Lawyer Who Filed Cutié Suit Suspended

Attorney for priest's "romantic rival" misused client funds: Florida Bar

By Willard Shepard and Brian Hamacher
|  Monday, Jun 7, 2010  |  Updated 1:19 PM EDT
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Ex's Wedding Gift to Mr. & Mrs. Cutie: Lawsuit

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Robin A Hellman and Alberto Cutie.

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The attorney who filed a lawsuit last year alleging Father Alberto Cutié and Biscayne Park Police conspired to have her client thrown in jail has been suspended from practicing law for allegedly misusing client funds.

Robin A. Hellman, former lawyer for Maxi Ratunuman, is prohibited from practicing law in Florida, according to court papers obtained by NBC Miami.

In an emergency suspension petition filed in the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar alleges that there is "clear, convincing and undeniable evidence" that Hellman had been misusing her clients' money.

"The Florida Bar seeks the emergency suspension of Respondent, Robin Ann Hellman, from the practice of law in Florida based on facts that establish clearly and convincingly that Respondent appears to be causing great public harm by the misappropriation and/or diversion of funds entrusted to her," the petition reads.

Hellman, a graduate of Nova Southeastern's Shephard Broad School of Law, was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1998.

Reached by phone, Hellman denied the accusation, saying it's "extremely circumstantial."

"I have never nor would I ever misappropriate funds," she said.

The Hollywood-based attorney created quite a storm of controversy last June when she filed a lawsuit against Cutié, the Biscayne Park PD and Cutié's then girlfriend and now wife Ruhama Canellis on behalf of Ratunuman.

Ratunuman claimed he and Canellis, who he says he was engaged to, were a happy couple until Cutié came along. Ratunuman said Cutié wanted him out of the picture, so much so that the priest and Canellis conspired to have him busted on trespassing charges and a charge of having an expired license to try to kick Ratunuman out of the country.

Cutié married Canellis days after the suit was filed, and was later dropped from the suit altogether.

Cutie said Ratunuman's claims were baseless from the start.

"He claims a love affair with my wife, which never existed," Cutie said. "If he secretly fell in love with her, he should say that. It is even more ridiculous to say he was 'engaged'; it appears that was only in his dreams."

The 41-year-old man of God was caught sinning against the Catholic church last April when he was photographed getting hot and heavy with Canellis on a South Florida beach at the same time he was supposed to be staying celibate.

Cutié stepped down as head of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Miami Beach in the wake of the scandal, leaving the Catholics for the Episcopalians.

Cutié was officially made an Episcopal priest this past weekend, where he conducted his first mass Sunday at Church of the Resurrection in Biscayne Park.

Ruhama Canellis, now Ruhama Cutié, is three months pregnant.

Ratunuman was later released from jail and went into hiding.

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