NEW ORLEANS – On Sept. 6, the Supreme Court of Louisiana addressed the readmission application of Thomas G. Wilkinson, who was suspended from the practice of law in Louisiana.
The court decided Wilkinson was eligible for readmission with two years’ probation.
The official court document explained that the court initially accepted a joint petition for consent discipline and suspended Wilkinson from the practice of law for three years for accepting payment of an improper referral fee and for his federal criminal conviction of conspiracy to commit misprision of felony.
“The petition for consent discipline contained a stipulation that (Wilkinson) would not apply for reinstatement unless all conditions of his federal probation were satisfied, including the payment of restitution,” the document said. “(Wilkinson) subsequently filed an application for reinstatement with the disciplinary board, alleging he has complied with the reinstatement criteria set forth.”
The document explained that the Office of Disciplinary Council (ODC) did not take a position regarding the application for reinstatement. Accordingly, the matter was referred for a formal hearing before a hearing committee.
“Following the hearing, the hearing committee recommended that petitioner be reinstated to the practice of law, subject to a two-year period of probation,” the document said. “Neither petitioner nor the ODC objected to the hearing committee’s recommendation.”
The committee came to a unanimous decision that Wilkinson satisfied the necessary requirements to be reinstated to the practice of law, but with concessions.
“Accordingly, we will reinstate (Wilkinson) to the practice of law, subject to a two-year period of supervised probation during which he must fully comply with the federal court’s restitution order,” the committee said. “If (Wilkinson) has not fully paid all outstanding restitution at the conclusion of the two-year probationary period, the ODC may move to extend probation for an additional period of time.”
A May 4, 2013 article in The Times-Picayune of New Orleans explained that the state Supreme Court suspended Wilkinson’s law license for three years because of his role in a scandal that sent former Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard to prison until the fall of 2016.
Wilkinson pleaded guilty in September 2012 to one count of conspiracy to commit misprision of a felony, or having knowledge of a felony and failing to report it.
“The Supreme Court's ruling said the court's Office of Disciplinary Counsel also investigated allegations that Wilkinson accepted payment of an improper ‘referral fee,’” the article said.
The article further explained that Wilkinson was placed on probation for three years and received no prison time or fine, but he was ordered to make restitution totaling $214,210, the cost of the payroll fraud involving Broussard's former wife, Karen Parker.
Wilkinson was placed on three years' probation in February by federal Judge Hayden Head Jr. He did not receive any prison time or fine, but he was ordered to make repay a total of $214,210, which was the cost of the payroll fraud involving Broussard's former wife, Karen Parker, who also admitted guilt and received probation.
In exchange for taking care of Parker, Broussard gave Wilkinson a series of pay raises, where the illegal take totaled $39,633, plus benefit increases, the article said.
The official Sept. 6 court document explained that Wilkinson has paid a total of $96,000 in restitution, which offered the court enough evidence that Wilkinson was following the stipulations set by the court. As long as he continues to pay, and follows all other rules set forth, Wilkinson is readmitted to practice law.