Coral Gables attorney George Joseph Charnota has been suspended for the fourth time in less than three years following an Oct. 25 Florida Supreme Court order finding him in contempt for failing to comply with the conditions of a suspension handed down in January.
Charnota failed to provide proof he'd paid restitution to two former clients or to provide the Florida State Bar with the list of those who he was required to notify that he was under suspension, according to the state bar's Nov. 21 announcement of the discipline and the state court's order.
The high court's two-page order suspended Charnota for three years, a suspension which overlaps the attorney's previous suspension still in effect, and ordered him to pay $1,250 in costs. In Florida, court orders are not final until after time to file a rehearing motion expires. Filing such a motion would not alter the effective date of the Charnota's suspension.
Charnota was admitted to the bar in Florida on Sept. 19, 2001, according to his profile at the state bar website.
Charnota was suspended in July 2015 following a state supreme court order finding him in contempt. That order followed a state bar petition that alleged Charnota had failed to respond to an official state bar inquiry. That inquiry had been sparked by Third District Court of Appeal case in which Charnota's client's DUI manslaughter conviction appeal was dismissed for lack of a filing, according to a state bar request for admission filed in June the following year and a consent judgment filed this past January.
The sister of Charnota's client in the dismissed case filed a complaint with the state bar in September 2014, according to the request for admission.
In April 2016, the state Supreme Court handed down a second suspension, this time for one year, after Charnota did not respond to a show cause order. As his first suspension was still in effect, so the two suspensions overlapped. This past January, Charnota was suspended the third time, this time for 18 months, following a Florida Supreme Court order that also directed him to pay $8,500 in restitution, in addition to $2,500 in costs.