A lawyer who has unsuccessfully fought mask warrants and COVID-19 policies in schools on the coast and across the state has temporarily lost his law degree.

The State Supreme Court suspended Robert Fojo’s law license, barring him from practicing law in New Hampshire on December 21 amid allegations he mismanaged nearly $ 100,000 in fundraising. customers, according to court documents.

In the order, the New Hampshire Supreme Court Attorney’s Discipline Office (ADO) alleged that Fojo’s office hijacked two personal injury cases in the amount of $ 14,666.67 from a client, $ 33,350 from another client, and was engaged in the mismanagement of an additional $ 50,020 in client funds. held in trust under its control.

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The allegations were first made by a client of Fojo who alleged that she never received her settlement money from her Fojo bodily injury case settled in early December 2020. The prosecutor’s disciplinary office alleges that afterwards inconsistent communication and payments, Fojo’s office used funds from other clients. paying the customer once he was no longer confident, which meant that he did not have the cash to pay him on his own.

An investigation into his accounts revealed other embezzled funds, which the prosecutor’s disciplinary office reported to the court.

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Failure of lawsuits regarding the school mask mandate

Fojo has yet to win any of his cases related to mask warrants and COVID-19 policies in schools, none of which relate to why his law degree was suspended.

His anti-mask warrant lawsuits include a lawsuit in the Exeter area against SAU District 16 and another against eight districts, including several in Strafford County, including Dover, Rochester, Somersworth and Oyster River.

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In September, Rockingham Superior Court judge Marguerite Wageling called the number of lawsuits challenging face mask requirements in schools filed by Fojo as an attempt to “play mole” with the court system and s asked if continuing to take similar cases was helping him pay. clients.

Fojo’s lawsuit on behalf of 22 parents in the Exeter area of ​​the SAU 16 district seeking an injunction against his mask-wearing policy was dismissed in October, but an appeal was filed in November.

Wageling said that instead of continuing to file complaints against the school mask requirements at various courthouses, an appeal should be filed with the state Supreme Court for a “finality” in the business so that “the (financial) resources of your clients and the resources of the different schools in the neighborhoods can be minimized.

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In October, Fojo filed a new lawsuit on behalf of a newly formed nonprofit called Parents Unite for Kids Health against eight local school districts, challenging the adoption of mask warrants in the Dover School District. , Barrington School District, Derry School District, Milford School District, Newmarket School District, Oyster River Co-operative School District, Rochester School District and Somersworth School District. This case is still awaiting a final order from the judge.

Fojo challenges the suspension

Fojo has filed his intention to challenge his suspension and will appear before a judge on January 4.

Lawyers for the Prosecutors’ Disciplinary Bureau said in court documents that Fojo, by embezzling client funds, “there is a danger that Mr. Fojo will pursue this course of action if he is not suspended from the exercise. law”.

In court documents, Fojo admits what his lawyer called accounting errors, saying: “I have never embezzled funds from [the client’s] regulation or intended to deprive it in any way. I would never do that to a client. What happened was an internal error which I did not correct in a timely manner, and have since taken steps to correct it. “

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Fojo is represented by the law firm Preti, Flaherty, Beliveau and Pachios. Fojo’s lawyers oppose the suspension, saying in a lawsuit that it is not necessary since he cooperated with the investigation and although the errors in the accounts were “unfortunate”, such errors are “not as rare as comets”. The motion also requested that by requesting the stay, the prosecutor’s disciplinary office “signal to future respondents that cooperation (in an investigation) is the wrong course of action.”

According to court documents, a lawyer from the state prosecutor’s disciplinary office has been tasked with taking possession of Fojo’s files and returning them to clients, but will not handle any of his legal affairs. Fojo has been ordered to inform his clients and any financial institution of his suspension of the law. The state prosecutor’s disciplinary office said that pending Tuesday’s hearing, Fojo’s clients will have to find a new lawyer if the court approves the suspension.

Fojo and his lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Documents from the Associated Press were used in this report.