On Sunday, May 21, 2023, the Supreme Court of New Jersey reprimanded attorney Joseph John Asterita for his conflict of interest while representing clients.

The case is entitled “In the Matter of Joseph John Asterita,” with case no. 087487.

The charges cited New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct 1.7(a)(1) and 1.8(a) which states:

Concurrent conflict of interest.

Improper business transactions.

Imputed conflict of interest.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.

The legal matter originated from the claim that the respondent while fulfilling his duties as a representative for a client, was involved in a supposed conflict of interest. This conflict of interest suggests that the respondent’s personal or financial interests may have influenced his actions or decisions, potentially compromising the integrity and fairness of his representation. Specifically, the respondent represented certain individuals and several business entities in which the former, either through himself, individually, or through
his wife held ownership interests.

The Decision states:

“In 2006, Cameron alleged that the relationship between AAA NY, AAA NJ, and B&A became “intertwined.” Specifically, in that year, AAA NY and AAA NJ began operating in the same building as B&A’s Staten Island law office. Additionally, the respondent and Bonfiglio provided legal advice to AAA NY and AAA NJ and represented the companies in litigation. Although Bonfiglio had no ownership interest in AAA NJ, Cameron claimed, in his grievance to the OAE, that Bonfiglio asserted “unfettered control and management over” that business. B&A received no legal fees for its services to AAA NY and AAA NJ, however, B&A benefited by performing real estate closings for the companies.”

The Decision continues:

“Additionally, Cameron and Bonfiglio suggested that the respondent join the business venture by obtaining mortgage brokerage and banking licenses for CMG and, in exchange for holding those licenses, Bonfiglio promised the respondent that he would receive a ten-percent ownership interest in CMG. Respondent, who, in his brief to us, described the business arrangement as an unwritten, “handshake deal,” agreed to Cameron and Bonfiglio’s suggestion and, under Bonfiglio’s supervision, obtained the necessary brokerage and banking licenses and prepared the corporate documents to form CMG.”

The Decision further states:

“In May 2010, following a decline in the real estate market, CMG formally ceased operations. Although Cameron had invested a total of $290,905.22 in CMG, he received no return on his investment. During CMG’s six years of operation, respondent and Bonfiglio failed to advise Cameron of the desirability of consulting with independent counsel to review their business arrangement. Moreover, despite the respondent and Bonfiglio’s ongoing attorney-client relationship with Cameron, they failed to secure from Cameron a written waiver acknowledging a conflict of interest in their business arrangement, given the respondent and Bonfiglio’s significant involvement and stake in CMG’s financial affairs, and waiving Cameron’s right to consult with independent counsel before commencing their business arrangement.”

Based upon the respondent’s admission of violations and the charges cited above, the court decided to reprimand the respondent.

The Disposition states:

“It is ORDERED that Joseph John Asterita is hereby reprimanded, and it is further ORDERED that the entire record of this matter be made a permanent part of the respondent’s file as an attorney at law of this State; and it is further ORDERED that respondent reimburse the Disciplinary Oversight Committee for appropriate administrative costs and actual expenses incurred in the prosecution of this matter, as provided in Rule 1:20-1.”

Mr. Asterita practices in Red Bank, New Jersey. He is licensed in New Jersey. His info can be found on lawyersfindlaw.com.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.