Legal Snarl Could Impact Fraternity Case; Lawyer of Group's Ex-President Isn't Licensed to Practice Law in Georgia

Article excerpt

Byline: Walter C. Jones

ATLANTA | Athens pastor Herman "Skip" Mason may have a legal snag in his suit against Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity beyond disagreement from the other side.

His lawyer is not a member of the Georgia Bar, a requirement for practicing law in the state.

Mason is suing to be reinstated as the fraternity's president for the remaining six months of his four-year term as the volunteer head of the nation's oldest black fraternity. The group's board replaced him at an April meeting in Las Vegas after he acknowledged to the membership that he had taken fraternity funds for his personal use. He had pledged to repay them in 60 days and, when he didn't, the board made his suspension permanent.

Mason's lawsuit contends that the fraternity board is harming his reputation.

To argue his case, Mason - accused of billing the fraternity for limousines, first-class airfare and luxury hotel suites - hired James L. Walker Jr., who his website describes as an entertainment lawyer.

At a hearing Tuesday in DeKalb County Superior Court, Walker told Judge Mathew Robins that he has not gotten around to getting a license to practice law in Georgia in the 10 months since he moved here. He is licensed in Connecticut.

Robins told him to proceed, and Walker argued Mason's case in the two-hour hearing with Georgia lawyer, Reginald Greene, by his side. On Friday, Robins will conclude the hearing and rule on the suit.

Walker did not return a call seeking comment. …


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