- Photo by Naim Hasan
A former attorney for Baruti Artharee says he wants his money.
Gregory L. Gudger—the lawyer who represented Artharee in a lengthy divorce beginning in January 2012— filed suit against the somewhat-controversial mayoral staffer in Multnomah County Circuit Court today, claiming he's still owed $34,335.
The complaint says Gudger's been asking for the money since February, and in April sent a "ten-day demand letter for payment" that's gone unheeded. Artharee paid Gudger $7,000 of his $250 per hour fee through March 2012, the document says, but hasn't sent along a dime since.
It's beginning to look like a pattern.
The suit marks the second time Artharee's been publicly accused of not paying his debts this week. A suit filed by a collection agency on Tuesday claims Artharee and his ex-wife have an outstanding Visa card balance of more than $4,400 that's sat unpaid since March 2012. The couple formerly shared ownership of a consulting firm, Artharee and Associates.
And, as we pointed out in June, Artharee recently had nearly $900 in unpaid parking tickets, some of which stretch back to 1998.
Artharee has not returned a message seeking comment. Gudger, reached shortly after 5 pm, didn't want to talk about the suit.
"Mr. Artharee and I are gonna sit down and talk over breakfast on Tuesday, and I don’t really want to discuss this until we’ve had this breakfast," Gudger said, adding he'd exchanged e-mails with Artharee earlier today. "I've known Mr. Artharee for a very long time."
Asked if the upcoming meeting might cause him to drop the litigation, Gudger declined comment.
Artharee was tapped in January to serve as Hales' public safety adviser. He's since also become the mayor's liaison to the housing bureau, a department with which Hales' relationship has shifted in past weeks.
But Artharee found himself in a sea of criticism in June, when he made suggestive comments about Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith during an event at the Quartet Restaurant. The comments (according to witnesses and reports, Artharee said something like: "Here's our beautiful commissioner, Loretta Smith. Mmm, mmm, mmm—she looks good tonight.") set off a minor scandal, causing Hales' office to launch an internal investigation. Artharee was ultimately suspended for one week.
He makes $85,000 a year and drives a Mercedes-Benz.