State Bar Disciplinary Board recommending disbarment for Rockdale Commissioner Sherri Washington
ATLANTA - A FOX 5 I-Team Investigation has found a number of people have filed State Bar complaints against a local County Commissioner claiming they hired her as their lawyer, but she did no work on their cases.
The State Bar Disciplinary Review Board has recommended that Rockdale County Commissioner Sherri Washington be disbarred.
"I'm real mad. I'm furious mad. I want my money," Tracy Belcher said.
Belcher says she has good reason to be angry. In 2018 her parents, both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, began wandering their neighborhood.
"They were walking up and down the street around people's houses. They didn't know no better," said Belcher.
Home health care workers filed a report with the Newton County Sheriff's office saying the couple had "dementia and were not fit to be left alone."
So, Tracy Belcher hired Sherri Washington, a lawyer who had successfully helped her on a previous legal matter to help her get guardianship of her parents.
Her lawyer is also Rockdale County Commissioner Sherri Washington. Belcher said she paid Washington $3000 to file a petition.
Reporter: "What did you get for the $3,000?"
Belcher: "I got nothing. Nothing. She didn't answer no phone calls. And, no nothing,"
Belcher filed a bar complaint saying Washington "did not do anything." She also sued Sherri Washington's law firm and when the case came to court, Washington "failed to appear" according to court records. A judge awarded Tracy $3,096.
It was August 2021. To date, she says she hasn't seen a penny.
"We don't have no money. And she's still sitting on the commission board getting paid, and we're out here suffering. I'm not understanding," said Belcher.
Reporter: "What do you say to Tracy Belcher?"
Commissioner Washington: "I wish her well."
The I-Team investigation found Tracy Belcher is far from alone.
"I was totally shocked at the case file. The size of it the detail of it, I had no idea," Dashawn Mayweather said when we showed her the State Bar Disciplinary investigation of Sherri Washington.
In 2017, Mayweather hired Sherri Washington to handle her divorce. She said she had a strong case. "Adultery" her "husband had fathered a child" with his girlfriend and "had taken nude photos and videos of Mayweather without her knowledge" according to the state bar investigation.
There was one big problem. When the case came to trial. Attorney Sherri Washington didn't tell her client and didn’t show up in court – not once but twice.
Mayweather didn't know about the missed trial dates until she looked the case up at the courthouse.
Mayweather discovered her attorney "did not appear" for trial. The Judge denied Dashawn any "spousal support" or any of her husband's "retirement, savings" and ordered her to pay his attorney fees- $5000.
Reporter: "What was your reaction?"
Mayweather: "I cried. I was in Fulton County courthouse and I cried. It was very hard to believe it was an open and shut case."
Mayweather ultimately sued Sherri Washington and won a judgment for $48,000 plus interest. To get paid, she had to garnish Washington's county commission salary.
FOX 5 tried to talk to Commissioner Washington, but she wouldn't respond to our questions.
In the bar complaint file, Washington’s lawyer argued she missed those trial dates because she didn’t receive "emails through the court system and due to administrative staffing difficulties."
Mayweather wasn't done. She filed a State Bar of Georgia compliant against Sherri Washington.
The I-Team examined all 286 pages and found two more of Washington’s clients filed bar complaints. The bar found Washington "did nothing" in one case and "took no action" in the other.
In the case file, Commissioner Washington said she "did not have any record" of the client paying her for legal work l work ,and in the other case she claimed she had a "serious car accident" and "sustained a concussion that caused her failure to communicate."
But that's not all. The court file shows the State disciplined Washington 5 different times dating back to 2011.
"I want to say I’m furious. I’m just, it's hurtful to think about the other people that that’s going through this and I mean, I had no idea that there were others. …I mean my heart goes out to them," said Mayweather.
After an exhaustive investigation a State Bar Disciplinary Review Board found Commissioner Washington "failed to take any action to protect the interests of her clients" failed "to appear in court" and failed to "refund fees which were not earned."
The recommendation: disbarment.
Sherri Washington refused to talk about the cases. So, Dashawn Mayweather and Tracy Belcher, gave the closing arguments.
"Why should she get to sit on a commission board and get a salary and not pay the people she took from," said Washington.
Reporter: "What’s the worst part of all of it?"
Mayweather: "Having to relive it and seeing business going on as usual as if it never happened."
The Supreme Court is expected rule soon.