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Head of Rochester nonprofit disbarred in Iowa over accusations of theft

Head of Rochester nonprofit disbarred in Iowa over accusations of theft

The Iowa Supreme Court has revoked the law license of a former attorney who now serves as the head of a nonprofit organization in Rochester.

Brian Michael Green is accused of embezzling funds from his business partners between June 2012 and February 2013 while under contract with a Rochester prosthetic company. The court's attorney disciplinary board voted unanimously on Friday to strip Green of his license to practice law in Iowa.

Green now lives in Minnesota and serves as the executive director of St. James Coffee, a nonprofit coffee house in northwest Rochester. He also works as an independent business consultant. 

According to the court's ruling, Green agreed to start a company in early 2012 with two real estate developers, Troy Strawhecker and James Myers, who he rented office space from in West Des Moines. Prior to the arrangement, Green had provided legal services and consultation to Strawhecker and Myers.

The intent was to enter into a business relationship with GMS Inc., the parent of company of Prosthetic Laboratories of Rochester. Under the agreement, the three men would be partners in the company with Green acting as CEO. 

Green informed Strawhecker and Myers that he had created a new company in which the three would share equally in the business income and profits. But according to the ruling, Green never incorporated the company. Instead, he filed the paperwork for an entirely different business in which he and his wife were the sole members. Operating under the name Summit Quest Capital, LLC, Green in June 2012 entered into an exclusive management agreement with GMS.

For nearly one year, Green represented to Strawhecker and Myers that he was performing CEO duties on behalf of their non-existent company. In that time, he collected monthly payments of $27,500 from GMS. (The agreement between the three men was that their company would receive the $27,500 per month and Green would be compensated $12,000 per month as CEO. The remaining amounts would be equally divided between Strawhecker and Myers.)

Despite repeated requests from Strawhecker and Myers, Green refused to provide documentation regarding his work with GMS. Further, he "misappropriated all of the revenue under the fraudulent entity for himself, disbursing little or nothing to Strawhecker and Myers," the ruling states.

In that time, Green also asked Strawhecker's assistance in getting a residential lease in Rochester. According to the ruling, Green was unable to secure a lease on his own due to "poor credit." Green, however, never made his monthly payments, leaving Strawhecker on the hook for the money owed.

Then in February 2013, GMS informed Strawhecker and Myers that it was terminating the management agreement. The ruling states: "GMS alleged that Green violated multiple terms of the agreement, including but not limited to making false representations to GMS, violating policies under the agreement, and 'massive' wage and benefit misappropriations." Green, along with two former employees, were also subject to a lawsuit from company owners.

It was at that time when Strawhecker and Myers first learned that Green never created the business. They later filed a complaint with the State of Iowa. In response, Green wrote the board a letter in which he "generally denied" allegations, but agreed to give up his license in order to close the case.

"I no longer live in Iowa," wrote Green, who skipped multiple hearings to address the matter. "I haven’t practiced law in over four years and my license has been on inactive status for about three years. I have no desire to practice law now or in the future. As such, to save the State of Iowa, the Disciplinary Board and all of the parties’ time and resources (of which I don’t have any), I am willing to voluntarily give up my law license in perpetuity to resolve this matter."

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