Commenting on the unfolding disgrace of boardroom thievery in Corporate America, former Ambassador Peter Secchia wants us to know that he thinks these crooks should be thrown in jail. Criminal prosecution may well be in order for those corporate directors and officers who broke faith the shareholders they were hired to serve in order to line their pockets with ill-gotten gain.
Contrary to the shared misconception of both the bien pensant compassion-mongers and the “greed is good” masters of the universe, the free market is sustained not by the law of the jungle but by the rule of law. It is our trust that the law stands behind the bargains we strike, the contracts we make, and the obligations we incur that lubricates the machinery of the free market. Without the law we would have nothing more than the “caveat emptor” of the bazaar rather than the sophisticated capital markets that fuel the businesses that deliver a wealth of goods and services to us.
So, yes, those corporate malfeasors who breached our trust must reckon with the law. Let us hope that the Ambassador, who was a director of Old Kent Bank, is just as demanding when the role played by bank insiders in the 25-million-dollar Toxic Towers fiasco comes to light.
I note in the news today that the Pin-Striped Commissar (aka Grand Rapids City Commissioner James Jendrasiak, self-anointed tribune of the masses) is upset with the party arrangements for former Ambassador Peter Secchia’s birthday – or perhaps it was the guest list that included the Veep and not himself. It’s too bad that the Commissar is too blinkered by petty partisanship to look beyond the silly celebrations of the local GOP and focus his concern on the Ambassador’s uncanny knack of being in the right place at the right time when comes to selling property to the government.
Seeing that the officially designated shyster cops, the Attorney Grievance Commission, can’t handle anything more complicated than a purse-snatching, yours truly has joined a lawsuit filed in Kent County Circuit Court to bring a crew of crooked attorneys to heel.
The lawsuit is Proto-CAM v Wardrop (Kent County Circuit Court Case No. 02-03723-NZ), and let me disclose an obvious point of self-interest. I would not be involved in this matter were it not for that fact that my for-profit business interests have been harmed these lawless lawyers. Nevertheless, this fact does not diminish the public interest in holding attorneys accountable for what all too often is excused by their brethren as “sharp practice”.
Clever is one thing. Lying to the judge, fabricating documents for sham transactions, and drafting false affidavits are what they appear to be: Frauds on the court.
I think I understand why the legal community is so blase about defrauding the court. A lawyer may know the law (and I stress the “may”), but a lawyer is usually very weak on the facts. To know the facts of your case a lawyer must spend time to learn them. However, a lawyer makes a buck by selling his time, and he has only so much time to sell. To ensure that he sells all of the hours he has, a lawyer books too many cases. (Kinda like the way airliners overbook seats.)
Because he has too many cases to handle, a lawyer cheats on the amount of time needed to know the facts of your case. If he doesn’t know the facts well enough, then he lacks the confidence to challenge a fraud that is being committed in the court. After all, proving a fraud always comes down to what is true or not.
Now combine your lawyer’s greed with his inbred timidity in challenging a fellow member of the bar (especially as a member of G.R. Law) and you can get an idea of how frauds slither through the court with little if any sanction against them. Little wonder your attorney brushes off a fraud with a faux-sophisticate’s shrug that it is nothing more than “sharp practice”.
Well, your executive director with two other intrepid souls have decided enough is enough. Wish us luck. If we can make these lawless lawyers pay for their “sharp practice”, maybe others so inclined will think twice about doing it in other cases.
The Attorney Grievance Commission informs me today that it won’t investigate Boss Logie for conflicts of interest resulting from his abuse of the office of Mayor of Grand Rapids for the benefit of his law firm’s clients, especially in relation to providing the Grand Rapids Water Filtration Plant as a hazardous waste dump for the toxic soil excavated from the nearby Berkey & Gay redevelopment project.
As it happens, two of Boss Logie’s biggest clients have a major stake in the Berkey & Gay project: Fifth Third Bank and Spectrum Health. Fifth Third lent the developers $25 million to spruce up the old hulk after insiders shook the Spectrum piggy bank hard enough to get the hospital to commit its training consortium to a lease for the project, which goes a long to repaying what has to be the biggest loan in the region for a Class-B commercial “spec” project.
(Odd how a project that a blue-ribbon tenant like Spectrum had pre-committed to can be labeled as a “spec” project by its developers, but then the Berkey & Gay’s developers have been doing a lot of fibbing about this project. Just ask the MDEQ and the City Assessor’s office.)
So knowing Boss Logie’s quaint impatience with mere ethical restraints on his conduct, little surprise that he met with the Empty Suits (officially known as the Grand Rapids City Commission) twice behind closed doors to put the ki-bosh on any inquiries into the dumping of Berkey & Gay waste at the Filtration Plant. Soon enough the City will have to turn over the minutes of these closed meetings to the judge in our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, and we should be able to make public Boss Logie’s backroom conduct.
Then you can judge for yourself if the Attorney Grievance Commission still remains the Bar’s barkless watchdog.
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The Fool's Gold of a College Education Most kids who get a college degree today have nothing but an expensive credential that lands them a job that any high school graduate could have gotten a generation ago -- WITHOUT the heavy burden of paying back a student loan.
The Fixer A four-part series about the local attorney behind the demise of Autodie, Butterworth Hospital, Amway, and Old Kent. Warning: Strong accusations of corruption, greed, and skullduggery. Not for the feint of heart.
Poison The nasty nature of the 26,000 tons of poison that The Boardwalk's developers dug up and then dumped upon the rest of us.
No Honor Among Thieves: The Demise of Quixtar The re-branding of Amway as Quixtar put lipstick on the pig, but none of the crappy way of doing business changed. Now comes public scrutiny around the world to control its kingpins and clean up the dirty "tools" business.
Lost Cause A story of how River City lost its way to a secure economic future.
Living Wage Kills Jobs City pols support a Marxist policy that, like all Marxist policies, hurt the very people they say it will help.
Defenders Who Do Not Defend Excessive plea-bargaining, lack of preparation, shoddy to non-existent representation, conflicts of interests are rife among lawyers taking public defender cases on the taxpayer dime.