KBA "Closed Door" Session Over Ethics Charges Against Its President

LEXINGTON, KY -- The Kentucky Bar Association on Saturday probably will review the findings of a Lexington attorney hired to conduct an outside investigation of its current president, Barbara Bonar, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Saturday edition.

WKYT-TV 27 Newsfirst asked the KBA if there would be any accommodation for news media at today's executive closed door meeting. Barbara Thomas, Communications Director for the KBA, told 27 Newsfirst the entire meeting "will be a closed door proceedings."

When asked if they planned to break for lunch and give news media an opportunity to take video and possibly get a comment she responded, "If we make a statement or hold a news conference, we will contact you at the (contact) numbers you provided."

KBA president-elect Charles E. "Buzz" English Jr. said in an interview that Lexington attorney Robert Houlihan Jr.'s report about Bonar was sent to the KBA's board of governors Monday and that the board probably would go into a closed session Saturday. English declined to comment on the contents of the report, reports the Herald-Leader.

Bonar's attorney, Tom Clay of Louisville, declined to comment on the Houlihan report, saying "the proceeding is confidential." Houlihan also declined to comment, reports the newspaper.

Bonar, a Covington lawyer, became KBA president in July, even though she was facing disciplinary action from the KBA. Special Judge Robert McGinnis said Bonar and others might have committed ethics violations in the priest-abuse litigation against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington.

The findings came in a trial in which Bonar filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati attorney Stan Chesley, saying she was owed $1 million or more from the priest-abuse litigation. McGinnis ruled for Chesley in the fee dispute and awarded no damages to Bonar, the newspaper reports.

After a two-day trial in 2007 in Boone Circuit Court, McGinnis said Bonar broke ethical rules by settling individual classes when she was co-counsel in the class-action suit against the Diocese of Covington, which was settled for $84.5 million. During the trial, Bonar said she did nothing wrong. She appealed McGinnis' findings, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

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