Judy Johnson, who until recently served as the Executive Director of the State Bar of California, secretly headed CCPF for the past 7-8 years. During this period, she used her “clout” as the head of the agency to arrange for “cy pres” from class action settlements, as well as fines and settlements imposed by the CPUC on utility companies, totaling close to $30 million to be funneled to CCPF, which then forwarded those funds to various other non-profits, and mostly questionable ACORN-like entities located in South Los Angeles.
In 2010 Johnson left the State Bar of California in disgrace after a prolonged embezzlement of close to $800,000 by employee Sharon Pearl was discovered, and after California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed State Bar related legislation as a result.
Johnson was recently also the subject of a complaint to the IRS for alleged noncompliance with various laws and regulations.
The complaint alleges CCPF and Johnson defrauded and mislead the public by intentionally omitting various data from CCPF’s web-site. Specifically, data concerting financial transactions between CCPF and an entity known as Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (“CARS”). In addition, the complaint also point to various alleged inconsistencies in the reporting of grants from CCPF to CARS.
Judy Johnson, who after 2 Governors’ vetoes and endless scandals (including financials) was ousted as executive-director of the State Bar of California (image: courtesy photo)
CARS is a non-profit entity located in Sacramento, California. It was established and is headed by Rosemary Shahan. In addition to heading her own non-profit entity (CARS), Shahan also serves as an “adviser” to CCPF. See http://consumerfdn.org/advisors.php
According to sources familiar with the situation, CCPF professes and declares that it lists on its website all the grants it has issued and all the corresponding grantees going back to 2001. When visiting CCPF’s website, one is given the option to search by year or the name of the grantee. A search for grants funneled to CARS yields only 2 results – a grant in 2006 in the amount of $60,000, and another in 2009 in the amount of $7,400.
Each of the above search options yields the same result – to wit, only 2 grants are listed that were made to CARS. Unfortunately, however, this allegedly is not the case, as CCPF’s own tax returns provide otherwise. For example, page 28 of CCPF’s IRS Form 990 for 2004 lists a $60,000 grant.
This misrepresentation is allegedly the fruit of an unlawful conspiracy between Judy Johnson and Rosemary Shahan, and is very troubling on its face. This is particularly true given that Ms. Shahan, who serves as an adviser to CCPF, and presumably is familiar with the content of the website, should have alerted CCPF that the information presented is inaccurate and false, by omission and otherwise.
In addition, sources allege that various inconsistencies were discovered in connection with two types of grants from CCPF to CARS: the first is the Consumer Auto Advertising Fund (“CAAF”) grant and the second is the Bank of America (“BA1”) grant.
In 2004, CARS reported to the IRS revenues from all sources in the amount of $91,009. (See page 28 of CARS 2004 IRS 990 return.) By comparison, CCPF reported that it had funneled to CARS $60,000 from the CAAF grant, and $61,215 from the BA1 grant.
Also in 2004, CCPF reported a leftover “payable” of $61,212 from the BA1 grant which it holds in reserve for future payment to CARS.
In 2005, CARS reported to the IRS revenues from ALL SOURCES in the amount of only $58,212. (See CARS 2005 IRS 990 returns.)
By comparison, in 2005 CCPF reported funneling $60,000 to CARS out of the CAAF grant. This, according to the sources, already raises a red flag as it shows that CARS under-reported its revenues for 2005 by the difference of $1,788. (See here on page 22.)
Most importantly, however, in 2005 CCPF also reported an additional $48,970 distributed to CARS from the BA1 fund, leaving only $12,242 in reserve as “payable.” (See entry on page 22.)
Unfortunately, the sources maintain, no corresponding reference to the $48,970 was found on CARS’ 2005 tax returns.
Geoffrey F. Brown (AKA Geoff Brown) — a former commissioner with the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”), is under extreme scrutiny in matters relating Judy Johnson’s CCPF and the saga known as “Bribing Pat,” The Leslie Brodie Report has learned.
Confidential sources familiar with the situation now maintain an additional red flag has been raised over Brown due to the overall circumstances surrounding dubious entity California Consumer Protection Foundation (“CCPF”). An Oakland-based entity headed by Judy Johnson.
Johnson, who until recently served as the Executive Director of the State Bar of California, secretly headed CCPF for the past 7-8 years. During this period, she used her “clout” as the head of the agency to arrange for “cy pres” from class action settlements, as well as fines and settlements imposed by the CPUC on utility companies, totaling close to $30 million to be funneled to CCPF.
Mr. Geoffrey Brown, professor of law at JFK School of Law. Between 2001 to 2007 served as Commissioner with the CPUC. From 2006 to 2009 Brown serve as director with the State Bar of California Foundation (DBA “California Bar Foundation”). In 2008, California Bar Foundation quietly transferred $769,247.00 to sham entity CaliforniaALL — which also obtained additional 1.5 Million from utility companies. In reaction to complainant’s request for an inquiry to the State Bar of California Board of Governors, Brown immediately, as though bitten by a snake, threatened to file legal action even though the communication with the BOG was absolutely privileged and justified, and only made mention of Brown in passing.(image:courtesy photo)
Sources also maintain Brown is also under extreme scrutiny in matters involving the overall circumstances surrounding Golden Gate University, Peter Keane, Patrice McElroy,, as well as in connection with the failure to disclose the relationship between CPUC Commissioner and Golden Gate University Professor Geoffrey F. Brown and State Bar of California’s Judy Johnson’s CCPF.
During a hearing presided over by Judge McElroy, she disclosed that Peter G. Keane — who was then Dean of Golden Gate University School of Law and was representing an adverse witness (Ms. Sara E. Raymond) — had been her supervisor when she was previously employed as an assistant Public Defender.
However, Judge McElroy failed to disclose that at or about the time the hearing in question was taking place, she accepted as a gift from Mr. Keane an overseas trip.
Even more troubling is the fact that at or about the time the trip took place, Golden Gate University and the student in question were in the midst of litigating a civil case the student had filed in San Francisco Superior Court.