Here you go.
By Observer, July 2008
The wheels of justice turn slowly but they do turn surely and have finally caught up with Nuro Dedefo. On July 17, 2008, the indefinite suspension of his license to practice law in the state of MN was upheld by the Supreme Court of the State of Minnesota. A couple of days later, he was suspended from his position as head of the USA chapter of the Oromo Liberation front (OLF).
What is going on? How can a lawyer, a one-time community leader and a political activist – a public person by any measure - run afoul of the law so much so that he is slapped by two separate and independent suspensions in one month by no less authority than the supreme court of Minnesota and [the Asmara group of] OLF?
Four factors make Nuro Dedefo a public person, at least in the Oromo context, and therefore public scrutiny of his behavior a public interest.
First, he had served as chairman of the board of directors of Oromo community of MN - the largest in its kind the Diaspora – for many years. Second, he has served (incompetently, some would argue) the [the Asmara Group of] OLF - the largest and oldest of Oromo political organizations – in various capacities for many years. Thirdly, and most recently, he chaired the USA chapter of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF - the largest and most influential chapter of all [the Asmara Group of] OLF chapters – for the last two years. Fourthly, he has been practicing law in the state of MN since 2002 during which he represented many Oromo individuals including himself (incompetently, according to the supreme court of Mn) and has dragged many more through the court system on frivolous [lawsuits].
As a former community leader, a former [the Asmara Group of] OLF officer and a former practicing lawyer, Nuro Dedefo is as public a person as one can be in the Oromo Diaspora which justifies this public scrutiny of his behavior.
When a man of his stature runs afoul of the law to that degree, he drags in the mud the name of the community of which he was once the face; it reflects badly on the political organization in which he held various positions of authority and the law profession itself, reaching well beyond the confines of the Oromo Diaspora.
Nuro Dedefo has broken almost every rule in Lawyers’ professional conduct book.
From abusing his wife, to incompetent representation, to “knowingly offering false evidence”, to misappropriating client funds, to obstructing justice, to engaging in harassing and frivolous litigations – you name it, Nuro Dedefo has broken it.
After hearing and considering Nuro’s appeal of a referee decision [to suspend his license indefinitely], the supreme court of MN decided that:
“Clear and convincing evidence supports the referee’s conclusions that respondent [Nuro Dedefo] failed to provide competent representation of himself, filed a false affidavit, and obstructed an opposing party’s access to relevant evidence.
Indefinite suspension is appropriate when a respondent fails to maintain required trust account books and records, commingles personal and client funds, improperly disburses client trust funds, knowingly files a false affidavit, obstructs an opposing party’s access to relevant evidence, and engages in conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.” (Supreme Court of Minnesota, July 17, 2008)
In this time of political turmoil in the Oromo Diaspora, you may suspect that I am slandering him for political or other reasons. Absolutely NOT! I am only communicating to you the decisions of the Supreme Court of Minnesota; a body far removed from Oromo politics. Full text of the court’s decision can be found HERE. Another good reference on Nuro’s accomplishments as a lawyer can be found HERE .
Traditional virtues like trustworthiness, honesty and personal integrity are the hallmarks of the lawyer. These are professional obligations of those granted the privilege to practice law everywhere. Persons lacking such attributes are disgrace to any profession and even more so to the profession of law.
On July 19, 2008, as the chairman of the USA chapter of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF, Nuro Dedefo was slapped with a separate and unrelated suspension from the [the Asmara Group of] OLF for refusing to comply with organizational policies and working diligently to “spread anarchism” among members of the chapter. According to the suspension letter signed by Dr. Fido Ebba, Head of Foreign Affairs of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF, Nuro Dedefo and the committee of five he led committed a plethora of violations of [the Asmara Group of] OLF rules and regulations, including insubordination.
Among the eleven (11) points listed in that letter are,
- Refusing to implement recommendations of an investigative body composed of members of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF National Council and instituted by the [the Asmara Group of] OLF Executive Committee;
- Obstructing the organization’s Cadre training program in the USA;
- Refusing to report list of [the Asmara Group of] OLF members in the USA to the organization’s higher authorities;
- Refusing to work with a new sub-chapter organized in Philadelphia, PA, as a result of which the sub-chapter disbanded and its members dispersed;
- Failure to communicate to members and implement policies of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF with which Nuro and his group disagreed but other chapters of the organization communicated to their members and implemented without reservation;
- Refusing to recognize and work with two other sub-chapters formed in MPLS despite direct orders from the Foreign affairs department, the Executive Committee and the Rules and Regulations Monitoring Committee of the [the Asmara Group of] OLF;
- Licking confidential documents of the organization to the media; and many more violations ….
In other words, over the last two years, Nuro and his team engaged in repeated outright insubordination and hindering the organization’s work in the USA.
What is more concerning is that many around him are not surprised by these turn of events. Asked to comment on the issue, an [the Asmara Group of] OLF member in MPLS, Mn said, “I have known Nuro for the last six years. I wish I could say I am surprised or even shocked. The truth of the matter is, I am not. Sadly, Nuro has always considered himself the ultimate authority on rules and regulations of the organization and an infallible one at that. In his eyes, the rest of us are imbeciles when it comes to interpreting them. Some of us who questioned his actions have been given many disparaging labels by him and his group. I don’t know how he lasted this long in the law profession but I know he was able remain in and cause so much damage to the [the Asmara Group of] OLF because the organization is very lax at enforcing its rules and regulations.”
Two different systems of justice whose wheels turn at different speeds, arrived at Nuro Dedefo’s door steps in two days interval. They do grind slowly alright, but grind, they do.