TIFTON -- In documents obtained from the state Supreme Court Wednesday, Tifton attorney David Roy Hege failed to adequately respond to the court's Notice of Investigation in two cases which encompass multiple complaints. His license was ordered suspended by the letter dated May 21.
Also in the documents are statements of facts indicating that a client paid a $2,500 retainer to Hege to pursue discovery in a divorce case. Although the man asked Hege repeatedly by various means of communication, he did not receive a response.
According to the document, Hege did not "otherwise initiate or complete needed professional work on the divorce case to prepare it for trial." The man sent a letter dated May 17, 2002, to Hege demanding his retainer fee and his client file be turned over to him. He sent another letter Sept. 3, 2002. According to the statements, Hege ignored the man's demands. Also, although the man discharged Hege as his legal counsel, Hege did not "seek permission from the court to withdraw from the divorce case as McLeod's counsel."
The complaint documents also indicate that Hege, in other unrelated disciplinary matters, received a suspension ordered by the SCG on Sept. 8, 1988 and "Investigative Panel" reprimands on July 24, 1992 and October 9, 1998.
In another case's Statement of Facts, Hege is said to have represented on March 29, 2001, a couple in a case pending in Colquitt County Magistrate Court. It states Hege was already representing the woman in a worker's compensation case and continued to represent her throughout 2001.
The document states that Hege agreed with the woman to appear at the magistrate court trial and represent her and her husband, but he failed to appear and "willfully abandoned the legal matter entrusted to him."
The magistrate court entered judgment against the couple on May 8, 2001. According to the findings, Hege promised to file an appeal to the magistrate court. When the woman confronted him, she alleges Hege told her he had filed the appeal, which was not true.
The result was a levy on the couple's personal property by the sheriff of Colquitt County to satisfy the magistrate court's judgment.
Also stated is that Hege filed on August 27, 2001 a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Hege is alleged not to have filed the appropriate Chapter 13 plan and schedules as required by the bankruptcy code.
The bankruptcy court clerk scheduled a hearing in the case for Oct. 4, 2001 and Hege failed to attend the hearing or another subsequent hearing scheduled for Nov. 8, 2001. The document states Hege never notified the couple of the hearings or the need to file the required plans and schedules.
As a consequence of Hege's failure to attend the two meetings, the Chapter 13 trustee filed a motion to dismiss the case and scheduled the dismissal hearing for December 5, 2001. Hege was required to attend that meeting but did not and never informed the couple of the meeting.
"Indeed, Respondent (Hege) told (the woman) falsely that he would do whatever needed to be done, including attend the hearings, in the bankruptcy court," states the document.
An Ashburn woman filed a civil suit against Hege on May 29 in Tift Superior Court. The woman claims that she gave Hege $56,000 "for the purpose of investing" and based her decision to do so on Hege's promises that the value of her investment would be doubled in two years.
The woman alleges Hege agreed to make monthly interest payments to her and that he told her the value of her initial investment would double in two years. Hege also promised, the woman claims, that her money would be placed in trust and he would provide her with a monthly accounting of the status of her investment.
The woman claims Hege has returned approximately $25,000 of her money and although she has requested since August for the return of her full investment and accounting records, Hege has "steadfastly refused" her requests.
According to the State Bar of Georgia's website, Hege received his law degree from the Atlanta Law School on Jan. 1, 1973. Hege said Thursday he has been practicing general practice law here since 1974.
To contact reporter Angie Thompson, call 382-4321, ext. 208.
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