Florida Record

Monday, September 23, 2019

Florida Supreme Court disbars Ohio attorney

By Olivia Olsen | May 2, 2017

TALLAHASSEE — Teddy Sliwinski, a Florida licensed attorney practicing in Cleveland, Ohio, has been disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court. 

The order was a result of the attorney’s alleged frequent misappropriation of client funds and usage of those funds to pay for his personal expenses. 

The 65-year-old attorney was disbarred following a criminal conviction in Ohio in which he pleaded guilty to stealing over $300,000 from his clients. According to a Cleveland.com report, Sliwinski, with the help of his then-wife Irene Patkowski, swindled four clients out of their funds, one of whom was a Korean War veteran.

Sliwinski stole money through a trust he set up under false pretenses and created several phony corporations to make payments to out of his client’s estates to give the illusion he was handling their affairs, according to Florida Supreme Court documents. When questioned about the nature of the trust, Sliwinski allegedly claimed that the funds were all “donations” from clients. 

Sliwinski used the stolen money to pay for upgrades to his farmhouse and to a Florida condo, the Cleveland.com report states. The attorney exercised power of attorney to steal “$150,000 from the estate of Jane Awin, a deceased Polish immigrant, and $90,000 from Edward Cook, a disabled Korean War veteran who lived off his military pension," according to the report.

A criminal court in Ohio convicted Sliwinski to over two years in prison. He was also ordered to pay $327,000 in restitution to the clients or their estates.

Sliwinski was admitted to the Ohio State Bar in 1976 and was admitted to the Florida State Bar in October 2003. He is a graduate of Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He has been disciplined several times in Ohio but has no prior record in Florida. Sliwinski has resigned from the practice of law in Ohio. The attorney was once a candidate to be the United States Ambassador to Poland but did not get the nomination. 

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Florida Supreme Court The Florida Bar