By Dale Liesch and Rob Holbert

State Auditor Jim Zeigler surrendered his law license in February as a result of bar complaint related to a case he was handling personally, Lagniappe has learned from sources close to the matter.

Zeigler, a colorful character in statewide politics, claims his decision to surrender his license was made simply because he decided not to run for attorney general, no longer needed it and was essentially retiring. However, Lagniappe has learned Zeigler surrendered his license after a complaint was made to the Mobile Bar Association. It subsequently went up for review by the state bar, sources say.

Phillip McCallum, executive director of the Alabama Bar Association was unable to offer much information regarding Zeigler’s surrender of his license due to confidentiality requirements, but he did confirm that Zeigler is not eligible to have his license reinstated for five years. That is also the same length of time a disbarred attorney must wait before being able to apply for re-admission to the bar.

Zeigler has spoken to Lagniappe twice in the past week and insisted his license surrender was nothing more than his desire to not have to pay malpractice insurance and that he does not intend to work as an attorney again. He also told essentially the same thing. Attorneys who retire have the option to simply go inactive rather than actually giving up their license.

Looking up Zeigler’s name on the State Bar website, there is a black box under his name listing him as having surrendered his license. A press release attached to his name lists “Discipline Imposed: Surrender of license.”

“Mobile attorney James W. Zeigler surrendered his license on February 19, 2018. The Supreme Court of Alabama accepted Zeigler’s voluntary surrender of his license from the practice of law in the State of Alabama effective April 18, 2018,” the release says.

With 55.62 percent of the vote, Zeigler won the Republican primary election last week, beating challengers Stan Cooke and Elliott Lipinsky. He faces Democratic candidate Miranda Karrine Joseph in November.