I’ve posted before about unscrupulous mediators. Here’s another one from the Arizona Republic:
A man who impersonated an attorney was convicted of 23 counts of theft and one count of fraud Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Gary Karpin, 57, was then taken into custody pending a sentencing hearing.
Karpin specialized in divorce cases, technically as a mediator and legal-document preparer, but he presented himself as an attorney.
In fact, though he had been a prosecutor and defense attorney in Vermont, he was disbarred in that state in 1993 and was later disbarred in Maine as well. He was not a member of the State Bar of Arizona, though he set up his office in Phoenix, which he called Divorce with Dignity, in 1996.
“We all thought he was a lawyer,” said Bill Ludlow, who had hired Karpin to help him and his wife through a divorce.
But when Ludlow realized that Karpin was dating his wife during the time he was helping them divorce, he started doing research and learned that Karpin had been disbarred. He filed a civil lawsuit against Karpin.
Then, Ludlow claimed, Karpin harassed him, filing frivolous lawsuits against him and calling his employer.
You can read the article for more details. Like any other profession, mediators are largely hard working, trustworthy and competent but there are a few bad apples. Like any good consumer, someone looking for a mediator should check out the background of their mediator.
Also, be cautious about having the mediator prepare anything more than your Memorandum of Understanding. You should always use review attorneys and you should have one of the review attorneys prepare your property settlement agreement along with the court filings. It may cost slightly more, but it protects you against problems down the road. It can also bring an unscrupulous mediator to light much more quickly.