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Referee: Portage attorney should pay full costs of disciplinary proceeding

A referee is recommending that a Portage attorney who admitted to five counts of misconduct should pay the full costs of his disciplinary proceeding.

Steven Sarbacker reached a stipulation with the Office of Lawyer Regulation in March, agreeing that he had committed all five counts of misconduct that regulators had charged him with last year. The misconduct included failing to turn over money owed to a client from the garnishment of a third party’s wages, and punching and pointing a shotgun at a man – allegations that led to three criminal-misdemeanor charges.

However, Sarbacker disputed the OLR’s request that his law license be suspended for 60 days. Rather, Sarbacker contended his behavior warranted a public reprimand.

The referee in the case, James Boll, disagreed with Sarbacker in a report filed on May 25 and found the 60-day suspension was appropriate.

The OLR submitted a statement of costs in June, requesting that the referee recommend that Sarbacker pay the full cost of the proceeding, which was $1,375.83. Sarbacker did not challenge the OLR’s statement.

In a document filed on July 11, Boll agreed with the OLR, writing that he found the amount reasonable and necessary for the investigation and prosecution of the matter.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court will review Boll’s recommendations and issue a final disciplinary order.

This is not the first time Sarbacker, who graduated from University of Wisconsin Law School in 1995, has had a run-in with the OLR. The high court has privately reprimanded him twice, once in 2013 for a misdemeanor drunken-driving conviction and again last year for failing to follow a court order.

About Erika Strebel, [email protected]

Erika Strebel is the law beat reporter for the Wisconsin Law Journal and a law school student at UW-Madison. She can be reached at 414-225-1825.

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