HEAR EXPLOSIVE AUDIO: Bill Lockyer, Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack Secretly Own Indian Gaming Outfits in California - Clients of Howard Dickstein
BELOW MODIFIED VERSION OF COMMUNICATION FROM YR TO THIRD PARTY. AUDIO MODIFIED TO PROTECT IDENTITY OF SOURCE
1. ETHICS COMPLAINT / IN RE GIRARDI — In 2010, the United States Federal Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit issued its final ruling in the disciplinary matter of In Re Girardi by imposing close to $500,000 in sanctions on Walter Lack of Engstrom Lispcomb & Lack and Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese stemming from an attempt to defraud the court and cause injury to Dole Food Company in the underlying litigation. You may have heard of Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi as they are the lawyers who were featured in the movie “Erin Brokovich” involving utility company PG&E.
The court ruled that Walter Lack (who stipulated to Special Prosecutor Rory Little that his prolonged acts of misconduct were intentional) and Thomas Girardi intentionally and recklessly resorted to the use of known falsehoods for years. The Ninth Circuit ordered Girardi and Lack to report their misconduct to the State Bar of California.
The State Bar of California disqualified itself from handling the matter since Howard Miller (of Girardi & Keese) served at that time as its president, and had also made the decision to hire then-chief prosecutor, James Towery.
Mr. Towery, in turn, appointed Jerome Falk of Howard Rice (now Arnold & Porter) as outside “special prosecutor” to determine whether or not to bring charges against Girardi and Lack. (Mr. Falk is a colleague of Douglas Winthrop, and both represented PG&E in its massive bankruptcy proceedings.)
Mr. Falk, in turn, exercised prosecutorial discretion and concluded that he did not believe Lack acted intentionally and that no charges will be brought against the two attorneys.
Within days of Mr. Falk’s decision, I filed an ethics complaint with the State Bar of California against Jerome Falk, James Towery, Howard Miller, and Douglas Winthrop (managing partner of Howard Rice and then-elected president of the Foundation), alleging that it was improper for Mr. Towery to appoint Mr. Falk given the close personal relationship between Howard Miller and Douglas Winthrop. Specifically, Howard Miller — in his capacity as president of the State Bar — had appointed Douglas Winthrop as president of the California Bar Foundation, a foundation maintained and controlled by the State Bar. (Much later I also discovered that Jerome Falk is actually the personal attorney of Thomas Girardi, and that Howard Rice and Jerome Falk represented Walter Lack, Thomas Girardi, Engstrom Lispcomb & Lack, and Girardi & Keese in approximately 2007, and for a period of 2 years, in a malpractice action.)
2. FOGEL V. FARMERS — In the matter of In Re Girardi, Mr. Girardi and his law firm were represented by the firm of Skadden Arps. In reviewing the file of In Re Girardi, I discovered that, beginning in 2003, Girardi & Keese and Engstrom Lispcomb & Lack were prosecuting a class action case against Farmers Insurance Company, which was represented by Skadden Arps. This was a nationwide class action with estimated damages of close to $15 billion that had originally been filed by Texas Governor Rick Perry.
I thereafter informed the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Judge William Highberger) of this information, and filed a State Bar ethics complaint against attorneys Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese and Thomas Nolan and Raoul Kennedy of Skadden Arps because neither the class of plaintiffs (consisting of 14 million Americans), nor the courts (the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In Re Girardi and the Los Angeles County Superior Court in the matter of Fogel vs. Farmers) had been informed of the concurrent representation by which Skadden Arps represented Girardi & Keese (in the Ninth Circuit matter), while at the same time defending Farmers.
Shortly after I filed this ethics complaint, Skadden Arps and Dewey Lebeuf (representing Farmers’ parent company, Zurich Financial) moved ex parte (which was unopposed) to amend the settlement agreement in the Fogel matter and the notice to the class of 14 million Americans throughout the country to include a proviso by which members of the class would be prohibited from suing anyone due to the concurrent representation described above. Nevertheless, the State Bar of California decided not to take any action on this ethics complaint.
3. CaliforniaALL — When researching the relationship of Girardi & Keese and Howard Rice and the appointment of Douglas Winthrop as president of the California Bar Foundation by Howard Miller of Girardi & Keese, I reviewed the California Bar Foundation’s annual reports to familiarize myself with the names of the Foundation’s board of directors. I stumbled upon the fact that the Foundation ended 2008 close to $500,000 in the negative. Specifically, the Foundation reported to the IRS that REVENUE LESS EXPENSES in 2007 equaled plus +$373.842.00. However, in 2008, the Foundation reported to the IRS that REVENUE LESS EXPENSES equaled minus -$537,712.
I discovered that the money had been transferred to a newly-created Section 501(c)(3) non-profit entity (headed by Ruthe Catolico Ashley — a friend of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakayue) known as CaliforniaALL, which obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars from utility companies PG&E, SCE, AT&T, and Verizon. In turn, CaliforniaALL funneled a large portion of the money to the UCI Foundation, where a friend and former partner of Mark Robinson (of the Judicial Council), State Bar of California Executive Director Joe Dunn, served as trustee in 2008-9 to launch a new entity known as Saturday Law Academy.
Various factors and evidence caused me to suspect that a significant portion of the funds transferred from the California Bar Foundation ended up financing a newly-created online publication which Joe Dunn had launched with the help of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster; this online publication is known as “Voice of OC.”
Those factors include, but are not limited to, the fact that some individuals and entities involved in the creation of CaliforniaALL and the subsequent transfer of $780,000 from the Cal Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL were also involved in assisting Joe Dunn with the creation of “Voice of OC” to wit – Morrison & Foerster’s Susan Mac Cormac as legal counsel for CaliforniaALL; Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller in his capacity as BOD member of Cal Bar Foundation; and BOG members who voted to endorse CaliforniaALL and consider it to have been a partner of the State Bar of California. Also relevant was that Morrison & Foerster’s James Brosnahan and Girardi & Keese’s Thomas Girardi also assisted Joe Dunn in establishing Voice of OC, the fact that Saturday Law Academy was established many years earlier, and the fact that Ruthe Ashley exited CaliforniaALL in the same month and year Joe Dunn established Voice of OC (September 2009).
Based on my concerns, I requested that Voice of OC provide me with copies of its IRS 990 forms. Voice of OC did not comply with applicable IRS regulations in that it failed to reply to my request for copies of its 990 forms submitted to the IRS, whereupon I filed a complaint against Voice of OC and Joe Dunn with the IRS.
Later, after thorough research, I discovered that events surrounding CaliforniaALL, OBAMA FOR AMERICA, and those responsible for the financing of OBAMA FOR AMERICA are highly related, to wit, Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, Ron Olson, Brad Phillips (of Munger Tolles & Olson) Ambassador John Roos and Mark Parnes (of Wilson Sonsini) James Brosnahan, DOJ’s Tony West, Chris Young, Annette Carnegie (of Morrison & Foerster) Steven Churchwell (of DLA Piper in Sacramento — where CaliforniaALL resided free of charge) Kamala Harris, as well as Freada Kapor - a California Democratic Party operative who served as a director of CaliforniaALL, and that The Kapor Center generally used to fund-raise on behalf of the many foundations located there, were additionally used to contact potential voters and encourage them to vote for then candidate Barack Obama. Her husband, Mitchell Kapor, was part of a tech team working for the campaigns of Barack Obama and Kamala Harris of CaliforniaALL.
I invite you to visit the below link for more details:
4. UC DAVIS QUADRAPLEGIC LAW STUDENT SARA GRANDA / JUDGE MORRISON ENGALND /RACHEL GRUNBERG / LARRY YEE — Also in connection with CaliforniaALL, I advanced a judicial misconduct complaint against Judge Morrison England since State Bar of California Executive Director Judy Johnson, Judge England, his wife (Torie Flournoy-England), and State Bar of California employee Patricia Lee were all members of CaliforniaALL’s board of directors and/or advisory council. The basis for that complaint was these individuals’ failure to inform plaintiff Sara Granda — who had filed an action in federal court naming the State Bar of California as a sole defendant that was heard by Judge Morrison England — of these facts.
Specifically, without informing plaintiff Granda of his relationship with Judy Johnson (the State Bar’s Executive Director) vis-a-vis CaliforniaALL and either obtaining a waiver from this plaintiff or independently recusing himself, Judge England summarily dismissed Ms. Granda’s complaint against the California State Bar. Fortunately for Ms. Granda, several days later then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger championed her cause and pressured the California Bar to accommodate her needs.
I invite you to visit the below link to CaliforniaALL’s own publication which shows the relationship I described.
In connection with the failure to disclose the relationship to plaintiff Sarah Granda, I also filed an ethics complaint with the State Bar of California against its own employees/attorneys which represented the State Bar in the litigation — Rachel Grunberg, Mark Torres Gil, and Larry Yee.
5. JUSTICE MING CHIN / DEPARTURE FROM CAUSE — While researching CaliforniaALL, I stumbled upon a separate non-profit entity in Southern California which was also absorbing money from utility companies known as CAUSE.
Since Justice Ming Chin was part of the entity’s board/council, I filed a complaint with the Office of Judicial Performance, and very shortly thereafter I was informed by CAUSE’s legal counsel that Justice Chin quit the entity.
6. JEANNINE ENGLISH / HOWARD DICKSTEIN — Upon further familiarizing myself with the members of the State Bar Board of Governors, I also filed a complaint with the Board of Governors against Public Member Jeannine English — the wife of Howard Dickstein, an Indian gambling attorney. Weeks later, US Senator John McCain (Arizona) filed a complaint against Howard Dickstein for various acts of misconduct and asked that he be investigated.
Dear President Hebert, Senator Dunn, Members of the Board of Governors, and to whom it may concern:
While examining circumstances concerning the California Consumer Protection Foundation (“CCPF”), which was secretly controlled by State Bar Executive Director Emeritus Judy Johnson (and which will be the subject of an upcoming request for investigation), I fortuitously stumbled upon troubling facts and events relating to Board of Governors (“BOG”) member Jeannine English.
As such, and despite its anticipated futility, this correspondence is intended to advise the BOG of these events and officially request an investigation into irregularities, conflicts of interest, self-dealing, breach of fiduciary duties, and lack of disclosures by BOG member Jeannine English. Those irregularities relate to circumstances surrounding the following:
1. Keker & Van Nest’s representation of Jeannine English’s spouse, Mr. Howard Dickstein, in an action for, among others, fraud, advanced by the Rumsey Tribe and related lack of disclosure on the part of Ms. English and Jon Streeter concerning the existence of a past business relationship.
2. Misconduct by Howard Dickstein against the tribes, and related involvement by Jeannine English, who was also concurrently representing the tribe in her role as “Lobbyist.” Subsequently, when the tribe advanced a suit against Dickstein claiming he had taken advantage of them by defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade, Dickstein referred to the suit as a “pack of lies,” whereupon Keker & Van Nest was summoned to defend the action.
3. An unusually large cy pres award of $900,000 to the AARP in a class action suit in which Girardi & Keese (specifically, Thomas Girardi and Graham Lippsmith) represented the plaintiff. Jeannine English has strong ties to the AARP and, in fact serves as the president of its California branch.
4. Lack of disclosures on the part of Girardi & Keese’s Howard Miller and Jeannine English of the existence of the transaction. Aggravating the lack of disclosures are circumstances surrounding misconduct by Girardi & Keese and Howard Miller in the Dole Litigation, the subsequent handing of the matter by the State Bar which assigned the matter to the firm of State Bar of California Foundation president Doug Winthrop, my own involvement, and the involvement Alec Chang.
THE RUMSEY MATTER
The Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians (“Rumsey”) consists of 40 adult members who reside in Brooks, California, which is situated in Capay Valley — 50 miles northwest of Sacramento and 90 miles northeast of the Bay Area. From a fledgling bingo business to what is now a thriving establishment known as “Cache Creek Casino,” attorney Howard Dickstein, a pioneer in tribal gambling law and the spouse of Jeannine English, helped dig the tribe out of poverty.
In and about 2007, and in addition to the services offered by Mr. Dickstein, Ms. Jeannine English and her company — Jeannine English & Associates — were also conducting business with Rumsey, by which lobbying and consulting services were purveyed by Ms. English.
Toward the end of 2007, Rumsey — represented by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy — filed a suit in Yolo County Superior Court against Howard Dickstein and Jane Zerbi of Dickstein & Zerbi and Arlen Opper, a financial consultant, accusing them of unjustly enriching themselves with tribal money by defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade.
In statements to the media, Howard Dickstein referred to the allegations in the suit as a “pack of lies,” while disparaging his client. Dickstein also stated that he plans to fight the suit and “fight hard.” Appearing on behalf of defendant Dickstein was Elliot Peters of Keker & Van Nest.
The undersigned submits that because of the attorney-client relationship between Rumsey and Dickstein, it was questionable for Ms. English to enter into a business relationship with Rumsey and reckless for Jon Streeter and Jeannine English to conceal the past relationship from the public. If in fact a disclosure was made by any of them in a conspicuous place available for public viewing, please forward it to the undersigned in order for this portion of the complaint to be withdrawn.
These events lead one to wonder whether, hypothetically speaking, in the upcoming election for State Bar president Jeannine English would vote for Jon Streeter and not Michael Tenanbaum or Linda Davis as consideration for the representation Keker & Van Nest provided to her spouse. At least in part, it also explains to the undersigned the zeal and desire of Ms. English to be a member of the BOG. Clearly it was not to protect and serve the public; rather, it was to protect the interests of her husband (and, by extension, herself) who was accused of defrauding the Rumsey tribe of millions of dollars. In addition, it leads one to question whether the State Bar of California was not as vigorous as it should have been in protecting Rumsey from Dickstein.
THE AARP MATTER
In addition to serving on the State Bar’s BOG, Jeannine English also serves as the President of the AARP’s California branch, and is also involved with the AARP on a national level. Assuming no shenanigans, financial improprieties, or self-dealing with the AARP (which by the way, also operates a for-profit insurance brokerage), Ms. English deserves great credit for her outstanding contribution to the community. However, due to the overall set of circumstances surrounding English as described above, and as it is obvious that she serves on the BOG to serve the interests of her husband (and, by extension, herself), the undersigned is far from impressed.
Specifically, within the past few years, a plan has been devised by which a cy pres amount of $900,000 will be funneled to the AARP from a class action in which the law offices of Girardi & Keese serves as counsel. (Attridge v. Visa Case No. CGC-04-436920)
While the sums will not go directly to Ms. English, they will indirectly benefit her vis-a-vis the associated prestige resulting from successful fund raising efforts. The lack of disclosure regarding the proposed cy pres is alarming, especially considering events relating to the State Bar’s handling of attorney misconduct in the Dole matter, my ethics complaint and request for an inquiry of 5 months ago as to James Towery, Jerome Falk, Douglas Winthrop, and Howard Miller as well as the overall circumstances surrounding the State Bar/BOG disinclination to deal with the matter. To date, only myself and, later, David Cameron Carr (a former State Bar prosecutor) have spoken about this grave injustice. Of those who had a moral, legal, and ethical obligation to disclose conflicts, and to otherwise speak, now you know why at least one more such person — namely, Jeannine English — has failed to do so.
Thank you for time.
7. On June 17, 2011, shortly after I filed the complaint against Jeannine English, a special meeting of the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California took place to introduce amendments to proposed legislation. The proposed amendments , among others, called for a change to the conflict of interest policies. Specifically, public members should not be permitted to serve if they are involved in the legal profession or are the spouses of lawyers.
8. After I asked the BOG to investigate Ms. English, a confidential source from Southern California informed me that Howard Dickstein and Thomas Girardi are business partners. Out of an abundance of caution, this information was forwarded on June 22, 2011 by me to the Deputy Executive Director of the State Bar of California, Robert Hawley, as follows:
This is to inform the State Bar about information I recently received
concerning Jeannine English, Howard Dickstein, and Thomas Girardi.
Based on what was communicated to me, Howard Dickstein and Thomas
Girardi are involved in some sort of a joint venture; or otherwise are
business partners in areas relating to Indian gambling.
Please note that I do not personally vouch for the credibility of the
source nor the accuracy of the information.
However, based on the totality of the circumstances, it is a lead