State Bar temporarily disbars Paso Robles attorney
July 15, 2014
By KAREN VELIE
Following multiple complaints of professional misconduct, the State Bar of California ordered Paso Robles attorney Dale Gustin’s license to practice law inactive on June 30.
Gustin’s latest issue stems from allegations he was threatening criminal prosecution against a local investor if he did not pay his client $450,000. Gustin’s client Mary Ann Kalvans had received a loan from Candy Wells’ Heritage Lending firm, before Wells was convicted of fraud.
Henrik Nielson, also a Heritage Lending investor, held a second on Kalvan’s property. In the end, Nielsen foreclosed on Kalvans, evicted her from the property and he received a judgment of over $46,000 against her and Craig Rambo.
Gustin then sued Nielson for unlawful eviction and fraud, a case he lost in Monterey civil court. Gustin then filed an appeal before his license was suspended. Kalvans plans to proceed with the appeal, though she now plans to represent herself.
Following his loss, Gustin, after he could no longer practice law because of another matter, sent a letter to Neilson’s attorney Jesse Hill claiming Gustin had given proof of criminal activity and perjury by Hill’s clients to the Monterey County District Attorney’s office. Gustin then stated that prosecutors were willing to forgo prosecution if Nielsen came to an agreement in which Nielson would pay his client $450,000.
Hill responded with a complaint to the State Bar claiming Gustin was attempting to extort money from his client after Gustin was forbidden to practice law and he lost his license.
“Mr. Gustin has just threatened to criminally prosecute Mr. Nielson and others unless we pay Mr. Gustin $450,000,” Hill says in his complain to the State Bar. “This is clearly an attempt at extortion…”
The State Bar emailed Nielson on July 9 saying it planned to suspend the investigation into Hill’s allegations pending the disposition of another matter against Gustin. In addition, State Bar investigator Amanda Gormley informed Nielson that Gustin was ineligible to practice law effective on June 20, 2014 because of his failure to appear at trial regarding another issue.
In that matter, Gustin is accused of failing to inform his clients of several issues regarding a civil case and also failing to perform competently.
In another pending state bar decision, Gustin is charged with two counts of misconduct. The counts allege Gustin failed to obey court orders and failed to report judicial sanctions in a Bakersfield case.
In that case, Gustin was representing Sylvia Anaya, a court worker who claimed harassment by a Bakersfield County Superior Court judge. Gustin failed to respond to discovery requests and was sanctioned for his failures. Gustin failed to report the sanctions to the State Bar.
Gustin was first licensed to practice law in 1977. In 1995, he was placed on disciplinary suspension, but not suspended. In 2003, the State Bar again reprimanded Gustin. In Nov. 2013, the State Bar filed notice of disciplinary action and on June 30 Gustin was temporarily disbarred.