Ex-state parole board boss blames Chicago lawyer for botching his bankruptcy, costing him state post

By Dan Churney | May 8, 2017

A former chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board is suing his onetime bankruptcy attorney for allegedly under-reporting his state salary and forging his signature on bankruptcy documents, which he said cost him his job with the board.

Adam Monreal lodged a suit May 3 in Cook County Circuit Court against lawyer Al-Haroon Bin Asad Husain and Husain’s law firm, Himont Law Group, of suburban Lincolnwood. Monreal’s two-count suit alleges Husain committed legal malpractice and unjust enrichment.

Monreal has worked as a Cook County assistant state’s attorney, an aide to the Chicago mayor for public safety and as head of the Illinois Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit. In 2010, then- Gov. Pat Quinn tapped Monreal to chair the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Among the board’s duties are overseeing the parole system and making recommendations to the governor on clemency petitions.

Monreal consulted with Husain in early 2011 about filing for bankruptcy. Monreal said he “trusted” Husain, because Husain had formerly been a municipal attorney for the city of Chicago. Monreal hired Husain, paid a flat fee and turned financial records over to him for use in preparing the bankruptcy filing.

According to Monreal, Husain did not properly review the records, but went ahead and filed bankruptcy papers for Monreal in May 2011 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Monreal alleged Husain did not go over the papers with him before filing them, and allegedly forged Monreal’s signature on the papers. Monreal’s bankruptcy case wrapped up in August 2011.

It later came to light Monreal’s bankruptcy filing listed a significantly lower state salary than he actually earned, forcing Monreal to resign from the prisoner review board in October 2015. Monreal blamed the inaccurate figure on Husain.

Monreal pointed out in his suit against Husain, that in summer 2015, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois “permanently suspended” Husain from practicing before that body. In suspending Husain, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jacqueline Cox found Husain “demonstrated habitual disregard for accuracy and truthfulness” in handling bankruptcies.

Upon learning of the discrepancies in his bankruptcy filing, Monreal said he tried to contact Husain in September 2015. In response, Husain allegedly sent Monreal a letter, stating, “our office mistakenly entered your salary” and “this was not fault of your own,” according to Monreal.

Husain then offered to go to court and amend Monreal’s bankruptcy case, even though Husain was barred from practicing in that court, according to Monreal. Around this time, Hussain also sent Monreal a $1,500 bill for his legal work.

Monreal said he hired another attorney to reopen and correct his bankruptcy case.

Husain has been licensed to practice law in Illinois since 2000. He has never been the subject of disciplinary proceedings by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which investigates complaints against Illinois lawyers.

Monreal, who remains a lawyer himself, is represented by the Chicago firm of Robertson Duric.

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Illinois Prisoner Review Board U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

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