In the aftermath of accusations leveled at USDOJ’s Tony West and US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich that funds were misappropriated from the California Bar Foundation by various individuals through the misuse of phantom entity CaliforniaALL to benefit “Obama for America,” sources seeking anonymity maintain an inquiry has been launched to examine the role, if any, of Tennessee-based Jack Daniel Distillery and parent company — the Brown-Forman Corporation.
The focus of the inquiry is to examine the totality of the circumstances surrounding Jack Daniel’s employee and California Bar Foundation director, Christy Susman.
More specifically, the inquiry will focus on actions (or lack thereof) taken by Susman in conjunction with fellow foundation officers and directors Douglas Winthrop, Jon Streeter, Richard Tom, Alec Chang, Sonia Gonzales, Holly Fujie, Mary Ann Todd and Raj Chatterjee.
As matters presently stand, it appears that in 2008 Morrison & Foerster attorneys James Brosnahan (self-proclaimed “mastermind behind the Democratic Party.), Tony West (Barack Obama’s Chair of California Finance Committee), Chris Young (“Obama for America” Northern California Deputy Finance Director) and Annette Carnegie (former director with the California Bar Foundation) in conjunction with Kamala Harris (Co-Chair, Obama for America ; member of CaliforniaALL) , Jeffrey Bleich (president of the State Bar of California, director with the California Bar Foundation, founding member and Chair of Barack Obama’s National Finance Committee) executed a sophisticated financial scheme to misuse all or part of the “hush-hush” $780,000.00 originating from the California Bar Foundation by improperly transferring the money to Barack Obama’s coffers via a separate foundation created ad hoc by Susan Mac Cormac of Morrison & Foerster, CaliforniaALL.
Other then collecting close to $2 million directly from utility companies (including the “hush-hush” transfer of $774,247, comprised of one installment of $5000 and another contribution of $769,247 from the Foundation which 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 appears to have been be a sham, phantom entity from its inception in 2008 to the day it began to slowly be dissolved in approximately 2009, subsequent to the election of Barack Obama as president of the U.S. Its 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.
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, Mr. Bleich was a partner with the San Francisco office of Munger Tolles & Olson, which represents client 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. 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.”
As noted above, 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.
5. 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 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).
6. 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.)
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
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.” Prior to her employment with Cal PERS, Ms. Ashley was employed as a career counsel at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. While at McGeorge, Ms. Ashley met diversity expert Sarah Redfield. At that time, 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, Ashley and Sarah Redfield were urged to meet Peter Arth, Jr. of the California Public Utilities Commission at a restaurant in San Francisco. During that meeting, the idea to create CaliforniaALL (initially named CaAAL or CaALL) was conceived. Eventually, Cal PERS, the CPUC, and the State Bar of California endorsed in principle the creation of CaliforniaALL – a Section 501(c)(3) entity that would raise funds to be used to support a more diverse workforce in California.
At that time, both Ashley and Redfield were also part of the State Bar of California’s Council on Fairness and Access, as well as a separate project by the State Bar of California known as The Diversity Pipeline Task Force, through which both presumably amassed vast amounts of data and information on the topic of diversity pipeline projects.
Subsequent to the meeting with Peter Arth, on June 26, 2007 State Bar BOG member Ruthe Catolico Ashley and Patricia Lee presented to the entire BOG a proposal (see http://www.scribd.com/doc/48713393/1-In-June-26-2007-Member-of-State-Bar-Board-of-Governors-Ruthe-Ashley-Presents-to-the-State-Bar-Board-the-Concept-of-CaliforniaALL ) urging the BOG to support the creation of California Aspire Achieve Lead Pipeline Project (CaAAL), later named CaliforniaALL.
Eventually, Cal PERS (Ashley’s employer), the CPUC, and the State Bar of California endorsed in principle the creation of CaAAL. For reasons that are not clear to me, CaAAL was apparently a secret project since the California Bar Journal never bothered to report about it, and a press release issued by the State Bar of California was only delivered to CaAAL. Specifically, on August 1, 2007, California Bar Journal’s editor Diane Curtis issued a very limited press release on behalf of the State Bar which YR was only able to locate on CaAAL’s now defunct website (www.calall.org) stating:
“STATE BAR JOINS DIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP
San Francisco, August 01, 2007 — The State Bar of California is joining forces with the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Public Retirement System and the state Department of Insurance in a united effort to promote diversity in the workplace.
California Aspire Achieve Lead Pipeline Project (CaAAL Pipeline Project) will focus on education and mentoring, starting as early as pre-school, to provide skills and instill motivation in young people who are not well represented in the legal, financial and information technology professions.
“The real winners are the young people of California who will advance from these programs and the entire populace of California that will have the benefit of a diverse and vibrant pool of bright young people from all sectors of our diverse population,” said State Bar President Sheldon Sloan. Sloan beefed up a bar diversity pipeline project put in place by his predecessors that has been embraced by lawyers and jurists statewide.
Bar Vice President Ruthe Ashley, who chairs the bar’s Pipeline Task Force and recently became Cal PERS’ Diversity Officer for External Affairs, “has done a fantastic job of moving this initiative forward,” added Sloan. “Now that she has brought in Cal PERS and CAL PUC, this program is here to stay for the foreseeable future.”
In large part because of the bar’s experience and success in identifying programs that help young people move on to successful careers in law, CaAAL’s first-year focus will be on diversifying the legal profession. “We have relationships in place. We have best practices. We have done the research,” said Ashley. The second-year focus will be on financial institutions and the third year on information technology. Funding for the new nonprofit is expected to come from private partners and public sector grants.
Ashley said the nonprofit will be the umbrella organization that will coordinate activities in five different geographic “centers of excellence.” She is hoping that the board for the new nonprofit will promote replication proven programs, such as Street Law, Pacific Pathways and the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, and that the new entity “will be a model for other states.”
“The vision is that it will change the face of the future in the workplace and of our leaders,” said Ashley.”
Papers were filed with both state and federal agencies to allow CaliforniaALL to operate as a tax exempt entity. Victor Miramontes listed himself as Chairman of the Board, and Sarah E. Redfield served as CaliforniaALL’s interim executive director for a period of 6 months. Serving as CaliforniaALL’s legal counsel were Susan Mac Cormac and Eric Tate of Morrison & Foerster.
Despite the fact that she served as interim executive director, and despite the fact that it was a given that Ruthe Catolico Ashley would be hired as the permanent CEO, Sarah Redfield nevertheless apparently engaged in an RFP (request for proposal) which was closed just as quickly as it started even before Ms. Ashley was hired as the permanent CEO.
CaliforniaALL’s web site (www.calall.org) stated:
“Saturday Law Academy RFP
The application process for this RFP is closed. Please contact Sarah Redfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 752-1721.
RFP PROPOSAL INFORMATION
California ALL seeks proposals to implement its law career pathway starting with the 2008-09 academic year (AY).
The following and attached document describes a program area in which California ALL has particular interest based on its initial research. An additional RFP will follow for college level prelaw work. Self generated proposal for other parts of the pipeline will also be considered, and another round of RFPs is possible. California ALL has not attached a specific dollar amount to the RFP, though cost effectiveness and the presence of a competitive match will be part of its consideration. California ALL has some funding in hand from a generous grant from Verizon for the Saturday Academy and intends to seek additional funding as needed to support programs selected. It is anticipated that funding will be provided for year one of the (3 year) proposal, with following years contingent on successful completion of the prior year(s). “
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 Gilles Attia — an attorney specialized in the representation of wi-fi companies.
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 to Diane Curtis that it “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 YR to ask Voice of OC to make its tax returns available for his 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 YR’s request for its tax records, whereupon he filed a complaint with the IRS. To date, he has not received a response from the IRS indicating that it has taken any steps to help him obtain those much needed records and impose the appropriate sanctions against Voice of OC.
Nevertheless, YR 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, YR learned of his identity due to wide media coverage and his association with Morrison & Forester and James Brosnahan. From there, it became harder for YR to ignore the common denominator of “Obama for America” involving Morrison & Foerster’s James Brosnahan, Tony West, Chris Young, Annette Carnegie, and Susan Mac Cormac, in conjunction with Geoffrey Bleich and Ruthe Ashley — which is that money was misappropriated or laundered through the Foundation.
The Leslie Brodie Report is closely monitoring the situation and will keep readers apprised of any new developments.
For more about CaliforniaALL, please see @: