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Examiner
  • Porter Center attorney disbarred for mishandling funds

  • H. Kent Desselle, an Independence-based attorney who once controlled the Sam and Lindsey Porter Memorial Fund, has been disbarred by the Missouri State Supreme Court.

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  • H. Kent Desselle, an Independence-based attorney who once controlled the Sam and Lindsey Porter Memorial Fund, has been disbarred by the Missouri State Supreme Court.
    The ruling was handed down Friday after a disciplinary hearing panel found Desselle guilty of multiple violations including acts of misconduct, engaging in serious conflicts of interest with clients, failing to safekeep client property and misrepresenting facts to clients.
    Among the charges against Desselle was that he lost more than $500,000 belonging to a client.
    He also took $20,000 in donations from the Sam and Lindsey Porter Memorial Fund and invested it into his own company, New Century Investments.
    The Sam and Lindsey Porter Memorial Fund was started to raise money to build a playground next to Coldstone Cremery in memory of the two Independence children who were abducted and murdered by their father in 2004.
    Desselle returned that money to the fund last year and the playground was opened to the public last summer.
    Calls Wednesday seeking comment from Desselle were unsuccessful.
    Last year, the Secretary of State’s Office ordered Desselle to pay $575,000 to a widow who had invested money with Desselle.
    According to a consent order filed in connection with the case, Desselle lost more than $400,000 that the woman entrusted him to invest after her husband died in 1996.
    According to the order, Desselle, who was not registered to sell securities in Missouri, told the woman in 2007 that the value of the investments was more than $560,000, although the investment funds were lost between 1998 and 2000.
     The Missouri Supreme Court’s decision cancels Desselle’s license to practice law in Missouri and his name was stricken from the roll of attorneys in the state.
    He was also order to pay $2,000 to the court’s Advisory Committee Fund.
     

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