Detroit City Council member’s law license suspended

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — The state Attorney Discipline Board has issued a one-year suspension of the law license for the city’s second-highest-ranking council member.

The suspension for City Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. went into effect on Tuesday. The District 2 city councilman is also responsible for $1,805 in costs, the Tuesday order notes.

The penalty comes after a hearing panel issued an order in December suspending Cushingberry from practicing law after he failed to appear at a public hearing over professional misconduct claims. Cushingberry had cited an “undisclosed medical condition.”

The councilman declined comment on Wednesday.

The panel imposed an interim suspension on Dec. 11 based on the councilman’s claims of “physical incapability” as the reason for his failure to take part in the proceedings, the notice says.

“Respondent has done himself no service by disregarding the proceedings and his eleventh-hour attempts to stonewall and further impede the panel’s ability to find that respondent holds himself to the highest ethical standards imposed by the profession,” the discipline report reads. “Respondent hamstrung his own advocate and exhibited a complete disinterest in the process by failing to participate.”

The issue stems from a formal complaint that was filed against Cushingberry on Sept. 10, 2014, alleging that he “committed acts of professional misconduct” by failing to respond to a request for one investigation and to issue a timely response on a separate investigation request, the panel findings say.

In October, Cushingberry filed paperwork denying he’d ever received a request for investigation. He retained a new attorney the next month, delaying the initial hearing.

The hearing panel later denied requests to further postpone proceedings on Dec. 11, based on claims that Cushingberry would not be able to attend because he’d been under a doctor’s care in Florida with an “undisclosed medical condition.”

The panel ultimately concluded that Cushingberry committed the misconduct.

Cushingberry’s law license was also suspended for 45 days last February under a settlement reached to resolve a grievance filed by a former client. The latest complaint notes he failed to pay costs and restitution.

The former client claimed he compensated Cushingberry for services that were not fully delivered. Cushingberry pleaded no contest to the professional misconduct claims, a lawyer for the councilman previously told The News.