Ring veteran allegedly served as an attorney during deposition

Back in his heyday, Leonard F. Inzitari of Amendola & Nesi in East Haven was known for some serious moves: the reverse flying body press, the pile driver and the flying clothesline.

He turned pro with the old World Wrestling Federation a few weeks after his 18th birthday in 1984 and was known by such stage names as Mario Mancini, Fracture Fansberg and the M&M Kid.

At some point, Inzitari, 44, decided the legal profession suited him. He also continued to wrestle.

As of last March, he was performing under the stage name Mario Mancini for Power and Glory Wrestling, a local circuit that sets up performances at community halls, school gymnasiums and empty warehouses in Connecticut.

Then last fall, his worlds collided in bizarre fashion.

"Truth is stranger than fiction," said Chief Disciplinary Counsel Mark Dubois.

LinkedIn Profile

Inzitari is not a licensed lawyer in Connecticut or any other state, though he is scheduled to sit for the bar exam in February. He serves in a paralegal-type role at Amendola & Nesi, a personal injury firm.

He landed on state officials’ radar last summer after the Connecticut Bar Examining Committee received his application to take the bar exam and a computer search revealed that Inzitari was listed as an attorney on his LinkedIn profile.

Dubois got involved and asked Inzitari about the profile, and Inzitari claimed to know nothing about the professional networking web site or how to create a profile.

Inzitari sent an e-mail to LinkedIn requesting the profile be removed, and Dubois closed the file, convinced the profile was a mistake.

But then in October, Inzitari appeared to depose the plaintiff in a motor vehicle injury case, Yogesh Kamdar v. Curtis Lollibridge. Inzitari claimed to be an attorney with Amendola & Nesi and participated in the deposition.

And when he introduced himself to opposing counsel Tracey Lane Russo, he said his name was Mario Mancini.

"At no time during my time with Mr. Mancini did he advise me that he was not admitted to practice in Connecticut," Tracey Lane Russo stated in an affidavit she drafted for grievance officials. "When either the court reporter or I referred to him as Attorney Mancini, he did not correct us."

After the deposition, Inzitari, still using the name Mario Mancini, freely spoke to Russo about his professional wrestling background and also told her that passing the bar had been "a nightmare," according to Russo, of DeFilippo & Russo in Shelton.

Mancini Unmasked

Inzitari’s true identity might’ve remained concealed, except that his boss and law firm partner Andrew M. Amendola referred to him as an "assistant" during a mediation session for the case on Dec. 20.

That piqued Russo’s interest: "I thought this was strange because most attorneys refer to attorneys in their office as associates," Russo’s affidavit stated.

When she questioned Amendola about this after the session, Amendola told her that Mario Mancini wasn’t licensed to practice law in Connecticut but that he saw nothing wrong with him attending the October deposition as an official representative of Amendola & Nesi; Amendola also told Russo that he didn’t think his assistant would ever refer to himself as an attorney.

Russo then researched online and confirmed that Mario Mancini was not licensed to practice law in the state. When she Googled his name, she discovered a wrestler profile listing his real name as Leonard Inzitari, and saw that he was the same person she met at the October deposition.

She withdrew an offer to settle the motor vehicle injury case, based on her findings, and sent her affidavit to grievance officials, referencing her "independent ethical obligation to report the unauthorized practice of law."

Dubois filed a complaint against Inzitari, asking the court to fine Inzitari and issue a permanent injunction against his alleged unauthorized practice of law.

Inzitari’s attorney, Stephen J. Conover of Sandak, Hennessey & Greco in Stamford, did not return a phone call asking for comments.

Meanwhile, a hearing on Dubois’ complaint is scheduled for Jan. 18. Dubois said he can’t ask the court to prohibit Inzitari from sitting for the bar exam next month.

"That is not our jurisdiction, but the bar examining committee may find [the case] interesting," Dubois said. "We will inform them of the outcome."

And that could be like a drop kick to the gut for Inzitari.

(Published by Connecticut Law Tribune - January 10, 2011)

latest top stories

subscribe |  contact us |  sponsors |  migalhas in portuguese |  migalhas latinoamérica