NEW ORLEANS – Covington attorney William M. Magee was suspended following a split Jan. 30 Louisiana Supreme Court attorney disciplinary proceeding over allegations he created, improperly executed and notarized false quitclaim deeds.
The Supreme Court suspended Magee for two years after he used "false and deceptive practices" in three separate transactions between 1999 and 2001 to obtain St. Tammany Parish properties belonging to absentee owners, the court's 26-page attorney disciplinary proceeding said.
In their dissents, Justice John L. Weimer and Justice Jefferson D. Hughes III said they would have suspended Magee for about one year.
The high court's action follows the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board's recommendation in March that Magee be disbarred and an LADB hearing committee's recommendation in June 2016 that Magee be suspended for six month.
Magee was admitted to the bar in Louisiana on Oct. 6, 1978, according to his profile on the Louisiana State Bar Association's website. Magee had no prior discipline before the state bar, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Magee allegedly created fictitious quitclaim deeds to transfer the properties from his corporation, Hickory Glade, to himself, effectively acting as seller and purchaser in the transactions in which no money was involved, according to the disciplinary proceeding.
Magee later acknowledged that Hickory Glade possessed "absolutely no ownership interest in the St. Tammany Parish properties that the deeds purported to convey," the disciplinary proceeding said.
After Magee obtained default judgments that declared him owner, he sold the properties to a third party, who in turn transferred lots to the eventual complainants as home sites. The complainants later endured difficulties trying to sell what they thought was their property as Magee's quitclaim deeds created clouds on their titles.
The actual property owners later sued their title insurer, which then sued Magee, who filed a retaliatory lawsuit against the property owners for suing him, according to the disciplinary proceeding. In 2012, the U.S. District Court for Louisiana's Eastern District granted judgment in favor of the title company and found Magee liable for improperly creating a cloud on the title via the questionable quitclaim deeds.
"(Magee) did not appeal the federal court's judgment and was ordered to pay the cost of the record owners' interest in the properties," the disciplinary proceeding said.