Judge recommends upholding suspension of Bedford attorney Robert Fojo
A specially appointed judge is recommending that the N.H. Supreme Court uphold the temporary suspension of a well-known Bedford attorney accused of mishandling client money.
Robert Fojo is alleged to have failed to properly pay clients he represented in civil lawsuits, improper bookkeeping, and lying to investigators from the Attorney Discipline Office. His law license was temporarily suspended in December, prompting an appeal heard in early January before a special appointed referee.
In a 14-page order, retired Judge Larry Smukler recommended the state's highest court uphold the temporary suspension, noting that Fojo was not forthright with investigators and failed to properly award funds to a client for more than a year.
“Simply put, Fojo’s conduct is not the conduct of an attorney who has made unintentional bookkeeping errors and who has earnestly sought to prevent harm to his clients by correcting those errors,” Smukler wrote.
Fojo has filed countless lawsuits in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Florida over mask mandates and other COVID-19 safety measures in schools. But it was his work on slip and fall cases, as well as contract disputes, that led to complaints and an investigation. He is accused of mishandling approximately $100,000 in client funds.
During a hearing earlier this month, a lawyer for Fojo argued that while he admitted to mistakes in his record-keeping, some of the financial errors were due to an inexperienced office assistant and new accounting software.
Lawyers for the ADO rejected that argument, noting that it appeared Fojo was robbing “Peter to pay Paul” and that he was living a lavish lifestyle while his clients were waiting for money from their settlements.
In asking for his license to be reinstated while his disciplinary process plays out, Fojo noted that his current clients would suffer from the suspension.
That argument was rejected by Smukler, however, who noted “the harm to those clients… is outweighed by the need to protect those same clients and the broader public.” Smukler added that the “integrity of the legal profession” also needed to be preserved.
(Editor's note: a previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Judge Smukler's order upheld the suspension of Mr. Fojo, rather than correctly reading that Smukler recommended upholding the suspension. NHPR regrets its error.)