Contending that Howard Rice’s Jerome Falk, acting as Special Prosecutor on behalf of the State Bar of California, repeatedly sought to subvert justice by failing to disclose that those he was suppose to prosecute (Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese and Walter Lack of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack) were actually his and his firm’s clients, sources familiar with the situation claim plans are underway to seek the disbarment of Girardi, Lack and Falk.
In a letter to Jerome Falk and the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California, complainant minced no words in accusing Falk (as well as Girardi and Lack) of egregious misconduct.
As a service to the community, we shall publish* the communication, below:
Dear Mr. Falk:
This will serve as a formal meet and confer attempt regarding various matters, primarily relating to your repugnant and continuous deceitful actions taken in connection with your willingness to serve as a special prosecutor on behalf of the State Bar of California against two of your and your firm’s clients (Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack) as part of a scheme to exploit your authority as special prosecutor for financial gain.
In addition, this letter will serve to explore potential misconduct in connection with misrepresentations made to an official tribunal (i.e. the RAD Committee of the State Bar of California Board of Governors (“BOG”)) that appointed a special master in proceedings I initiated against you.
Mr. Jerome Falk of Howard Rice (Image:courtesy photo)
To illustrate my point, State Bar of California Board of Governors member William Gailey is a man of high honor with a prior distinguished career as a homicide detective with the Los Angeles Police Department. Presently, he operates his own investigation firm (Gailey Associates, Inc.), which as I understand is one of the best in the country and offers a wide array of services, including industrial espionage and the like.
Assume, hypothetically speaking only, that Mr. X is an industrialist and a client of Gailey Associates in connection with various business-related transactions. Assume also that Mr. X, while a client of Gailey Associates, was charged by the federal government for participating in a conspiracy to kidnap and murder Mr. Y, the owner of a competing business located in Los Angeles. Mr. X is tried and convicted and sentenced to serve a 30 year sentence in a federal correctional facility. However, after one year he is mysteriously pardoned by the U.S. president.
Public and media pressure prompt the Los Angeles District Attorney to file an information against Mr. X for violations of State Penal Code provisions, including PC 182 and 187 in connection with the crimes Mr. X committed against Mr. Y. A shortage of qualified detectives prompts the DA to seek volunteer detectives, and Mr. Gailey is deputized, issued a badge, and appointed the role of lead detective in amassing the case against Mr. X on behalf of the People.
Mr. Gailey shortly thereafter announces the closure of the investigation, and declares that, as far as he is concerned, Mr. X is innocent. As a second hypothetical, assume that with these facts in mind, Mr. Gailey is instead an attorney in private practice who is deputized to act as special prosecutor to try Mr. X, and likewise Mr. Gailey declares Mr. X to be innocent.
If you don’t see anything wrong with the above two hypothetical examples, please delete this email; otherwise, keep reading because the above hypo is very similar to the scenario that ensued when you agreed to act as special prosecutor against your clients (Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack) on behalf of the People of the State of California to examine the grave and previously adjudicated attorney misconduct Messrs. Girardi and Lack committed against the Ninth Circuit in the litigation against the Dole Food Company.
The misconduct on the part of Girardi and Lack was investigated by a special master (Senior Judge Hon. Wallace Tashima) appointed by the Ninth Circuit, and his recommendations were adopted by a panel of three Ninth Circuit judges after a full opportunity was afforded to Girardi and Lack to present defenses and bargain with a special prosecutor (Rory Little); these findings were memorialized in the published decision of In Re Girardi. Some of the findings included that Lack and Girardi have resorted to employing “the persistent use of known falsehoods” and that “false representations” were made “knowingly, intentionally, and recklessly” during years of litigation.
Rory Little, Ninth Circuit judicial aspirant and professor of law at U.C. Hastings. Professor Little was appointed special prosecutor in the matter of In Re Girardi by Chief Judge Alex Kozinski. Prior to entering academia, Professor Little served as a federal prosecutor for the Organized Crime and Racketeering Strike Force, prosecuting cases of labor racketeering, money-laundering, narcotics and other organized criminal activity. (image:courtesy photo)
As you surely recall, the Ninth Circuit also ordered Girardi and Lack to report the findings to the State Bar of California. Because Howard Miller of Girardi & Keese served as President of the State Bar, the Bar disqualified itself and you were appointed as Special Prosecutor by the State Bar to further look into this matter on behalf of the People.
Despite ample opportunities, you (nor Lack, Girardi, or members of your firm whom I contacted on several occasions in search of information) mentioned that Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack were your and your firm’s clients.
Shortly thereafter, when you had issued the decision to “exonerate” Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack (as memorialized in a “Dear Bob” letter you sent Mr. Robert Baker of Baker Keener & Nahara), I immediately protested by filing both an ethics complaint with the State Bar of California, and asking the BOG to inquire into the matter. Named in the complaint were yourself, Douglas Wintrhrop, Howard Miller, and James Towery.
At that time, I was unaware that Girardi and Lack were your clients, and the ethics complaint alleged you were biased because of your and your firm’s ongoing business relationship with Skadden Arps and partner Tom Nolan, who served as Girardi’s defense counsel in the matter of In Re Girardi. Also, I argued that since the State Bar of California had disqualified itself, you and your firm should also have been disqualified as the managing partner of your firm (Douglas Wintrhrop) is an officer of the State Bar of California, and was appointed to the position by the BOG headed by Howard Miller of Girardi & Keese.
Mr. Robert Hawley immediately appointed himself the point of contact, and only several months ago informed me that the complaint was assigned to RAD, which in turn appointed a special master who examined the complaint and found no ethical violations; RAD voted to accept this conclusion.
Mr. Thomas Girardi of Girardi & Keese and State Bar of California
Deputy Executive Director, Mr. Robert A. Hawley.
Subsequently, and fortuitously, I very recently discovered that Lack and Girardi were clients of your firm. I inquired with Mr. Hawley whether this fact was known to the RAD and Special Master investigating my complaint. The inquiry to Mr. Hawley was ignored, ipso facto terminating his role as point of contact.
Mr. Hawley’s lack of response lends credence to my belief that since you knew of the complaint and never informed the Special Master or RAD, you are also liable for defrauding and misrepresenting events to a tribunal. If you have facts to the contrary, please forward them to me ASAP.
Note that subsequent to the discovery of the attorney-client relationship between you and Lack/Girardi, I again wrote SeLegue and Philips seeking additional clarification, and no response was forthcoming. It had occurred to me that, given that Girardi and Lack are clients of your firm, any insinuation of misconduct I may previously have alleged on the part of SeLegue and Philips were improper; as such, these insinuations are hereby withdrawn as I now understand that SeLegue and Philips were acting in the best interest of their clients — Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack.
Nevertheless, the serious nature of the offenses and the harm caused by your corrupt activities (as well as the corrupt activities of Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack, primarily as a result of their failure to speak up and reject your appointment) leaves me no choice but to, again, seek discipline against you, Walter Lack, and Thomas Girardi. Additional factors surrounding Thomas Girardi and Girardi & Keese have also become relevant, including the recent malpractice suits filed by Gutierez and Demeter Energy; the secretive attorney-client relationship between Girardi & Keese and Skadden Arps in the Fogel vs. Farmers matter, the identity and nature of the firms defending MGA in the litigation against Mattel; Alec Chang’s membership on RAD; the overall corruption within the State Bar of California manifested in its unwillingness to prosecute Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack; Girardi’s unsettling friendship with Ronald George and “mentoring” of former crack-addict Mike Nisperos. These factors, coupled with my impression that the firms of Girardi & Keese, Skadden Arps, and Howard Rice have somehow exempted themselves from complying with the rules, make clear that I must press ahead to ensure that you, Walter Lack, and Thomas Girardi are held fully accountable and otherwise prevented from practicing before any federal or state court.
As such, in the near future the federal district court, appellate court, and U.S. Supreme Court will be asked to investigate your misconduct (and that of Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack), and to otherwise permanently remove your names from the roll of members allowed to practice before each of those courts.
Particularly, I plan to ask the Ninth Circuit to appoint a Special Master to investigate the matter, and to reopen the matter of In Re Girardi to examine whether Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi fully complied with the order in the matter of In Re Girardi and to report their misconduct to the State Bar of California. It is my position that the order to report their misconduct to the State Bar of California included an implied covenant that any State Bar of California proceedings would be conducted in good faith and in conformity with all rules and duties and principles consistent with the fair administration of justice. By not speaking up when you were appointed, Messrs. Girardi and Lack further aggravated matters and, arguably, violated the order handed down by the Ninth Circuit.
Mr. Walter Lack of Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack. In the matter of In Re Girardi, the Ninth Circuit adjudicated: “with respect to Respondents Lack and Traina, we conclude that the mitigating factors can affect only the length of the suspension we impose. Although Lack’s involvement in the enforcement proceedings was more long-standing than Traina’s, each was specifically responsible for the falsehoods presented to this court. Consequently, each is suspended from the practice of law in this court for six months, effective on the filing date of this order. Fed. R.App. P. 46(c). Respondents Lack and Traina may each file a petition for reinstatement after the period of suspension pursuant to Ninth Circuit Rule 46-2(h). Each shall file the petition using this docket number and include evidence that he is in good standing, with no discipline pending, in all courts and bars to which he is admitted.” (Image:courtesy photo)
Similarly, when Walter Lack sought to reinstate himself via a motion advanced to Ninth Circuit Commissioner Shaw, he relied heavily on the fact that the State Bar of California decided not to discipline him. In aggravation and while exponentially compounding his lack of credibility, Mr. Lack conveniently failed to mention that he and you (who represented the State Bar of California) have an attorney-client relationship, and that your decision to not prosecute him was the fruit of an unlawful and highly unethical scheme.
In addition, please note that I plan to file a writ with the California Supreme Court seeking to invalidate your decision, and asking the Court to order the State Bar of California to commence proceedings consistent with the State Bar Act and the Rules of Professional Conduct against you, Walter Lack, Thomas Girardi, and your respective firms, and to otherwise take action on the original complaint I submitted to the Intake Office which was never processed.
The writ will be filed prior to the end of this year so as to allow the Court to also address separate matters, and to otherwise maintain jurisdiction over Douglas Winthrop (also of Howard Rice) and Holly Fujie in their capacities as President and Vice President of the California Bar Foundation, and in connection with the overall circumstances, particularly the hush-hush and unlawful transfer of $780,000 from the Foundation to sham charity CaliforniaALL.
Hence, at your earliest convenience I ask that you provide information, as well as, if you wish, any memorandum containing legal authority explaining why your actions did not constitute professional misconduct.
Below is a synopsis of the various acts of misconduct I intend to allege. If you believe I am wrong, legally or factually, please so advise as soon as possible:
Your first act of misconduct took place once the State Bar initially contacted you. Rather than rejecting the appointment, you intentionally, deliberately, and with aforethought accepted the assignment, knowing full well that you were unable to take a position adverse to your clients Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi, and also knowing full well that you would exonerate both of them regardless of the weight of the evidence. In doing so, you hoped to maintain your attorney-client relationship with Walter Lack and Thomas Girardi in order to obtain a future stream of business from them, as well as from Thomas Girardi’s defense lawyer — your confederate, Thomas Nolan of Skadden Arps. By doing so, you have completely breached the duties expected of a prosecutor. Moreover, while temporarily holding public office, you placed your financial interests, as well as the financial interest of your firm, before those of the People, causing injury to the federal judiciary, the Dole Food Company, the State Bar of California, the People of the State of California, the fair administration of justice, myself, and frankly, even your own clients Thomas Girardi and Walter Lack.
Your second act of misconduct involved the hampering of an investigation, and misleading a tribunal (i.e. the BOG/RAD and the appointed Special Master) by not fully disclosing the attorney-client relationship.
Thirdly, and in aggravation, even to this date, and after members of your firm were informed of the recent discovery and you had ample opportunity to admit you mistakes, you still have not taken any action to remedy the situation. Instead, you appear to hope that by ignoring the problem, it will somehow disappear. It shall not.
Thank you for your consideration. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further information or clarification of the above-described facts.
*Links and photos inserted by The Leslie Brodie Report.