Sara Granda’s story, please see :
Below, article originally published on 1/08/2011
See original story @:
* The Leslie Brodie Report (TLR) urges the readers to exercise caution and not jump to conclusions regarding misconduct by anyone. We are carefully following a major developing story out of California, and will provide around-the-clock coverage and post updates as they become available.
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.
“THE VOICE OF OC” TEAM — Girardi & Keese‘s Thomas Girardi , Morrison & Foerster‘s James Brosnahan, and Joe Dunn. In Septermber of 2009, Dunn (with the help of Girardi and Brosnahan) launched “The Voice of Orange County” — an online publication. Additionaly, Dunn is a trustee with the UCI Foundation — an entity which absorbed most of the grants CaliforniaALL had bestowed.
Sources with knowledge of the inquiry into CaliforniaALL, speaking on condition of anonymity, maintain the ongoing multi-prong inquiry is continuing and expanding, and that a red flag has been raised over Joe Dunn, “The Voice of OC”, Thomas Girardi, and James Brosnahan due to convenient circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL, UCI Foundation, Voice of OC, and Cal Bar Foundation.
Recently, Mr. Dunn was informed about the existence of convenient circumstances surrounding CaliforniaALL and his publication — “Voice of OC.” We shall publish the letter, below:
Dear Senator Dunn:
This is to inform you that, in connection with my inquiry into the charitable entity known as CaliforniaALL, circumstantial evidence points to potential wrongdoing on your part as well as on the part of Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese and James Brosnahan of Morrsion & Foerster.
Please note that in referring to “you,” I also refer to The Voice of Orange County (“Voice of OC”), the online newspaper you established in September 2009 with the assistance of Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese and James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster.
As you may recall, CaliforniaALL was established after a meeting between Ruthe Ashley, Sarah Redfield, and CPUC’s Peter Arth.
Ashley, a Diversity Officer at CalPERS and a member of the California Board of Governors, bamboozled the State Bar, CalPERS, the CPUC, and the Department of Insurance into endorsing the proposition. My suspicion — thus far unconfirmed — is that Howard Rice was involved in asking its client Steve Poizner to issue a letter supporting the measure.
Morrison & Foerster, specifically Susan Mac Cormac and Eric Tate, assisted with the legal aspects of creating the entity. (Presently, I am unsure of the extent of the involvement, if any, of Lori Schechter, wife of current State Bar President William Hebert. If there was any involvement, I please ask that such information be disclosed to me.)
Later, Sarah Redfield assumed the position of CaliforniaALL’s Interim CEO; after a simulated search for a CEO, Ruthe Ashley was hired as the entity’s president and CEO.
CAL BAR FOUNDATION TEAM — Howard Rice‘s Doug Winthrop, Buchalter Nemer’s Holly Fujie,Girardi & Keese‘s Howard Miller, and former CPUC Commisioner Goeffrey Brown. Arranged for the unlawful “hush-hush” transfer of $780,000 from Cal Bar Foundation to sham charity CaliforniaALL.
Once Ashley assumed the position, 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, 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 you serve as trustee and chair of the Audit Committee. (Please note that this figure may change once I obtain CaliforniaALL’s final tax return.)
Note that from my perspective, the award of this grant is suspect as it appears that CaliforniaALL pre-selected UCI Foundation, making the simulated request for proposal (RFP) by Sarah Redfield that led to the grant a sham process. (Note also that Sarah Redfield later falsely claimed she “launched” SAL-UCI, and falsely stated on her resume that she was part of the “Curriculum Committee”; in reality, you and I know that SAL-UCI was established by Santana Ruiz and Rob Vicario, several years earlier.)
In September 2009, Ruthe Ashley abruptly exited CaliforniaALL. In the same month and year, you publicly launched your 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 you with the creation of “Voice of OC” has caused me 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 you 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 you share with him (as you will recall, you participated in a special event held at the Beverly Hills Hotel to honor Mr. Girardi several years ago).
Consequently, and in addition to the above, I also must ask you to relinquish your position with the UCI Foundation. Since you assumed the position of executive director, any contributions made to the UCI foundation could be perceived as an attempt to gain favors with the State Bar of California.
Thank you for your time.