LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Koteles Alexander didn’t want to sign the Senate lobbying registration. Unemployed for nearly a decade, the disbarred Washington, D.C.-area lawyer was trying to quietly move into a new profession. But when he was hired to lobby Congress on behalf of a client, Alexander knew he had no choice but to come out of the shadows.
Once upon a time, Alexander was the charismatic leader of one of the nation’s largest minority-owned and -operated law firms. In its heyday, the Silver Spring, Md.-based firm known as Alexander, Bearden, Hairston & Marks had 37 lawyers and a client roster that included Riggs Bank, NationsBank, the D.C. Housing Finance Agency and Black Entertainment Television.
But the firm had serious financial problems and collapsed in 1997 amid allegations of fraud and misrepresentation. And by the time the firm filed for bankruptcy that spring, claiming to be $1.8 million in the hole, those problems had spiraled out of control. Alexander was arrested by Montgomery County, Md., police for allegedly assaulting a name partner.
He then vanished — secluding himself for years while his former partners, associates and clients were left to sort through the wreckage. Even then, problems mounted. In 2005, he was disbarred by the D.C. Court of Appeals for misappropriating $77,000 from a client.
It’s all left Alexander understandably gun-shy of any type of publicity, and he complains about the negative media attention he received at the height of his problems. But he realizes that unresolved issues from his past remain. Numerous financial judgments against Alexander and his former firm have yet to be paid — the latest one levied against the defunct firm in 2005 by Montgomery County for $25,000.
Still, those who knew Alexander were confident he would resurface.
Just this year, he was hired by former Rep. Carrie Meek, D-Fla., to help her run her Florida-based lobby shop, the Carrie Meek Group. Without a law license, Alexander is hoping to rebuild his career, this time as a lobbyist.
Alexander, 52, says the decision wasn’t easy, especially when it came to publicly registering to lobby Congress on transit issues for the Metro-Dade Transit Authority.
“I was reluctant to do it,” Alexander says from Miami, where he currently lives. “It was not my goal to do anything that would put me in a public light again.”