South Florida attorney accused of stiffing clients out of money

The Florida Bar is demanding answers from a South Florida attorney who has been suspended from practicing law in the past.

Aire Lawrence said she hired Coral Gables attorney Andrew Kassier and gave him several thousand dollars to represent her.

Instead, she said, he has done nothing.

Lawrence recently broke into tears after she saw Kassier’s picture attached to a recent Miami Times online article.

“I saw the picture of the attorney and I’m like, ‘How can he do this?’ Like, he’s just taking on other cases, and he act like mine didn’t matter,'” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said she gave Kassier a total of $2,500 in 2012.

She said Kassier agreed to represent her legally in an adoption.

Lawrence provided Local 10 News with a canceled check, receipts and a signed retainer agreement.

“I did everything that he said I needed to do,” she said.

Lawrence has legal guardianship of her goddaughter, Karlicia Darling, but wants to legally adopt her.

Records show that Kassier was on probation with the Florida Bar when he took Lawrence’s money and agreed to represent her five years ago.

Lawrence said she confronted Kassier in 2014 about the lack of progress, and he refunded her $1,000 and promised her the other $1,500 back.

“He asked me if I would give him a chance, he would refund me my money and he asked if I would allow him to finish what he started,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said Kassier refuses to return calls.

She said she has not been contacted by the courts and nothing has been filed.

Lawrence said she has no money to hire a different lawyer. She said her goddaughter is now 9 years old and sees her pain.

“l feel bad for her, and I ask her, ‘What’s wrong?'” Karlicia said. “When she says ‘nothing,’ I say, ‘I know something is wrong,’ then I hug her,” Lawrence said.

Kassier refused to talk to Local 10 News investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier about Lawrence’s allegations. He didn’t respond to a Local 10 attorney’s request for comment either.

Records from the Supreme Court of Florida show the Florida Bar wanted to disbar Kassier in 1998. Instead, he was suspended from practicing law for a year.

An audit revealed Kassier misappropriated a client’s trust funds and wrote several bad checks.

Two other clients claimed he took money to represent them and did nothing.

After serving his suspension, Kassier was reinstated in 2010 and placed on probation.

Lawrence has now filed complaint with the Florida Bar.

Local 10 has learned the Bar sent Kassier a letter requiring him to respond to the allegations.

The Florida Bar won’t talk about open investigations, but Lawrence is hoping someone will help.

“All I want is for the adoption of my baby to be final so that she can have my last name and we can go on happily with our lives,” she said.

Kassier represents Miami Gardens pastor Eric Readon.

Local 10 recently aired several stories about Readon after speaking with people who claim the pastor stole their money.

Readon has filed suit against WPLG, claiming that his reputation was ruined. Station management denies those charges and stands by the stories.

Follow this story

Former UM player arrested, accused of running illegal watercraft business on Watson Island

A former University of Miami football star suspected of running an illegal personal watercraft business is facing charges after he was arrested Tuesday on Watson Island.

Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Detective Argemis Colome told Local 10 News that this is just the latest incident involving Adewale Ojomo. In the past, Ojomo has been cited and warned by police to start complying with the law, Colome said.

“They want to keep us from making a living,” Ojomo told Local 10 News as he sat in the back of a police car. “So what they do is, you know, they get us in trouble, basically.”

Ojomo played for the Hurricanes from 2008-11, finishing his collegiate career with 79 tackles, 9.5 sacks, three pass deflections and two forced fumbles. He later played sparingly in the NFL for the Giants, Seahawks, Bills and Titans before ending his career with the CFL’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 2014.

While with Tennessee, Ojomo was arrested in 2014 in Miami on a charge of soliciting prostitution. The Titans waived Ojomo after the arrest.

Ojomo’s arrest comes just a day after two tourists were killed when the WaveRunners they were riding crashed into a concrete bridge near Star Island.

Colome said Ojomo’s arrest is not related to Monday’s incident.

It’s unclear what charges he will be facing, but an officer at the scene said Ojomo would be booked and fined.

Follow this story

3 in custody after shootout in Miami Burger King parking lot, police say

 

 Three people are in custody after a shootout Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of a Burger King in Miami.

Miami-Dade police said Daniel Rodriguez and Enrique Santana walked into the fast-food restaurant at 11595 Southwest 40th Street and began acting disorderly and being disrespectful to the staff.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said as Daniel Rodriguez and Santana walked out of Burger King, they made disrespectful comments to Jorge Rodriguez, who was standing outside.

The duo got into their vehicle and pulled out a gun, and Jorge Rodriguez responded by getting a gun from his vehicle, police said.

The Police Department said as Daniel Rodriguez and Santana circled the parking lot, shots were fired.

Police said Jorge Rodriguez was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center to be treated for a small laceration on his back. He was treated and released.

Miami-Dade police Detective Argemis Colome said all three men are in custody.

 

It’s unclear what led to the dispute. 

 

Follow this story

3 in custody after shootout in Burger King parking lot, police say

 

Three people are in custody after a shootout Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of a Burger King in southwest Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade police Detective Argemis Colome said Daniel Rodriguez and Enrique Santana walked into the fast-food restaurant at 11595 SW 40th St. and began acting disorderly and being disrespectful to the staff.

A man, who asked not to be identified, said the men were angry about their order.

“The menu being messed up, or, like, their order being messed up,” he told Local 10 News.

Colome said as Rodriguez and Santana walked out of the Burger King, they made disrespectful comments to Jorge Rodriguez, who was standing outside.

Daniel Rodriguez and Santana got into their car and pulled a gun on Jorge Rodriguez, who also got a gun from his car, Colome said.

As Daniel Rodriguez and Santana circled the parking lot, shots were fired, Colome said.

Jorge Rodriguez was taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center to be treated for a small laceration on his back. He was treated and released.

Colome said all three men were taken into custody.

 

 

Follow this story

59-year-old woman found dead on side of road in northwest Miami-Dade

Miami-Dade police are investigating after a woman was found dead Sunday on the side of a road in northwest Miami-Dade.

Police said the body of Nelsy Falla De Ramirez, 59, was found at 6:46 a.m. by the roadside near Northwest 152nd Street and Sixth Avenue.

“We know that she went out with a gentleman and met up with another gentleman that she was potentially dating, and something went wrong,” Falla De Ramirez’s former daughter-in-law, Maria Rios, said. “Either they tried to rob her or something happened. We don’t know exactly what happened, but they found her body away from the vehicle.”

The cause of death has not been released.

Falla De Ramirez, who was originally from Colombia, is survived by her sons and grandchildren.

Relatives said she was a church-going woman who lived for her family.

“She loved to be with everybody. She was a good person, a genuine person — never caused anybody any harm,” Rios said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call police at 305-471-2400. Anonymous tips can be made by calling Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A reward of up to $3,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest.

 

Follow this story

FIU community mourns student killed while crossing street near main campus

The Florida International University community continues to mourn a student who was killed early Sunday while crossing the street near the university’s main campus.

The crash happened near the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, at 11200 SW Eighth St.

Cellphone video shows police and fire rescue trucks at the scene as a tarp covered the body of 18-year-old Alexis Dale.

“We were upstairs and we saw what happened — saw the car,” FIU student Gabriela Collazo said. 

Those who live in student housing buildings in Sweetwater cross the busy street each day to get to campus.

“I just moved in and I’ve probably crossed like 35 times,” Collazo said. 

“I cross Southwest Eighth Street about three to four times a day,” another student, Steven Lewis, said.

Sweetwater officials said shuttles are offered to students to move safely between the city’s student buildings and the FIU main campus. The shuttles stop operating at sundown.

“The shuttle isn’t running at 3 a.m. The shuttle ends at nightfall,” Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said. “But the pedestrian was crossing when she shouldn’t have been. The traffic had the green light. They have to use extreme caution and obey all traffic laws.” 

The university and the city of Sweetwater have partnered to build a pedestrian bridge that will lead from the student housing buildings to campus.

The project had been underway even before Dale’s death and is expected to be completed late next year.

“We’ve told the developer to speed up the bridge and worry about the streets and plaza afterwards. Those are secondary — the bridge comes first,” Lopez said. 

Dale, who was originally from Denver and at one time lived in San Diego, moved to Miami to study information technology.

The Florida Highway Patrol was investigating the crash.

Grief counselors have been made available to students and staff at the university.

 

Follow this story