JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville attorney whose face was once splashed on the side of Veterans Memorial Arena has been suspended after a Florida Bar investigation found that he committed a wide range of misconduct, including texting an anti-Semitic rant about another attorney to a one-time colleague.
Though the discipline was handed down in September, attorney Paul Green began serving that 60-day suspension over the weekend as part of a settlement reached with the Bar in which he acknowledged sending the off-color text message, among other examples of questionable behavior.
The suspension stems from a complaint the Bar filed in June. It details a series of allegations against Green, ranging from his use of his former law firm’s credit card for personal expenses to posting false information about his ex-partner’s mental health on social media as the firm split up.
Disciplinary documents show Green, 37, was going through a divorce when he sent the following text to his former law partner, Patricia Parker, about his wife’s divorce attorney: “Tell Dana Price I hope she dies of dirty Jew AIDS.”
On Thursday, Green told News4Jax he regrets sending that text message. He noted that he never would have done so had he known it would later become public. "It was an off color remark for which I deeply regret,” he said.
That text message was among the incidents Parker said contributed to her decision to fire Green and change the locks on the office door. The complaint said he also had trouble dressing professionally and, in some cases, even showing up for work.
Once he was terminated, Green changed the password to the firm’s website and cut off his former co-workers’ access to their work email, documents show. In response, Parker switched off Green’s phones. He later agreed to restore the firm’s email access if his phones were turned back on.
Green also posted on the firm’s Facebook page, indicating the firm was splitting up because of Parker’s mental health, saying she was “suicidal” and had been hospitalized under the Baker Act. He then discouraged clients from paying Parker until the Florida Bar stepped in.
In reality, neither of those things was true.
“I deeply regret posting the comment on my page but at the time I did not know who was representing our clients if she was incapacitated,” Green said Thursday.
Green said he never had any disciplinary or ethical issues before his partnership with Parker. He claimed the pair had a personal relationship, but noted that Parker was in a “position of power” because she owned the firm. He said the partnership unraveled when their relationship soured.
He also challenged the complaint that he improperly used the law firm’s resources, saying both partners used the credit card for personal expenses from time to time but reimbursed the firm by deducting the purchases from their pay. Otherwise, he said, they used it to rack up points.
He said that he accepted the suspension from the Bar because he could not afford to hire a defense attorney. That said, he noted that he does not agree with the language contained in the plea or the Bar’s findings, but he decided it was in his best interest to “simply move on.”
“Had I known that the story would be so skewed from what really happened I would have taken this all to court so my side would have been heard,” he said, adding that he’s still in the middle of a divorce, has racked up “enormous debt,” and is having trouble finding work as a result of the complaint.
Reached Thursday, Parker said she has not kept tabs on her former partner’s predicament.
"I am not privy to the Bar investigation,” she said. “I did not file a complaint. I did not go to the newspaper. Allegations against me are not true. I turned over bank accounts to the Bar, text message and emails and the Bar moved forward. I wish no ill will towards him.”
It’s unclear what lies ahead for Green. Attorney Ed Birk, who represents News4Jax and has no ties to either side of this case, said the 37-year-old’s comments to the media about the case won’t do him any favors.
“The statements he’s made after his suspension was imposed may get him in trouble,” said Birk. “He’s admitted to a number of statements and he’s made further statements about his former law partner and others, and it may go back to the Supreme Court.”