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Local News / Politics

Friday, 25 September, 2009 12:07 PM

EXCLUSIVE: Has Detroit Charter Commission Candidate Olumba John Olumba been giving free legal advice without a law license?

Photo credit: olumba4hope.wordpress.com

Olumba John Olumba stands in front of a bookshelf of law books.

Photo credit: olumba4hope.wordpress.com

Olumba John Olumba sits in a law library.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- Olumba John Olumba is one of the candidates who is running to rewrite Detroit’s city charter. He will be on the ballot in the Nov. 3 general election. AmericaJR.com received a news tip stating that Olumba is not a practicing attorney in Michigan and that people should not pay him for legal services.

"Just letting everyone know that John Olumba is not an attorney," said Carol McIntosh, a Detroit resident. "He represents himself as an attorney. Do not pay him for legal advice or representation."

Also, we have yet to find any jurisdiction where he is an attorney, although he did graduate from law school. But that does not necessarily mean he is an attorney. One has to pass a Bar Exam and be admitted to a State Bar after a background check.

We first interviewed Olumba on Aug. 25 at a public hearing offered by Mayor Bing to cut bus services inside the new Rosa Parks Transit Center in Detroit.

We did some thorough investigating. According to the Michigan State Bar, Olumba John Olumba is not a member of the state bar. Meanwhile, he has been offering legal advice on a “pro bono” basis to several non-profit organizations such as the Inner City Subcenter in Detroit.

In a recent phone conversation, Olumba revealed that he recently moved from Illinois a year and a half ago. Olumba also indicated that he is a member of the Illinois State Bar and that he’s taken some cases that have landed in a courtroom in Chicago.

However, after placing a call to the Illinois State Bar, we found out that Olumba has never been a member of the Illinois State Bar or the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disclipinary Commission (IARDC). In the state of Illinois, one must be a member of the IARDC directory. Requirements include the payment of the fee, a letter of good standing, mandatory reporting of malpractice insurance, pro bono service and contributions and trust accounts.

How could he take cases and represent clients in Chicago without a license?

Olumba told us to visit his website to find more information about his history and background. It also lacked details about the state bar. Olumba’s campaign literature features a picture of him, dressed in a business suit with law books on a shelf behind him. It gives the average person the impression that Olumba is a lawyer; however, he is not a member of the Michigan or Illinois bar.

I tried to get to the bottom of it, but he hung on up me three times in one day! If he is a member of a state bar somewhere, it sure is not Michigan!

When Olumba was asked why he is not a member of the Michigan State Bar, he said he couldn’t afford the cost of membership. The price of joining the Michigan State Bar is $315 a year, according to a local attorney.

Olumba ran as a Democrat for the 5th district seat in the Michigan House of Representatives on Aug. 5, 2008. He received 587 votes but lost the race to incumbent Bert Johnson.

Olumba ran for the Detroit Charter Commission in the primary election on Aug. 4, 2009. He received 9,358 votes, which was a little over 2 percent of the total. Olumba received just enough votes to secure the eighth and final position on the ballot for the Nov. 3rd general election.

Olumba graduated from the University of Michigan with a B. A. in Economics and a B. A. in Political Science. He received a Juris Doctor law degree from Northern Illinois University Law School in 2007.

The Detroit Charter Commission will rewrite the city charter and determine how the city council should be set up. The commission could decide to change the number of council members or change how the council members are selected, whether at-large or by district. Changes could go into effect in the 2013 election cycle.

Olumba is scheduled to participate in a web chat on the Detroit Free Press website on Oct. 8 at 12:30 p.m.

Visit Olumba John’s Olumba’s official website at http://olumba4hope.wordpress.com/ .

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

AmericaJR.com's Garrett Godwin interviews Olumba John Olumba at a public hearing about cutting bus services in Detroit.

 

 

 

 

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Copyright © 2009 AmericaJR.com. All Rights Reserved.
Unauthorized duplication or use of Text, Site Template, Graphics and or Site Design is Prohibited by Federal and International laws. See our Notice/Disclaimer and Privacy Policy.

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