“From the sounds of it, University of Akron instructor Thomas Watkins is somewhere between a swindler and a crook. As an attorney, Watkins reportedly charged an elderly client approximately $46,000 over a 20-month period, including $15,000 for opening the woman’s mail.””
From the sounds of it, University of Akron instructor Thomas Watkins is somewhere between a swindler and a crook.
As an attorney, Watkins reportedly charged an elderly client approximately $46,000 over a 20-month period, including $15,000 for opening the woman’s mail.
The Akron Bar Association found him guilty on four counts – some of the most damaging charges that can be brought against an attorney.
Before all this happened, Watkins was a great person to have teaching political science classes. He had experience on Stow’s city council and served four terms in the state legislature.
Now we are not so sure.
In fact, unless there is some redeeming revelation at Watkins’ hearing in front of the Supreme Court’s Board of Grievances and Discipline, UA should not invite him back to teach his two 400-level classes in the fall.
Academic freedom is an important tenet at universities. For the most part, what a faculty member wants to do in his spare time is his business.
Even an impropriety unrelated to the professor’s subject matter should be met with less ferocity than we are proposing for Watkins.
But Watkins’ alleged unethical behavior in his practice of the law is an awful influence on his students, many of whom plan to attend law school.
A similar situation presented itself two years ago.
When Margery Koosed, a UA law professor, visited death row inmate Richard Cooey, a roll of electrical tape and a sewing kit were reportedly discovered in her purse. The items were confiscated.
Cooey later attempted to escape from the prison. He was found with a sewing kit.
Here’s another kicker: the inmate, Cooey, was sentenced to death for raping and murdering two UA students in 1986.
Koosed still teaches at UA. That’s an embarrassment to the university.
While Watkins wasn’t trying to bust anyone out of prison, he might have taken a lot of money that didn’t belong to him.
The elderly woman’s family said the loss of money caused unneeded stress. She died in January 2006 at age 78.
It’s possible this is a huge accounting error on Watkins’ part. We doubt it.
If so, he’s not the most crooked attorney around, just the dumbest.