Notice: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the Atlantic and
Maryland Reporters. Users are requested to notify the Clerk of the Court of any formal
errors so that corrections may be made before the bound volumes go to press.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA COURT OF APPEALS
IN RE G ENE P. B ELARDI, R ESPONDENT.
A Member of the Bar
of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals
(Bar Registration No. 218446)
On Report and Recommendation
of the Board on Professional Responsibility
(Decided January 26, 2006)
Before R UIZ and R EID, Associate Judges, and N EBEKER, Senior Judge.
P ER C URIAM: This original disciplinary matter involves a recommendation for a oneyear suspension from the practice of law without a fitness requirement. The Board also
recommends that a 2003 reciprocal disciplinary referral, based upon the revocation of
respondent’s Virginia license to practice law, be dismissed.
On November 20, 2000, respondent, Gene Belardi, entered a guilty plea in the United
States District Court for the District of Columbia to three counts of making false statements
to a government agency.1 Respondent reported his convictions to this court and he was
Respondent pled guilty to making false statements to the Federal Communications
suspended on an interim basis on March 8, 2001, pursuant to D.C. Bar R. XI, § 11 (d). The
court also referred the matter to the Board on Professional Responsibility (“Board”) and
directed it to institute a formal proceeding to determine the final discipline to be imposed,
and specifically to review the elements of the offense for the purpose of determining whether
or not the crime involved moral turpitude within the meaning of D.C. Code § 11-2503 (a)
In its initial report and recommendation submitted on May 24, 2001, the Board
concluded that the crimes did not constitute moral turpitude per se. Thereafter, the case was
referred to Hearing Committee Number Five to determine whether the offense involved
moral turpitude on the facts. The hearing committee concluded, in a report dated April 15,
2003, subsequently adopted by the Board, that the crimes did not involve moral turpitude.
As a result, the Board recommended to the court in its report dated July 30, 2004, that
respondent be suspended for one year, but it elected not to impose a fitness requirement as
a condition to reinstatement. Although Bar Counsel initially filed exceptions, they have been
withdrawn, and Bar Counsel presently takes no exception to the Board’s Report and
Commission concerning the construction of paging transmitters in order to maintain
construction permits for the transmitters. The Court sentenced respondent to a five-year term
of probation and imposed a fine of $15,000.00.
Considering the heightened deference this court gives to the Board’s recommendation
in cases such as this where no exceptions are filed, see D.C. Bar R. XI, § 9 (g)(2); In re
Delaney, 697 A.2d 1212, 1214 (D.C. 1997), we adopt the Board’s recommendation. See In
re Bowser, 771 A.2d 1002, 1003-04 (D.C. 2001) (imposing one year suspension without a
fitness requirement for making false statements to the Immigration and Naturalization
Service in connection with respondent’s representation of a client applying to become a
naturalized citizen); In re Cerroni, 683 A.2d 151, 52 (D.C. 1996) (imposing a one year
suspension without a fitness requirement for making a false statement to the United States
Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Housing Administration
in connection with a real estate transaction.); In re Cater, 03-BG-624, slip op. at 38 (D.C.
November 23, 2005) (requiring “clear and convincing evidence that casts a serious doubt
upon the attorney’s continuing fitness to practice law” for imposition of a showing of
fitness). Furthermore, upon the recommendation of the Board, respondent’s reciprocal
disciplinary referral is dismissed. See In re Perrin, 663 A.2d 517, 523 (D.C. 1995).
Therefore, it is
ORDERED that Gene P. Belardi is suspended from the practice of law in the District
of Columbia for the period of one year. For the purpose of reinstatement, respondent’s
suspension shall not begin until he complies with the affidavit requirements of D.C. Bar R.
XI, § 14 (g).2 It is
FURTHER ORDERED that the 2003 reciprocal disciplinary referral is dismissed.
The Board recommended that the period of suspension run nunc pro tunc from
February 22, 2002, the date respondent substantially complied with D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14 (g),
provided that respondent filed a notarized copy of the affidavit within 30 days from the date
of the order, or by August 29, 2004. Respondent failed to comply with the Board’s order.
The period of suspension shall be prospective, unless within 30 days from the date of this
opinion, respondent files a notarized affidavit with this court. See D.C. Bar R. XI, § 14
(g)(1)(2) & (3). In the event respondent complies, the suspension shall run nunc pro tunc
from February 22, 2002.