The Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has dismissed a complaint filed by Commissioner Sandie Egley against former county solicitor Joseph Askar.
Egley filed the complaint against Askar in September 2017, asking the board to investigate if he had violated any rules of professional conduct as an attorney surrounding the county’s sale of the Friendship Ridge nursing home.
The Beaver Countian published an investigative report in June 2017 first revealing that Askar had been working as an attorney for Comprehensive Healthcare Management Services — the corporation which acquired the county nursing home — after the sale had been finalized but while still working as chief county solicitor (BeaverCountian.com continues to stand by its reporting in the piece.)
Askar acknowledged at the time his work for Comprehensive, and that the Board of Commissioners were unaware he had been retained by them. Askar also insisted he in no way violated professional standards for attorneys established by the state.
In his work for Comprehensive, Askar had sought to collect over $1 million from the state for healthcare services provided to patients when Friendship Ridge was county owned, but for unknown reasons the county had never billed for.
“I was retained on a contingency fee basis,” Askar told BeaverCountian.com in 2017. “If I could collect the monies from the state, I could get a piece […] I was provided by [Comprehensive] with the names and dates of the patients.”
It is unclear what specifically Egley outlined in her complaint. Complaints to the Disciplinary Board are confidential and not subject to Right-to-Know requests, as are the agency’s determinations in cases which do not lead to disciplinary action.