More clients come forward after Wichita attorney disappears on them
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A client tells FactFinder 12 he’s been contacted by an investigator looking into Wichita attorney Devoe Treadwell.
Clients accuse Treadwell of taking their money and then not showing up to represent them. The Office of the Disciplinary Administrator investigates complaints against Kansas attorneys but won’t confirm active investigations.
Since our first story aired last week, we are hearing from more people saying Treadwell took their money as well.
“Eight-thousand dollars. He wanted $10,000 but when he found out we could pay up front, he lowered it to eight. We wrote a check that day,” said Steve Bugner who hired Treadwell to represent him.
He said Treadwell showed up to one court hearing.
“That was the last time I talked to him,” Bugner said.
Like other clients we’ve talked to, Bugner said he couldn’t reach Treadwell at his downtown Wichita office.
“We kept driving by. That’s when my wife saw the UPS sticky notes on the door. That was November and December of last year,” Bugner said.
Another client, who wanted his identity protected, paid even more.
“My prior court date was in August. He was there for that one, but I never heard from him again,” said the man who paid Treadwell $20,000 and has a receipt to prove it. Both men said they’ve filed complaints with the state disciplinary office. Bugner said he’s been interviewed by an investigator.
Unlike other clients, Bugner found Treadwell at his office one day.
“He was not happy to see us. He asked if we wanted a refund,” Bugner said.
Bugner said they were kicked out of the office, but after sending Treadwell a certified letter asking for a refund, they received a check for $7,500.
While he got most of his money back, he knows other clients haven’t received anything.
“I don’t know what kind of problems Mr. Treadwell is having, but I think he knows that you don’t leave people hanging like you did.. That’s just really wrong,” Bugner said.
Treadwell did not want to answer questions when we found him at his home earlier this month. Treadwell is still listed in “good standing” with the Kansas Judicial Center Attorney Registration. There has been no recent disciplinary action taken against Treadwell, but any current investigations would not be public.
However, the Wichita Bar Association is now working with clients affected. They encourage those clients to reach their office at email@example.com or 316-263-2251.
There may also be financial relief available for clients through the Kansas Client Protection Fund. The fund, overseen by a commission, pays people that suffer economic loss as a result of dishonest actions by Kansas lawyers. Clients may file complaints against Kansas-licensed attorneys. Those complaints must be in writing and filed with the Office of the Disciplinary Administrator. Information can be found at www.kscourts.org.
Copyright 2023 KWCH. All rights reserved. To report a correction or typo, please email firstname.lastname@example.org