The law license of Jefferson County Attorney Terry Wynne has been suspended for one year by a committee on Professional Conduct of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
The committee ruled July 1 that Wynne “engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”
Wynne was accused of taking payments that clients made to the Bridges, Young, Matthews and Drake Law Firm, where Wynne was employed until Feb. 21, 2012, and using the funds for his personal use.
Jefferson County Judge Dutch King said Monday afternoon that Wynne called him last Wednesday afternoon and told him about the suspension.
“Now we’ve got to find another attorney,” King said. “I’m going to take my time and find the best attorney I can.”
Wynne served as Jefferson County Attorney while employed with the Bridges law firm, and after leaving there in 2012, was hired by former County Judge Mike Holcomb to serve in the post. King retained him when he took office Jan. 1.
According to an investigation by the Bridges law firm, the total of retainer payments misused by Wynne was “at least $20,950.”
According to the committee findings, Wynne, after being presented with the disciplinary complaint, admitted that the allegations were “essentially correct.
“Mr. Wynne explained that the reason for his misconduct was that he developed a gambling problem and needed the money,” the committee finding said. “He presented the committee a statement from the leader of Gamblers’ Anonymous meetings he attends to demonstrate his attendance since February,2012.”
The committee finding said Wynne “explained that his emotional state was affected by the terminal illness and death of his wife in 2011. He offered in mitigation that he had no prior disciplinary record, did not believe any client was harmed and that when he was confronted he admitted the misconduct and self-reported. Mr. Wynne also offered in his sworn response that he was willing to pay restitution to the firm.”
A message left for Wynne on his cell phone was not returned Monday afternoon.