COURT CALLS DEVELOPER “A THREAT”
DERBY LINE – William (Bill) Simendinger, the developer and lawyer whose family owns Champlain Farms and who wanted to build a gas station and mini-mart in Derby Line, saw his license to practice law suspended last week. The Vermont Supreme Court suspended Simendinger’s license on an emergency basis pending an investigation. The disciplinary council for the Professional Responsibility Board petitioned the court for the interim suspension but an investigator for the board refused to comment on the particulars.Simendinger is accused of making false statements and making arguments that are not factual nor reasonably based on law, in part by entering 14 motions and signing his law partner’s name. According to court records, his partner did not draft nor sign the documents and did not represent Simendinger in the case. In August, Simendinger was the defendant in a New Hampshire case involving disorderly conduct. He entered a motion requesting a change of venue to Key West, Florida, and stated that all of the judges in the New Hampshire Justice System “are clinically insane,” court records state.In his divorce proceedings in Chittenden County, he alleged that after the Vermont state offices were wiped out in Waterbury following Tropical Storm Irene, “Mafia took over the Vermont Courts,” according to court records.In Vermont, where Simendinger was facing assault and disorderly conduct charges, he filed a motion to dismiss stating that the prosecution was violating his rights to “home, air, water and light.”In 2011, when Simendinger faced a violation of an abuse prevention order, again in Chittenden County, the court ordered a psychological evaluation and found that Simendinger was not competent to stand trial.In January of 2012, the order was modified and Simendinger was placed under the care of the Commissioner of Mental Health until late March 2012.“[T]he foregoing of defendant’s violations of the rules of professional conduct demonstrate a real and substantial threat of serious harm to the public were he to seek to represent clients,” Vermont Supreme Court justices wrote.Simendinger does not currently have clients other than those of his family business, court records state.Locally, Simendinger caused an uproar in the Village of Derby Line when he bought two large commercial buildings and wanted to tear them down and build a gas station and mini mart, almost directly across from another. He spent close to $1-million buying the two buildings under the name Main Street Place LLC.His plan was opposed by several local officials as well as residents, but supported by others who said he was free to do with this property as he chose.Many people complained about his manner, attitude, and his unwillingness to disclose his plans for a long time. Some said they did not want another gas station in the small village commercial district. Following complaints and concerns about the gas station, Simendinger said he would just tear down the building and create a grassy park and parking area.The plan to build in Derby Line seems to be dormant. After several appeals, the Environmental Court ruled that the buildings were not in accord with the Derby Town Bylaw. The future of the buildings remain unknown.