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 — are 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.
Separately, and as was reported earlier, Howard Dickstein, a widely-known but controversial figure within California’s Tribal Gambling industry, has been named a defendant in a suit seeking unspecified monetary damages. Also named as defendant is Dickstein’s wife, Sacramento-based lobbyist Jeannine English.
The lawsuit alleges that Dickstein and English executed a scheme that caused injury to the Plaintiff, a Southern California resident who claims his privacy and constitutional rights were “egregiously violated.”
Specifically, the suit alleges that in order to camouflage a scheme and make it appear as though it is purely a mundane action by a governmental agency and was not designed to conceal Dickstein’s and English’s own acts of malfeasance, greed, and betrayal, defendants resorted to abusing their considerable “political and legal clout.”
This clout was presumably obtained as a result of the funneling of hundreds of millions of dollars from myriad Tribal Casinos to various state and local governmental agencies/officials, as well as from English’s position as a member of the State Bar of California Board of Governors, and the fact that the president of the State Bar of California, Jon Streeter, and his firm of Keker & Van Nest, represent Howard Dickstein. This , the plaintiff alleges, shows “malice and oppression” on the part of defendants sufficient to justify an award of punitive damages.
Dickstein , who is no stranger to litigation, has been previously named a defendant in a suit advanced by his client, members of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nations (formerly known as the Ramsey Band of Wintun Indians), which owns and operates the Cache Creek Casino in Brooks, California, an unincorporated community in Yolo County.
In that action, the plaintiffs — who were represented by Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy and legal ethics expert Michael Boli — alleged that Dickstein engaged in myriad fraudulent conduct, concealment, conversion (i.e. a non-criminal term referring to the act of theft), breaches of fiduciary duties, misrepresentations, and unjustly enriching himself with tribal money by defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade.
While the suit was pending, further allegations of grave misconduct were leveled against Dickstein and his attorneys of San Francisco-based Keker & Van Nest including claims that evidence was “manufactured.” Later, Dickstein and his lawyers of Keker & Van Nest (presumably, John Keker, Elliot Peters, and Jon Streeter) falsely advertised and misled the public into believing that the Yocha Dehe tribe had only sued Dickstein for conduct which was “negligent” in nature. Dickstein and his legal team neglected to reference the allegations of defrauding the tribe of millions of dollars over more than a decade through fraudulent conduct, concealment, conversion, breaches of fiduciary duties, and misrepresentations which the tribe had leveled against their own attorney.
In nearby Placer County, situated between the cities of Roseville and Lincoln, 50 miles east of Yolo County, where the United Auburn Indian Community operates the Thunder Valley Casino, allegations of greed and betrayal were also leveled against Howard Dickstein by the former chairwoman of the United Auburn Indian Community, the Honorable Jessica Tavares and long-time tribal council member Dolly Suehead.
According to media reports, Tribal Administrator Greg Baker — a Dickstein confederate — disallowed a tribe-funded mailing of a campaign mailer that claims the United Auburn Indian Community has been “bamboozled by an attorney [Howard Dickstein] more interested in filling his garage with Ferraris than serving the interest of our tribe, and the greed of a tribal council that rubber stamps his decision and no longer looks after our best interests.”
Baker, who as it turned out was involved in a separate and unrelated financial scheme, was recently suspended following on the heels of an IRS investigation into allegations of fraud and money-laundering. In affidavits filed by an IRS investigator, it was alleged that Baker was part of a scheme to over-bill the casino/tribe by more than $18 million, which would later be “kicked-back.”
Roman Porter — a long time ally and confederate of California Democratic Party operative Joseph Dunn of embattled online publication Voice of OC who now serves as the executive director of the State Bar of California — was recently hired as Thunder Valley Casino’s new tribal administrator.
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