Ring Around the Collar
Earlier this month, the Oregon State Bar filed a petition in a case involving their disgraced licensee, Lori Deveny. The former attorney — who stole millions of dollars from her clients — was recently freed from her ill-fitting ankle cuff as she awaits sentencing in state and federal court.
The Bar’s filing was made to finalize the custodianship that the agency took over Deveny’s former law practice, and it’s littered with erroneous information and dates and dollar amounts, i.e. the usual “mistakes” the Bar makes when sucked into Deveny’s orbit.
But — and this is a big but — there are two glaring footnotes that gave me pause:
In brief, the Bar and the PLF (the Bar’s malpractice insurance division) apparently disagree as to whether or not Oregon Women Lawyers were clients of Lori Deveny.
It’s an important question because millions of dollars are missing, and a non-profit such as OWLS happens to be an ideal place through which to launder money.
Deveny was deeply involved in leading and fundraising for the organization. She was OWLS’ president in 2001–02 and OWLS Foundation’s president in 2014–16, just a year before her crime spree abruptly came to light. She was also, allegedly, a big donor.
But the question of whether or not the non-profit was a client of Deveny’s has even greater implications for those who have trusted the organization over the years: OWLS scrubbed Deveny from its website in 2018 — a dishonest and defensive move, that can’t be chalked up to mere embarrassment.
Further, OWLS’ sanitizing came during the presidency of Amber Hollister — who at the same time also happened to be the Bar’s General Counsel.
Hollister oversaw the Bar’s custodianship as she simultaneously mishandled the financial claims of Deveny’s victims: Hollister allowed the disgraced lawyer to keep her full cut, even in cases in which Deveny forged her clients’ signatures and stole all their money.
Either the Bar or the PLF is wrong about Deveny being OWLS’ attorney. Given the Bar’s history of dishonesty on Deveny’s behalf, and eagerness to cushion her fall, it’s a safe bet to believe the PLF. Deveny was certainly OWLS’ attorney.
And given the fact that OWLS has been defensive and tightlipped on the subject, and has made no efforts to help her dozens of victims, it’s safe to assume that OWLS was familiar and comfortable with Lori Deveny’s “work.”