06/21/2013 03:21 EDT | Updated 08/20/2013 05:12 EDT

Lawyer working on settlement claims from Gulf oil spill suspended amid misconduct allegations

NEW ORLEANS - A lawyer working for the court-appointed administrator reviewing claims arising from the Gulf oil spill has been suspended, and a BP official tells The Associated Press that the lawyer has been accused of collecting portions of settlement payments from a New Orleans law firm to which he once referred claims.

The BP official, who has reviewed a report outlining the allegations, says claims administrator Patrick Juneau delivered a copy of the report to U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier during a meeting in his chambers Thursday. The BP official spoke on condition of anonymity because the report hasn't been made public.

The staff lawyer, Lionel H. Sutton III, acknowledged in an email late Thursday that he has been told he is suspended "pending an investigation of an anonymous allegation against me." He said he wasn't aware of the substance of the allegation and declined further comment.