The Illinois Supreme Court has suspended attorney Robert Bless from practicing law for allegedly having an affair with a client.
Monday's suspension will last until the court decides his ultimate fate.
Bless is a former Cook County Sheriff’s deputy and former McHenry County board member. He was fired from his job as a deputy for working other jobs without proper notice while on disability leave from his police job. He also lost his re-election bid to the county board in 2012.
The Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission has recommended that Bless be suspended for three years.
Bless, 52, also faces a second disciplinary proceeding by regulators relating to allegations of disability fraud for collecting disability pay while working as an attorney, which he is contesting.
Bless admitted having a sexual relationship with a women he was representing in a lawsuit involving the death of her husband, who suffered a fatal fall from a ladder in 2003.
The board of the attorney commission found that Bless took more than $200,000 in loans from the woman for an office in Palatine and a BMW, and still owed her more than $150,000, though he said he repaid her. The board also found that Bless lied and violated attorney rules by telling the woman to deny that they were anything other than “good friends.”
In his request for the suspension, commission Administrator Jerome Larkin wrote that Bless showed “utter disregard” for professional responsibility.
Bless's attorney, Thomas McGarry, declined comment, and Bless could not be reached. McGarry previously argued that Bless’s relationship with the woman was not improper because it didn’t influence their professional relationship.
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Supreme Court suspends attorney over alleged affair