The Elliott Building, 1530 J Street Sacramento, CA 95814. The building is owned by Mark Friedman of Fulcrum Properly Group. Currently, the Elliott Building is occupied on separate floors by the offices of Howard Dickstein of Dickstein & Zerbi, Fulcrum Property's Mark Friedman, Arlen Opper, Doug Elmets, Paula Lorenzo of Cache Creek Casino, and The California Tribal Business Alliance (CTBA). Dickstein, Friedman, and Opper were all named defendants in the matter of Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians / Cache Creek Casino v. Howard Dickstein. The penthouse unit is the official residence of California's first couple -- Governor Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. and his wife. (Image: courtesy photo)
The abuse and financial atrocities by attorney Howard Dickstein (on behalf of himself, as well as others) against his clients -- Native Americans who are members of various Indian tribes operating casinos in the State of California -- is well documented.
Hard hit were the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation which operates the Cache Creek Casino in Yolo County, the Pala Band of Mission Indians which operates the Pala Casino Resort & Spa in San Diego County, and the United Auburn Indian Community which operates the Thunder Valley Casino in Placer County.
One such incident resulted in the emotionally distressing injustice inflicted on the bona fide founder of Thunder Valley Casino, the ex-chair of the tribe, Jessica Tavares.
Jessica is a proud visionary who was the force behind the economic and cultural revival of the tribe -- as well as the revival of surrounding communities. Sadly, Jessica was ultimately betrayed by a fellow member of the tribe and placed on the proverbial iceberg because she chose honor, integrity, and dignity for herself and for the tribe over the greed and divisiveness promoted by Howard Dickstein in his quest to obtained millions for himself and by extension for his wife, Jeannine English.
Since 2006, Jeannine English has served as a "public member" of the State Bar of California Board of Governors, an otherwise governmental entity primarily responsible to disciplining errant lawyers. Despite allegations that Dickstein has committed countless acts of grave misconduct and ethical breaches, Dickstein has never been disciplined by the State Bar of California. English's appointment as a public member was courtesy of her California Democratic Party confederates who control California's legislative branch.
Unfortunately, the two U.S. Senators from California refuse to become involved in these issues despite the fact that tribal matters fall primarily within federal oversight. Dickstein, in his role as counsel for the tribes, has overseen the tribes' contributions of millions of dollars to the coffers of the Democratic Party.
Fortunately, Republican Arizona Senator John McCain recently stepped in and called for an investigation of Howard Dickstein. Similarly, a few months prior to Senator McCain's announcement, a Yolo County-based rabbi asked the State Bar of California Board of Governors to investigate English and Dickstein.
The J Street Gang of Greed
In approximately 2004, as part of an effort to revitalize its downtown area, the city of Sacramento poured three million dollars into subsidies for the renovation of the "Elliott Building" located at 1530 J Street in Sacramento. The project was initiated by Mark Friedman of Sacramento-based Fulcrum Property Group and a few of his business partners.
Friedman, a man of despicable character, may be a stranger to readers, but he is no stranger to The Leslie Brodie Report given that he was one of the named defendants in the case of Rumsey vs. Dickstein, which deals primarily with allegations of years of fraud and deceit by Dickstein against his client, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.
One example of such a scheme allegedly perpetrated by Dickstein and Friedman against the tribe deals with a parcel of land situated in West-Sacramento known as "The Triangle," an otherwise prime location facing the Sacramento River.
The tribe was urged by defendants Dickstein and its financial advisor Arlen Opper to enter into yet another business relationship with Friedman, through which a parcel of land in "The Triangle" was purchased. The tribe would own 50% and Friedman and his extended would own 50% of the property.
At one point, Mark Friedman asked the tribe for a favor (or as he put it, an "accommodation"), by which the tribe would sell and Friedman would purchase the tribe's 50% share in "The Triangle."
Friedman's excuse for seeking the "accommodation" was very simple -- he wanted to reduce the amount of money he would owe the Internal Revenue Service. Friedman had just sold a different piece of real estate, and needed to quickly invest the money in real estate (or as he referred to it, to "park" the money ) in a separate property for a period of several years as is allowed by IRS rules; at the period, the tribe would be allowed to buy the property back for the same price for which it was sold to Friedman per a "buy back option."
Dickstein and Opper recommended that the tribe "accommodate" Friedman, and Friedman consequently purchased the property from the tribe.
Per their written agreement, the tribe was given the option to buy back the property within one year. However, the tribe did not buy back the property within one as a result of a failure by Arlen Opper and Howard Dickstein -- the attorney for the tribe who was in possession of the written agreement -- to inform the tribe when the time period expired so that the tribe could buy back the property. Notably, the property had increased in value "exponentially" during this period.
Later, after the "buy back option" had expired, the tribe realized that it had missed the deadline to buy back its 50% share of the property, and sought to do so at that time. However, Mark Friedman refused to sell it back, claiming that the tribe had missed its deadline.
In an almost unprecedented turn of events and somewhat ironically, the man who once stated "our justice systems, our courts, are the best things about this country because in other countries, they settle their problems through violence" is now accused of conspiring with others to operate the justice system as a criminal racketeering enterprise.
Court documents filed with the United States District Court for the District of Columbia reveal that controversial trial attorney Tom Girardi of Los Angeles-based Girardi & Keese is accused of violating the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
Among the claimed misconduct, the civil suit alleges that in exchange for favorable treatment in court cases, Girardi resorted to the use of payoffs, underwriting social events, and the laundering of money to effect the outcome of court cases "with certain judges and attorneys."
Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese. Per the Ninth Circuit, Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi have resorted to employing "the persistent use of known falsehoods" and "false representations" were made "knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly" during years of litigation. Subsequent to those findings, the State Bar of California appointed Howard Rice's Jerome Falk to serve as special prosecutor against Girardi, Lack, and their respective firms. None mentioned that Girardi and Lack are actually clients of Jerome Falk and Howard Rice. See story here. For additional allegations of misconduct leveled against Girardi, please see here, and here , and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here, and here. For the latest on Walter Lack, please see here. (Image: courtesy photo)
RICO is a federal law that authorizes a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. RICO focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows for the leaders of a syndicate to be held civilly liable for the crimes that they ordered others to commit or which they assisted in committing.
Girardi (far left) enjoys an authentic dinner, friendship and comradery during an Italian-American Lawyers Association event. The gentleman at the center of the photo is State Bar of California employe Tom Layton who according to sources is part of an ongoing "ambulance chasing" scheme the Girardi Syndicate operates in San Bernardino County vis-a-vis a satellite office located in San Bernardino and managed by Thomas Girardi's son-in-law, David Lira. (Image:courtesy)
The suit also asserts that other individuals engaged in racketeering activities, including Tom Layton -- a former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff/Senior State Bar of California investigator, and Alec Chang of Skadden Arps.
Girardi is married to Erika Jayne, an American dance/club music performer who is also known as Erika Girardi. He has been feartured regularly on The Leslie Brodie Report. For example, we previously reported about an ethics complaint alleging multiple acts of misconduct filed with the State Bar of California against attorneys from the firms of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Girardi & Keese.
The complaint alleged that ethical breaches took place as a result of Skadden Arps' representation of Girardi & Keese in the matter of In Re Girardi because, at the same time, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps were on opposing sides in the case of Fogel v. Farmers Group, Inc.
Per the complaint, in August 2003, Walter Lack (of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack) and Thomas Girardi and Graham LippSmith (of Girardi & Keese) filed a class action suit on behalf of plaintiffs Benjamin Fogel against Farmers Group, Inc. in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit was defended by attorneys from Skadden Arps.
Despite their respective roles as plaintiffs' counsel and defendants' counsel in Fogel v. Farmers, Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps entered into an agreement by which Skadden Arps would represent Girardi & Keese and Thomas Girardi before the Ninth Circuit in the matter of In re Girardi following the Ninth Circuit's issuance of an order to show cause why Girardi & Keese, Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, Thomas Girardi, and Walter Lack should not be suspended, disbarred, or otherwise sanctioned as a result of the massive fraud which took place in litigation pursued by them against Dole Food Company.
On July 13, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued an order suspending Walter Lack for a period of six months and reprimanding Girardi; the order also imposed almost $500,000 in monetary sanctions against the two attorneys.
On July 14 2010, in an attempt to conceal their attorney-client relationship, Skadden Arps and Thomas Nolan filed a motion with the Ninth Circuit asking for their names to be redacted from the published opinion.
Shortly thereafter, Skadden Arps moved ex parte (which, not surprisingly, 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.
VOICE OF OC TEAM - Tom Girardi of Girardi & Keese, James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster and executive-director of the State Bar of California Joe Dunn of Voice of OC. Brosnahan, the self-proclaimed mastermind behind the Democratic Party and spouse of Alameda County Superior Court Judge Carol Brosnahan, gained fame after his psychiatrist -- Berkeley-based Scyzophrenia specialist Dr. Bruce Africa -- threaten to kill him due to an alleged sexual affair between Brosnahan and Marty Africa of Major Lindsey & Africa. In September of 2009, once Ruthe Ashley existed CaliforniaALL, Dunn (with the help of Escutia, Girardi and Brosnahan) launched online publication "Voice of OC." Dunn is also a trustee of UCI Foundation -- an entity which absorbed most of the grants CaliforniaALL collected from utility companies Senator Dunn officially investigated during California energy crisis.(Image: courtesy photos)
Girardi also assisted in the launching of Voice of OC, and toghether with Brosnahan served as a member of Voice of OC board of directord. Later, for unknown reasons, Girardi and Brosnahann abruptly quit the entity.
For additional reading about:
Thomas Girardi, please see HERE.
Erika Jayne, please see HERE
James Brosnahan, please see HERE
CaliforniaALL, please see HERE