Larry Sonsini Asked To Probe Alleged Scheme Involving Mark Parnes
Larry Sonsini, the chairman of Palo Alto-based Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, was asked to investigate allegations of improprieties involving John Roos -- Wilson Sonsini's former CEO who now serves as the US Ambassador to Japan. He was also asked to investigate allegations dealing with Wilson Sonsini's assistant general counsel, Mark Parnes.
The request comes amidst revelations that in 2007-2008, OBAMA FOR AMERICA operatives John Roos and Mark Parnes of Wilson Sonsini participated in what appears to be a sophisticated financial scheme to misuse the California Bar Foundation and non-profit entity CaliforniaALL as a vehicle to embezzle and launder funds originated from major utility companies and the California Bar Foundation.
Although other potential explanations certainly exist, as matters presently stand, it appears that these operatives organized to push for the election of Barack Obama on behalf of those seeking to promote green energy. In addition to John Roos and Mark Parnes, also viewed as potential wrongdoers are Jeffrey Bleich, Ron Olson, Brad Phillips (of Munger Tolles & Olson -- on behalf of Southern California Edison), James Brosnahan, Tony West, Chris Young, Annette Carnegie (of Morrison & Foerster -- on behalf of PG & E), Steven Churchwell (of DLA Piper -- on behalf of Sempra Energy), and Tony West's sister-in-law -- Kamala Harris.
In 2007, Jeffrey Bleich was a ready-to-wage-war attorney working at Munger Tolles & Olson. Bleich was dubbed by some media outlets as Superman. He launched and co-chaired the national finance committee of OBAMA FOR AMERICA.
Bleich -- while serving as member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors and as director of the California Bar Foundation (alongside another attorney from Munger Tolles, Bradley Phillips) -- was a man on a mission in pushing for the urgent creation of a non-profit entity known as CaliforniaALL.
INTRODUCTION OF MAIN ACTORS:
1. AMBASSADOR JEFFREY BLEICH -- Mr. Bleich served as a director with the Foundation in approximately 2007-2008, as well as president of the State Bar of California.
In 2007, Mr. Bleich established Barack Obama's National Finance Committee and served as its Chair.
He is a personal friend of President Obama, who served as President Obama's personal attorney and subsequently was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to Australia. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Bleich was a partner with the San Francisco office of Munger Tolles & Olson, which represents clients Southern California Edison and Verizon Wireless.
Out of close to 230,000 lawyers in California, also serving as a director with the Foundation in approximately 2007-2008 was another attorney from Munger Tulles Olsen, Mr. Bradley Phillips. Presently, Ms. Mary Ann Todd (also of Munger Tolles & Olson) is a director with the Foundation.
2. DEREK ANTHONY WEST OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE -- Mr. West, who goes by the name "Tony West," presently serves as third in command within the Department of Justice below Eric Holder and Lanny Breuer.
Around 2007-2008, Mr. Tony West also served as Chair of the "California Finance Committee" of OBAMA FOR AMERICA .
Prior to joining the DOJ, Mr. West was a partner at the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster, the law firm which assisted with the legal aspects of creating CaliforniaALL.
Along with attorneys Raj Chaterjee and Susan Mac Cormac, Mr. West was part of senior partner James Brosnahan's clique. For example, it was Brosnahan, West, and Chaterjee who defended John Walker Lindh, who is more widely known as the "American Taliban." (It should be noted that it was actually Mr. Brosnahan who initially agreed to the representation since he knows Lindh's father -- Frank Lindh -- who served as in-house Chief Legal Counsel at PG&E; Mr. Lindh is presently the Chief Legal Counsel of the CPUC.)
Mr. West is married to Maya Harris, sister of Kamala Harris, who was part of CaliforniaALL.
3. JAMES J. BROSNAHAN OF MORRISON & FOERSTER - Mr. Brosnahan is presently a senior partner at the San Francisco office of Morrison & Foerster.
He considers himself to be the "mastermind behind the Democratic Party." CaliforniaALL was created by Morrison & Foerster, under the supervision of Mr. Brosnahan (known as the prosecutor of Caspar Weinberger). Specifically Susan Mac Cormac and Eric Tate assisted with the legal aspects of creating the entity. Mr. Brosnahan represented utility companies during California's energy crisis (which Joe Dunn, Martha Escutia, and Geoffrey Brown were investigating) opposite Thomas Girardi.
Later, Dunn, Escutia, Brosnahan, and Girardi launched the online publication known as Voice of OC.
4. STEVEN CHURCHWELL OF DLA PIPER - Mr. Churchwell is presently a partner at the San Sacramento office of DLA Piper.
During Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, Mr. Churchwell served as Treasurer of the Draft Committee of OBAMA FOR AMERICA located at DLA Piper offices in Sacramento, as was non-profit CaliforniaALL.
5. MARK PARNES / JOHN ROOS OF WILSON SONSINI -- Mr. Parnes is presently a partner at the Palo Also office of Wilson Sonsini. He served as a director and secretary with the California Bar Foundation in approximately 2007-2008.
In 2007-2008, the California Bar Foundation poured into CaliforniaALL the large sum of $774,247, sub-rosa.
Mr. Roos is the former CEO of Wilson Sonsini in Palo Alto. He is a personal friend of both President Obama and Jeffrey Bleich. He presently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan.
Similar to Ambassador Bleich, Ambassador Roos acted as a "bundler" and raised over $500,000 for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
6. CHRISTOPHER JACOB YOUNG OF KEKER & VAN NEST -- Mr. Young, commonly known as "Chris Young," is currently listed on the State Bar of California's database as an associate with Keker & Van Nest. Around 2007-2008, Mr. Young was an associate at Morrison & Foerster.
Around 2007-2008, Mr. Young served as "Northern California Deputy Finance Director" for OBAMA FOR AMERICA.
State Bar of California records still show that Chris Young is an employee of Keker & Van Nest. However, very recently, Keker & Van Nest ( at the direction of partners John Keker and Jon Streeter, who also worked on the 2008 campaign as a "bundler" and is presently a director with the Foundation) abruptly removed Chris Young's name from its web-site.
7. ANNETTE CARNEGIE -- Ms. Carnegie is presently employed at the Kaiser Foundation. Around 2007-2008, she was a partner at Morrison & Foerster and served as a director of the Foundation. In 2007-2008, the Foundation poured into CaliforniaALL the large sum of $774,247; by comparison, most other donations were around $10,000 to $20,000. As shown below, the transfer of said money appears to be imbued with fraud and secrecy, especially in connection with four utility companies (Verizon, PG&E, Edison, and AT&T).
8. KAMALA HARRIS -- In around 2007-2008, Ms. Harris served as the District Attorney in San Francisco while at the same time she was also Co-Chair of "Obama for America." Ms. Harris was part of CaliforniaALL's "Advisory Council." She is the sister of Maya Harris, who is married to Tony West. Media reports provide that parliamentarian Willie Brown served as mentor to both Tony West and Kamala Harris, and was Ms. Harris's paramour. John Keker of Keker & Van Nest (known as the prosecutor of Oliver North) is also considered to be a "mentor" of Kamala Harris. (Incidentally, State Bar of California Board of Governor member Gwen Moore -- also a "mentee" of Willie Brown -- was honored by CaliforniaALL at a lavish dinner in a Sacramento hotel. Parliamentarian Moore is no stranger to your agency, having been the target of a sting operation known as Shrimpscam.)
9. OPHELIA BASGAL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT ("HUD") -- In around 2007-2008 , Ms. Basgal was Vice President of Civic Partnership and Community Initiatives at PG&E, where she managed the company’s $18 million charitable contributions program, and oversaw its community engagement programs and partnerships with community-based organizations. Separately, around that time she surprisingly served as "Treasurer" with the "California Supreme Court Historical Society." In that role, she presumably had contact with many judges, including those who were handling matters dealing with PG&E, such as Justice (Ret.) Joseph Grodin who acted as the mediator in a case Attorney General Bill Lockyer advanced against PG&E, which Jerry Brown (cousin of Geoffrey Brown) later dismissed in his capacity as the new Attorney General for California.
Ms. Basgal served as a director of CaliforniaALL.
10. VICTOR MIRMAONTES -- Mr. Victor Miramontes, a resident of San Antonio, TX and business partner of former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros in an entity known as CityView, was the chairman of CaliforniaALL.
Mr. Miramontes has various connections to Orange County, and is otherwise familiar with its various legal circles.
11. SARAH E. REDFIELD -- Ms. Redfield is presently a professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, and served as the interim director of CaliforniaALL. Events surrounding Redfield, as shown below, also appear to be imbued with fraud and deceit, and it appears her role was to create a subterfuge to justify the existence of CaliforniaALL. Since CaliforniaALL's main achievement was the purported creation of a "Saturday Academy of Law" at UC Irvine ("SALUCI"), Ms. Redfield pretended to have engaged in Requests for Proposals ("RFP"), as well as falsely claiming that she "launched" SALUCI. For her services as interim executive director and an alleged consultant of CaliforniaALL, Professor Redfield was paid approximately $160,000 as an "independent contractor." She gave very little, if anything, in return for the $160,000 she was paid. In fact, she took credit for the extremely hard work of others, especially that of Rob Vacario of Santa Ana who co-founded SALUCI several years earlier.
12. JUDY JOHNSON – Ms. Johnson is the former Executive Director of the State Bar of California. Ms. Johnson (along with Robert Hawley and Starr Babcock) is no stranger to financial schemes. For the past 8 years, she has been quietly serving as the president of an entity with a misleading name (California Consumer Protection Foundation AKA "CCPF"). This entity absorbed close to $30 million in class action cy pres awards, as well as fines and settlements imposed by the CPUC on utility companies. CCPF forwarded those funds to mostly questionable ACORN-like entities in South Los Angeles or to an entity headed by Michael Shames known as UCAN -- presently under federal grand jury investigation in San Diego.
It appears that Ms. Johnson used her position as executive director of the State Bar of California (which is supposed to supervise and discipline lawyers) as "clout" to obtain cy pres awards from the settlement of class actions prosecuted and defended by various law firms in courts and before the CPUC. In addition, while never prosecuted for the scheme, some have speculated that Johnson and cohorts Hawley (whom Johnson labeled the "Wizard of OZ") and Babcock were "in" on a financial scheme perpetrated by former State Bar employee Sharon Pearl, who was lightly prosecuted by then-attorney general Jerry Brown, cousin of Geoffrey Brown.
Ms. Johnson was part of CaliforniaALL's Advisory Council and was responsible for maintaining secrecy over the project by misleading the public, including a quadriplegic law-student, litigant Sara Granda.
13. RUTHE CATOLICO ASHLEY -- Ms. Ashley is a former employee of McGeorge School of Law who later served as a "Diversity Officer" at Cal PERS. Ms. Ashley also served as member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors alongside Mr. Bleich, and came up with the idea to create CaliforniaALL during a meeting with Sarah Redfield and Peter Arth, Jr. (the assistant to CPUC President Michael Peevey). After CaliforniaALL came into existence, Ms. Ashley, after a simulated search, was selected to serve as CaliforniaALL's executive director.
14. SONIA GONZALES -- Ms. Gonzales presently serves as the Foundation's executive director as of earlier this year, after the former executive director (Ms. Leslie Hatamyia) suddenly quit. Ms. Gonzales is a close friend and confidante of Ms. Maya Harris, the wife of Mr. Tony West.
She presently serves the same function as current Foundation directors Mary Ann Todd of Munger Tolles & Olson, Jon Streeter of Keker & Van Nest, Douglas Winthrop of Howard Rice, and Raj Chatterjee of Morrison & Foerster.
FORTUTIOUS DISCOVERY OF CaliforniaALL
At the outset, and to deflect potential allegations that I am motivated by politics, I wish to assure the reader my inquiry into these issues was not and is not motivated by politics. In fact, the only actor referenced above that I have ever met is James Brosnahan, who I met once for a short period of time while a volunteer with BASF - VLSP, a volunteer organization that awarded me a volunteer of the year award. In fact, I initially suspected the misconduct described herein was committed primarily by various other people (i.e. Holly Fujie, Leslie Hatamiya, Ruthe Catolico Ashley, Robert Hawley, Starr Babcock, and Judy Johnson). However, the facts eventually led me to Mr. Brosnahan. Following is a brief overview describing how I stumbled upon this information.
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.)
As such, while at the time I was not familiar with those individuals, I reviewed the Foundation's annual reports to familiarize myself with the names of the Foundation's board of directors, and to try to resolve various inconsistencies regarding who was serving as the Foundation's president and why Robert Scott Wylie appeared to be the president when data showed that he had relocated to Indiana in 2006. I checked the Foundation's tax returns and it was then that I fortuitously 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 was also troubled by the fact that the 2008 California Bar Journal Annual Report noted that the Foundation was the "fiscal sponsor" of CaliforniaALL, while the same report also mentioned that the source of the money was 4 utility companies.
In its 2008 Annual Report ( See page 9: http://www.scribd.com/doc/48712884/3-2008-Annual-Report-of-Foundation-of-the-State-Bar-of-California-Foundation-AKA-California-Bar-Foundation , the Foundation alludes to CaliforniaALL by stating:
"In 2007-2008, the Foundation supported the launching of CaliforniaALL and, as the project filed for incorporation and 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status, served as CaliforniaALL’s fiscal sponsor. A collaboration between the California Public Employment Retirement System, the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Department of Insurance, and the State Bar of California, CaliforniaALL was created in an effort to close the achievement gap among California students from preschool to the profession and, specifically, to bolster the pipeline of young people of diverse backgrounds headed for careers in law, financial services, and technology. Once CaliforniaALL obtained its tax-exempt status and was able to function as a fully independent nonprofit organization, the foundation granted the balance of funds raised for the project – totaling $769,247 – to the new entity."
Also cleverly buried in the California Bar Foundation's 2008 annual report was the following sentence ( See page 24 : http://www.scribd.com/doc/48712884/3-2008-Annual-Report-of-Foundation-of-the-State-Bar-of-California-Foundation-AKA-California-Bar-Foundation ):
"We thank the following corporations for their gifts in support of CaliforniaALL:
AT & T
PG & E Corporation Foundation
Most troubling, however, is the fact that Verizon did not report to the IRS either in 2007 or 2008 that it had contributed any money to the California Bar Foundation or CaliforniaALL. See:
Ultimately, by conducting further research into the actors and events surrounding the Foundation, CaliforniaALL, and related entities, individuals, and events, I unearthed what appears to be a lengthy trail of attempts to mislead and defraud.
In approximately 2007, Ruthe Catolico Ashley -- an attorney from Sacramento and a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors -- was employed by Cal PERS as a "Diversity Officer." Jeffrey Bleich of Munger Tolles & Olson was serving as President of the State Bar. Both Bleich and Ashley are politically active, and were supporting the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama for President. Ruthe Ashley was involved in the Asian-Americans for Obama branch in Sacramento.
In April 2007, Chief of Staff to CPUC's President Michael Peevey, Peter Arth, Jr. urged Ruthe Catolico Ashley to meet him at a restaurant in San Francisco. During that meeting, the idea to create CaliforniaALL (initially named CaAAL or CaALL) was conceived.
In its brief existence, CaliforniaALL collected close to $2 million from utility companies (AT&T, PG&E, Verizon, Sempra, Southern California Edison), including a sub-rosa "hush -hush"contribution of $769,247.00 from the California Bar Foundation -- --CaliforniaALL appears to have been be a sham, phantom entity.
The transfer of 769,247.99 from the California Bar Foundation to CaliforniaALL was never mentioned in the Foundation's "newsroom" or by any other of its publications such as the California Bar Journal or by any of the newsletters and alerts published by CaliforniaALL.
CaliforniaALL only alleged achievement was providing some money for the creation of the Saturday Academy of Law at UC Irvine ("SALUCI") in approximately 2008-2009. Here too vast and intense suspicious circumstances exist as the funds from CaliforniaALL actually went to the UC Irvine Foundation, where the present executive director of the State Bar of California (Senator Joe Dunn) serves as a member of the audit committee, and it turns out that the SALUCI was actually already created in 2005 and was fully operational before CaliforniaALL arrived on the scene. In addition, some records seem to indicate that Verizon Wireless funneled the money directly to SALUCI , while CaliforniaALL took the credit.
Subsequent to the election of Barack Obama, CaliforniaALL was dissolved.
The California Attorney General RCT reflects that CaliforniaALL obtained its "Charity" status on March 14, 2008 (FEIN Number 510656213). The address for CaliforniaALL is listed as 400 Capitol Mall, Suite 2400, Sacramento, California. This is actually the address of the law firm of DLA Piper, where CaliforniaALL resided free of charge courtesy of partner Steven Churchwell -- Treasurer of the draft committee of OBAMA FOR AMERICA.
Nevertheless, CaliforniaALL's 2008 tax-return shows an expense of around $16,000 for "occupancy." See http://www.scribd.com/doc/48714110/6-CaliforniaALL-2008-Tax-Return
In June 2008, after a nationwide search and aided by a pro bono head-hunting firm in its search for a permanent CEO, CaliforniaALL not surprisingly hired Ruthe Catolico Ashley as its chief executive officer. (See Press Release http://www.scribd.com/doc/48717715/5-California-ALL-Announces-Hiring-of-Ruthe-Ashley-as-CEO-on-June-4-2008 )
As the purpose of CaliforniaALL was to transfer funds forward, it did so by awarding small grants to the UCI Foundation (FEIN Number 952540117), where State Bar of California executive director Joe Dunn serves as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee, for the purported purpose of establishing a Saturday Law Academy at UC Irvine known as SALUCI.
Sarah Redfield's CV, which states (falsely) that she launched SALUCI, can be found at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/48772426/10-Resume-CV-of-University-of-New-Hampshire-School-of-Law-Professor-Sarah-E-Redfield
In September 2009, Ruthe Catolico Ashley exited CaliforniaALL (http://www.scribd.com/doc/48713268/7-Ruthe-Ashley-Announces-Departure-from-CaliforniaALL-in-September-of-2009 ), the entity which she previously proclaimed "will change the face of the future in the workplace and of our leaders," "will be a model for other states," and "is here to stay for the foreseeable future."
Ultimately, the following events prompted me to ask Voice of OC to make its tax returns available for my review, as required by IRS regulations: the sham RFP by Sarah Redfield, who pre-selected the UCI Foundation as the only recipient of funds from CaliforniaALL; Joe Dunn served as chair of the UCI Foundation audit committee; in September 2009 Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL; in September 2009 Joe Dunn (together with his business partner Martha Escutia, James Brosnahan -- who created CaliforniaALL, and Thomas Girardi of In Re Girardi, Erin Brokovich, and the one who James Towery appointed his personal attorney (Jerome Falk of Howard Rice) to act as special prosecutor against him) launched an online "news agency" known as Voice of OC. I also suspected that James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster (who represented various utility companies during California's energy crisis) may have engaged in a scheme with Joe Dunn, as Dunn was the person investigating those utility companies and California's energy crisis. In fact, Dunn was discredited by the media for claiming that he was the one who "cracked" Enron.
Voice of OC ignored my request for its tax records, whereupon I filed a complaint with the IRS. To date, I have not received a response from the IRS indicating that it has taken any steps to help me obtain those much needed records and impose the appropriate sanctions against Voice of OC.
Nevertheless, I continued with the inquiry as large pieces of the puzzle were missing. Later, when Mr. Tony West was appointed third in command at the DOJ, I learned of his identity due to wide media coverage and his association with Morrison & Forester and James Brosnahan. From there, it became harder to ignore the common denominator of OBAMA FOR AMERICA involving James Brosnahan, Tony West, Chris Young, Annette Carnegie, Susan Mac Cormac (of Morrison & Foerster) Jeffrey Bleich, Ron Olson, Bradley Phillips (of Munger Tolles & Olson) John Roos, Mark Parnes (of Wilson Sonsini) and Kamala Harris-- which is that money was misappropriated and/or laundered through the Foundation.