Discrimination in Victorville


 

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FROM:  CALIFORNIA LEAGUE OF LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS (CALLAC)
April 24, 2014

Michelle Medina/Silvia Ramirez
Cypress Pointe Homeowners Association
First Choice Community Management
P.O. Box 300
Victorville CA 92393

Dear Ms. Medina & Ms. Ramirez:

We have received a complaint of racial discrimination being perpetrated against the residents of 15852 Desert Poppy. The prima facie allegations, if true, indicate that your Homeowners Association and Management Company have become complicit in the alleged abuse. The allegations include but are not limited to:

  • A pattern and practice of harassment against all African American families in the area in an attempt to run them out of the community
  • An outrageous demand in violation of the residents’ Article I, Section 1 State Constitutional rights to remove the display of an American flag from their residence—especially egregious in light of the resident’s status as a United States Army Veteran
  • Body language and gestures threatening violence in violation of the Ralph Civil Rights (Section 51.7 Civil Code) and Bane Civil Rights Act (Section 52.1 Civil Code)
  • Allegations against the family that constitute libel per se (Section 46 Civil Code) by accusing them of crimes, including but not limited to accusations of gun brandishing

Please note that it is a violation of the Ralph Civil Rights Act to aid, incite, or conspire in the denial of constitutional rights. The allegations we have received on their face indicate that your firm and the HOA are aiding the perpetrators to violate the Ralph Civil Rights Act by initiating a fine based on what appear to be unsubstantiated allegations.

We are requesting that you voluntarily divulge to us the following:

1. A copy of all writings as defined in California Evidence Code 250 demonstrating the investigation conducted to substantiate and/or corroborate allegations made against the residents of the property in question;
2. All writings as defined in Evidence Code Section 250 demonstrating that any of the allegations made against the residents were reported or not reported to the police;
3. All writings as defined in Evidence Code Section 250 demonstrating that whoever investigated the allegations against the residents was licensed as a private investigator or exempt from licensing;
4. All writings as defined in Evidence Code Section 250 demonstrating that whoever investigated the allegations met investigative industry standards of competence based upon their background, training, education and experience to conduct an appropriate investigation;
5. All writings as defined in Evidence Code Section 250 demonstrating that the people who considered as triers of facts the allegations against the residents had training in how to detect deception in an interview;
6. All writings as defined in Evidence Code Section 250 demonstrating that the people who considered as triers of facts the allegations against the residents had been tested on their ability to detect deception.

Thanking you for your prompt attention, I remain,

Respectfully Yours,
Jan B. Tucker
State Director, CALLAC

cc: Kevin Kish, State Director, Department of Fair Employment & Housing; Eva M. Plaza, Assistant Secretary DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD), Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO)

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What’s worse than Armenian Genocide Denial?


 

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When it comes to Armenia and Armenians, there are actually things worse than Holocaust/Genocide denial. Before I get to that issue though, let me recount my own history of dealing with Armenian international and domestic issues and explain how I came to be the only non-Armenian founding Vice President of ARAMAC, the Armenian American Action Committee (an affiliate of the Armenian Assembly).

In the early 1990s during the Bosnian civil war, tens of thousands of women were raped primarily by Serbian forces. The issue is explained in detail in Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_during_the_Bosnian_War which states in pertinent part, “Estimates of the number of women and girls raped range from 12,000 to 50,000, the vast majority of whom were Bosniaks raped by Bosnian Serbs.[4][5] The Serb forces set up “rape camps”, where women were subjected to being repeatedly raped, and only released when pregnant.[5] Gang rape and public rapes in front of villagers and neighbors were not uncommon.[26]”

San Fernando Valley/Northeast Los Angeles NOW (my National Organization for Women chapter) launched a demonstration at the federal building (11000 Wilshire Blvd Westwood) demanding American government action to put a stop to these and other atrocities in that horrendous war. We were joined in this action by Amnesty International, the Coalition Against Ethnic Cleansing, the League of Croatian Women, the Muslim Womens League, and many other human rights groups, including as it turned out, an ad hoc group of Armenian feminists led Tara Petrosian, who would later become my great friend and comrade in arms. I was in charge of public relations for the event and many of the logistics. I arranged for the Armenians to have as a speaker for the event, Yelena Bonner, (half-Armenian half Jewish) human rights activist and wife of noted Soviet dissident and physicist Andrei Sakharov.

Following this event, how I would initially become involved in Armenian American activism was recounted to the Los Angeles Times [July 7, 1996, Valley Man is a Rebel with Disparate Causes] by Tara Petrossian. Reporter Henry Chu wrote:

It was at a NOW rally a few years ago in support of rape victims in Bosnia that Tucker met restauranteur Tara Petrosian, president of the Armenian American Action Committee Western Region, and now one of Tucker’s biggest fans.

Impressed with the media coverage Tucker helped generate for the NOW event, Petrosian telephoned him soon afterward to enlist his help for her own committee, which wanted to publicize Azerbaijan’s blockade of Armenia. Tucker readily signed on.

“I really agonized calling this strange person and asking for favors. However, he was very open,” Petrosian said. “I asked if he would help us. ‘He said yes, he would.’ I said we have no funds and he said ‘no problem.'”

My next question was, “Why would you do this for nothing.” There was a long pause and he said, “‘I’m still one of those crazy people who believes in living life according to principles.’ He’s a great humanitarian. He’s always for the underdog.”

Over lunch at what was already one of my favorite restaurants, Chez Nous, Tara gave me a mini-course in Armenian domestic politics. I summed up by saying, “so what you’re telling me is that there are two major Armenian American political organizations: the Armenian National Committee and the Armenian Assembly. Because unity is of course out of the question, they have two competing resolutions in Congress. The ANC, the more militant of the two, has a resolution which has Congress asking the State Department to ask the Turks and Azeris to be nice to Armenia. The AA, as the more moderate group has its competing resolution asking Congress to ask the State Department to politely ask the Turks and the Azeris to be nice to Armenia, because of course, they’re more moderate.”

I then told Tara: “I won’t get involved with the existing strategy. It’s bullshit. I’m a Jew and we’ve learned not to go begging for our rights; the last time we tried that it cost six million of us. However I’m not suggesting that we reinvent the wheel. Let’s take a page out of how we ended Apartheid in South Africa: hit them where it hurts, in the pocket book. Who’s investing in Azerbaijan?”

Tara told me that AMOCO and UNOCAL were investing in the Azeri Caspian Sea oil fields. “Oh great,” I said. “UNOCAL is headquartered right here in Los Angeles.”

The strategy I hatched and unleashed is the reason why UNOCAL eventually had to sell their 5th Street downtown Los Angeles headquarters building and move down to Buena Park. Within months we put together a coalition with everybody under the sun who had grievances against UNOCAL, including Burmese Pro-Democracy activists (UNOCAL was destroying their rain forest using slave labor and women forced into brothels to service the slave labor); the Cree Indians of Canada (UNOCAL leased their reservation supposedly to explore for oil then put a mustard gas plant there instead); the Quechua Indians of Ecuador (where UNOCAL was screwing up their rain forest), and so on and so forth.

Within months we had 300 screaming Armenian high school students parading around and blockading UNOCAL headquarters.

CAL STRS—the State Teacher Retirement System, our state’s second largest pension fund after CAL PERS, turned out to be the 10th largest investor in UNOCAL stock. I ran for State Treasurer in 1994 and 1998 on a platform demanding divestiture of UNOCAL stock by STRS and testified before the STRS corporate governance committee on the issues. Along with Glendale College Professor Levon Merashlian and Tara Petrosian, I wrote a militant resolution demanding STRS divestiture which unanimously passed the Representative Assembly of California’s largest teacher’s union, United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) without debate or amendment.

Now while all this was going on, aside from personal friends I enlisted in the cause, I can’t think of one single American Jew or one single Jewish politician who was willing to raise a finger in support of these efforts, or of another strategy I came up with, a demand that the Department of Commerce designate Armenia as a friendly nation targeted by a boycott (it is a reasonable premise that a blockade is wholly inclusive of a boycott and then some). The so-called anti-boycott law which was passed to protect Israel from Arab economic boycott doesn’t even mention Israel and can be applied to any friendly nation.

Why wouldn’t American Jews get involved with my crusade? Very simply because their blind support of Israeli foreign policy made them turn a blind eye towards Armenia, because of Israel’s long time alliance with Turkey which at that time was at a high point. Even with Israel’s relations with Turkey strained, Israel still won’t even admit that Turkey’s World War I massacre of Armenians constitutes genocide [http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.636058]:

Israel does not plan to recognize the Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey, Rafael Harpaz, Israel’s ambassador to Azerbaijan, told Azeri website Trend.

“Israel is a democratic country, everybody has two opinions, not one opinion,” Harpaz said. “The government has a very clear opinion.”

He said Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman had made Israel’s policy clear.

Harpaz told Trend he hoped Israel’s troubled relations with Turkey would improve.

“There are enough common interests and issues in the world for us to cooperate,” Harpaz reportedly said. “I would like to take an example of Turkish Airlines. Turkish Airlines is the biggest foreign airline which is active in Israel. Istanbul is the biggest hub for Israelis. The same goes for tourism, trade which is up. We hope that our political relations with Turkey will improve.”

This Israeli foreign policy trade-off is unconscionable. It makes me thankful that I am a Jew first and not an Israeli or an apologist for Israel, because my Jewish sense of right and wrong makes me come to a very different conclusion.

More recently, I went to the neighboring City of Carson where I joined hundreds of Armenians confronting hundreds of Turkish Americans in opposition to the City accepting an offer of a monument to war criminal Mustafa Kemal Ataturk….for the City’s Peace Garden! See http://asbarez.com/132718/carson-city-council-unanimouly-rejects-ataturk-monument-measure/ My old friend Levon Merashlian spoke eloquently explaining why Ataturk was completely and thoroughly inappropriate for commemoration in America.

So, coming full circle, what exactly could be worse than Armenian genocide denial? Well, the position that the leadership of my own political party, the Peace and Freedom Party, took on the issues involving the blockade of Armenia, are far worse than genocide denial. Their position was (and remains to this day) de facto support for the continuing blockade of Armenia, a blockade which in one year alone in the early 1990s resulted in the death of 1% of the entire population of the nation.

As the party’s candidate for State Treasurer in 1994, I repeatedly tried to get a resolution on the agenda for State Central Committee meetings to join me in supporting (a) amendment of the Freedom Support Act to strengthen it with additional sanctions against Azerbaijan for blockading Armenia, (b) demanding Commerce Department designation of Armenia as the target of an illegal corporate boycott, and (c) divestiture by CAL STRS of stock in UNOCAL. I also attempted to enlist PFP perennial candidate Marsha Feinland, a member of the teacher’s union in Berkeley, to get her union to join UTLA in calling for STRS divestiture. I figured that as a fellow Jew, Feinland ought to understand that like Jews and Roma (Gypsies) Armenians are kindred peoples who have faced both genocide and diaspora. Feinland didn’t lift a finger to help.

Even worse, when I finally got a hearing on my proposed resolution from the State Executive Committee, I was met with outright racist anti-Armenian statements like one from later PFP State Chair Kevin Akin, who justified his opposition by saying stuff like “All the Armenians I ever knew……” If he had said “All the Blacks” or “All the Chicanos” or, or, or it would have been intuitively obvious that it was a prejudicial, bigoted and racist statement, but the voting members of the SEC ….. well it went past them like water in a stream without protest.

Given that Kevin’s son, Isaiah, is a senatorial aide and is now chief foreign policy wonk for Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) I’m now no longer surprised: Wyden is considered to the right of Likud when it comes to anything to do with Israel or its foreign affairs.

They wound up adopting a resolution whose sole actual effect if implemented into law would have imposed sanctions on Armenia for the crime of having been blockaded by Azerbaijan and Turkey. On February 17, 1993 HR 86 was introduced and some of its “whereas” clauses explain just how unconscionable this position was:

To express dissatisfaction with the Republic of Azerbaijan’s failure to work toward a peaceful and fair settlement to the dispute over Nagorno Karabagh by continuing the devastating blockade and economic boycott of the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh.

Whereas the Azerbaijani government has failed to terminate the blockade and other uses of force against Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh, as set forth in the Freedom Support Act;

Whereas the blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh by Azerbaijan has directly resulted in extreme hardship, loss of life and economic devastation in both Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh;

Whereas the lack of medicine and adequate health facilities in Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh has resulted in an alarming increase in the mortality rate among the elderly and newborn infants;

Whereas the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has identified tens of thousands of Armenian refugees to be at risk of exposure and starvation this winter, due to the Azerbaijani blockade of Armenia;

Whereas the European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the Azerbaijani blockade of Armenia and Nagorno Karabagh and demanding that Azerbaijan immediately cease the embargo

“Loss of life.” Let me explain that in human terms. During the year preceding the introduction of HR 86, 1% of the population of Armenia died from the cold and starvation. Then-Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA) described to me at the time as an eyewitness of how babies died as soon as they were born because it was 40 degrees below zero in obstetrics rooms in hospitals. Every single tree in the capital city of Yerevan had already been cut down for fuel. Kennedy and his staff had to sleep in the Embassy van with the engine running to keep themselves from freezing.

The PFP leadership position on Armenia is reprehensible as well as unconscionable. It is so extreme that it is to the right of the Turkish embassy’s position and even to the right of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who as former CEO of Halliburton (profiting from the blockade and his company’s operations in Azeri Caspian sea oil) received the Azeri American Chamber of Commerce “Freedom Support Award.”

This is just one reason why over the next couple of years I will do my little part to support Armenia’s right to live in peace and for recognition of the historical wrongs the Armenian people have endured, by running for the PFP nomination for Vice President (I want to be Roseanne Barr’s running mate) on a platform as I originally proposed it in 1994. If you want to help me in this quest, contact me at your earliest convenience at pr@janbtucker.com.

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Attorneys Greg Yates & Neville Johnson Sue to Stifle Free Press


 

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News Release
P.O. Box 433 Torrance CA 90508-0433
Tel: 310.618.9596 Fax: 310.618.1950
Cell: 818.720.3719 pr@janbtucker.com

Criminal Justice Columnist, Counter Punch Magazine
Commentator, Black Talk Radio
“Public relations guru”–Los Angeles Times 1996
Former 1st Vice President, LA Newspaper Guild
Member, CWA Local 39521, Pacific Media Workers Guild

For Immediate Release: April 22, 2015
For Information: Jan B. Tucker, 818.720.3719

Lawsuit Pits Goliath Attorney Against David Reporter
in Aftermath of Mayday 2007 Litigation

Trial has been set in the case of Gregory A. Yates vs Patricia Nazario on June 11, 2015 in Department 36 of the Los Angeles Superior Court (111 N Hill St) in which Yates, an attorney who represented then-KPCC reporter Nazario against the City of Los Angeles after she was beaten by a police officer at a Mayday 2007 immigration demonstration, is suing her. Yates now claims Nazario libeled him in her creation of a website, which exposes his alleged malfeasance. Nazario contends the website is a public service based on a collection of public records.

Yates gained fame through his representation of victims of LAPD “Ramparts” division abuses. He also later represented Native American tribes in Tribal Trust fund litigation against the federal government, winning multi-million dollar settlements, but the quality of his representation has been called into question in a Detective’s Diary on-going investigation into why those tribes wound up with approximately one-third less than tribes represented by the Native American Rights Fund and other law firms.

Nazario’s website, www.gregoryyates.org, cites a litany of cases, including complaints against Yates for Breach of Contract, Malpractice, and his 1986 State Bar discipline records in which his license was suspended for two years. Other lawsuits posted on the website, include:

  • Vensel v Yates in which Yates had to pay $100,000 and mediation fees over allegations that he botched the handling of a medical malpractice case and then abandoned the client
  • Moreno v Yates in which a law firm alleged that Yates stiffed them on fees they were entitled to from representation of “Ramparts” litigants
  • Taschner v Yates, another case of a law firm alleging that Yates withheld fees from them in “Ramparts” litigation
  • FAMCO v Yates, a lawsuit involving over $11,000 worth of embezzled checks
  • Rubin v Yates, in which Rubin alleged that following a traffic accident that Yates assaulted him and called him a “fucking faggot.”

According to Nazario, who wound up receiving nothing from the jury verdict in her favor while Yates took the entire award, Yates has consistently used his lawsuit to pressure her into taking down her website and to demand that she try to get other journalists to stop reporting on Yates’ questionable business practices. “During settlement negotiations Yates’ attorney, Neville Johnson, demanded that I get another blog that I have no control over taken down,” said Nazario. “Even more telling is that while they sued me, Johnson and Yates were offering me money to settle.”

 

 

Jan B. Tucker, who was the target of Johnson’s demands, said that when he belatedly found out that Johnson had issued but never served him with a subpoena that was seeking access to his own journalistic files on Yates, he launched his own inquiry on Johnson. “That produced a very interesting look into Johnson’s own malpractice litigation history that I have recounted at http://janbtucker.com/blog/2015/03/03/neville-lawrence-johnson-whats-he-up-to-and-why/,” Tucker explained.

-30-

For additional background:  http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/08/29/greg-yates-paul-ingels-in-the-skeletons-closet/

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Games Lawyers Play #2: The Representation of Dr. Udani


 

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For background:

http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/12/12/dr-udani-staywell-research-should-you-beware/

Donna Dymally has been litigating the case reprinted in the above link for some time now. That blog posting has now emerged as a key issue in her efforts to settle the lawsuit. Her initial settlement proposal was for payment of a particular amount of money but expressly ruling out entering into any confidentiality clause in the settlement agreement. The lawyer representing Dr. Sanjay Kishore Udani, Medicus Research LLC, and Patrick Briones countered with an offer to pay what Dymally asked for, but insisted on a confidentiality agreement and a demand that Dymally direct me to take down my blog posting. As an “oh by the way,” this isn’t the first time that somebody involved in litigation tried to get my client to have me restrict my own First Amendment right to free speech – Neville Johnson and Gregory Yates have tried to pull that stunt too because they don’t have any grounds to sue me over my postings.

In any event, some aspects of Attorney Yosef A. Mahmood’s (of Blank & Rome LLP) litigation efforts are kind of comical. Here are some gems excerpted from Dymally response to his correspondence:

Your Answer to the Complaint, for an entirely subjective reason, is laughable. Literally, laughable. I can understand why you did not want me to see it because you must be embarrassed that your name appears on a document in which somebody in your firm crossed out “Superior” court and hand wrote in the non-existent “Municipal” court. Get a clue: the last Municipal Court in California ceased to exist in 2001. There is no such thing.

Bottom line, such bizarre clerical behavior does not inspire confidence.

Now, at least Mr. Mahmood’s bar record is clean; having been a lawyer for only a little more than a year, he hasn’t had enough time to get into trouble…unlike the first attorney Dr. Udani and Medicus Research had dealing with Dymally in her lawsuit. That attorney, David Scott Silber, is on probation with the State Bar. At the bottom of this blog we’ll reprint excerpts from the 13 page California State Bar document which explains why, and it’s a doozy!

Anyway, in the wake of Blank & Rome’s attempts to stifle my First Amendment blogging about their client, I got suspicious and did some research as to why they’re trying to put out a fire that is barely sparking….know the old saying about where there’s smoke there’s fire? Here’s some of what I found in the Los Angeles Superior Court alone:

Case No. BC 555822, HEGHINE MSRYAN, an individual; and LUSINE MSRYAN, an individual vs. Medicus Research LLC, Alain Giraud, et al

Plaintiffs were subjected to sexual and national origin harassment during their employment with Defendants. Defendant MEDICUS’ Chief Operating Oficer (GIRAUD) repeatedly sexually harassed Plaintiffs and other female co-workers during their employment at MEDICUS. Defendant GIRAUD also made repeated negative comments about Plaintiffs’ national origin as well as the race and national origin of other employees. Defendant GIRAUD would regularly make sexual propositions and obscene sexual comments to Plaintiffs and other female employees. Defendant GIRAUD even showed pornography and touched his subordinates on several occasions against their will. Plaintiffs made it very clear that this conduct was unwelcome, but the conduct continued unabated.

During the times pertinent to this Complaint, Defendants intentionally and repeatedly refused to pay Plaintiffs and other employees on a timely basis. Further, on multiple occasions Plaintiffs were given checks for their wages that bounced.

Case No. BC 571553, Francesca Gallard (class action) v Medicus Research LLC, et al

This is a class action under various state consumer protection laws against Medicus dba Staywell and Dr. Udani for false advertising, fraud and deceit in failing to pay research subjects for their participation.

Case No. BC 576691, Zillroo LLC vs MEDICUS INDUSTRIES, INC:, a Delaware Corporation; MEDICUM RESEARCH, LLC, a California Limited Liability Company; SYSTEMEDICUS, INC., a Delaware Corporation; STAYWELL SITE HOLDINGS, INC., a California Corporation; MEDICUS TELECOM; INC., a California Corporation; JAY UDANI, an individual

According to this lawsuit, Zillroo was induced by Dr. Udani to invest in his enterprises and got ripped off. Zillroo is suing for Fraud and other causes of action.

As to David Scott Silber:

ACTS AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW.
Respondent admits that the following facts are true and that he is culpable of the specified violations.
1. On July 11,2011, the State Bar Court filed and served upon Respondent a Stipulation re Facts, Conclusions of Law and Disposition and Order Approving in State Bar Court Case Nos. 10-O-00366 and 10-0-03134 (“Stipulation”).
2. On November 9, 2011, the California Supreme Court filed an Order No. S196240 (State Bar Court Case Nos. 10-O-00366 and 10-0-03134) that Respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year, that execution of suspension be stayed and that Respondent be placed on probation for a period of two years, and that he be subject to the conditions of probation as recommended by the Hearing Department of the State Bar Court in its Stipulation filed on July 11,2011.
a. As a condition of probation, Respondent was ordered to comply with the State Bar Act and Rules of Professional Conduct and to report such compliance to the Office of Probation under penalty of perjury on or before January 10, April 10, July 10, and October 10 of every year during the period of probation (“quarterly reports”). Respondent did not comply, as follows:
Due Filed Comments
4/10/12 4/10/12
timely
7/10/12 7/12/12
late
10/10/12
10/10/12
timely
1/10/13
1/10/13
timely
4/10/13
4/12/13
late
7/10/13
7/19/13
late
10/10/13
11/7/13 late
12/9/13
12/11/13 late
b. As a condition of probation, Respondent was ordered to, within one year of the effective date of his discipline–by December 9, 2012, provide satisfactory proof of attendance at a session of State Bar Ethics School, and passage of the test given at the end of that session. Respondent attended Ethics School late on December 13, 2012, and provided proof January 10, 2013.
c. As a condition of probation, Respondent was ordered to, within three months of the effective date of his discipline—by March 9, 2012, develop a law office management organization plan (“LOMP”) which was to be approved by the Office of Probation. Respondent submitted a LOMP on March 9, 2012, but it was rejected for numerous deficiencies as set forth in a letter mailed to Respondent on March 15, 2012. On
July 12, 2012, Respondent submitted an amended LOMP, which was rejected for several deficiencies as set forth in a letter mailed to Respondent on July 13, 2012. Respondent’s second amended LOMP submitted January 10, 2013 was approved.
d. As a condition of probation, Respondent was to obtain psychiatric or psychological help/treatment from a duly licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker at Respondent’s expense a minimum of four times per month and furnish evidence of such with each quarterly report. Help/treatment was to commence immediately, and in any event, no later than thirty days after the effective date of discipline–by January 8, 2012. Respondent has not complied, as follows:
Report Due Comments
4/10/12 Report was submitted by a “MA”, not a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or
clinical social worker; report was not filed 7/10/12 Report was submitted by a “MA”, not a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker; report was not filed
10/10/12 Report was submitted by a “MA”, not a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or
clinical social worker; report was not filed 1/10/13 Report was submitted by a “MA”, not a licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker; report was not filed
4/10/13 Although Respondent did not attend any counseling in January or February, a report filed with the Office of Probation late on November 26, 2013 confirmed 2 counseling sessions during March 7/10/13 Although Respondent affirms he had 4 sessions in May and 4 in June 2013, but that his counselor was ill and could not send a report, the Office of Probation was unable to confirm that the counselor was a psychiatrist, psychologist, or licensed clinical social worker
10/10/13
Although Respondent affirms he had 4 session in each July, August, and September
2013, but that his counselor was ill and could not send a report, the Office of
Probation was unable to confirm that the counselor was a psychiatrist, psychologist,
or licensed clinical social worker
12/9/13 Respondent did not receive counseling in October. Respondent had 2 sessions in
November and 1 in December. Resports were filed late as of December 16
3. On December 21, 2011, the Office of Probation mailed a reminder letter to Respondent at his membership records address outlining the terms and condition of his probation. Respondent received the letter.
4. On January 12, 2012, the Office of Probation conducted the required meeting with Respondent, reviewing all of Respondent’s conditions and deadlines.
Legal Conclusion: By failing to (1) timely file quarterly reports,  as set forth above in paragraph 2 a.; (2) timely complete Ethics School, as set forth above in paragraph 2 b.; (3) timely submit a satisfactory LOMP, as set forth in above in paragraph 2. c; and (4) obtain psychiatric or psychological help/treatment as set forth above in paragraph 2. d., Respondent willfully violated Business and Professions Code, section 6068(k).

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A Tale of Two Mothers Part 2


 

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For background, see http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/04/09/a-tale-of-two-mothers-part-i/

CALLAC Ltr to PC & IG_001

CALLAC Ltr to PC & IG_002CALLAC Ltr to PC & IG_003Marc Fitzsimmons NAN ltr_001Marc Fitzsimmons NAN ltr_002Marc Fitzsimmons NAN ltr_003

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Games Lawyers Play?


 

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Know the old saying when it rains it pours? Sometimes that applies to the weird coincidences of what kinds of cases you get in the private investigative world.

At one time within about 1 ½ years, three (3) different Iranian clients had me investigate one of their Iranian competitors in their industry; yes, the same exact guy. For a glimpse in what happened in that investigation, see http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/09/20/saving-america-for-25%C2%A2/

Fraudulent transferMore recently in December, I testified as an expert witness in a trial against an Iranian couple—and I carefully refer to them as a “couple” because a “couple of what” was actually at-issue in the lawsuit: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/12/20/mohsen-loghmanis-im-pro-per-performance/. So all of a sudden, within a matter of days, I get in two (2) new cases, both involving (as did the December trial) Iranian defendants; both involve fraudulent transfers of assets allegations and like the December trial, one of them involves whether or not two people are married. The Plaintiff’s trial brief from December, Tessie Cleveland Community Services Corporation vs Mohsen and Mahshid Loghmani, explains the issue like this:

Defendants will seek to assert that they divorced in 1981 under the misguided belief that this defeats Tessie’s claims. This is a red herring. Even if Defendants could introduce competent, admissible evidence of such a divorce, this is of no consequence. First, Defendants’ newly-developed divorce claim is contradicted by a wealth of contrary evidence, principally representations to the contrary by Defendants themselves (under oath), and precluded by admissions in discovery.

Regardless of whether Defendants are married, the analysis under Plaintiff’s fraudulent conveyance and trust claims is the same. Whether married or not, Mohsen Loghmani transferred assets to Mahshid Loghmani with the intent to defraud Tessie. (Civ. Code § 3439.04(a)(1).) Whether married or not, Mahshid Loghmani took legal title to a property that Defendants intended Mohsen Loghmani to have an equitable interest in. (Fidelity Nat’l Title Ins. Co. v. Schroeder (2009) 179 Cal.App.4th 834, 848, 101 Cal.Rptr.3d 854, 864.)

Indeed, Defendants’ newly-asserted divorce makes their conduct more fraudulent, not less. Virtually every document executed by Defendants in connection with the acquisition of the Subject Property identifies Defendants as married. If Defendants are not married, then Defendants’ use of Mohsen Loghmani’s funds to purchase and improve the real estate is simply fraud.

When it was convenient for the Defendants to claim they were married, in an attempted bankruptcy filing (that was thrown out of court) to discharge the over $2 million they owed to my clients, they claimed they were married. In other proceedings, like the one I testified in, they claimed they were divorced. How can two such situations be true in the real world? Well, in America they can’t, but they justified their statements on the grounds that despite the entry of a divorce judgment in Illinois obtained on the grounds of intentional cruelty (committed by husband Mohsen against wife Mahshid), they were still married in Iran! I had to testify about (a) the legislative intent of the fraudulent transfer laws themselves which were enacted because of the phenomena reflected in much popular literature, not to mention comedy routines, about “it’s in my wife’s name;” (b) my background, training, education and experience concerning “intentional cruelty” divorces, which virtually never result in reconciliation unless they are bogus to begin with; (c) the similarity of Muslim grounds for divorce in Iran to the Orthodox Jewish problem of obtaining a “get,” i.e. permission from the husband for most divorces.

 

Mohammed Reza Sahranavard

Mohammed Reza Sahranavard

So fast forward to Sahranavard vs Better World Institute pending in Los Angeles Superior Court. In this case issues arose over the marital status of attorney Mandana Vasseghi (aka Donna Vasseghi) and her client, Mohammad Reza Sahranavard (and his brother Hamid) who was being represented in litigation by her and various other attorneys in a series of litigation actions while it is alleged she was married to Mohammad and at the same time that she was representing my client, who has now become adversarial to Mohammad. Part of the allegations which were spelled out in a motion to disqualify Attorney Kathleen M. Neumann, involve assertions that Neumann and other attorneys to who participated were all controlled by and coordinating with Vasseghi and therefore had conflicts of interest in representing their individual clients and especially my client who’s now being sued by Mohammad and his brother, Hamid.

At this point, let’s review the State Bar Rules that are applicable:

State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct:

Rule 3-310 Avoiding the Representation of Adverse Interests

(A) For purposes of this rule:

(1) “Disclosure” means informing the client or former client of the relevant circumstances and of the actual and reasonably foreseeable adverse consequences to the client or former client;

(2) “Informed written consent” means the client’s or former client’s written agreement to the representation following written disclosure;

(3) “Written” means any writing as defined in Evidence Code section 250.

(B) A member shall not accept or continue representation of a client without providing written disclosure to the client where:

(1) The member has a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party or witness in the same matter; or

(2) The member knows or reasonably should know that:

(a) the member previously had a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with a party or witness in the same matter; and

(b) the previous relationship would substantially affect the member’s representation; or

(3) The member has or had a legal, business, financial, professional, or personal relationship with another person or entity the member knows or reasonably should know would be affected substantially by resolution of the matter; or

(4) The member has or had a legal, business, financial, or professional interest in the subject matter of the representation.

(C) A member shall not, without the informed written consent of each client:

(1) Accept representation of more than one client in a matter in which the interests of the clients potentially conflict; or

(2) Accept or continue representation of more than one client in a matter in which the interests of the clients actually conflict; or

(3) Represent a client in a matter and at the same time in a separate matter accept as a client a person or entity whose interest in the first matter is adverse to the client in the first matter.

(D) A member who represents two or more clients shall not enter into an aggregate settlement of the claims of or against the clients without the informed written consent of each client.

(E) A member shall not, without the informed written consent of the client or former client, accept employment adverse to the client or former client where, by reason of the representation of the client or former client, the member has obtained confidential information material to the employment.

(F) A member shall not accept compensation for representing a client from one other than the client unless:

(1) There is no interference with the member’s independence of professional judgment or with the client-lawyer relationship; and

(2) Information relating to representation of the client is protected as required by Business and Professions Code section 6068, subdivision (e); and

(3) The member obtains the client’s informed written consent, provided that no disclosure or consent is required if:

(a) such nondisclosure is otherwise authorized by law; or

(b) the member is rendering legal services on behalf of any public agency which provides legal services to other public agencies or the public.

Rule 3-300 Avoiding Interests Adverse to a Client

A member shall not enter into a business transaction with a client; or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security, or other pecuniary interest adverse to a client, unless each of the following requirements has been satisfied:

(A) The transaction or acquisition and its terms are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully disclosed and transmitted in writing to the client in a manner which should reasonably have been understood by the client; and

(B) The client is advised in writing that the client may seek the advice of an independent lawyer of the client’s choice and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek that advice; and

(C) The client thereafter consents in writing to the terms of the transaction or the terms of the acquisition.

As far as I’m aware, there was never any effort to comply with Rule 3-310 according to what I know of the case the bold phrases above are of extreme importance to the discussion. As to Rule 3-300, one thing I found out in my investigation is that Attorney Kathleen M. Neumann wound up entering into Deeds of Trust to encumber the equity in Attorney Vasseghi’s home, right around the time that Sahranavard was getting sued by Marcel Pahmer, which started the chain of litigation going on right now and which resulted in a judgment for Pahmer against not only Sahranavard but also Vasseghi, personally.

Whether this is the case remains to be seen, but based upon my background, training, education and experience I can tell you my reader, that it’s not uncommon for corrupt attorneys who are conspiring with their clients to “structure” assets in order to shield them from judgments, liens and attachments use all sorts of methods to encumber those assets. First, by a hand-shake arrangement, they inflate their bills to the client and then enter into Deeds of Trust, Promissory Notes, and in some cases UCC-1 filings to put them first in line, preferably as secured creditors, in the event that litigation puts those assets at risk.

Here’s where the status of the marriage or non marriage gets weird. Apparently, Mohammad and Mandana had a wedding and reception at a Country Club in the United States. They apparently then applied for visas to Iran at that time and sources indicate that the applications indicated that they were married, but now, they are holding themselves out as not married. In light of the Loghmani case, does this sound familiar?

Weirder yet is the background of the other lawyers who are alleged to have been part of the cabal of orchestrated representation of the various parties in the underlying litigation, Behrouz Shafie and Steven Zelig. Both have histories of State Bar disciplinary action.

From the State Bar Journal:

June 18, 2011

Behrouz Shafie

Behrouz Shafie

BEHROUZ SHAFIE [#108581], 66, of Beverly Hills was suspended for three years, stayed, placed on four years of probation and was ordered to take the MPRE within one year. He received credit for a period of inactive enrollment from July 1, 2008, to Oct. 13, 2009. The order took effect June 18, 2011.

Shafie successfully completed the State Bar Alternative Discipline Program after demonstrating a connection between his mental health issues and his misconduct and stipulating to misconduct in three sets of charges.

He failed to communicate with a client; perform legal services competently, promptly return client files, refund unearned fees and properly maintain client funds and he wrote a check against insufficient funds and misappropriated more than $55,000.

In the misappropriation matter, Shafie represented the wife in a divorce and received a check for $55,028 from the sale of the couple’s assets. His client fired him and hired a new lawyer, requesting that he sign the substitution form, and return her file and her funds. Although Shafie signed the substitution form two months later, he said he needed a court order to turn over the money, which partially belonged to the husband. When the court so ordered, he gave his client a check for $55,028. However, in the intervening months, he allowed the balance in his client trust account to fall to a negative amount, thus misappropriating the funds.

In mitigation, he had no prior discipline record and he cooperated with the bar’s investigation.

February 9, 2012

Steven L. Zelig

Steven L. Zelig

STEVEN ZELIG [#94654], 58, of Los Angeles was suspended for one year, stayed, placed on two years of probation and was ordered to take the MRE within one year. The order took effect Feb. 9, 2012.

Zelig stipulated to six counts of misconduct in two cases. In the first, he sued an insurance company after claiming it insured his client for earthquake damage sustained during the Northridge earthquake. Zelig did not dismiss the complaint, and the insurer incurred more than $30,000 in legal expenses. It filed a malicious prosecution claim against Zelig, who reached a settlement in which he agreed to pay $45,000 within 30 days. He did not do so and was sanctioned $8,250. He did not pay the sanction within 30 days as ordered.

Zelig filed separate cross-complaints against various parties in the same litigation without obtaining the court’s permission. He appealed when the court granted motions to strike a cross-complaint, but the appeal was denied on the grounds that it was frivolous. Zelig was sanctioned another $7,500 but did not pay the sanctions or report them to the State Bar within 30 days.

He stipulated that he pursued a frivolous appeal, disobeyed court orders by failing to pay sanctions and he did not report sanctions to the bar within 30 days.

In a second matter, Zelig also stipulated that he disobeyed a court order by failing to pay sanctions on time and he maintained an unjust action. He filed an amended complaint in federal court that included causes of action that had been dismissed. When the opposing side asked for sanctions, Zelig said he erroneously included the causes that were stricken. The court ordered sanctions of $4,032 and found that Zelig’s amended complaint “was made for the improper purpose of causing unnecessary delay and needlessly increasing the cost of litigation.” Zelig paid the sanctions late.

In mitigation, Zelig had no discipline record since his 1980 admission to the bar.

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Jeffrey Williams: a coerced confession?


 

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Jeffrey Williams:  Was his confession coerced?  Here’s an eyewitness report from the scene at the Ferguson, Missouri demonstration by somebody who had to duck for cover during the shooting.

For starters, background on my personal experience with St. Louis area law enforcement is recounted at: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2014/08/14/st-louis-ferguson-michael-brown-and-why-im-not-surprised/  As an “oh by the way,” one thing I don’t think I mentioned in that story about USA vs John Gipson, was that a white, retired police officer in St. Louis administered a polygraph examination on my client, Gipson and amongst other things established the truth of his allegation that he was beaten while in custody by St. Louis police officers.

A typical allegation being bandied about on Facebook and throughout social media sites is the allegation that suspected police shooter Jeffrey Williams was beaten and/or tortured into confessing while in police custody. Here’s a comment by Mark A. Clements forwarded to me by my friend and colleague Alex Salazar:

I am urging all Attorneys and U.S. attorney Eric Holder to travel to the Ferguson county jail and to make a determination if Ferguson shooting suspect of two police officer was not tortured in police custody. The claims have been released and must be addressed. Torture is a crime!. If police tortured this suspect I demand that he be released for violations of his civil rights and that the officers be held responsible.

L-Alex Salazar at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma Alabama

L-Alex Salazar at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Selma Alabama

Alex, an ex-LAPD officer turned private investigator and civil rights activist (and member of the board of CALLAC, California League of Latin American Citizens), has been to Ferguson repeatedly, not to mention New York in connection with the Eric Garner shooting, Cleveland on the Tamar Rice killing, Albuquerque, and recently, to Selma Alabama. Alex turned me on to a reliable confidential source who gives the following chilling narrative of the events surrounding the shootings of police officers in Ferguson from an eyewitness perspective (someone who had to duck when the bullets started flying) and the allegations now circulating in the community about Jeffrey Williams being beaten in custody:

Mar 11, 2015 approx 7:00pm I arrived at my friend xxxxxx house to do laundry.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 9:15pm I received a series of texts from my son yyyyyy (age xx, xth grade) wanting to attend the protest being held at Ferguson Police Department to celebrate Chief Thomas Jackson resignation. The text exchanges between xxxxxx and myself continued until (approx. 10:56pm) where I informed xxxxxx that I was on my way to pick him up.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:15pm yyyyyy and myself arrived at the house to pick xxxxxx up then we proceeded to go Ferguson Police Station.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:30pm We arrived at FPD and parked on the Subway parking lot located across the street from FPD. xxxxxx exited the vehicle and walked to the entrance of Subway parking lot to see what the protesters were doing and checked out the scene. He returned back to the vehicle (approx. 2 minutes) at that time yyyyyy, xxxxxx, and myself exited the vehicle.
Mar 11, 2015 approx 11:35pm We then proceeded to walk toward the direction where protesters were assembled but stopped at the entrance of Subway parking lot standing on Tiffin Street. I observed (approx. 70) protesters standing on both sides of S. Florissant Rd. in front of Ferguson police station and also on Andy Worm parking lot. Overall the crowd was peaceful. As we were standing there an African American male approached us and started to imply that he had never seen police officers from other municipalities here in Ferguson. We briefly talked with him then proceeded to walk across the street.

Tiffin Ave, MO

Tiffin Ave, MO

Mar 11, 2015 approx. 11:40pm We walked across Tiffin Street and stood on side walk near the edge of the hill. During this time I observed a Caucasian male (medium build, approx. age 55-60 years old) who identified himself as a “homeless man” as I over heard him as he conversed with an African American male (slim build, approx. age 50-55 years old) who appeared to be intoxicated. They were standing just below the hill (approx. 5 yards) from where we were standing on the hill on Tiffin Street.
Mar 11, 2015 approx.11:45pm As we stood on the hill I observed a Caucasian male (slim build, approx. age 27-35 years old) barbecuing on the left hand side of Tiffin Street just a few feet from S. Florissant Rd. During this time I observed him yell out random things and heckle Ferguson police. It should be noted that he can be heard in the background of the actual police shooting that is being played on CNN. I also observed the Caucasian male being approached by two Caucasian males where they had a brief conversation before the two males walked away. One of the males was a bald head heavy/stocky build, approx. 35-40 years old with a pudge stomach wearing a white t-shirt and jeans. The other male was stocky build, approx. 50-55 years old with beard and mustache. All three males had a brief conversation and then the two males walked away. At one point the male who was barbecuing walked across Tiffin street where the protesters were gathered on Andy Worm parking lot for a brief moment before returning back across Tiffin Street where he resumed barbecuing and continued to “yell out” random things and heckle police.
Mar 11, 2015 approx. 11:50pm I observed an African American female with long black braids (slender build, approx. 20-25 years old) with two to three African American males. My attention was focused on her because she seemed to be intoxicated and protesting aggressively. At times I observed her walk across S. Florissant Rd on the same side of the street were the Ferguson police were standing. She continued to yell and heckle the FPD. Also during this time frame I observed a black SUV truck that was previously parked on the left hand side of Tiffin Street move to park on the right hand side of Tiffin Street. The driver was an African American male (heavy build, approx. 30-35 years old) wearing a hat.
Mar 12, 2015 approx.12:00am I observed the same African American female previously mentioned and two African American males walk from Andy Worm parking lot up the hill towards where yyyyyy, xxxxxx, and myself were standing on Tiffin Street. As the female walked up the hill she made eye contact with me and stated that she was “intoxicated” and I then agreed with her. I recognized one of the males she was with as a protester whom I had met approx. 7 months ago. xxxxxx knew him as well and we all embraced and greeted one another. Again the female made eye contact with me and stated that she wanted to walk across S. Florissant Rd in front of the police station to “agitate” the Ferguson police “some more.” Then she proceeded to ask me if I thought she should “do it.”

My response was “no.” Then she proceeded to ask me “why not?” My response was “you have a target on your back because you have been messing with them tonight, and they are going to pounce on you.” She proceeded to say “I don’t give a fuck.” My response was “but I do.” She then stated “I’m going home” and proceeded to walk up the hill along with an African American male.

Approx. 10 seconds later I heard what appeared to be gun shots being fired from the top of the hill on Tiffin Street. As I look back I observed a flash about 30-40 yards from where we were standing on the hill. I heard approx.4-5 gun shots. I then observed the same African American female I had just spoken with run back down the hill and hide in front of the black SUV truck I mentioned in previous entry. My reaction time to process what was happening was approx. 3-4 seconds. I then grabbed xxxxxx’s wrist and yyyyyy’s arm and we all ducked in front of the black SUV truck mentioned in previous entry. We stayed there for approx. 2-3 seconds before we attempted to run back to my vehicle.

As we were running I observed a blue four door vehicle with two Caucasian males inside the vehicle coming from the top of the hill on Tiffin Street driving fast. The vehicle turned left onto the Subway parking lot before almost hitting a white vehicle which was being driven by a Caucasian male. The white vehicle pulled back a little to allow the blue car to get by. As the blue car passed us I stopped running and yelled to yyyyyy and xxxxxx “that’s them, that’s them.” We stopped running approx. 2 seconds before yyyyyy stated “lets get to the car.” The blue car then made a left onto S. Florissant Rd. then sped off. We continued to run to my vehicle and then drove off onto S. Florissant Rd. As we drove down Chambers Rd. we noticed several police cars driving extremely fast with their lights and sirens on driving in the opposite direction.

March 12, 2015 approx. 12:30am I dropped yyyyyy off at home.
March 12, 2015 approx. 12:50am xxxxxx and myself arrived home.
March 12, 2015 approx. 1:00am I watched CNN and discovered that two police officers were shot during the protest at the Ferguson police department.
March 12, 2015 approx. 1:10am I notified yyyyyy via text that what happened to us at the protest made national news. I also informed her of the two police officers who had been shot. The text exchanges between yyyyyy and myself continued until approx. 2:30am.
March 12, 2015 approx. 2:38am Contacted CNN to report my account of the events of what took place and informed them of the blue car that sped away from the scene. Left voicemail message.
March 12, 2015 approx. 3:47am Contacted News 4 via email sent from my cellular phone to inform them of the blue car I observed sped away from the scene.
March 12, 2015 approx. 3:35pm I contacted Lacy Clay office to talk to someone regarding my account of what happen in the police shooting. I was directed to call crime stoppers.
March 12, 2015 approx. 4:00pm I contacted Crime Stoppers to give my account of what happened in the police shooting. A short version of my account of the events was documented and I was given a tip reference number CSI-xxx-yyy and was told I could follow up on my lead in approx. 2-3 weeks.
March 13, 2015 approx. 5:10pm Second attempt to contact News 4 to give my account of what happen in the police shooting.
March 15, 2015 approx. 6:30pm I drove to the Ferguson Police Department to see what if anything was going on. I observed news crews and a couple of people standing in the Subway parking lot. I recognized an African American female whom I met approx. 7 months ago from protesting. We had a brief conversation about the events that had taken place over the last couple of days. She indicated to me that her friend sent her a series of text messages stating that the suspect Jeffrey Williams in police custody is her cousin and that “he did not do it and the police are beating him.”
March 13, 2015 approx. 11:30am I was watching CNN and saw police had a person of interest or possible suspect in connection to the Ferguson police shooting. While still watching CNN I observed police trying to gain entry through the suspects roof. I also saw a very heavy police presence on the suspect’s street.
March 13, 2015 approx. 2:30pm I was watching CNN to get an update on the Ferguson police shooting. I recognized a young African American female on CNN stating that she woke up to the police with a “red dot ” on her chest and she was “begging for her life” stating over and over “don’t kill me.” I recognized the female mentioned on entry March 11, 2015 (approx. 11:50pm) and entry March 12, 2015 (approx. 12:00am) as the female who I briefly talk to on the hill right before the shooting took place. There was absolutely no way she could have been a suspect because I was talking to her just seconds before the shots rang out.

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The Murals of Carlos Callejo Exhibition


 

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Carlos Callejo ExhibitionCarlos Callejo Exhibition2

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Neville Lawrence Johnson: what’s he up to and why?


 

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Attorney Neville Lawrence Johnson

Attorney Neville Lawrence Johnson

I recently learned—belatedly–that Attorney Neville Lawrence Johnson, had issued a subpoena duces tecum (“SDT,” a subpoena requiring me to produce records) for me to appear at a deposition on December 15, 2014. I say belatedly because he never served me with it. I didn’t even know it existed until yesterday. So this piqued my interest.

I’ve heard of Neville Johnson before, primarily in the context of civil litigation surrounding the Anthony Pellicano case. I was on the criminal defense team for one of Pellicano’s co-defendants (who was adversarial to Pellicano) so his existence certainly could not have escaped me, but not being involved in the civil end of things and being overwhelmed with the magnitude of the criminal defense work involved, he wasn’t high on my radar screen. Anyway, I decided to do some cursory checking up on this guy who issued this SDT but doesn’t bother to serve me with it to see what makes him tick.

I found out some very interesting and intriguing things.

Tony Pellicano in custody

Tony Pellicano in custody

For starters, since I’d first learned of him through his Pellicano litigation involvement, suing Pellicano, the telephone companies, and various lawyers and entertainment industry folks who’d used Pellicano’s services (like Chris Rock for example), I looked at the Pellicano angle. Lo and behold I find out that, according to my old frenemy and sometimes nemesis John Nazarian that Johnson and Nazarian are thick as thieves….and that’s cause for some worry! John wrote in his blog:

(http://desperateexes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Chris_Rock.jpg) It is reported that all good things come to those who can wait, Neville Johnson, Lawyer was in court with me almost everyday during the Anthony Pellicano trial. Much of the time he had a smile on his face, and why not? Mr. Johnson is representing several victims of the ‘ultimate private investigator’.

Private Investigator John Nazarian

Private Investigator John Nazarian

What worries me about that connection? Well some years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of California Lawyer magazine that John took issue with….and he left a threat on my voicemail. A couple days later, after apparently figuring out who I am in the private investigator world, he calls up and leaves another voicemail, a mea culpa apology with his tail between his legs.

Now I’m sure that there’s all sorts of gossip and tall tales about me floating out there too. Macchiavelli wrote some very important wisdom in The Prince [Chapter XVII] when he said that “it’s best to be both loved and feared but if you have to choose, choose to be feared.” So I have a tendency to neither confirm nor deny many of the rumors about me no matter how outrageously false they might be, because they add to my mystique and keep me safe from those who might otherwise want to harm me. At least it makes them think twice, since as James Bond taught us, you only live twice.

John relishes and creates his own public mystique, but the rumors that come to my ears by people reporting to me confidentially as writer of this Detective’s Diary, are neither scary nor flattering, if they’re in fact true and having only the word of the private investigators who told me I don’t actually know one way or the other. Here are a couple of examples where at least I know it as a first hand account from a private investigator colleague:

  • According to one very well-respected PI, she took over a case from the mother of a convicted rapist for practically no money, because she’d spent practically her last dollar on John Nazarian to investigate for the defense. According to the story, John never interviewed the Defendant, concluded there was nothing to be done, and abandoned any efforts to clear him. After my friend interviewed the Defendant she went out and located a retail store video tape that showed that precisely at the exact time the rape took place the Defendant was committing a shoplift many miles away.
  • One of my colleagues reported that Nazarian hired him to do a “bug sweep” using very primitive equipment (a wide spectrum radio wave detector) at a house, got paid himself by representing to the client that this was a very thorough search for transmitters and wiretaps (which it isn’t) and then stiffed my friend for his fee.

Continuing to delve into the Pellicano litigation that Neville Johnson was involved in litigating, it seemed to be a pattern that some of the cases (both in Pellicano and other unrelated issues) he brought seemed to keep getting thrown out of court for violating the statute of limitations:

  • Michael David Sapir vs Tom Cruise, Bert Fields, et al, LA Superior Court Case No. BC 428383
  • ROBERT S. REIN, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. PACIFIC BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY, California Second Appellate District (unpublished opinion) B223403, Decided: April 25, 2011
  • Long v. Walt Disney Co. (2004)116 Cal.App.4th 868
  • Ory v. Country Joe McDonald 68 U.S.P.Q.2d 1812 (C.D.Cal. 2003) (and decision upheld by the 9th Circuit)

Following this line of inquiry I came across a real ugly case which has resulted in a current lawsuit for legal malpractice against Johnson’s firm, Cooper vs Johnson & Johnson LLP, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC 547299, in which the Plaintiff alleges that knowing full well that his contract with the opposing party in litigation handled by Johnson provided for jurisdiction in Tennessee, Johnson first filed suit in California only to dismiss it when confronted by a motion to dismiss for violating the contractual venue provision. Then according to the suit, Johnson filed a federal action in Tennessee….just to dismiss it because he’d blown the statute of limitations. After filing in a Tennessee state court for a third time, it was tossed out for having had two bites of the apple already and resulted in Cooper having to get new counsel and go all the way to the Tennessee Supreme Court to get relief.

Meanwhile according to Cooper’s suit, Johnson & Johnson had cost him over $100,000 in attorney fees and costs for doing what he alleges was fundamentally incompetent work.

While that lawsuit might be enough to make Johnson sweat, I hear that he’s got a couple of other problems coming down the pike. One of those problems concerns his inability to keep his mouth shut in a public place where he can easily be overheard making what would normally be considered “privileged” statements if done in a court of law or in a legal pleading filed with the court. This is similar to the kind of problem that got Bill Cosby into trouble when one of his lawyers publicly denied the accusations made by California Attorney Tamara Green of sexual assault against Cosby. From Green’s slander suit against Cosby:

Defendant Cosby, by and through his agent, authorized representative, and lawyer, Walter M. Phillips, Jr., responded that Defendant Cosby did not know Plaintiff Green, and that Plaintiff Green’s allegations were “absolutely false” and that the incident “did not happen in any way, shape, or form.” Thus by innuendo and effect, Defendant Cosby publically branded Plaintiff Green a liar.

What I’m told is that not only did Johnson open his big mouth about a friend of mine and repeat things that he’d previously only been known to say to the judge, he also talked about me…that’s right, moi….without any regard to how loud he was talking or who was likely to overhear him at a gathering of lawyers….and it’s not like I’m unknown to the legal community.

I do have to hand it to Johnson. He has come a long way since he filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy years ago and had fallen on hard times. Fueling the fire for his bankruptcy, were:

  • (a) IRS liens for $9,357.77; $2,095.63; $5,629.35; $8,440.68;
  • (b) EDD State Tax Liens for $412.77; $41.12; $7,102.72; $961.28; $6,811.61; $3,702.57;
  • (c) California Franchise Tax Board Liens for $441.55; $6,841.92;
  • (d) Los Angeles County Tax Assessor Liens $231.45; $230.95;
  • (e) Abstract of Judgment Finova vs. Johnson $7,179.19;
  • (f) Abstract of Judgment Bender vs. Johnson, $11,479.02;
  • (g) Abstract of Judgment Comelco vs. Johnson, $55,135.58.
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Exxon-Mobil Torrance Refinery Explosion


 

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This is a report by name friend and colleague, Attorney Sherry Lear, a founder and leader of Miss Revolutionaries

Exxon Mobil Torrance following explosion and fire

Exxon Mobil Torrance following explosion and fire

REPORT ON TORRANCE TOWN HALL MEETING ON 2/20/2015
ExxonMobil held a “Town Hall” at 6 p.m. on 2/20/2015 in response to public concerns about the explosion at the ExxonMobil Torrance refinery on 2/18/2015. The meeting was held at Torrance Cultural Arts Center and was attended by several hundred people. From what I could see on the sign-in sheet, the attendees were overwhelmingly residents. There was also media coverage from several news stations (NBC4 and KTLA) along with the Daily Breeze, Reuters and I expect the L.A. Times. The entire meeting was filmed by ExxonMobil.

In addition to media, several politicians either made appearances or had representatives. Notably, no one from the City of Torrance Council or Mayor’s office identified themselves as such. (Not to say no one was there but they did not speak publicly.) Assemblyman Tom Hadley (and his wife) were seated prominently in the front and he was the first to speak during public comments. (Hadley is a Republican who beat out Al Muratsuchi last November.) He didn’t take any sort of stance against ExxonMobil or what happened (from his comments, he seems very pro-business) but did indicate that there has been some “confusion” about how to find information when an event happens and that he wanted to make sure ExxonMobil will communicate with the public.

Heather Hud came from State Senator Isadore Hall’s office. (Notably, he just won a special election and has already announced that he will run for Janice Hahn’s seat since she is stepping down in 2016.) Heather gave her phone number (310) 412-0393 and indicated that Hall is working with State Senator Kevin DeLeon to follow up on this event and that they plan to do a public hearing in Torrance. She advised audience members to call her or field representative Avelino Valencia (sp?) for help with this matter. This comment came after several residents complained that they were not able to get responses to their calls to ExxonMobil and/or SCAQMD.  Joey Apadoca also spoke from Congressional Representative Ted Lieu’s office. He indicated that Lieu’s office was ready to provide assistance to anyone who needed it and noted that this was the third explosion at this refinery since 1988. (Per my husband, during one of the prior events, a woman was literally “vaporized” on Van Ness.

Introductions:

The main speaker for ExxonMobil was a man named Brian. I got there a few minutes late and did not get his last name. He had an English accent. He did not provide any real information. He repeated, over a dozen times, that ExxonMobil’s first concern was safety and offered an apology to the audience. He indicated that this event happened because an ESP exploded – he denies there was any fire in connection with this. ExxonMobile does not know why the explosion happened. They have an “internal investigation” team who will be looking into this but he cannot give a time line for how long that will take, other than to say it will be shorter than the investigations by governmental agencies.

Someone asked for a phone number of who is in charge of the investigation at ExxonMobil. Brian did not have the information, but did note that someone from national will be coming on next week to take over the investigation. Torrance Fire Department, CAL-OSHA and SCAQMD are also investigating. There are requests for other agencies to get involved.

After the ESP exploded, large amounts of ash were discharged into the refinery and in the neighborhood, more so to the west because of the way winds were blowing. Per ExxonMobile, the explosion resulted in what they called “catalyst dust” being deposited on people’s homes and cars. Brian said “We are committed to help you deal with this.” ExxonMobil had claims adjusters and members of its Risk Management team at the back of the meeting room to “help” audience members.  Brian’s opening comments included the claim that they would “leave no stone unturned,” that Exxon wanted to address and fix the problem and ensure that this “never happens again.” Brian noted the time line: 8:50 a.m. explosion occurs, 8:55 a.m. Torrance Fire Dept. responds, 9:00 a.m. Del Amo Blvd. closed due to flaring going on and they don’t want anyone too close (flaring went on thru the night.)

Brian and Dr. Eleanor MacIntosh, an ExxonMobil employee who is a physician and occupational medical specialist who works at the refinery, claim that testing was completed from samples within 25 minutes which indicated that the “ash” was not toxic but “inert” catalyst dust. Because they declined to sound the refinery siren system. Brian claimed the discharge was “just like normal dust.” Of note, the parts of the refinery which were not damaged are still operating. They ran tests over the next 24 hours to make sure that the rest of the refinery could operate safely. They claim their priority is to fix damage in the community, not to fix the ESP.

With this limited amount of information, the meeting was opened to Public Comments:

As noted, Assemblyman Tom Hadley took the mic first. He said nothing of substance.
Jean Severance, a nearby resident who lives 2 miles west, indicated she was outside cleaning her patio when dust and debris started raining down on her. She was upset that the sirens were not sounded. This is when Brian advised that they decided not to use them because they had determined there was “no immediate hazard to health.” He did agree it was a “fair question” why this was not done.

Next, a male resident who did not give his name talked about the fact that schools (which I understand included public schools, but did not include either campus of my son’s private school) were told to “shelter in place. “ This meant they were supposed to turn off air conditioning and cover openings with visqueen/plastic and tape. The resident asked what the refineries plan was for a catastrophic event. Brian had no response other than to note that ExxonMobil needs to look at its response system.
Next, Brad Kamiso, spoke. He is a landlord with 2 acres of residential rental properties on Earl Street. He complained that it “snowed” on his property. He had done some internet research on ESPs and catalyst dust and was concerned that it included “dehydrated aluminum” which would be toxic. He demanded several times that the material be tested (at ExxonMobil’s expense) and that someone from ExxonMobil come out to clean it or else advise on the proper method of cleaning the stuff up. (It became clear at the meeting that ExxonMobil had not advised anyone how to clean this stuff up and they offered no such instructions at the meeting, only a suggestion to talk to a claims adjuster.)

At this point, Dr. Ellen was asked to step up and give her qualifications. She then claimed that the material discharged was “spent FCC catalyst” which had aluminum oxides in it but was not dehydrated aluminum. She also said it includes amorphous silica, and kaolin (a binder made from clay.) She described this as an “irritant” which could cause coughing or wheezing for asthmatics but had “no short term or long term health effects.” Dr. Ellen was extremely defensive on this point.

Another resident noted that FCC catalyst often contains “rare earth elements” and heavy metals, which are used to increase production. He asked if that was used in the ESP. The question was not answered; instead, Dr. Ellen kept repeating the answer that the “dust” tested had aluminum oxides, kaolin and amorphous silica. The commenter was not satisfied with this answer and noted that what goes in the ESP will also go out. He also asked about the insulation used and if was tested for asbestos. Brian said, yes, none was found. (Notably, it came out in later testimony that large chunks of insulation were also blown out into the neighborhood.)

Next comment was asking why local schools were not provided with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) or even dust masks for use during an emergency or instruction to “shelter in place.” He had been advised by the principal of North Torrance High School (where his son attends and which is close to refinery) that the principal had asked for this from ExxonMobil many times and it had never been provided. He asked if ExxonMobil would be providing PPE and gas masks to local schools and residences.

Brian responded with the comment, “I get it. “ He said that money isn’t an issue here, they want to make people safe. He claimed, “We care deeply” and this is a “wake up call” for ExxonMobil. But, he offered no promises or commitment that anything would be done.

A gentleman named Kahn commented several times. He was very emotional. He claims that someone in his family lost a “baby” because of toxic exposure after this event. Brian called this a “tragedy.”

Another gentleman asked for Brian to provide the phone number and name of ExxonMobil’s lead investigator. As I noted, Brian had nothing to provide. He seemed surprised that someone was asking for this. Brian did note that “LA Hazmat,” Torrance Fire Dept., CALOSHA and the Chemical Safety Board were doing their own investigations and said that you could look those numbers up.

Steve Goldsmith offered public comment that the first phone number provided by ExxonMobil was disconnected and that he had called the second number, which promised a response within 24 hours, but this had not happened. He had been playing tennis at a local club when “fibrous flakes” (versus “regular dust”) started raining down. He asked why there had not information provided about how to clean this up as well as the massive flaring that occurred afterward and the fact it would have air quality impact. He noted that his eyes were stinging after this and the community needed to be better informed.

Joe Mendez spoke next. He commented that “globs” of insulation and catalyst dust came into his yard and that when he tried to wash it off his sidewalk, that it left stains. He wanted more information on how to clean up.

Dave Campbell next spoke from United Steel Workers. There were several USW workers present, including workers outside holding up a sign. USW has workers at this facility. He came with the Material Safety Data Sheet for “spent catalyst” on his phone. He asked if ExxonMobil would provide it. He then contradicted the claim that this is not like “earth dust.” It contains heavy metals, aromatic oils and can cause cancer with long term exposure. (At this point, Dr. Ellen got upset again and said that this is not what they found when they tested.) Dave Campbell then volunteered to have USW provide dust masks for local schools and do independent testing of dust and materials people had in their yards.

Sherry Lear, 2nd from left

Sherry Lear, 2nd from left

Sherry Lear (me) spoke after Dave Campbell. I identified myself as a Torrance business owner, that my husband works in Torrance literally across the street from this refinery and that my son goes to school. I complained that my son’s private school didn’t get notice to shelter in place for at least an hour (or what that meant) and that my office didn’t get a call about this event (via the phone tree) for 2 hours. (My secretary saw the flaming on her way into work.) I also asked about what materials had been discharged during the massive flaming including how much sulfur. Brian said he didn’t have that information to give to us although they had already reported it to AQMD because he didn’t expect people would be asking him questions about sulfur. He gave me no commitment on when this information would be made available.

A Lawyer from USW spoke and asked about hydrofluoric acid production at the refinery and indicated that USW would be making a public records request. He also indicated ExxonMobil needs to do a better job of public preparedness and extensive outreach.

Alicia Rivera next spoke for CBE. She indicated that workers reported very unusual strong smells for an hour before the explosion and that management decided to proceed with operations. She also talked about the USW strike and how it was to get safer worker conditions and the concern with refining of heavier and more dangerous crudes. Alicia said the Chemical Safety Board and not the AQMD need to investigate this event.

A woman from the audience volunteered that two workers who had been interviewed by NBC4 on the day of the event had been fired. Brian denied these were ExxonMobil employees (could be contracted workers.)

Carl Walter lives on Sara Drive near the refinery. He called this “fibrous dust” and was also concerned about the lack of information on toxicity. (Brian’s response was this had only happened 48 hours ago.)

Another commenter stated that ExxonMobil should be sending people out to clean up the dust. Brian made a comment, “Well, it looks like we will.”

Another commenter suggested that ExxonMobil should do public outreach to neighborhood watch programs so people can be better prepared. Brian said this was a good idea.

A female commenter noted that this refinery had 9 violations since 2010 and was fined $100K, which ExxonMobil has appealed. Brian commented that Cal OSHA did a safety review and found 2 serious violations and 12 general violations. The 2 serious violations were “closed” and the other 12 are in the process of being “closed.” Brian said “we are glad” that the violations were found and they are always looking for ways to get better and that they had “settled” the fines. He said these violations had “nothing” to do with the ESP which exploded.

Rodney Barnes lives near the refinery, had worked there as a third party contractor and also sat on the Citizen’s Advisory Panel (CAP) and suggested people join that. He had some specific questions about the ESP and said answers to these would explain what happened.

There were some other minor comments which I won’t repeat here. People in the audience asked for ExxonMobil to agree to another meeting in one month. That commitment was not made but Brian said that they would “have other meetings.”
My overall impression; this was a spin exercise. They came with as little information as possible, apologies and claims that they care about safety. What information provided was clearly intended to minimize this event. While some audience members talked about how ExxonMobil provided jobs and gave money to the community, the general mood is that people were pissed off at the lack of information and lack of response.

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