TRIPP, S.D. (KELO) — A well-known South Dakota attorney is being disciplined for his conduct in two cases. Scott Swier is facing public censure for conflicts of interest.
If Scott Swier’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he is Tripp’s City attorney and just last week he refused to let the town’s mayor do an interview with us over the finance officer’s embezzlement in our latest KELOLAND News Investigation.
Swier also represented Mid Central Educational Cooperative in the GEAR UP scandal and prior to that worked in the Attorney General’s office.
KELOLAND investigates has uncovered two complaints filed with the State Bar against the Avon attorney that both involved conflicts of interest
However in two separate cases, Swier has admitted to conflicts of interest.
One involved a contested will. A judge ordered Swier’s firm stop representing a woman, whose mother had died, because it was a conflict of interest due to the fact that her mother was a former Swier client.
Swier then billed the woman’s estate of $144,000 for legal fees.
In the second case, a Florida man hired Swier’s law firm to represent him against a real estate agent and the agent’s firm.
Swier had represented the real estate firm in the past, but initially failed to tell his associate handling the case it was a conflict. The associate suggested the client be refunded his retainer, but Swier insisted on keeping the $3500.
The State Bar Disciplinary Board says Swier was “not fully credible nor candid” during his testimony during two hearings on the matter.
The board found that Swier violated professional rules of conduct and failed to make sure the attorneys working for him followed the rules.
The board also disciplined two other attorneys in the Swier Law firm.
The board has recommended to the South Dakota Supreme Court that Swier be publicly censured.
If the Supreme Court agrees, Swier will have to post on his firm’s website that he has been disciplined.
The high court takes up the disciplinary action against Swier on January 15th in Pierre.
KELOLAND Investigates contacted Swier for comment on this story, but we have not heard back from him yet.