Shoemaker Under Review

Sheree Silverwood

    An Aledo attorney faces allegations of charging unreasonable fees and lack of diligence in performing his duties.

    Filed July 22, the two-count complaint filed by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission against Dwight Shoemaker was made public on Tuesday. Shoemaker also serves on the Mercer County School Board.

    The charges allege that Shoemaker prepared a will for Olga C. Lowry in September 1991 that named him as executor of her estate. She died Nov. 19, 1998, with a $1.5 million estate consisting primarily of certificates of deposit, stocks, bonds, a money market account, and a few personal property items, according to the complaint. Her estate had nine individual beneficiaries and three institutional beneficiaries, including the Mercer County Senior Citizens Center.

    The complaint alleges that on Nov. 1 and 2, 1999, Mr. Shoemaker paid himself $35,000 from the estate for his services as executor and $65,000 for attorney's fees. At that time, he provided no documentation of his work for the estate to the beneficiaries, the complaint states.

    It also alleges that the services Mr. Shoemaker performed were not sufficient to justify the fees, and that he failed to make reasonable efforts to expedite litigation consistent with the interests of the client or beneficiaries of the estate. The charges specifically state that beginning in 1999 and continuing until 2007, Shoemaker was asked at least one time each year to close the estate, each time responding that he was busy.

    A board consisting of two lawyers and a lay person will hear the case in Springfield and make a recommendation. It is the burden of ARDC to prove the counts filed against Mr. Shoemaker.

    The Illinois Supreme Court can either find Mr. Shoemaker not guilty of the charges, or impose sanctions against him that range from reprimand, probation, suspension or disbarment.

    Mr. Shoemaker has until Aug. 23 to file written answers to the complaints. No hearing date has been set.