George Cushingberry Jr.'s law license suspended

Detroit City Council pro tem likely won't practice law again, he says

DETROIT – Detroit City Councilman Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr.'s law license has been suspended for one year.

Cushingberry's law license likely is gone for good. The one-year suspension is a penalty for not showing up to hearings he was supposed to attend to whether he could keep the license in the first place.

The Attorney Discipline Board issued the suspension order on Tuesday, saying: "It is ordered that respondent's license to practice law in Michigan is suspended for one year effective Feb. 3, 2015 (as determined by the panel) and until further order of the Supreme Court, the Attorney Discipline Board or a hearing panel."

It went on to criticize Cushingberry:

"Respondent has done himself no service by disregarding the proceedings and his 11th-hour attempts to stonewall and further impede the panels ability to find that respondent holds himself to the high ethical standards imposed by the profession. Respondent hamstrung his own advocate and exhibited a complete disinterest in the process by failing to participate."

Local 4 obtained a documentation from the December attorney grievance hearing, which acts similar to a trial. Transcripts show Cushingberry opted not to attend it. His attorney said in the transcripts that Cushingberry was in Florida being treated in the lawyers and judges assistance program, which is a process to help lawyers with substance abuse problems such as alcohol, drug abuse or a gambling addiction.

Local 4 exchanged texts with Cushingberry on Tuesday about this situation. he said he is in the lawyers assistance program and his suspension was "indefinite by consent."

There likely is a reason he is not fighting anymore: Cushingberry would have to take the bar exam again to become reinstated.

When asked specifically whether alcohol abuse is the problem, he said no. When he wasn't working as a politician, Cushingberry was a probate attorney dealing with wills and disposing of assets after a death.

There was an original complaint he didn't properly dispose of an estate. The board never got to that.

About the Author:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.