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Official Suspended from Practicing Law by State Supreme Court

December 16, 1985

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) _ The federal representative on the Delaware River Basin Commission has been suspended from practicing law in Pennsylvania on allegations of lying to clients and misusing their funds.

The law license of George J. Kanuck, a former state representative, was suspended Dec. 6 by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. It was an emergency suspension pending a full hearing on disbarment, said Alan Davis, an attorney with the court’s office of disciplinary counsel.

The suspension came in response to a petition from the office, which said ″continued practice of law by Kanuck is causing immediate and substantial public or private harm.″

The petition accused Kanuck of eight instances in the past three years of making personal use of clients’ money, lying to clients or neglecting to pursue their cases.

Lehigh County District Attorney William Platt said he was reviewing the allegations to decide whether to file charges.

Kanuck called the the order ″incredible″ and said he never had a hearing by the court or the disciplinary office.

″I don’t know the full nature of the charges,″ he said. ″I feel it’s grossly unfair to take away someone’s livelihood without giving him a hearing.″

Kanuck, 42, was appointed to the Delaware River Basin Commission by President Reagan in May 1982 at an annual salary of $60,000. The commission oversees water use in the river basin, which includes portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware. It has a representative from each of those states plus one federal representative.

Dawes Thompson, a spokesman for the commission, said he didn’t know how Kanuck’s suspension will affect his status on the panel. ″He doesn’t function as an attorney for us,″ Thompson said.

Kanuck was a Republican member of the state House of Representatives from 1978 to 1982 and the unsuccessful GOP candidate for mayor of Bethlehem in 1981.

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