Pierce O'Donnell -- a former co-counsel in the El Paso Natural Gas/Sempra litigation, is under extreme scrutiny in matters relating to sham charity CaliforniaALL, The Leslie Brodie Report has learned.
Defendant Pierce O'Donnell presently the subject of criminal proceedings in federal court. These proceedings (United States of America v. Pierce O'Donnell) relate to alleged unlawful contributions to John Edwards; trial is set for January 2012.(Image: source)
CaliforniaALL, a 501(c)(3) charitable entity, was the brainchild of Ruthe Ashley (a Diversity Officer at CalPERS and Vice-President of the State Bar of California) and Peter Arth Jr., Chief of Staff to CPUC President Michael Peevey.
In its brief existence from 2008 to 2010, CaliforniaALL collected close to $2 million from utility companies (AT&T, PG&E, Verizon, Sempra), including a sub-rosa contribution of $769,247.00 from the State Bar of California Foundation (DBA California Bar Foundation.)
CaliforniaALL was abruptly dissolved in June of 2010.
Sources with knowledge of the examination, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain a red flag has been raised over O'Donnell due to the overall circumstances surrounding California Bar Foundation, CaliforniaALL, CPUC, utility companies, and specifically due to O'Donnell's involvement in the El Paso/Sempra Litigation alongside James Brosnahan and Thomas Girardi.
Once Ashley assumed the position of CaliforniaALL's CEO, the Foundation of the State Bar of California (which is under the complete control of the BOG) made a quiet and unlawful transfer of approximately $780,000 from Cal Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL. At the time of the transfer, the individuals controlling the Foundation were Holly Fujie, Girardi & Keese's Howard Miller, Howard Rice's Douglas Winthrop, Geoffrey Brown, Morrison & Foerster's Annette Carnegie, and a few others.
CaliforniaALL never acknowledged receipt of the approximate $780,000 from the Cal Bar Foundation in any of its publications, although it did acknowledge the transfer on its IRS tax returns. Likewise, California Bar Foundation never acknowledged the largest grant it ever bestowed in its newsroom, the California Bar Journal, or similar publications; it did, however, recognize the transfer on its IRS returns, and in a 2 by 2 inch blurb in its annual report.
During its brief existence, CaliforniaALL obtained additional funding of close to $1.5 million from utility companies such as Verizon Wireless, Sempra, PG&E, and others.
As the purpose of CaliforniaALL was to transfer those funds forward, it did so by awarding approximately $300,000 in grants to the UCI Foundation, where Joe Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee.
In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. In the same month and year, Joe Dunn publicly launched his online publication, "The Voice of OC." Public sources have stated that the Voice of OC was financed by various foundations, unions, and the like.
The fact that some individuals and entities involved in the creation of CaliforniaALL and the subsequent unlawful 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" has caused complainant to entertain the thought that "Voice of OC" may have been a recipient, at least in part, of the $780,000 misappropriated from the State Bar of California.
This belief is heightened given various events' proximity in time -- as noted above, Ruthe Ashley left CaliforniaALL in the same month Dunn launched "Voice of OC" (as though her mission had been completed). Moreover, the recent abrupt departure of Thomas Girardi and James Brosnahan from 'Voice of OC" ( as though they were fleeing the scene with guilty consciences), the refusal of SAL-UCI to disclose the amount it receive from CaliforniaALL, the simulated RFP, and CaliforniaALL's pre-selection of the UCI Foundation as a recipient of funds only reinforce this belief. This is heightened by Mr. Thomas Girardi's lack of credibility (pursuant to findings made by a panel of federal judges), and the friendship Dunn shares with him.
As we reported earlier, a red flag has been previously raised over James Brosnahan, Thomas Girardi, Voice of OC's Joe Dunn, and Geoffrey Brown.