For the the third time in his career, Brian Oxman is getting suspended from practicing law. Oxman, a constant presence on TV who identifies himself as the “Jackson family lawyer,” isn’t the only one in trouble this time. So is his wife, Maureen Jaroscak, who is also a lawyer in California. In a decision filed by the State Bar of California on March 3, 2011, the agency has recommended that Oxman be suspended for two years, with a third year of suspension stayed based on Oxman proving that he’s mended his ways.
In addition to reporting to the Bar Association four times a year during the three years, Oxman must also “must attend and satisfactorily complete the State Bar’s Ethics School and State Bar’s Client Trust Accounting School and provide satisfactory proof of such completion to the State Bar’s Office of Probation.” Jaroscak has been similarly recommended for punishment. And the couple must take and pass the Multi State Professional Responsibility Examination during their suspensions.
What happened? Oxman’s problems stem from 2004, when he represented a woman named Raquel Axelrod in her divorce from husband John Larson. It’s a complicated tale, but ended with Oxman being ordered by a bankruptcy court to pay Larson–the ex husband of Oxman’s client–a little over $5,000 in sanctions. Oxman simply failed to do so, even though he entered into several settlement agreements. Oxman also never reported the sanction to the Bar Association, and never paid it.
At the same time, Oxman and Jaroscak were involved in an eight year long scheme, according to the Star Bar of California’s filing, to hijack another client’s estate worth more than $500,000. This story, separate from the Axelrod/Larson one, shows Jaroscak completely ignoring rulings from the State Supreme Court and the California Bar as she willfully kept money from brother and sister Gerald and Sarah Quattrrochi after their parents died.
In both cases, the Star Bar decision found that the Oxmans “lacked candor”–which is a nice way of saying they lied about everything.
Interestingly, all of this was going on as Oxman grandstanded in Michael Jackson’s child molestation and conspiracy case, slept in court and snored loudly, and was eventually fired from the case by Jackson chief legal counsel, Thomas Mesereau. Mesereau, busy with keeping Jackson out of jail–which he did–had no idea all this was going on simultaneously.
And that’s not all: the State Bar also found that Oxman and Jaroscak co-mingled their funds with those of their clients, used their Client Trust Account to hide money from their own many creditors, and basically lied about everything else in their professional lives including fees they received for teaching at UC Irvine. Oxman was found guilty of four counts of misconduct, his wife five counts. Why they weren’t barred from ever practicing law again is a mystery considering this is Oxman’s third suspension. The State Bar also accused Jaroscak of “moral turpitude.” (That is very ugly; you rarely hear that expression anymore. It’s severe.)
But the court said in its decision that since Oxman and Jaroscak had admitted to some of their wrong doing and helped with the investigation, they would receive leniency. Oxman should also receive credit, the court said, for donating his time to the Plotkin Bail Bond school in Norwalk, California. I wish the court had done a little homework: back in 2005, when Michael Jackson was on trial, Oxman was in business with Dorry Plotkin regarding Michael Jackson’s bail and loans against his parents’ home in Encino, California. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,156897,00.html. Oxman was busy making money, not donating it, at the time. He and Plotkin are childhood buddies.
Maybe now media bookers will finally understand who Oxman is. Maybe the Jackson family will finally get it, too. Recently, Oxman represented Joseph Jackson in his futile attempts to sue AEG Live and others for Michael’s death. Their lawsuits were thrown out in the end.