by Jack Suntrup
published in STL Today
December 24, 2019
JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Supreme Court on Tuesday disbarred a St. Louis lawyer and former state representative who has had run-ins with the state court for 30 years.
An order, signed by Chief Justice George W. Draper III, said the court’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel found probable cause that Elbert Walton Jr. committed professional misconduct, and that Walton failed to respond to the allegations.
The order said it appeared Walton violated numerous rules, including provisions mandating diligence by an attorney, adequate communication, reasonable fees and professional conduct.
According to case documents, on July 1, 2016, a woman hired Walton for a housing matter, paying him $3,200 of the $5,000 Walton said his representation would cost.
Instead of holding the money in a trust, Walton stored the money in his own bank account, according to the document. The woman discovered Walton was no longer reachable at the phone number listed for him, and discovered he no longer had a valid Missouri law license.
She spoke to Walton once more, according to the documents, asking for a refund and the return of “paperwork regarding her house that she had entrusted to him.” Walton did not give back either, the documents said.
The woman “has been unable to communicate with Respondent Walton because the telephone number she had for him has been disconnected and he is not at the physical location where his office was located.”
In another case, a woman wanted to file for divorce. The woman said she paid Walton $795 for the job, but received a receipt saying she paid $300. The woman spoke to Walton in November 2016, when Walton told her he was retiring, according to case documents.
Walton said another attorney would contact the woman, but the attorney never did. Neither Walton nor a colleague ever filed for divorce on the woman’s behalf, the documents said. She never received a refund.
The case documents detail 30 years of disciplinary history with the state’s Office of Chief Disciplinary Counsel, including actions taken in 1989, 2001, 2004 and 2017.
Walton received an 18-month license suspension in 2017 connected to his conduct during a 2013 bankruptcy case.
The bankruptcy court said that throughout the trial, Walton yelled at the judge, was “obnoxious and disrespectful” in his tone and demeanor and didn’t file documents or responses in a timely manner.
Walton, a former state representative, is the father of St. Louis County Councilwoman Rochelle Walton Gray. His sons-in-law are state Reps. Alan Gray, D-Black Jack, and Jermond “Jay” Mosley, D-Florissant.
Walton was fired as chief attorney of the Northeast Ambulance and Fire Protection District in 2009, after being accused of mishandling taxpayer funds.
He could not be reached for comment.