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.