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TALLAHASSEE — Longtime Maitland attorney Stephan Carter faces suspension following a Dec. 5 Florida Supreme Court order over allegations he and an interim court clerk tried to inappropriately obtain severance, according to a recent announcement by The Florida Bar.
"Carter was employed as general counsel for the Clerk of Court in Orange County," read the Florida Bar's Dec. 27 announcement of the discipline. "After the clerk died, an interim clerk of court was appointed. Based upon Carter’s legal advice, the interim clerk (Colleen Reilly) terminated both hers and Carter’s existing employment agreements. They both received severance payments; however, they both remained employed."
Carter and Reilly claimed severance pay with Carter getting more than $156,000 and Reilly taking more than $115,000, according to a local news report. The severance was paid out in 2013 and was uncovered during an investigation the following year, according to the consent judgment reached between Carter and the state bar. Both subsequently repaid the full amount of their severance payments, according to the state bar's announcement.
In its two-page order, the Supreme Court of Florida approved the uncontested referee's report filed in the matter before suspending Carter for one year, effective 30 days from the date of the court's order. He was also ordered to pay almost $1,646 in costs, according to the Supreme Court order.
Florida court orders are not final until time expires to file motion for rehearing. The filing of a motion does not alter the effective date of Carter's suspension.
Carter was admitted to the bar in Florida on July 1, 1980 according to his profile on the state bar website. No prior discipline before the state bar is listed on Carter's profile.
The consent judgment also includes Carter's conditional guilty plea.
Carter resigned his position and in the consent judgment said he is remorseful for his misconduct.