Jan 23, 2023 - News

Steve McFadden's lawyer may lose law license

Illustration of a silhouetted scales of justice, with the plates moving up and down.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The Iowa Supreme Court Grievance Commission recommended revoking West Des Moines attorney David Leitner's law license.

  • The recommendation comes after "a long pattern of deliberate misconduct and dishonesty," according to court documents.

The intrigue: Leitner represents Steve McFadden, a controversial business owner who filed lawsuits against 11 people for their alleged "defamatory" Facebook comments, the Register reported.

  • Leitner also wrote a letter warning a business owner against writing posts about McFadden — a strategy that's used for "intimidating and silencing criticism," according to first amendment groups.

State of play: On Jan. 19, the grievance commission filed a recommendation that Leitner have his license revoked following a series of allegations.

Some of the complaints:

  • Helping a business owner hide revenue and assets from the federal government.
  • Changed language in a divorce agreement that altered a custody agreement without notifying the other attorney who then signed it.
  • Falsely claimed his client paid child support when he did not.
  • Mishandling money entrusted to him by clients.

Of note: Leitner did not respond to a request for comment from Axios.

What's next: The Iowa Supreme Court will consider the recommendation before making a decision on his license.


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