Two weeks ago, the Nose snuffled over Rob Wolf, the 54-year-old Portland lawyer who, back in the Roaring '80s, got caught with cocaine in his Porsche. Two years later, Wolf was nabbed having sex in the back of a limousine with a 16-year-old mentally impaired client.
The Nose published this dirty laundry March 3 to offer context to Wolf's latest pickle, the details of which came from a complaint filed with the Oregon State Bar by a former employee of his, Crystal Spesard.
Spesard claims that she was also Wolf's client and that one evening last August, he invited her and another woman back to his office after they had drinks at a nearby bar. In his office, Spesard claims, Wolf shared some coke, persuaded the two women to take off their clothes and fondled Spesard.
The state bar interviewed Spesard and the other woman, and then decided to proceed with an investigation. At the time, Wolf had not responded to the bar. Last week, he did.
In a 13-page letter to the bar, and an additional six-page letter from his attorney, Mark Smolak, Wolf admits none of Spesard's claims and offers a few arguments of his own. (Those letters are available in .pdf format here).
For one thing, Wolf says, Spesard never was his client (Spesard claims that Wolf represented her on a personal-injury matter). While he acknowledges that a file with her name on it was created in his office, it was done so without his knowledge. "I remained completely unaware of the file until some time in October or November of 2003," he writes.
This is relevant because if Wolf can prove to the bar that he is not her attorney, most of the problems he might otherwise face would evaporate. (This is the same argument Wolf made, unsuccessfully, to the bar after he was caught with the high-school junior in the limo.)
Second, Wolf's attorney argues, the possession of cocaine is none of the Bar's business because "possession of a controlled substance does not contain any element of fraud, deceit or dishonesty.... Therefore, it does not reflect on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness to practice law."
Finally, Wolf argues that Spesard is not to be believed. She has, he writes, a "corrupt and dishonest character. My own experience with her leaves me no doubt that she is a habitual liar and thief."
Wolf says that during the four years he employed Spesard as his paralegal she regularly stole from him. While he didn't fire her over these matters, he says that once he confronted her and demanded a confession and a list of what she had stolen. "She complied, giving me the confession and a page-long list of minor thefts," he writes. "Unfortunately, although I had intended to place the confession in my safe deposit box, I forgot to do so. By the time I remembered, I could not find her confession."
Wolf also says that Spesard "occasionally drank on the job," and that she once "mailed me a box filled with prescription drugs and cocaine" which Wolf says he dumped down the toilet.
Wolf adds that Spesard regularly bragged to him about her sexual activities, but that contrary to her belief, "I had outgrown most of my party reputation." Wolf says he did go out with Spesard a few times "out of duty to maintain office rapport."
Before he hired Spesard, Wolf says, he learned she had been fired from her last job "because she and a friend had sexual relations with a Portland police officer on [her prior employer's] conference table."
"I told her that I did not care about her sex or personal life as long as she keeps it out of the office, and that I would hire her," Wolf writes.
It will be up to the state bar's disciplinary process to determine the truthfulness of Spesard's complaint. So until the bar says different, the Nose makes no assumptions in this he said/she said battle. However, even if one were to assume that everything Wolf says is true, it leads inexorably to another snuffle: Is the conduct Wolf ascribes to his own office over the past four years really what the bar considers appropriate for an officer of the court?
NOTE: The Nose needs to correct an item from his last column about Wolf. There was no cocaine involved in the incident regarding Wolf and his 16-year-old client in the limousine. The Nose apologizes for this error.
See the letters (in .pdf format) at www.wweek.com/PDF_Documents/031704_the_nose.pdf