By Sharon Coolidge
Enquirer staff writer
In his work as a private attorney, Hamilton County Treasurer Robert Goering is accused of ineptly managing a nearly $2.2 million estate that shrunk to a worth of just $62,000, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit, filed in Hamilton County by Eric Deters on behalf of Elmer Gundrum, who inherited the estate in May 2001 from his sister, alleges that Goering failed to hire an investment adviser to diversify stocks and failed to file state and federal tax returns, resulting in $237,952 in penalties and interest lodged against the estate.
"It was shocking," Deters said. "What makes it worse was he is (Hamilton County's) treasurer. "He's supposed to know how to handle money."
Deters said his client seeks to recover the money through Goering's legal-malpractice insurance.
Elmer Gundrum never got any of the money he inherited from his sister Doris, the suit claims. At the time of her death in June 2000, much of her estate was in the form of stocks she owned in two Cincinnati companies, Broadwing and Convergys. The suit alleges that when the stock sold in 2002, its value had plummeted.
Goering is on vacation and could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Then-Hamilton County Probate Court Judge Wayne Wilke appointed Goering, who practices as a private attorney in addition to his work as treasurer, to oversee the estate. As a Kentucky resident, Elmer Gundrum was ineligible to oversee an Ohio estate.
The Gundrum estate was the first Goering had been appointed to administer.
In a deposition in the case, Goering said he had some experience with tax laws, but not estate tax.
When asked if the fees that could be made off the estate were one of the reasons why he accepted the case, Goering said: "Sure."
Goering billed the estate $75,000 a year for managing it.
Goering said he believed attorneys for the estate should have filed tax returns, not the administrator, which was his role.
Lawsuits against administrators, whether they are attorneys or family members, aren't uncommon, said Hamilton County Probate Court Judge James Cissell.
Deters said he'll ask probate court to set a trial date as soon as possible.
2004 DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION
Weiser: Are they chanting 'Jerry' or 'Kerry'?
Kerry portrayed as a hero
Text of Sen. Edward Kennedy's speech
Son of goat herder addresses Dems
Text of the keynote address by Barack Obama
Kucinich delegates weigh their choice
Even reruns beat politics
Gannett News Service convention coverage
Enquirer's election section
TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Languishing on the riverfront
Bengals lawsuit provokes outrage
Disabled man mistreated by E-check staff
Gay-rights supporters file for repeal
AllOut mag debuts Aug. 19
WLWT editor fired over insert
Van shooting victim in critical condition
Drug dealer to battle sentence
Drake halts TV ads paid by levy
UC targets potential lung cancer gene for treatment
Medicare to cut cancer docs' pay
Deters cleared, aides guilty
Lawsuit: Goering botched estate
Local news briefs
I-471 study to include new ramps at each end
School may test athletes for drug use
Nick sticks to home front
Creditors continue to file against Florence's baseball team
Claims alleging sex abuse rise to 19
Kids learn to manage their money at camp
Grieving mother urges speed limit
Smoking-ban trial set for bingo hall
CPS rethinks suspensions
Greeks give lessons
Neighbors news digest
GOOD THINGS HAPPENING
Summer charity helps children, elderly cool off
Arthur Church was Democratic activist, lawyer
Ralph Clark headed Cincinnati Bar Assn.