- Associated Press - Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27—HUDSON — A Lenoir lawyer has been accused by the North Carolina State Bar of failing to follow all of its bookkeeping rules for handling clients’ funds and trust accounts.

The complaint the State Bar filed last week against Joe Delk III stems from a random audit done in January. It does not accuse Delk of using clients’ money for his own gain or violating the law.

Delk said Saturday that he and his staff thought they were following all the rules, but they learned they were not.

“We were clearly following the spirit but not doing as good a job following the letter,” he said.

The details of the bar’s complaint deal with technical requirements, such as where notations should be made on checks and ledgers and how often client accounts and trust accounts should be reconciled and balanced. Several of the violations listed involve allowing clients to pay Delk’s office using credit cards, which carries a processing fee that was not reflected on client records in a timely way.

The bar’s complaint said that Delk had similar violations when he was the subject of a random audit in 1993.

Delk said his office has made changes to comply with the bookkeeping rules, which he said are as detailed as they are to be sure unscrupulous lawyers could not use clients’ money for their own purposes.

“I have never had a State Bar complaint against me in my life, so this is a big deal to me,” he said.

Delk said he expects to reach a settlement with the State Bar and that his bookkeeping probably will be under heightened scrutiny by the bar for several months to be sure he corrects all of the problems.

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