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Who I’m endorsing for Los Angeles Mayor: Eric Garcetti
My first choice for Los Angeles Mayor was Jan Perry, but Eric Garcetti was by far and beyond my second choice over Wendy Greuel. I could analyze and re-analyze where the two stand on issues just like every other self-appointed pundit in town, but as my readers know, I much prefer to deal with original facts and experiences that you’re not going to find anywhere else.
One of the key reasons I’m NOT supporting Wendy Greuel is because of the City Controllers Office—and her role personally—in spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on questionable and even outright bogus prosecutions concerning the Parking Occupancy Tax. After attempting to obtain a tape for months (the audio tapes of the Commission On Revenue Efficiency, CORE) which was in limbo while being transferred to the custody of the Los Angeles City Clerk’s office, I finally got my hands on the audio of a hearing in which the Office of Finance, the Police Commission, and the City Attorney’s office all made presentations about the administration of the Los Angeles City POT (Parking Occupancy Tax). There are about 23 more audio tapes I may have to peruse until I find the specific testimony I’m looking for (more about that shortly), but in the meantime what these three city departments said in the hearings are actually less interesting than what I know that they either knew or should have known and didn’t bother to tell the commission.
After listening to hours of testimony before CORE commissioners, here’s what I didn’t hear that I should have heard if those departments were intent upon being fully forthcoming. As has been many times repeated, The cruelest lies are often told in silence. – Robert Louis Stevenson:
The Office of Finance claimed that it supposedly does not refer cases to the City Attorney for collection or criminal prosecution until it has completed an internal office review with the taxpayer; in the most egregious case which CORE commissioners specifically queried about, the city employee charged with working the case out retired, moved to Arizona, nobody bothered to inform the company which was trying to work out differences over what was owed, and then without warning the City Attorney charged the company and its president in criminal court. Nobody from either the Office of Finance or the City Attorneys office owned up to this behavior to the commissioners.
The Office of Finance claimed that they send out tax assessments to the taxpayers which the taxpayers then have an opportunity to contest. Conveniently, they didn’t bother to admit to the fact (I have personally witnessed the documents, the mailing dates, and accompanied the company representatives to the Office of Finance which could come up with no rational explanation for this and made no effort to fix the problem) that the City of Los Angeles contracted with a Sacramento mailing house to send these tax notices. That mailing house saved up the assessment notices for months at a time and then sent them all in bulk to the taxpayer well after the date that they were allowed to contest the assessment.
When a taxpaying company for the POT no longer owns or operates a parking lot, they are supposed to send in a change notice. Those change notices would go to a post office box of the City of Los Angeles. During court testimony though, not one single Office of Finance witness was able to say who picked up and processed or how those change notices were processed. The company that was being prosecuted, as just one example, had been charged by the Office of Finance for years no matter how many notices they sent in for tens of thousands of dollars a month for the purported parking lot which was in fact the construction site for the new Los Angeles Police Department headquarters, which now houses the unit of the Police Commission which is supposed to grant police permits for the operation of that very location as a parking lot. My contention that the Office of Finance, Police Commission, and City Attorney knew or should have known that the construction site of the Police Headquarters really is an accusation that demands an answer!
Now for the $64,000 – er – make that $65 million question – is, how did the City of Los Angeles, specifically, Wendy Greuel, have the chutzpah to accuse my client, Prestige Parking, Inc. at a press conference (not to be confused with other companies with similar names) of owing $65.1 million in POT right in the middle of a criminal trial over the issue. According to the Los Angeles Downtown News (July 24, 2009):
Tops on the list is Prestige Parking Inc., which operates about 30 parking lots throughout the city and is headquartered in Downtown. The list said Prestige owes $65.1 million [later upped to $72–JBT] in parking occupancy taxes, though company representatives strongly dispute that.
Names do not go up just because of a late bill. Christovale said delinquent taxpayers are sent a certified letter advising them that they have 30 days to settle or pay their debt. Those who do not respond or begin to negotiate a settlement are then posted on the list. Consequences for non-payers can include added penalties, interest and the loss of their business license, Christovale said.
As I have explained, what Christovale claims happens doesn’t really happen. Prestige Parking was in the middle of negotiating with the City – or thought it was while the guy they were negotiating with retired and moved to Arizona – when the City chose to prosecute them criminally.
To get up the gumption to make this accusation—announced by Wendy Greuel personally at a press conference—first, she had to have a way of fabricating the figures. Unless you put $65-$72 million dollars on a single company, she had no way of getting to at least over $100 million that she could blame on “tax scofflaws” to be used as scapegoats for the City budget deficit. These figures were also thrown into contract negotiations with City unions to lay the blame for deficits not on real waste, fraud and mismanagement, but on falsified city financial records showing higher tax receivables than actually existed. How do I know……?
Source Number One (SNO) who I interviewed a couple of years ago is a whistle blower employed by the City of Los Angeles. According to SNO the enormous figures that Wendy Greuel publicly accused Prestige Parking of owing to the City was generated by a “glitch” in the computer programming of the Office of Finance. At least one or more city employees had offered to fix the glitch and were ordered not to fix it. Based upon my interview of this whistle blower I sent a California Public Records Act request to the City and received the following response:
All writings constituting memoranda, reports, notes, cmails, and/or any other communications to and/or within the Office of Finance concerning and/or recommending changes, fixes, and/or corrections to the algorithm, logic (including but not limited to prepositional calculus and/or rules of inference), algebraic equation, mathematical calculus or other methodology used to calculate parking occupancy tax delinquencies authored by:
(a) employees of the City of Los Angeles
(b) independent contractors of the City of Los Angeles
(c) elected officials of the City of Los Angeles
Response to Request #3: The Office of Finance was unable to locate any records that are responsive to Request #3.
Source Number Two (SNT): SNT was an employee of CORE (Commission On Revenue Efficiency, as discussed above). According to SNT, the response to my CPRA request is non-sense because there was a deliberate methodology used by the Office of Finance designed to produce the maximally false POT figures to be levied against Prestige Parking. The Office of Finance computer program was intentionally set to produce a figure under the assumption that all of Prestige’s parking lots were full up 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and everybody who had any interest in the matter in the Office of Finance, the City Controller’s office and the City Attorney’s office had to know that little tidbit. SNT told me that this emerged during testimony to CORE which is contained in one of the 23 other audio tapes that I have yet to listen to.
Another way that Wendy Greuel helped to generate these phony figures was by the Controller’s Office hiring complete incompetents as “Investigators.” For example, one “Investigator” who refused to be interviewed by me during the criminal trial proceedings, used to be an IRS Criminal Investigation Division (CID) special agent but left federal service well before staying long enough to get his 20 year pension…..something nobody does unless they’re incompetent and about to be fired. He went into private practice for a couple of years as a certified fraud examiner, couldn’t make it in the private sector, and went to work for the City Controller. Why the city would hire somebody who couldn’t hold a job with the IRS or make it in private practice is beyond me, but they wound up with a guy who wound up testifying that he destroyed the notes he made of his investigation of Prestige.
The notes he destroyed included his notes of a surveillance of a Shell Gas Station at 3201 Wilshire Blvd (Los Angeles CA 90010). His destruction of his notes was convenient because in his sworn testimony in court, he tried to justify why the Office of Finance was assessing tens of thousands of dollars per month on the location even though there was no evidence that Prestige ever owned, operated, or had anything whatsoever to do with the location. Incidentally, this location was about three blocks down the street from an Office of Finance unit and personnel there refused my invitation to walk or drive down the street so I could prove to them that the figures they were generating against Prestige Parking for 3201 Wilshire were obviously bogus. This City Controller “Investigator” also refused to be interviewed by me prior to the criminal trial, something which is his right, but which is also a ground for impeachment of him as a witness since refusal to be interviewed by either side demonstrated his bias against the defense.
While the City was busy fabricating receivables it knew didn’t really exist and pretending that so-called tax scofflaws were to blame for the City’s budget deficit, Wendy Greuel’s Controller’s Office was letting very serious real troughs of money “fall through the cracks” in its audits. As the Los Angeles Times recently pointed out:
Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times May 9, 2013, 10:33 p.m.
During years of cuts to basic services, Los Angeles city officials say, nearly $43 million piled up unnoticed in a Department of Transportation fund because of an accounting error.
The discovery of $42.6 million will be a welcome one-time infusion into next year’s budget, officials said, but has left them worried that other such funds may still be undiscovered.
Had the money been discovered sooner, it might have added a few million dollars annually to the city fund that pays for police, fire and other basic services during years that city employees were forced to take furloughs and pay cuts.
“It frankly makes me a little concerned about what other costs aren’t being accounted for,” City Councilman Paul Krekorian said during a budget meeting Wednesday. “$42.6 million is a lot to fall through the cracks.”
My Wish List for the Next City Administration
Memorializing the Truth About Los Angeles History….
During the racist “Zoot Suit Riots” in 1943 in which soldiers, marines, and sailors attacked Latinos in East Los Angeles during World War II, then-Mayor Fletcher Bowron brazenly urged the military police and shore patrol to unleash military personnel against the Chicano/Mexican community after they had been reined in, because in Bowron’s opinion the community had not yet been taught a sufficient lesson about its status. In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Zoot Suit Riots, a monument should be placed at Fletcher Bowron Square to expose him as a racist and a pig.
In 1942 Japanese Americans were ordered to report to 120 N San Pedro (now 120 N Judge John Aiso), then a Japanese American church and now the home of the East West Players so that they could be hauled off to concentration camps. A monument to the fact that Americans were sent to concentration camps from that location is in order, lest future generations forget.
In 1871, Officer Emil Harris attempted against the odds of a mob of about 100 to save the lives of innocent Chinese immigrants from lynching in the Chinatown area until he and one colleague were beaten and the immigrants were physically taken from their custody. Later, Harris, a Jewish immigrant from Prussia, shot Tiburcio Vasquez during his apprehension near the corner of Kings Road and Santa Monica Blvd and then prevented the posse from lynching him, insisting that Vasquez be brought in for trial. Later, Harris became Los Angeles’s first private investigator. Monuments to the 1871 “Chinese Massacre” and to Harris’s role in standing up to mob violence and lynching are appropriate.
Los Angeles has a monument extolling the alleged virtues of a battle in which a Mormon unit from Utah helped to RE-CONQUER Los Angeles. On September 23, 1846, Los Angelinos, who had peacefully surrendered to American forces of Commodore Stockton during the Mexican American War, revolted against Captain Archibald Gillespie of the United States Marine Corps after he improperly imposed martial law on the City of Los Angeles. Under Captain Jose Maria Flores, Los Angelinos drove the Marines out of Los Angeles, drove American forces out of Southern California all the way from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, and in essence liberated Southern California as free Mexican territory while the front lines of the war still raged in what we now call Mexico. The courageous Los Angelenos who fought against the attempts of the United States to seize territory to extend Southern slavery, widely condemned by Americans from Henry David Thoreau to Abraham Lincoln, should be commemorated with a monument.
2,000 New Cops? Maybe, but what kind of cops do we need?
Wendy Greuel has proposed hiring 2,000 new Los Angeles Police Officers even though street crime is at all time lows and forget the fact that she has made no rational explanation as to how she intends to pay for hiring 2,000 more officers. How about combating crime that doesn’t make it into the daily newspapers or reported about on television instead?
Let’s say that instead of hiring 2,000 police officers, the State of California hired 2,000 Deputy Labor Commissioners to go out and investigate wage, hour, and working condition violations. They could investigate by hanging around in working class industrial areas near industries like textiles where violations are known to be rampant. They could go to after hours bars or restaurants with community organization representatives to simply ask workers whether they’re being exploited, build up evidence for search warrants, conduct raids, and put the fear of god or the devil into companies that have been getting away with exploitation forever.
On the other hand, you could hire a whole bunch of housing inspectors for the County Health Department and put on full time toxic mold inspectors and a laboratory to respond immediately to mold reports. Invariably, these reports are made by the poor. The County Health Department does not and will not take admissible evidence nor test evidence of mold for people who report it. The people who report it can’t afford to hire one of the private firms to get it tested. If County Health won’t do it, why not have the City Rent Stabilization office hire mold inspectors and a laboratory to conduct tests at every unit where a tenant reports landlord harassment or other violations and order immediate rent moratorium on any unit with a toxic mold infestation?
Targeting Economic Crime in Family Law
There is always a crime wave in Family Law proceedings in which mostly males violate Section 270 of the California Penal Code (failure to support a child) which happens to be a crime and Section 118 of the Penal Code, perjury, especially when it comes to hiding assets. No matter how big the lie or how big the value of the assets concealed, the police will simply not investigate and nobody will prosecute, at least under the current crop of leaders we have in city and county government. How about hiring a unit of City Attorney investigators as a task force to combat these crimes against women and children?
Cracking Down on Discrimination in City Employment
For background on what’s been going on during the Villaraigosa administration, see my past postings:
The Bottom Line
With Wendy Greuel’s track record, I have no confidence whatsoever in her ability to make the right choices for administration and public policy in Los Angeles. I have the confidence in Eric Garcetti that something will get done and frankly, I’m confident that his performance has to be a major improvement compared with Antonio Villaraigosa. Eric has pledged to ask all city department heads to re-apply for their jobs…..that’s a great start especially when it comes to the Office of Finance. Wendy Greuel couldn’t possibly do that with the Office of Finance because their administrations have been thick as thieves, quite literally, and lord knows who in the Office of Finance knows what other bodies are buried in the City Controller’s office.
Last night, on the recommendation of my friend Sharon Jimenez from the Bring Hollywood Home Foundation (a person who I really hope becomes “Film Czar” in the next mayoral administration) I went to Pips (1356 S La Brea Ave Los Angeles CA 90019) with celebrity photographer Donna Dymally. The one word which describes Pips is that it truly has Class!
I had not been to this location in about 30 years, but when it was Anna Maria’s Italian restaurant, it became one of my favorite hang-outs with my late mentor, Jim McDonald. We made a habit of trying restaurants from the “Playboy Preferred” two-for book that I got with my Playboy Club membership (that’s a long story for my feminist entourage). Pips is still Italian, featuring Argentine Master Chef Luis Carizo Salvat (mis companeros Argentinos, take note) and owned by African American Entrepeneur Derrick Pipkin.
From the cocktails (I had the “All that Jazz”) to accompany the stupendous Jeff Robinson jazz vocals and band (he’s the feature every Friday night starting at 8:00 p.m.) to the bread to the appetizer to the entree, everything was delicious and served with class. Every Italian restaurant these days will of course serve the bread with oil and balsamic vinegar….but how many restaurants put minced garlic in the oil? Pips does.
Here’s a mystery for you that you have to solve by going to Pips and finding out for yourself: the visual presentation of the vegetables. In all my years of eating out, cooking professionally myself in my youth, and doing investigations for restauranteur clients, I have never seen anything like the way the vegetables were visually presented with my Linguine Pescatore. It was nothing short of classy and brilliant!
The eggplant parmesan appetizer was a meal in itself and as Donna exclaimed over and over, “it melts in your mouth.” Donna had a “small” pizza which was enormous for a single person. I tried the Linquine Pescatore with shrimp, mussels, white fish and salmon fillets in a white wine sauce and it was both stupendous and enormous; I had to take home about three quarters of the meal as it was such a large portion.
Anyway, if you trust my palate and my taste, check out Pips. You won’t be disappointed in the least.
My friend Donna Dymally was performing community service to work off a traffic ticket fine at Goodwill Industries International Inc.’s store in the Park La Brea area, Los Angeles 90036. Required to sign a waiver of liability for any injuries she might suffer to begin with, here is what she has recently had to endure:
On Monday, April 30, 2013, at approximately 1:57PM, I was doing community service at the Goodwill located at 817 S. La Brea, Los Angeles CA 90036. I was assisting an employee, Jennifer Sajia with moving a clothes rack when she accidentally ran over my right big toe with a clothes rack that was completely filled with garments.
I was informed by manager, Kelly White that I could call 911 but I would be responsible for all charges. Since I suffered a stroke last year, I have been unable to work and I am waiting on my disability payments to be approved, I could not afford to incur this additional debt. My daughter who works down the street came and picked me up shortly after.
I asked the acting manager, Kelly White if I could have a copy of the incident report for my record. She had me fill it out and I also gave her a hand written attachment of what occurred (which I wrote in duplicate) She informed me that Goodwill’s corporate office told her not to provide me with a copy. Kelly White did inform me that I could speak with corporate and gave me the phone number to call.
Upon immediately leaving the premises at approximately 2:08PM, I called corporate and talked with Goodwill representative Minerva (323) 223-1211. She told me corporate should respond to my call within 24 hours and that did not occur until today (May 2, 2013).
A male called me and failed to identify himself from the Goodwill corporate office. He refused to provide me with any record of the injury incident, refused to provide me with anything identifying how many hours of community service work I was credited with (so I cannot even determine if I have completed my assignment or not), and told me I would have to subpoena anything. He hung up without even giving me his name or title.
Here is my letter to the President of Goodwill, Jim Gibbons, which I sent before the guy called from their corporate office:
Jim Gibbons, President, Goodwill Industries International, 15810 Indianola Drive, Rockville MD 20855
Dear President Gibbons:
The California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC), an affiliate of the National League of Latin American Citizens (NLLAC), has received a request for assistance from Donna Dymally who has been performing community service in lieu of a traffic ticket fine at one of your facilities in Los Angeles. She was injured in the course and scope of her volunteer job and indicates that this may impact her ability to complete her community service.
Ms. Dymally is fully cognizant that she signed a waiver of rights concerning potential injuries during her volunteer duties. She does however need confirmation of the incident to provide to the Los Angeles Superior Court in the event that this adversely affects her legally. She indicates that in spite of being assured by her supervisor from Goodwill that the corporate office would respond to her within 24 hours and that the corporate office had directed that she not be provided with a copy of the incident report, that corporate has not returned her telephone call. Following is her narrative:
On Monday, April 30, 2013, at approximately 1:57PM, While doing community service at the Goodwill located at 817 S. LaBrea, Los Angeles CA 90036. I was assisting an employee, Jennifer Sajia with moving a clothes rack when she accidentally ran over my right big toe with a clothes rack that was completely filled with garments.
I was informed by manager, Kelly White that I could call 911
but I would be responsible for all charges. Since I suffered a stroke last year, I have been unable to work and I am waiting on my disability, I could not afford to incur this additional debt. My daughter who works down the street came and picked me up shortly after.
I asked the acting manager, Kelly White if I could have a copy of the incident report for my record. She had me fill it out and I also gave her a hand written attachment of what occurred (which I wrote in duplicate) She informed me that corporate told her not to provide me with a copy. Kelly White did inform me that I could speak with corporate and gave me the phone number to call.
Upon immediately leaving the premises at approxmately 2:08PM, I called corporate and talked with Goodwill representative Minerva (323) 223-1211. She told me corporate should respond to my call within 24 hours and that has not occurred to date.
Miya Dymally [phone number]
Jennifer Sajia – Goodwill employee
Evelyn Alvarez – Goodwill employee
Kelly White – Acting manager
Nina – Goodwill customer [phone number]
Local Goodwill (323) 931-3239
We would appreciate it if you would direct your personal attention to this matter to insure that Ms. Dymally receives proper and appropriate documentation of this matter to document for the court that she may not be able to timely complete her community service requirement.
Respectfully Yours, Jan B. Tucker, State Director, CALLAC
Okay, Goodwill shouldn’t have pissed me off by shafting one of my friends. Over the years, I’ve heard other horror stories about how they exploit their workers but these were always anecdotal and second or third hand. Now I know the story from the horse’s mouth. So, the first thing I do is check the IRS Form 990 for 2012 for Goodwill Industries International, Inc. Guess what: the 990T they filed for 2012 claims that their business is “real estate rental.” So I get confused. I started with Goodwill Industries International because that’s the entity which operates the Goodwill Industries website.
Turns out that Goodwill is locally incorporated all over the place as separate entities. There’s Goodwill Industries of Southern California whose Form 990 for the period ending December 31, 2011 shows that it’s gross revenue was $145,296,438.00. The compensation of Douglas H. Barr, listed as President and CEO, was $1,075,614.00 plus an additional $113,119.00. The total compensation of Officers and Directors of the company was listed as $3,763,936.00 compared with other salaries and wages, i.e., the rank and file workers: $33,676,900.00.
Do you think it’s right that the poverty pimps at the top are so highly paid as a percentage of total wages? I don’t.
A man who worked for Goodwill in Oregon and tried to unionize his store didn’t think so either. Here’s an excerpt from a blog he wrote about his efforts (see the full story at http://amongstthemeek.blogspot.com/2011/09/my-letter-of-resignation-to-goodwill.html):
I haven’t posted on here for a while now. There has been a reason for that. I have been trying to unionize my workplace, Goodwill Industries of the Columbia Willamette which is located in Portland Oregon and the surrounding areas. It will actually be my former workplace as of this morning. My decision to resign has been a long time coming. I had been one of the employees from the beginning to try to get GICW employees to join a union since last fall. That fall I approached another employee about it, Doug M., and the next day we had an anti-union meeting with two of the higher ups in the company. Obviously you just can’t trust some people. You’ll read about the higher ups later.
So, what can I say: fuck Goodwill and fuck the horse they rode in on. Unionize Goodwill. Boycott Goodwill. Take action.
What am I going to do? I’m going to seek action in the legislature to:
- Outlaw companies benefiting from community service, i.e., slave labor imposed by the courts on the poor, from making them sign waivers of liability for workplace injuries
- Require that community service workers and other volunteers have a right to review records kept about them on the same basis as employees under Section 1198.5 and Section 432 of the California Labor Code
- Require that tax exempt non-profit corporations agree to union-neutrality and neutral card-check rules to enable their employees to form and join unions without management opposition or interference
If you want to help, call, write or email your Assembly member and State Senator and tell them you want these reforms enacted into law.
May 25, 2013 12 noon until 12 midnight — 2277 El Dorado Street, Torrance CA 90501
The last weekend in May 1997, Gyula Tamas Zubovicz (the Dracula of the Dracula Crime Family of the Hungarian Mafia) was murdered on the orders of Semion Mogilevich (head of the Red Mafiya), but he survived having his legs blown off, only to be poisoned in his hospital bed. However, nobody cut off his head, put a stake through his heart, or dragged him out into the sunlight. We had him buried in Transylvanian Earth, so he is just resting until he gets better.
William Marshall, the actor who played Blacula, died June 5, 2003.
The only person who knew both Dracula and Blacula is Jan B. Tucker, who wears the ring of Dracula, cast from the original mold from which Bela Lugosi’s ring was made.
Join us for the annual Dracula party, now renamed to include our brother Blacula for the 10th anniversary of his going to the land of dead, so that we can resurrect them into the land of the undead by consuming BBQ Blutwurst (Body of Dracula) and Vampire Label Red Wine imported from Transylvania (Blood of Dracula) as the sacraments of resurrection.
Potluck–email for suggestions, firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Event page for RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/231572956985194/
The Small Freaky World of White Collar Crime
If you watch television and follow series like HBO’s the Sopranos or USA Network’s White Collar you might get the impression that the white collar crime world is a very small one in which there are never more than two or three (or less) levels of separation or connection between different criminals and different crime organizations. The fact is, it’s more like a Venn Diagram with multiple overlapping social circles of criminals and criminal organizations. In fact, it resembles the line of actor Robert Davi (playing “Franz Sanchez”) in the James Bond flick License to Kill when he tells his potential business partners, “Drug Dealers of the World Unite.”
Time and again, I wind up investigating the same criminals over and over and over again, sometimes for their honest adversaries, sometimes in conjunction with or directly for law enforcement agencies, and sometimes for their former criminal rivals who are attempting to stay out of trouble. During the trial of United States vs. Anthony Pellicano et al (et al = “and others”), when I was court appointed to investigate on behalf of one of Tony’s co-defendants who was adversarial to his interests, well over twenty (20) times (I eventually lost count) I had to advise my client of potential or theoretical conflicts of interest based upon my past investigations of names that kept surfacing. They ranged from people involved with the Hungarian Mafia to the Red Mafiya to the Jewish Defense League.
I’ve been on an international financial investigation over the past several years involving some serious money laundering that took on a whole new meaning with the banking melt down in Cyprus. Already, there had been some people involved that I’d investigated in the past for other clients. Then in the past few days, a name surfaced that blows everything out of proportion and puts it in a whole new light: Amr Ibrahim Elgindy.
Before I get to Elgindy’s role in this whole jigsaw puzzle of a case, review my previous posting that relates to a number of the players: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/09/02/information-wanted-dead-alive-or-otherwise/
Additionally, before I deal with Elgindy and what he’s been up to, let me recount a timeline to see if you, my readers, think it’s suspicious or whether I’ve just seen too many film noir movies. Unless otherwise specified, the following timeline has to do with a “Mr. L:”
6/29-30/09—ATM withdrawals in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
7/3/09—Purchases Spanish airline ticket
7/6/09—ATM withdrawal in Madrid, Spain
7/8/09—Makes an online transaction using a British firm, brzsupport.com
7/9-10/09—Financial transactions in North Carolina
7/10-7/14/09—series of financial transactions in Greece. Now, here’s where it gets really interesting, because my reliable confidential sources tell me that Mr. L didn’t want a financial paper trail leading to him going to Cyprus where Red Sea Investments (linked with Red Sea Management) happened to have an office, so he flies in to Greece and from there pays cash for a boat trip over to Cyprus.
7/14/09—Mr. L flies back in to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport for all you non-SoCal types)
7/28-8/16/09—Mr. L carries on a flurry of activity in Natick MA, August ME, Boston MA, Tampa FL, New York NY, West Hollywood CA, and finally Jamaica NY.
Why is the link to Red Sea Investments so intriguing? Well, Red Sea Investments was linked up the Kazoo to Sentry Global Securities. Check out this February 18, 2011 Reuters story:
(Reuters) – CO2 Tech Ltd, a publicly traded company that lured investors with claims about products and services to fight global warming, was full of nothing but hot air, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday.
It said the U.S. Justice Department had filed criminal fraud charges against six men, including stock promoters and traders, involved in a so-called “pump-and-dump scheme” built around shares of the company, which was purportedly based in London but had no significant assets or operations.
Pump-and-dump is a form of stock fraud in which promoters “pump up” or artificially inflate a company’s share price, usually through false or misleading press releases or other public statements, and then “dump” the stock at a profit.
According to an SEC civil complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the CO2 Tech scheme generated more than $7 million in illicit profits from sales of CO2 Tech stock, traded in the Pink Sheets, between late 2006 and April 2007.
The scheme was perpetrated through Red Sea Management Ltd, a Costa Rican asset protection and offshore investments company founded and led by Jonathan Curshen, the SEC said.
It said Curshen, a dual U.S.-UK citizen who lives in Sarasota, Florida, was free on conditional release pending his sentencing in another, unrelated, securities fraud case.
Curshen was instrumental in establishing the business plan that allowed him and his co-defendants to sell CO Tech stock at artificially inflated prices and bilk unsuspecting public investors out of millions, the SEC said.
An attorney for Curshen, 46, could not be reached for immediate comment. But the SEC said entities affiliated with Red Sea, which was founded in 1998, included Sentry Global Securities, a broker-dealer licensed by St, Kitts and Nevis, and Sentry Global Trust, Ltd, a St. Kitts-incorporated trust.
Red Sea had true global reach, as it used a web of nominee brokerage accounts to sell massive quantities of stock in a firm supposedly set up to save the world from greenhouse gas emissions, the SEC said.
It said the company had opened bank accounts for shell corporations in countries including the Republic of Seychelles, Cyprus, Panama and Tanzania as part of its fraudulent stock scheme.
(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)
Now let’s get back to a prior timeline in Mr. L’s activities:
9/18/08—wire transfer from Sentry Global Securities (SGS) to Mr. L, $850,000
9/19/08—wire transfer from SGS to Mr. L, $850,000
9/23/08—wire transfer from SGS to Mr. L, $700,000
9/24/08—cash withdrawal from account by Mr. L, $2,000,000
9/24/08—cash withdrawal from account by Mr. L, $5,000
9/25/08—Domestic Funds Transfer from Mr. L to Hoffman & Pollok, a New York white collar criminal defense law firm, $25,000
10/8/08—wire transfer from SGS to Mr. L, $600,000
10/8/08—wire transfer from Mr. L from one of his accounts to another, $750,000
10/9/08—wire transfer from SGS to Mr. L, $250,000
10/9/09—wire transfer from Mr. L. from one of his accounts to another, $1,000,000
10/14/08—wire transfer from SGS to Mr. L, $850,000
10/30/08: Now here’s the big one: from various wire service reports:
U.S., Costa Rican police raid San
José office in $100M fraud investigation
U.S. agents and Costa Rican police yesterday raided Red Sea/Sentry Global offices in downtown San José, seizing documents in an investigation of a $100 million U.S. fraud scheme, according to wire reports.
The raided offices house branches for the firms Red Sea Management, Sentry Global Trust, Sentry Global Securities and Global Financial Logistics, AFP news agency reported.
The raid is in connection with an FBI sting in New York that led to the arrest of Jonathan R. Curshen, who is the Caribbean island St. Kitts and Nevis’ honorary consul to Costa Rica, on fraud allegations in September.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Don’t tell me that the Feds and other international law enforcement agencies and prosecutors don’t have access to the same kind of information I’ve outlined above. They would all have to be completely, utterly and totally incompetent not to have gotten the kind of stuff I’ve gotten on this case. So, what explains why Mr. L has not been indicted along with everybody else involved with Sentry Global? Inquiring minds want to know!
Based upon my background, training, education and experience, the timeline in which Mr. L apparently retains a white collar criminal defense firm in the middle of what a reasonable spectator would see as potentially suspicious (like, money laundering) and then continues to receive huge wire transfers shortly before the raid on Sentry’s Costa Rica offices suggests a scenario I’ve seen plenty of times in the past. If I was in Mr. L’s shoes and a federal prosecutor’s shoes, I’d get a deal with Mr. L to agree to a sealed indictment and then continue to have him act as a “confidential human source” (a fancy federal term for a snitch). He’d need a firm of the caliber of Hoffman & Pollok to negotiate such a deal for him.
Enter “Anthony” Elgindy
There are two small world stories involving Elgindy with me. First and most peripheral is that his brother used to be press spokesperson for then-Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia. My great old friend Jeff Pilch also used to be on Cynthia’s staff, I admire a lot of her political endeavors, and we collaborated to an extent on the Peace & Freedom Party presidential campaign of Roseanne Barr.
The other story involves my past investigation of Elgindy, who also just happened to be incarcerated at the same time as some of my clients in Terminal Island federal prison in San Pedro, California. Amongst other things, Elgindy is notorious because, as pointed out by a May 25, 2002 New York Times article:
In a court hearing in San Diego, Kenneth Breen, an assistant United States attorney, said the adviser, Amr Ibrahim Elgindy, tried to sell $300,000 in stock on the afternoon of Sept. 10 and told his broker that the stock market would soon plunge. ”Perhaps Mr. Elgindy had preknowledge of Sept. 11, and rather than report it he attempted to profit from it,” Mr. Breen said. [Emphasis added]
According to sources who were then incarcerated with Elgindy at FCI Terminal Island, he was overheard having very interesting conversations on the telephone with certain parties, who for purposes of this article shall remain nameless and cryptic. His otherwise typical Anglo American wife would visit wearing very conservative Muslim garb.
Amongst his other exploits, Elgindy brought down with him two FBI Special Agents who went to prison or probation for unlawfully supplying him with confidential federal investigation information that he used for his pump-and-dump schemes. Wikipedia defines pump-and-dump schemes in part as:
“Pump and dump” is a form of microcap stock fraud that involves artificially inflating the price of an owned stock through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell the cheaply purchased stock at a higher price. Once the operators of the scheme “dump” their overvalued shares, the price falls and investors lose their money. Stocks that are the subject of pump and dump schemes are sometimes called “chop stocks”.
While fraudsters in the past relied on cold calls, the Internet now offers a cheaper and easier way of reaching large numbers of potential investors.
Several episodes of the Sopranos describe how organized crime took control of brokerages to foment these schemes. For a detailed narrative of how these ripoffs took place, see http://www.sec.gov/news/testimony/ts142000.htm
In convoluted investigations of the sort in which I previously investigated Elgindy, one can never be certain of all the players, who the opposition is, who might also be out there investigating the same people for other players and other reasons; it’s always a big mess. So for example, in the investigation involving Elgindy, I wind up finding out that another Private Investigator [long time associated with the Jewish Defense League] just conveniently and temporarily wound up renting some space in a building that figured prominently in my investigation….right by a company whose principals believed that they’d been bugged…..and, some sources indicated to me that Private Investigator Anthony Pellicano, later convicted of illegal wiretapping on unrelated cases, was alleged by one of my sources to have has his finger in Elgindy’s pie.
A June 8, 2002 article in the New York Times indicated that:
a. Amr Elgindy was characterized as “…a liar and a thief who avoided prison mainly because of his willingness to turn in co-conspirators in stock frauds…”
b. A former SEC investigator is quoted as speaking of Elgindy as “He always had an in with somebody…If it wasn’t the authorities, it was the press.”
c. The FBI performed a search of Elgindy’s home about a month before the article appeared.
d. He was arrested in 1986 for ADW but the charges were dropped.
e. The government acknowledged in court that Elgindy’s “tips were valuable”regarding Wall Street criminal activity.
f. Elgindy secretly recorded conversations and showed off a stack of taperecordings to a Barron’s reporter.
g. FBI Special Agent Jeffrey A. Royer wrote a letter on Elgindy’s behalf for a probation hearing.
h. The government investigated Elgindy’s place of an order to sell $300,000 in stock the day before 911.
During a prosecution of another man indicted for Securities Fraud based upon Elgindy’s instigation, the prosecutors conveniently failed to notify the defendant of any of the above information as required by the United States Supreme Court’s Brady vs Maryland decision as potentially exculpatory evidence. Before he himself went to prison, Elgindy boasted on his website that:
Anthony@Pacific is Anthony Elgindy, a professional securities analyst and trader with over a decade of experience. He is famous for consistently making successful short-sale trades in the face of a raging Bull Market.
Anthony is also an expert witness for securities cases, and has aided the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers, the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and numerous other U. S. Federal and State agencies in putting stock criminals behind bars.
Anthony’s professional successes have been covered by most major financial publications, including Forbes, Barrons, The Wall Street Journal, and ABC Television’s 20/20 and The Discovery Channel’s Justice Files.
Enter Mr. K
Mr. K figures prominently in my obituary [posthumous hatchet job] on the late attorney, Richard G. Sherman: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/06/22/richard-shermans-death-buries-more-than-one-body/
Mr. W, an Israeli national convicted felon racketeer of the Jerusalem Network (who probably started snitching off Israeli ecstasy dealers all over the world in exchange for early parole in the U.S. and for not being deported to Israel upon release from prison) introduced Mr. L to Richard Sherman and to Mr. K. These circles led Mr. L to get involved, according to my sources, with all sorts of shenanigans. Many of the schemes revolved around Las Vegas, and involved a financial chess game where properties were transferred back and forth, frequently by “auction” so that a loophole permitted them to escape IRS 1099 reporting of the value of the transactions.
These transactions also involved phony and inflated repair bills for these “distressed properties” and the filing of bogus claims and lawsuits on homeowners insurance policies based on those bills. In flipping the homes back and forth between various limited liability companies, foreclosures were used to cover purported losses for tax purposes. Mr. L’s role in these swindles in part was to supply diamonds to pay off people who to the government appeared to be losing money in these transactions. I’m told that $63 million was loaned by a now failed bank to finance these transactions (one of the bank’s former officers is now serving a term in prison over unrelated allegations). I’m also told that approximately $23 million wound up in a certain Israeli owned bank in Zurich, Switzerland in an account whose signers were Mr. L, Mr. K, and Richard Sherman.
My sources also allege that a lot of the money involved began in the criminal food chain with a trough of dough derived from sales of ecstasy, primarily by the Jerusalem Network.
Downright Despicable: Affinity Fraud Against Holocaust Survivors
Arguably the most degenerate, despicable, and egregious aspect of these criminal enterprises is that these criminal circles – many of whom were exclusively or predominantly Jewish—engaged in Bernie Madoff style “affinity fraud” against holocaust survivors. An SEC bulletin describes “affinity fraud” as:
Affinity fraud refers to investment scams that prey upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or pretend to be – members of the group. They often enlist respected community or religious leaders from within the group to spread the word about the scheme, by convincing those people that a fraudulent investment is legitimate and worthwhile. Many times, those leaders become unwitting victims of the fraudster’s ruse. [http://www.sec.gov/investor/pubs/affinity.htm]
According to my informants, Mr. L, in connection with these Zurich banking transactions, traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, flying in with an Israeli passport. He then traveled to Zurich by train, paying cash, to avoid a paper trail on his credit cards and/or his United States Passport upon passing the Swiss border. Mr. L’s role was to induce holocaust survivors and their heirs who were applying to Swiss banks for reparations payments (due to the ripoff of their funds, see http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/01/27/romneys-swiss-account-bank-that-stole-from-holocaust-victims/), to invest their funds in the same Israeli owned bank in which he had his joint account (with Mr. K and Richard Sherman) in Zurich. Again, according to my sources, in connection with an Israeli – Lebanese Banker and the Bank’s own compliance officer, who had cohorts in the Jerusalem Network of the Israeli Mafia, about $20 million from these funds was then embezzled.
The embezzlement involved the bank setting up Panamanian corporations (highly secretive financial structures) for the survivors. Accounts at the bank were then started for those Panamanian corporations. The accounts were then moved to another Swiss bank—one at the heart of the corrupt ripoff of Jewish accounts in the first place. With connivance from this Swiss bank’s compliance officer, when survivors (all of whom were elderly to begin with) died, their accounts wound up getting transferred over to Lichtenstein business entities which were the holders of the Panamanian corporations. From there, the money winds up going to Costa Rica—where, you guessed it, Sentry Global Securities just happened to be located!
More of the Usual Suspects
In an administrative proceeding, the SEC made the following findings of fact about a friend and colleague of Mr. L, Kenneth A. Orr [http://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/34-50941.htm]:
A. Orr, age 38, was a registered representative associated with a registered broker-dealer, J.J. Morgan & Co., a brokerage firm later known as First Cambridge Securities Corp. (“First Cambridge”), and was a registered principal and president of First Cambridge from March 1994 until May 23, 1997. First Cambridge was registered with the Commission as a broker-dealer pursuant to Section 15(b) of the Exchange Act during the period of Orr’s employment.
B. On November 10, 1999, the Commission filed a civil action in federal district court against Orr and sixteen other defendants, charging Orr with violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, in connection with the kickback scheme outlined in subparagraph III.C hereof. SEC v. Curtis, et al., 99 Civ. 7357 (E.D.N.Y.) (“Curtis”).
C. The Commission’s complaint alleged that, while employed at First Cambridge, Orr received undisclosed compensation for selling stock of ICIS Management Group, Inc. (f/k/a/ Alter Sales Co., Inc.), a Florida corporation, and Pilot Transport Inc., a Nevada corporation.
D. On September 13, 2002, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York entered a Final Judgment of Permanent Injunction and Other Relief as to Kenneth A. Orr in Curtis, permanently enjoining Orr from future violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act, and Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, ordering Orr to disgorge $55,000 in ill-gotten gains, approximately $44,000 in prejudgment interest, and post-judgment interest, and ordering Orr to pay a civil penalty of $55,000. Orr consented to the entry of the final judgment without admitting or denying the allegations in the Commission’s Complaint.
E. Additionally, on January 3, 2002, Orr pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder money. United States v. Orr, 99 CR 1019 (E.D.N.Y). On May 21, 2002, a judgment in the criminal case was entered against Orr. He was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $3,000 fine.
Interestingly and maybe coincidentally, Orr has enmeshed himself with an affinity group similar to those targeted in the scam against the holocaust survivors. From Orr’s own blog [http://orrkenneth.wordpress.com/about/]
Other causes that have benefited from the Orr Foundation’s contributions include Kick-It, Ascent: A School for Individuals with Autism, Mosdot Shuva Israel, American Friends of Meir Panim, Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, and The Brendan & Liam Shanahan Foundation. Kenneth Orr sits on the Board of Directors of Aish HaTorah and the North Shore-LIJ Health System New Leadership Division. He is a Trustee for the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation…..
So here’s the intriguing thing. After I posted my September 2, 2011 blog that listed Orr, I get some very interesting documents sent to me by a whistleblower concerning a company called Ecologix Resource Group, Inc.. In speaking with the whistleblower, he indicates that the name of Mr. L’s primary public business entity sounded familiar. Before I get to the interesting linkages, here’s a tidbit about the company from Wiki Answers: “The Company was formerly known as Battery Control Corp. and changed its name to Ecologix Resource Group, Inc. on July 14, 2009. Ecologix Resource Group was founded in 2007 and is based in Beverly Hills, California” [http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_is_Ecologix_Resource_Group].
An internal shareholders report I obtained dated September 16, 2009 likewise lists the company’s address as SUITE 918 9903 SANTA MONICA BLVD BEVERLY HILLS CA 90212 but yet, the California Secretary of State’s online corporate indexing system seems to have no record of the entity under either Battery Control Corp. or any variation of Ecologix (there were three former “Ecologix” entities, two suspended and one dissolved, but all were formed in 2002 or before). The company’s last SEC filing indicated that it was a Delaware corporation (IRS No.: 980556644 | State of Incorp.: DE | Fiscal Year End: 1231) but given that it continues to list it’s headquarters in Beverly Hills (269 SOUTH BEVERLY DRIVE STE. 1197 BEVERLY HILLS CA 90212) California law requires the company to have registered as a foreign corporation with the California Secretary of State.
The shareholders report lists stockholders all over the world, with quite a few in Israel.
Although Kenneth Orr wasn’t listed as a shareholder, a Barbara Orr of West Palm Beach FL and Brooklyn NY owned 855,000 shares (Kenny’s mother according to one of my informants) while a Jacqueline Orr of New Hope PA owned 30,000 at the time the report was generated. Penson Financial Services, Inc. of Dallas—an entity that Mr. L had accounts with—owned 300,000 shares of Ecologix and Kenny Orr controlled Triumph Small Cap Fund, Inc. of NY owned 3,102,999 shares. Penson incidentally, also figured in a complicated series of financial transactions that attracted the likes of criminals from Bernie Madoff to Semion Mogilevich (head of the Red Mafiya, implicated in the assassination of Gyula Tamas Zubovicz amongst others) [http://www.calibratedconfidence.com/2011/12/chapter-7-bernie-madoff-cover-up-blind.html?m=1]. Also invoking my analogy of the Venn Diagrams and a series of overlapping circles, an internal spreadsheet shows numerous ties including wire transfers between an attorney, Mr. DLK, who is also associated with Mr. L. The spreadsheet must have been generated by an auditor because it contains a number of questions (in red, apparently literally raising “red flags”) on certain line items, such as:
What is Majorie Group and what is the nature of the expense?
Is this a loan with Azure? Need a copy of the loan agreement
Is this a loan? If so, from who?
What was this a payment for?
Who is JD Lauren? What is the nature of this expense?
This is a loan payment but I do not see a loan from him.
Was this paid to him for consulting services? Did he obtain any assets for the company with this money?
Get the picture?
Another of Mr. L’s cohorts is Eric Weichselbaum, who was President of the Swiss Forex Group and Secure Currency Investments, Inc. (a suspended California Corporation). In 2004 he was convicted in federal court [http://www.lawfuel.com/may-25-2004-lawfuel-the-former-owner-of-a-beverly-hills-inves/]:
May 25, 2004 – LAWFUEL – The former owner of a Beverly Hills investment firm has been sentenced to 46 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that bilked investors out of more than $2 million dollars through a foreign currency options trading scam.
Eric Weichselbaum, 34, of Studio City, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. In addition to the prison term, Judge Anderson ordered Weichselbaum to pay $2.4 million in restitution to victims. Weichselbaum pleaded guilty in January 2003 to three counts of mail fraud.
In 2010, the sentencing judge issued a request by the United States Attorney’s office to order the sealing of a garnishment order concerning Weichselbaum to Mammoth Financial Services, Inc. based in Agoura Hills.
One of my sources claims (although I have seen no substantiating documents), that Weichselbaum was involved in auctions of homes in Las Vegas as described above, involving renovation and high priced sales with Israeli money that utilize a federal loophole in which no IRS 1099 is issued. This same source indicated that he assisted an individual currently serving time in Federal Prison to move about $500,000 to Israel.
The most surprising thing for me is that when I floated Weichselbaum’s name in this blog, out of the clear blue sky one of my completely unrelated clients in Nevada called and fingered Weichselbaum as a guy somehow associated with two of his own employees who’d embezzled a significant amount of money from his firm.
MORE TO COME, but meanwhile, you can help by circulating this blog to help me garner more information from the world-public at large:
As you have seen this is very unusual case that involves all sorts of white collar crime and I’m eager to get in touch with anybody who has information on any of the following people, places or institutions. Note that inclusion on the list doesn’t mean that they have done anything wrong; some of the people listed may be potential victims. Note also that some of these names may be very common so do not impute anything adverse just because somebody’s name might be in the list because of its commonality. If you know anything or know anybody who might know anything about these folks, bad, good, or otherwise, please e-mail me at:
1. Carmel Towers, Haifa, Israel (20-22 Hannah Senesh)
2. Dizengoff Models, Tel Aviv, Israel
3. Assaf Waknine
4. Hai Waknine
5. Meshulam Riklis
6. Norbert Aleman
7. Judah Hertz
8. Gala Asher
9. Kenneth A. Orr
10. Scott Kaplan
11. Eric Weichselbaum
12. Gyula Tamas Zubovicz
13. Semyon Mogilevich
14. Attorney Oscar A. Sabido, Belize City, Belize
15. Riverside Holdings, Belize
16. Union Securities of Canada
17. Caixa Galicia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
18.David C. Ricci
19. Ronny Morales Salazar
20. Eric Ariav Weinbaum
21. Yitzhak Zigdon
22. Robert L. Weidenbaum
23. Michael S. Krome
24. Steven Rothschild
25. Barbara Rothschild
26. Tasha Utendahl
27. Sentry Global Securities and Sentry Global Trust, Ltd.
28. Penson Financial Services
29. Red Sea Management
30. Global Financial Logistics
31. CO2 Tech Ltd
32. Ryan Reynolds
33. Nathan Montgomery
34. Timothy Barham, Jr.
36. Amr Ibrahim Elgindy aka Anthony Elgindy or Tony Elgindy
37. Philip Gurian
38. Alter Sales Company, Inc. aka ICIS Management Group, Inc.
39. Roddy DiPrimo S.A.
40. Adler, Coleman Clearing Corp.
41. Louis Ottimmo
42. Anthony Ottimmo
43. EKN Financial Services, Inc. formerly known as Ehrenkrantz, King, Nussbaum Inc.
44. Philip Pritchard
45. Pietro Cimino
46. Global Development & Environmental Resources, Inc.
47. Red Sea Investments aka Red Sea Management Ltd
48. Jonathan Randall Curshen
49. Jeffrey A. Royer (incarcerated former FBI special agent)
50. Richard Gilbert Sherman (deceased attorney)
51. Jerusalem Network (Israeli Mafia)
52. J.J. Morgan & Co. aka First Cambridge Securities Corp.
53. Pilot Transport, Inc.
54. Ecologix Resources Group, Inc. aka Battery Control Corp.
55. Triumph Small Cap Fund, Inc.
56. Majorie Group
57. J.D. Lauren
58. Swiss Forex Group
59. Secure Currency Investments
60. Mammoth Financial Services, Inc.
61. Bruce Grossman aka Brushes L. Grossman
63. First Curacao International Bank
64. Andres O. Hayes
65. Lucia Shum
66. Rabbi Gershon Miletski
67. Industrial Biotechnology Corp.
My friend, attorney Bill Shibley, is the son of George Shibley, late esteemed defense lawyer for the Sleepy Lagoon defendants and for Sirhan Sirhan amongst many others in his distinguished career. Los Angeles Mission College is doing a commemorative event on May 8 for the historic and infamous Sleepy Lagoon frame up trial and the Zoot Suit Riots, an ethnic cleansing pogrom against Chicano/Mexicano and African American Zoot Suiters by American soldiers, sailors, and marines in 1943 Los Angeles:
Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
For more information: Contact: Darlene Montes, (818) 364-7792Honoring the 70th Anniversary of the
Sleepy Lagoon Trial and Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles WHO/WHAT: CSUN Chicano Studies Professor Dr. Jorge Garcia and Pasadena City College Social Science Professor Dr. Enrique Orozco will discuss the events that took place during the Sleepy Lagoon Trial and Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940’s.Specials guests Eleanor Mendiaz and Candace Leyvas-Fortythe, surviving niece and great niece of Henry Leyvas, defendant in the Sleepy Lagoon Trial.WHEN Wednesday, May 8, 2013 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.WHERE Los Angeles Mission College
13356 Eldridge Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342Event Site: Campus Center Main
Sleepy Lagoon Trial and Zoot Suit Riots of Los Angeles WHO/WHAT: CSUN Chicano Studies Professor Dr. Jorge Garcia and Pasadena City College Social Science Professor Dr. Enrique Orozco will discuss the events that took place during the Sleepy Lagoon Trial and Zoot Suit Riots of the 1940’s.Specials guests Eleanor Mendiaz and Candace Leyvas-Fortythe, surviving niece and great niece of Henry Leyvas, defendant in the Sleepy Lagoon Trial.WHEN Wednesday, May 8, 2013 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.WHERE Los Angeles Mission College
13356 Eldridge Avenue
Sylmar, CA 91342Event Site: Campus Center Main
WHY: The event, co-sponsored by LAMC Chicano Studies
Department, MEChA, and Associated Student Organization
(ASO), is an informational session to provide students and the community with an overview of the incidents that lead to the Sleepy Lagoon Trial in 1942.COST FREE!INFORMATION John Morales, Chicano Studies Professor
Phone: (818) 364-7679
Phone: (818) 364-7679
My Note: The Los Angeles Plaza in downtown is technically “Fletcher Bowron Square.” Mayor Fletcher Bowron urged the MP’s and the Shore Patrol to unleash the soldiers, sailors, and marines so that they could continue to beat, rape, and otherwise fuck over Zoot Suiters during the riots. California League of Latin American Citizens (CALLAC) has long been demanding a historical monument at the plaza to memorialize that Fletcher Bowron was a pig and a racist. MAKE THIS AN ISSUE IN THE LOS ANGELES MAYOR’S RACE!–Jan B. Tucker, State Director, CALLAC
“Justice” Since the Sleepy Lagoon Case: Has anything changed?
According to Wikipedia, during the Sleepy Lagoon trial (People v Zammora et al):
Judge Fricke also permitted the chief of the Foreign Relations Bureau of the Los Angeles sheriff’s office, E. Duran Ayres, to testify as an “expert witness” that Mexicans as a community had a “blood thirst” and a “biological predisposition” to crime and killing, citing the culture of human sacrifice practiced by their Aztec ancestors.
People v. Zammora, 66 Cal.App.2d 166 (Oct. 4, 1944); in the appellate court decision it was noted that:
It was the contention of the prosecution that appellants had conspired together to commit murder, assaults with intent to commit murder, assaults with a deadly weapon and assaults by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury; that the objective and common design of such conspiracy was to wreak vengeance upon and against the so-called “Downey boys” who had allegedly assaulted some of the appellants earlier on the night in question; and that, in furtherance of such common design of revenge, and, as a natural and probable consequence of such common design and conspiracy, [66 Cal.App.2d 202] one or more members of such unlawful combination committed all of the crimes charged in the indictment. However, our examination of the record in this case convinces us that there is a complete lack of material and relevant evidence from which the jury could properly find or infer that appellants formed a conspiracy of the kind and type, or for the purposes, claimed by the prosecution. The most shown by the evidence is that appellants banded themselves together to “have it out … with their fists” with the “Downey boys” in retaliation for the fistic encounter that had taken place earlier that night. But, to say that they combined together with the avowed purpose of committing murder does violence to the factual situation presented by the record herein. There is also a total lack of evidence to show that any of the appellants murdered Diaz, and only the unsatisfactory evidence hereinbefore discussed in connection with defendant Parra to show that any defendant committed any assault with a deadly weapon. Indeed, respondents confess in their brief that “the evidence, however, in the hands of the prosecution unerringly pointed to the conclusion that some one or more of the defendants had been perpetrators of the crimes charged,” but we are not directed to any evidence in the record which identifies any of the appellants with the murder of Diaz or the assaults charged in counts II and III, except the testimony hereinbefore discussed as to appellant Parra in connection with the assault upon Joe Manfredi charged in count II.
So has anybody learned anything from the history of the Sleepy Lagoon trial or is it still the case as H. Rap Brown once put it, that “Justice in the United States means ‘Just Us White Folks?'”
In a case that I recently worked on–pro bono because the judge refused to appoint either myself or our expert witness psychologist and where the attorney wound up effectively pro bono after his meager retainer ran out–check out what the court allowed as admissible “expert testimony” — http://janbtucker.com/blog/2012/09/01/lapds-gift-to-ms-13-defense/
Here’s an excerpt from a brief I wrote for the defense in People v Irving Guevara regarding the so-called expert testimony given to the court by LAPD so-called gang expert Officer Edgar Muro:
At page 76 (Exhibit 2) of the Preliminary Hearing Transcript, the following exchange took place (with the exception that the word “Consafos” was mis-spelled as “Consados” in the transcript):
BY MR. YARDLEY:
Q IN CONNECTION WITH GANG — STRIKE THAT.
IN CONNECTION WITH MS GANG GRAFFITI AND
TATTOOS, ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE LETTERS C.S?
A NO, I AM NO.
Q ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH THE TERM CONSADOS?
A I’VE NEVER HEARD OF IT WITH THE EXEMPTION OF
WHEN IT WAS BROUGHT UP WHEN OFFICER BOYLE WAS ON THE
Aside from the fact that Officer Muro had several days between his testimony that of Officer Boyle, apparently he lacked the basic scientific curiosity or even normal human curiosity to take the time to find out why the question was being asked and what it’s relevance to the Defense might be, his (and Officer Boyle’s) lack of knowledge demonstrate that whatever the extent of their expertise, it is limited to a very recent time period. In 1993, Jose Antonio Burciaga wrote in “Drink Cultura: Chicanismo,” [Joshua Odell Editions/Capra Press, 1993] that Consafos has long term and deep meaning within Chicano culture, especially as it relates to graffiti:
At one time or another many of us have seen the c/s sign-off on Chicano ‘placas’ and graffiti in the Southwest or Midwest. It’s a very common Chicano symbol but its true origin and significance is nebulous. It is not a Mexican symbol but a Chicano, a Mexican-American, symbol. Its origin is unknown but, like the ‘Pachuco’, it probably originated in South El Paso’s ‘Segundo Barrio’. The c/s sign-off means ‘con safos’, and translates literally as “with safety.” It was meant as a safety precaution, a barrio copyright, patent pending. No one else could use or dishonor the graffiti. It was an honorable code of conduct, a literary imprimatur. Like saying “amen,” it ended discussion. Above all, it meant, “anything you say against me will bounce back to you.” Most kids respected a ‘placa’ if signed off with the c/s. Without that symbol, a placa would sooner or later get scribbled on or erased. Some kids would put a double c/s sign or put xxx after it, or a skull and cross bones, which physically threatened anyone who did not honor and respect the code. The closest possible Spanish word from which safos could have come would be ‘safo’ from ‘safar’, or ‘safado’, which translates to slip or slipped. This is a plausible definition since the c/s is meant to let insults slip off, to protect and shield from attacks. In a game of marbles, Chicano kids used the word ‘safis’ if they let the marble slip before shooting it in the right direction. By saying safis the marble shooter was allowed to try again. Some Chicanos will also end a placa, graffiti, with the message ‘con o sin safos’, which means that with or without safety, with or without this code, whether you like it or not, whether you insult me back or not, this placa, insult or praise, stands.
Within the context of the academic discipline known generally as “Chicana/o Studies,” to call ones-self an expert on gangs [in Exhibit 3, Officer Muro’s CV, he claims that he has expertise in “Identifying and photographing gang members/associates and gang graffiti”) without knowing the term Consafos or its abbreviation “c/s,” is considered laughable and nothing short of astounding. If indeed law enforcement gang expertise as taught in Los Angeles—home to more persons of Mexican descent than any city in the world save Mexico City—is unaware of the term consafos and/or the use of “c/s” in graffiti, by its nature it has to be so recent an invention as to be considered by analogy, a “recent fabrication” within the meaning of People v. Manson (1976) 61 Cal. App. 3D 102. Therefore, the test Kelly/Frye test of People v. Leahy (1994) 8 Cal.4th 587, 34 Cal.Rptr.2d 663; 882 P.2d 321 should apply, because the so-called science of insular law enforcement gang-expertise is in fact not generally accepted by the larger scientific community.
Here’s another problem with Muro’s testimony:
The literature which Muro’s CV contends he has read demonstrates that his opinions are selectively designed to dismiss anything that contradicts what he believes the prosecution wants him to say. For example, at page 45 of the Preliminary Hearing Transcript, Exhibit 4, in which he states:
Q DO YOU AGREE WITH OFFICER BOYLE’S ASSESSMENT THAT NORMAL GANG CODE IS — FROWNS ON THE KILLING OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN?
A I AGREE WITH THAT.
Q OKAY. AND DO YOU ALSO AGREE THAT THE NORMAL GANG CODE OF MS-13 FROWNS ON KILLING WOMEN AND CHILDREN?
A I BELIEVE THAT.
The literature and resources Muro cites for his qualifications in his CV contains much that contradicts this opinion and nothing whatsoever that supports it. There is in fact no responsible literature that supports the contention that MS-13 “frowns on the killing of women and children.” If Muro is reasonable, he cannot possibly believe this to be true and his statement to the court that he does should be analyzed in light of Section 125 of the California Penal Code: “An unqualified statement of that which one does not know to be true is equivalent to a statement of that which one knows to be false.”
Finally, what takes the cake as to the LAPD’s so called “expert” testimony in the Guevara trial is that they claimed, under oath, that Irving Guevara’s (a 16 year old high school student that was also working 40 hours per week) nickname of “Dreamer” was consistent with his having adopted a gang name. Many of my readers are in fact “Dreamers” and many others know exactly what is meant by a “Dreamer” in the immigrant community. It means that you are a DREAM Act student hoping to go to college even though you are an undocumented immigrant. In other words, the best of the best, not the worst of the worst of society.
In spite of the fact that the police and prosecutors acknowledged that Irving tried to interfere with the attempted murder of the victims by warning the victim’s girlfriend at the scene of the crime that the shooter had a gun and trying to get the victims’ group to flee the scene, and despite the fact that Irving later identified the shooter for the police, they charged him, claimed he was a member of MS-13 and tried to give him LWOP (Life Without Possibility of Parole). At the last minute, rather than either side throwing the dice at trial, we got him a deal for eight (8) years in prison (the other side’s offer had been 20 years).
Is it okay with you for business as usual in the courts for police “experts” to claim that a “Dreamer” is a gang alias and that you can be sent to prison for the rest of your life, or maybe given the death penalty for being a Dreamer? Since that is the current state of affairs in Los Angeles, then H. Rap Brown is still correct about our system of law…..so what are you going to do about it?