In a story published on TheRecorder, the State Bar of California has issued a 32-page internal report written in 2014 that concludes the organization’s executive director, Joe Dunn, engaged “in a deception and influence peddling” during his time as the organization’s leader.
The report was authored by Munger, Tolles & Olson and was submitted last Friday has part of legal actions filed by the Bar Association’s lawyers in a lawsuit filed by Dunn over wrongful termination. Dunn is a candidate for Congress in CD-46.
You can read the entire report here.
From the story: “…Friday’s filing marked the full airing of the 32-page document that led to Dunn’s termination. Dunn has sued the bar, (Bar presidential candidate Greg) Holden and former Supreme Court research attorney Beth Jay, alleging that he was improperly fired in November 2014 in retaliation for blowing the whistle on attempts to manipulate the agency’s disciplinary backlog figures.”
“The 32-page report casts Dunn as a controlling figure who mislead the board of trustees about costs, about his standing with the chief justice and about the Supreme Courts sentiments on key issues facing bar leaders.”
The story suggests the State Bar Association’s decision to release the internal report that led to Dunn’s firing was designed to point of finger of blame to the previous administration as the State Legislature reviews its annual bar dues bill. Dunn’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, is on record saying the report was tainted by past working relationships with a trustee and one of the report’s authors. The focus of the report is a trip Dunn and others took to Mongolia to help the country establish a legal regulatory system. The report revealed “Dunn himself showed a troubling lack of attention to whatever expenses for the trip would be charged to mandatory or voluntary fees….The expense report he submitted for his own expenses for the January trip included an account code for mandatory fees.”
The Recorder reports that lawyers for the Bar are seeking to end Dunn’s lawsuit under the argument Dunn has not stated “any actionable conduct.” The next hearing in the case is March 30.
We reached out to the Dunn campaign for comment, and they offered this statement:
Statement from Douglas Herman on behalf of Friends of Joe Dunn for Congress:
“Joe Dunn served the State Bar with the highest level of integrity, insisting on the strongest levels of transparency and fiduciary responsibility — all while reforming the Bar’s accountability to licensed attorneys and to the California people.
“All travel was documented and accounted for in accordance with board action and obligations to the Bar’s mission. Specifically, approved reimbursed travel to other nations was made to assist with setting up accountability measures to protect immigrants to California from fraudulent and dishonest attorneys.”
“Joe Dunn distributed no gifts as Executive Director. Although Dunn fought and succeeded with many fights to make the Bar more fiscally responsible and transparent, the historic practice of out-going presidents distributing gifts of appreciation to board members was an entrenched ceremony that he hopes the light of day he has helped shine will now ensure it is discontinued.”
“As Executive Director, Joe Dunn led the Bar to live within its means, was completely transparent about how all member dues were being used, and in fact, implemented to new policies on transparency and accountability.
The simple and reoccurring fact is that Joe Dunn fought to change the status quo at the Bar, make it more responsive to licensed attorneys and make it easier for the California people to hold unscrupulous attorneys accountable.”