A complaint for foreclosure against a former Highland County Common Pleas Court judge permanently disbarred in 2008 has been filed by an attorney who represented him during legal proceedings over a decade ago.

The 159-page complaint was filed Sept. 13 in Highland County Common Pleas Court (https://www.hccpc.org/) by attorney John D. Smith against former judge Jeffrey J. Hoskins and property owners, both known and unknown, of a total of 20 parcels. Also named as defendants are several banks and mortgage companies, as well as Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley.

Thomas J. Manning of Manning Law Firm is representing Smith in this case.

The complaint includes a count of “action on promissory note;” a count of “foreclosure of mortgage;” a count of “breach of contract/bad faith;” and a count of “unjust enrichment.”

Smith is seeking a finding of default on a $100,000 promissory note, plus interest, attorney fees and court costs; foreclosure on named properties; damages; and other relief.

According to the first count, it is alleged that Hoskins “executed and delivered” a $100,000 promissory note, at the rate of 10 percent per annum, to Smith on or about Aug. 27, 2007.

An exhibit filed shows that Hoskins and his wife “jointly and severally agreed to pay John D. Smith … the principal sum of $100,000.” The note was to “carry interest at the same rate as is carried on the account balance at the office of John D. Smith Co., LPA, which note is secured by a mortgage executed contemporaneous herewith.”

Smith alleges that Hoskins “has failed to pay as demanded” and “is in default of the note for failure to make any payments of principal or interest.”

“The entire balance is now due and owing,” the complaint alleges.

For this count, Smith is seeking “a finding of default” on the promissory note “in the principal sum of $100,000, plus additional accrued and accruing paid interest, plus attorney fees and the costs of this action incurred for enforcement of the note, except to the extent the payment is prohibited by Ohio law.”

In the foreclosure of mortgage count, Smith alleges that Hoskins and his wife delivered to him a mortgage “in order to secure the amounts owed.”

“The mortgage has become absolute and the conditions therein have been broken, as defendant, J. Hoskins, has failed to adhere to the terms of the note that is secured by the mortgage,” the complaint alleges.

Over 30 other known and unknown defendants “may claim an interest by virtue” of either deeds, mortgages or unpaid taxes, the complaint says, and “must come forward and assert their interest in the properties or be barred from any claim thereof.”

According to the Highland County Auditor’s site, Hoskins currently owns three of the named parcels. Most of the other 17 parcels were sold by Hoskins in 2006, with several of the parcels changing owners more than once in the past 16 years.

Smith is seeking “a finding the mortgage is a valid lien upon the properties, and that upon failure of J. Hoskins and M. Hoskins to pay the judgment within five days after the granting thereof, an Order shall issue to the Sheriff of Highland County to appraise, advertise and sell the properties as upon execution.”

In the complaint, Smith also asks for “all defendants [to] be required to assert and establish their interest, if any, in and to the properties or to be forever barred from claiming any interest in the properties.”

It is his request that “all liens shall be marshaled and the properties sold free and clear of all liens, claims and interests,” with proceeds going “first to the costs of this action; then to the Treasurer of Highland County; and then to [Smith]; and then the defendants in the order of their priority to the extent that said defendants establish an interest in the properties.”

The third count in the complaint alleges that Smith “fulfilled all of his obligations and duties under” a contract between himself and Hoskins, but that “Hoskins has failed to fulfill all of his obligations and duties … and has done so in bad faith.”

“As a direct and proximate result of Hoskins’ breach of the contract and bad faith, which is ongoing, Plaintiff has incurred damages in an amount to be determined,” the complaint alleges.

The fourth and final count alleges that Hoskins has “been unjustly enriched as a direct and proximately result of his conduct” — allegedly “denying” Smith “proceeds to which he is legally entitled.”

For the last two counts, Smith is seeking compensatory damages “in an amount exceeding $25,000.”

Smith is also asking for a “finding that a constructive trust exists for the benefit of [Smith]; an award of prejudgment interest, post-judgment interest, costs and reasonable attorney fees; [and] other and further relief to which he may be entitled.”

The foreclosure complaint comes over 15 years after Smith represented Hoskins in a criminal case and in Ohio Supreme Court disciplinary proceedings.

In March 2006, then-Highland County Common Pleas judge Hoskins was indicted by a Highland County grand jury on 16 felony and misdemeanor counts, including money laundering, theft, falsification and tampering with evidence.

With Smith as defense attorney, Hoskins was eventually acquitted of all charges, following a jury trial held in Madison County in August 2007.

Smith was also one of Hoskins’ legal representatives for Supreme Court disciplinary proceedings, with the Ohio Supreme Court ruling in July 2008 that Hoskins should be permanently disbarred.