CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court has followed suit with the Pennsylvania high court in disbarring a Pittsburgh attorney.
The Court on Jan. 13 ordered the annulment of Arthur Louis Bloom's license. The Court's action came in response to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court first disbarring Bloom in 2009.
According to its Web site, the Pennsylvania high court's action stemmed from a Nov. 1, 2006, statement of charges its Office of Disciplinary Counsel filed against him for mishandling, and misappropriating money from the estate of Louise Lowe, who died on Jan. 12, 2001. In her will, Lowe, among other things, named Bloom as executor, bequeathed $1,000 to Mars Presbyterian Church and left all remaining personal and real property to Bloom and his daughter, Mara.
According its July 14, 2008, report, the Court's Disciplinary Board found Bloom between Feb. 6, 2001, and May 5, 2005, withdrew $151,412.06 from the estate for his personal use. This included a withdraw of $65,000 on June 25, 2003, and deposited into his wife's individual retirement account, and $17,598 between April 2001 and January 2002 to pay for Mara's various college expenses.
While he was executor, the Board found Bloom failed to pay any of the estate's inheritance taxes, and make disbursements to the other beneficiaries. This included the $1,000 to Mars Presbyterian Church.
Another stipulation in Lowe's will was that Mellon Bank was to be appointed guardian of the estate for any beneficiary who had not turned 28. At a date not specified, Mellon refused to accept the appointment, and Bloom not only failed to appoint a replacement guardian, but also made disbursements on Mara's behalf before her 28th birthday.
In its report, the Board noted Bloom reimbursed the estate the $17,598 he withdrew on Mara's behalf two weeks before the statement of charges was issued against him. All told, the Board found he misappropriated $63,500.33 from Lowe's estate.
The Board recommended Bloom be disbarred based on not only his "fundamentally dishonest act" in mishandling and misappropriating money from Lowe's estate, but also his prior disciplinary history. According the Board's report, Bloom was informally admonished in 2003 for two separate, unspecified matters, and suspended for three years in 1979 after pleading guilty to 114 counts of theft by deception after converting $50,000 in subrogation claims over a four-year period as an officer in an insurance company.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court accepted the Board's recommendation, and disbarred Bloom on March 23, 2009.
Shortly thereafter, the state Bar's Office of Disciplinary Counsel found out about Blooms' disbarment, and notified him via a letter dated July 20, 2009, of its intention to take reciprocal action against him in West Virginia, and his right to contest it. When they did not receive a response to the July 20 letter, and two follow-up letters sent certified mail in December 2009, ODC filed its motion to annual Bloom's West Virginia license on Feb. 10.
As a precaution, ODC called Bloom on Oct. 1 to confirm he received their previous letters. According to the report they filed 20 days later with the Court, he said he did, but did not intend to file any response.
In West Virginia, a disbarment is an automatic five-year prohibition from practicing law. According to the Bar's Web site, Bloom, 73, was first licensed to practice law in 1962, three years prior to his admission to the Pennsylvania Bar.
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, case number 35123