Retired Nebraska City attorney disbarred for misusing client trust funds

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court has disbarred Nebraska City attorney Richard Hoch for misusing client trust funds.

Hoch, 79, the husband of former University of Nebraska Regent Nancy Hoch, had already retired from active practice when Friday’s disbarment order came down, according to a receptionist at his former office. A message left for him was not returned Friday.

A year ago, the court’s Counsel for Discipline notified Hoch of an overdraft on a bank account used to hold funds that belong to his clients. In response, he acknowledged that he had misapplied the funds to pay for office expenses. He agreed to voluntarily surrender his law license.

The documents filed with the disbarment action did not list the amount of funds involved. But Hoch indicated to court officials that he had repaid the misappropriated funds.

Hoch obtained his license to practice law in 1964. During his career, he unsuccessfully represented landowners along the Missouri River who challenged laws allowing their land to be taxed in multiple states.

He also represented his wife in a 12-year legal battle with her political rival, Robert Prokop, whom she defeated in the 1983 race for regent. The dispute involved claims of libel, slander and malice leveled by both sides stemming from their campaigns for regent.

Nancy Hoch, who served as regent until 1994, is considered an institution in Nebraska City, where she spearheaded various economic development and tourism efforts. In 1984, she came within four percentage points of defeating U.S. Sen. J.J. Exon, the Democratic incumbent.

Richard Hoch could seek to have his license reinstated after five years.

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