TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – The attorney who originally filed a rezoning request for the property that could soon become the home of a new Vigo County Jail has abruptly retired. The Indiana Roll of Attorneys indicates William Olah has retired. This means he gave up his license to practice law.
Olah’s retirement ends his law career at 41 years. He served 32 of those years at the Wilkinson, Goeller, Modesitt, Wilkinson & Drummy law firm, which is located at 333 Ohio Street in Terre Haute. In a letter dated June 13, 2019, Olah confirmed his retirement. He said his “old law firm” made accusations “of misappropriating law firm fee payments.” Olah denied the allegations and also claimed his now former law firm suggested he retain a criminal attorney. Olah also indicated any current clients need to find new legal counsel, and that they “are going to hear a lot of bad things” about Olah.
Meanwhile, Craig McKee, an attorney with Wilkinson, Goeller, Modesitt, Wilkinson & Drummy, sent News 10 a written statement regarding Olah. Dated June 18, 2019, the statement confirms Olah is no longer a partner at the firm. The statement claims Olah retired from Wilkinson law on April 30th, then “started his own law practice” without advance notice. It was after all of this the law firm said it learned Olah “engaged in serious financial misconduct” during his time as a law firm partner. The statement claims Olah diverted “a substantial amount of the firm’s fees to a company he controls.” McKee further states the law firm’s investigation turned up no evidence that Olah misappropriated client funds. The statement further reads when Olah admitted to some of his misconduct, the law firm demanded he give up his license to practice law.
That happened on June 11th. McKee confirmed to News 10 Wilkinson law notified the Indiana Disciplinary Commission of Olah’s alleged misconduct. McKee told News 10 only the commission can file charges. Olah’s retirement/resignation with the state bar “brings that matter to a conclusion,” meaning the commission will take no further action because Olah is no longer an attorney. McKee stressed the matter never reached the stage of a formal complaint. The law firm met with representatives of the commission, and then, in turn, demanded Olah surrender his law license. McKee denies the law firm recommended Olah retain criminal legal counsel. In fact, he says the firm is in no position to give Olah legal advice.
When asked about Olah’s former clients during his time at Wilkinson law, McKee said the firm is reaching out those former clients in order to offer the firm’s legal services. Steve Schrohe of Culp Ventures told News 10 he’s been in discussion with Wilkinson law to find a new lawyer to take over his company’s rezoning request.
That request asks for part of the former Stu’s Golf Course property to be rezoned to a “Penitentiaries” zoning classification. Culp Ventures has an agreement in principle to sell a portion of that land to Vigo County. The county commissioners voted 2 to 1 to locate a new jail on this property.
Jared Bayler, the executive director of Vigo County Area Planning, confirmed this rezoning request is scheduled to go before the Area Planning Commission in its July 3rd meeting. Bayler also told News 10 Olah’s retirement leaves them with no contact for the rezoning request. Should questions arise, Bayler says his office, as of now, has no one to contact to get answers. Bayler says Culp Ventures must notify his office in writing of any changes made as to who will represent them in this matter.
As of June 18th, this rezoning request is not on any city council meeting agenda. However, City Clerk Michelle Edwards has both the rezoning request and a proposed amendment.
Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt told News 10 Olah’s he was previously unware of Olah’s retirement and the accusations made against him.
So far, Olah has not returned a call left to his office.