Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Former NHC chair Julia Olson-Boseman disbarred, criminal investigation still ongoing

Julia-Olson Boseman has surrendered her law license and can no longer practice in North Carolina. (Port City Daily/File)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — A former Senator and chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners has been disbarred from the North Carolina State Bar. 

Julia-Olson Boseman has surrendered her law license and can no longer practice in North Carolina.

According to the order of disbarment, Olson-Boseman was found to have “misappropriated entrusted funds, grossly abdicated her trust account management obligations, made misrepresentations to the State Bar during a grievance investigation, made a misrepresentation to the court, engaged in contempt of court, engaged in a conflict of interest, collected clearly excessive fees, and neglected a client, in violation of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.”

Olson-Boseman signed an affidavit agreeing to turn over her license on Nov. 20, 2024. The agreement noted:

“My resignation is freely and voluntarily rendered. … I acknowledge that the material facts upon which the grievance is predicated are true. My resignation is being submitted because I know that if charges were predicated upon the misconduct under investigation, I could not successfully defend against them.”

It was officially signed by state bar president A. Todd Brown on Jan. 19, 2024.

The State Bar was investigating Olson-Boseman on allegations she mismanaged roughly $9,000 of clients’ funds from her time as a practicing attorney. Olson-Boseman was licensed in 1993 and, according to former court documents, told the State Bar she closed her business in January 2021. Her accounts stayed open through November 2021.

It started when the bar began looking into a case filed by a client alleging Olson-Boseman took $20,000 without providing legal services. Gary Holyfield had a 16-year-old daughter die in a car crash on I-140 and he hired Olson-Boseman to help with an insurance claim. It eventually led him to suing the state for wrongful death, at Olson-Boseman’s suggestion. She took a $20,000 retainer in February 2020 but stopped returning Holyfield’s phone calls and didn’t render services, nor told him she retired in January 2021.

This led the bar to look into more cases. At the time, Olson-Boseman called the mismanagement allegations a “witch hunt,” led by counsel for the NCSB, Robert Weston.

Throughout the process, Olson-Boseman didn’t turn over appropriate financial documents as requested, missed court dates, and went on vacation with her family out of the country as she was held in contempt of court stateside.

The North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys is also investigating her case for potential criminal violations, which is still ongoing.

Aside from practicing law, Olson-Boseman held a two-decade political career, first serving as a NHC commissioner in 2000 until 2004. She was then elected to the Senate for District 9 and served from 2005 to 2011 before being re-elected to the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners in 2018. Olson-Boseman served as chair of the board for three years, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

According to numerous emails obtained by PCD in 2021 and 2022, as news of the case was unfolding, constituents called for commissioners to at least censure Olson-Boseman during her time serving the county. Many were concerned over her leadership and voting ability on county budgetary decisions; however, no measures were taken.

Instead, the voters decided her fate in the 2022 election, when Olson-Boseman lost the primaries. She received 22.5% of the Democratic votes in the May election, trailing behind Rob Zapple (44.93%) and Travis Robinson (32%). After the loss, Olson-Boseman switched parties from being a Democrat to Republican. 

She did not respond to PCD’s request for comment on her disbarment Tuesday.

Previous PCD publishings regarding the Olson-Boseman investigation:

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Shea Carver
Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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