LIHU’E – Martin Wolff, an attorney who once practiced law on the North Shore of Kaua’i, has been disbarred in California for offenses he allegedly committed on another Pacific island.
According to the May, 2000 California Bar Journal, Wolff was disbarred in California on Dec. 12, 1999.
Wolff was also disbarred in Hawai’i in 1996 and, according to officials in Honolulu, shouldn’t have been practicing law anywhere.
Brian C. Means, assistant disciplinary counsel for the state of Hawai’i, said the California disbarment was possibly reciprocal.
“The California Bar was closed down for a couple of years, so they might just be late getting around to it,” Means said.
He said Wolff was disbarred in Hawai’i based on Wolff’s disbarment by the U.S. District Court of the Northern Marianas Islands, a U.S. commonwealth comprised of the islands of Saipan, Tinian and Rota.
The California Bar Journal reported that Wolff was disbarred in that state based on conduct erroneously thought to have taken place in Hawai’i.
“The discipline came in a default proceeding brought because of misconduct in Hawai’i where Wolff wrongfully accused opposing counsel in a civil case of fabricating evidence,” the publication reported.
In addition, Wolff was accused of making 14 separate and “meritless” accusations alleging dishonesty, false statement, fraud and subornation of perjury against 10 other attorneys.
The journal article further stated that Wolff “made a false statement to a court, and forced two female domestic employees to walk naked through the streets.” Means said the incident with the domestics, at which time Wolff was allegedly armed, took place in the Republic of Palau.
Attorneys can be disciplined in California for misconduct in another state if their actions would have been cause for discipline if committed in California, according to the California Bar.
Means said the last he heard, Wolff, 53, was working at an agricultural operation in Palau.
Means said Wolff was disbarred from practicing law in Palau in addition to his disbarment in U.S. state and commonwealth courts.
On Kaua’i, Wolff represented residents in a North Shore-area boating controversy, and ran unsuccessfully for Kaua’i mayor in the 1980s.
Staff writer Dennis Wilken can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252).