk away from a divorce proceeding and what he's otherwise entitled to, and they're using me as leverage,” she said. “It's defamatory and has no basis in fact.”
Klemp said she plans to file a response to the bar complaints that will show what happened to the money in question.
“These complaints make it sound like she had all kinds of money,” Klemp said. “She had lines of credit and credit cards (maxed out) before she got locked up and sent to Coffee Creek. There's no money there.”
Wells has been in trouble with the law several times in the past few years. According to The Bulletin archives, in 2009 she was ordered to rehab after a Christmas day low-speed chase through southeast Bend. It was her third drunken-driving charge since 2006. She was also sued in Coos County in 2006 and 2007 for civil defamation, and for civil malicious prosecution in 2009.
“This is just more of the same,” Klemp wrote in an email.
A second lawsuit was filed in September by a paralegal, Cait Boyce, who shared office space with Klemp. Boyce also filed a bar complaint against Klemp that same month, citing the same issues.
According to that lawsuit and bar complaint, in November 2012 Boyce asked Klemp to determine whether Boyce might have a case for wrongful death against a local assisted living community. When Boyce asked for her documents back, the complaint states, Klemp refused to return them.
“All I want is the return of the original documents which I provided to her as it currently (is) impossible for me to gain access to have the original, unadulterated documents,” Boyce wrote in her bar complaint. In the lawsuit, she asks for $10,000 and possession of the documents.
In an answer and counterclaim to the lawsuit, Klemp alleges Boyce agreed to pay an hourly rate for legal services but has failed to pay about $4,800 in legal fees, and asserts that she and Boyce split rent on their office space in Redmond, and that in May 2013 Boyce moved out of the building and stopped paying. Klemp is asking for $3,275 for Boyce's alleged breach of the commercial lease.