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In re Best

Supreme Court of Montana

March 26, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF GEORGE B. BEST, A Resigned Attorney, Respondent.

          GEORGE B. BEST P.O. Respondent, Pro Se

          CONDITIONAL ADMISSION AND AFFIDAVIT OF CONSENT

         STATE OF MONTANA)

         COUNTY OF FLATHEAD)

         : ss.

         I, George B. Best, being first duly sworn upon oath deposes and affirms as follows.

         1. I am the Respondent. I tender my conditional admission and make this affidavit of consent pursuant to Rule 26, Montana Rules for Lawyer Disciplinary Enforcement (2018), in exchange for the stated forms of discipline.

         2. I was an active lawyer at the time the formal complaint and amended formal complaint were filed against me, alleging ethical misconduct. I am informed and aware of the allegations against me and understand that, if those allegations are proved by clear and convincing evidence, there exist grounds for discipline against me.

         3. I present this affidavit of consent and my tendered admission to an Adjudicatory Panel of the Commission on Practice in exchange for the forms of discipline described below. If the Commission on Practice approves my tendered admission, I acknowledge my tendered admission is subject to acceptance or rejection by the Montana Supreme Court. If my conditional admission is rejected by either the Commission on Practice or the Supreme Court, then I understand my admission shall be deemed withdrawn and cannot be used against me in this or any subsequent proceeding.

         4. My consent to discipline is freely and voluntarily tendered. I am not subject to coercion or duress of any kind. I am fully aware of the implications of submitting my conditional admission and affidavit of consent.

         5. I admit to the following facts relevant to ODC's Complaint and Amended Complaint:

a. I was admitted to practice law in Montana in 1974, 1 voluntarily moved from "Active" to "Resigned" status effective June 1, 2018.
b. In 2001, Donald Abbey ("Abbey"), a real estate developer from Southern California, purchased Shelter Island on Flathead Lake to build a personal residence. Mr. Abbey bought the island through Abbey/Land, LLC ("Abbey/Land"), a corporation wholly owned by him. After disputes arose with the original general contractor, Abbey formed GCP to act as general contractor; he was the sole owner of GCP. Both Abbey/Land and GCP are Montana LLCs.
c. GCP entered a $1.4 million contract with Interstate Mechanical, Inc. ("IMF') for the design and installation of the plumbing and heating-cooling system (HVAC) for the house. Subsequent change orders increased the value of that contract by approximately $1 million. The General Contract included a mandatory arbitration clause (¶3.4), which limited the prevailing party's recovery by excluding consequential, punitive or other damages beyond the prevailing party's actual damages. In 2009, disputes arose between IMI and GCP and other sub-contractors and insurers.
d. Prior to my involvement, and as a result of these disputes, multiple lawsuits were initiated in state and federal courts between 2009 and 2011, and arbitration ...

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