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The LASCJA Slush Fund Scandal

The appearance, however, is that a group of judges within the Los Angeles Superior Court are operating a checking account and a business that is essentially "off the books," with no oversight from any regulatory agency, and receiving money from attorneys who are practicing in their courtrooms. — Helen Grieco

The above images of checks made out to CASH for the amounts of US$571.60 and US$870.00 were received the day after the hard copy of the letter below was mailed, and are highly pertinent, as they illustrate the way in which money in the Judges Miscellaneous Expense Fund might be translated into unacknowledged and untaxed income.  It is checks such as these that substantiate Helen Grieco's statement, quoted below, that Several of the copies of cancelled checks included with the attached material are for "Cash," and the amounts are not trivial.  The small number of checks for cash that CA NOW was able to obtain total over $4,000.
The following gloss of the words spoliation and spoliator, following Black's Law Dictionary (1968), might be helpful:

SPOLIATION:  Destruction of a thing by the act of a stranger, as the erasure or alteration of a writing.

SPOLIATOR:  A spoiler or destroyer.  It is a maxim of law, bearing chiefly on evidence, but also upon the value generally of the thing destroyed, that everything most to his disadvantage is to be presumed against the destroyer, contra spoliatorem omnia prœsumuntur.

Applied to the seven documents spoliated by James R. Dunn in Rambam v Prytulak, this maxim dictates that the documents be presumed to be supportive of the Lubomyr Prytulak position, and to be inculpatory of James R. Dunn's handling of the case.


Lubomyr Prytulak
Ukrainian Archive, www.ukar.org
[Address]
[Telephone]
[Email]

28 November 2002


Gary Klausner
Supervising Judge, Civil Division
Los Angeles Superior Court
111 North Hill Street
Los Angeles, CA
USA     90012


Re: Rambam v Prytulak   BC271433   James R. Dunn


Gary Klausner:

Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Association (LASCJA) Slush Fund

Accusations against the LASCJA are credible enough to lead to wide commentary, and to a broad call for investigation, as indicated by the following excerpt from a letter written by the Executive Director of the California National Organization for Women (CA NOW), in which I have added bold emphasis to statements that will be supported by documentation further below:

Honorable Sheila Kuehl,
Capitol Building #4032
Sacramento, CA 95814

August 3, 2001

Honorable Sheila Kuehl,

We are requesting that you assist us in calling for an audit of the LA Superior Court Judges Association and the Superior Court Judges Miscellaneous Expense Fund.  It appears from documents included with this letter that the Superior Court Judges Association maintained a checking account, yet neither the IRS nor the County of Los Angeles claim any knowledge of this account.  It appears that the Judges Association put on seminars and co-sponsored events with the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and registration fees from these events went into this abovementioned fund.

There is a possibility of impropriety that needs to be investigated because the attorneys attending these functions regularly appear in front of these judges, and the checking account seemed to be used for purposes unrelated to court administration.  Bank records show that this account reached almost $80,000 in August of 1991.  Several of the copies of cancelled checks included with the attached material are for "Cash," and the amounts are not trivial.  The small number of checks for cash that CA NOW was able to obtain total over $4,000.  In addition, there are checks to country clubs and jewelry stores.  Further questions are raised by numerous checks by Los Angeles attorney made out directly to the "Judges Trust Fund."  Given that the account appears to have been used for personal reasons, it seems highly improper for practicing attorneys to be paying money into this checking account.

In 1997, after Insight Magazine published an expose on the checking account, the Judges filed articles of incorporation.  The address of the nonprofit, however, is the Central Courthouse in Los Angeles.  CA NOW questions whether is it appropriate for the judges of the Superior Court to be operating a private nonprofit corporation out of a county government building.  The name on the articles of incorporation and the checking account is the LA Superior Court Judges Association.  It appears, however, that this account may be a continuation of the Miscellaneous Expense Fund, since the Bank of America records indicate that the Association has been a member since 1962, despite being incorporated in 1997.

Regardless of whether this account is the same as the Miscellaneous Expense Fund, the use that this account was put to raises even more questions.  It appears from the attached documents that attorneys wishing to be employed as Child Visitation Monitors were required to complete a class offered by the Court.  Attorneys attending these classes made out checks to the "Family Court Services Spec. Fund" but the checks were deposited into the LA Superior Court Judges Association checking account.

In an effort to gather as much information as possible, the various administrative departments in Los Angeles County were ask to identify any records they had of the LA Superior Court Judges Association.  The County Counsel for Los Angeles responded that there were no records transferring the right to use the County tax payer ID number to the LA Superior Court Judges Association, nor is there any record of a fictitious name state having been filed.  It appears that the County of Los Angeles has no knowledge of the LA Superior Court Judges Association.

Obviously this is a complex matter.  CA NOW does not have the resources to fully investigate this matter, and is hesitant to make allegations.  The appearance, however, is that a group of judges within the Los Angeles Superior Court are operating a checking account and a business that is essentially "off the books," with no oversight from any regulatory agency, and receiving money from attorneys who are practicing in their courtrooms.  To those of us on the outside, this appears highly improper, if not illegal.  For these reason, we respectfully ask for your help seeking an audit.  [...]

Sincerely,

Helen Grieco
CA NOW Executive Director
•  California National Organization for Women canow.org/famlaw_report/audit_ltr.pdf  Bold emphasis added.

Some Documentation of the Helen Grieco Allegations

Preliminary attempts to verify the Helen Grieco allegations above have led me to documentation which supports the allegations, as is illustrated in the case of the two checks below which happen to total to $6,750:

In July 1994, [Marvin] Bryer challenged the internal finance auditor of the family court, Gregory Pentoney, to turn over all records of donations to the court from members of the Los Angeles County bar.  It was in those records that he found two "donation" checks totaling $6,750 to the judges' fund, requisitioned through the bar association by the mother of the man Bryer's daughter was resisting in her custody case.  This was regarded as compromising family-court judges in Los Angeles County from hearing the case and it was moved to Orange County.
•  Kelly Patricia O'Meara, Is Justice for Sale in L.A.?, Insight Magazine, 03-May-1999, johnnypumphandle.com/cc/bryr0910.htm#tortclaim

These two checks turn out to be for the sums of $3,848 and $2,902, requisitioned by Pat Higgins, the "mother of the man Bryer's daughter was resisting."  As Pat Higgins may have been an employee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, no impropriety can be imputed merely from her having requisitioned the two checks as below, though impropriety of other kinds might be imputed.  The several documents relating to the first check for $3,848 are outlined in blue below, and relating to the second check for $2,902 are outlined in red.

First, Pat Higgins requisitions the two checks from the Los Angeles County Bar Association:
  1. for the sum of $3,848 required for 31-Jul-1991 to be made out to the Family Court Services Special Fund;

  2. for the sum of $2,902 required for 16-Apr-1992 to be made out to Family Court Services.



We see next the Los Angeles County Bar Association writing the two checks as requested — for the amounts requested, to the agencies requested, and only a few days after the date required:



It is the backs of the two checks that present our first serious anomaly — that they were deposited not in the FAMILY COURT SERVICES SPECIAL FUND or FAMILY COURT SERVICES, as would have been expected, but rather in the JUDGES' MISC EXP FUND.  This is possibly the sort of transaction that Helen Grieco was referring to in her letter above when she wrote Attorneys attending these classes made out checks to the "Family Court Services Spec. Fund" but the checks were deposited into the LA Superior Court Judges Association checking account.


Finally, we discover confirmation that the two checks were deposited in the SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE FUND bank account, the first check on 09-Aug-1991 and the second on 23-Apr-1992.

Also, the balance totalling $75,438.59 in the first statement below supports Helen Grieco's assertion above that Bank records show that this account reached almost $80,000 in August of 1991:



The following checks to Breamer Country Club ($300), and to Norman Goodman & Co. ($420.56), may correspond to Helen Grieco's statement that In addition, there are checks to country clubs and jewelry stores:





I do not have documents corresponding exactly to Helen Grieco's statements questioning the formal existence of the two funds in question — Family Court Services and Judges Miscellaneous Expense — or questioning their registration with tax authorities, but do have a few documents pointing in that same direction — in the first place, that the Family Court Services Special Fund is fictitious:





And that the following entities have never been granted tax-exempt status:

  1. Judges' Miscellaneous Expense Fund
  2. Judges Trust Fund Accounting
  3. Family Court Services Special Fund
  4. Family Court Services


And perhaps most damaging of all, that when the LASCJA does present a Tax ID (EIN 95-6000927), it is unlawfully that of the County:

Law-enforcement sources are nervous and concerned about the LASCJA accounts.  They and county officials tell Insight not the least of the concerns is that for years county employees, paid by the taxpayers, were at the same time working on the LASCJA's books.  This is because before filing for federal tax-exempt status in late 1997, the LASCJA was using the federal employer-identification number, or EIN, of Los Angeles County, which in turn covered the fact that the judges were not paying taxes on the outside income they moved through their association.
•  Kelly Patricia O'Meara, Is Justice for Sale in L.A.?, Insight Magazine, 03-May-1999 www.johnnypumphandle.com/cc/bryr0910.htm  Bold emphasis added.



Commentary on the LASCJA Slush Fund is Both Widespread and Uncomplimentary

Online material is available on the LASCJA slush fund scandal, most of it bringing the administration of justice in Los Angeles into disrepute, as for example the following:

The "Independent Audit" is Unconvincing

I understand that an audit into the LASCJA slush fund was conducted by the accounting firm of Simpson & Simpson, and which did lead to changes aimed at reducing abuse, though the audit stands out less for what it did accomplish than for what it did not.  The audit did not lead to any LASC judges being prosecuted, or being fired or disciplined, or paying penalties for tax evasion, or even being asked to make up unpaid taxes.  No court decisions were overturned as a result of any discovery of improper influence exercised through the slush fund.  A more credible investigation would have used search warrants to seize documents, would have subpoenaed witnesses, and would have cut deals — powers of the sort that are not often wielded by accounting firms, for which reason the Simpson & Simpson "independent audit" might be viewed by some as less of a definitive investigation than a whitewash, particularly in view of the loss of trust that accounting firms have suffered in the wake of the Arthur Anderson-Enron debacle.

A Dark Cloud Hangs Over Those Connected to the LASCJA Slush Fund

Given the continuing circulation of allegations of impropriety concerning the LASCJA slush fund, combined with the perfunctory Simpson & Simpson "independent audit," a cloud of disrepute continues to hang over the Los Angeles Superior Court as a whole, and most especially over those judges who were most closely associated with the management of the fund, perhaps judges like yourself, as evidenced by your high signing authority on the Security Pacific National Bank's signature card.

A Very Black Cloud Follows Those Complicit in Document Spoliation

That cloud of disrepute is particularly black over all those complicit in the spoliation of the following seven litigant submissions in the pending case of Rambam v Prytulak BC271433.  I ask you yet again as Supervising Judge of the Civil Division to exert your efforts to restoring these documents to the trial record, and bringing to justice those who have lost the capacity to distinguish between the lawful exercise of judicial power and its usurpation.

  1. Motion-to-Quash-B dated 27-May-2002
    www.ukar.org/temp/quash02.html

  2. Prytulak-Query-B dated 14-Jun-2002
    www.ukar.org/temp/query01.html

  3. Motion-to-Quash-C dated 29-Aug-2002, accompanied by a money order for US$193
    www.ukar.org/temp/quash03.html

  4. Rambam-Objection-C dated 03-Sep-2002
    www.ukar.org/temp/obj03sep.html

  5. Prytulak-Reply-C dated 13-Sep-2002, accompanied by a money order for US$23
    www.ukar.org/temp/rep13sep.html

  6. Prytulak-Reply-D3 dated 05-Nov-2002
    www.ukar.org/temp/rep05nov.html

  7. Prytulak-Reply-D7 dated 21-Nov-2002
    www.ukar.org/temp/rep21nov.html

What Does it Take to Stage Rambam v Prytulak?

Perhaps you will find it understandable that when I see myself being railroaded, I ask the question of who exactly are the people who are railroading me.  What I begin to discover is that they are people with qualities requisite to the task.

It takes a court capable of perhaps thousands of tainted criminal convictions — as I have discussed in my letter to you of 24-Nov-2002, titled Relevance of Rampart Scandal to Rambam v Prytulak — to suppress or destroy seven documents in Rambam v Prytulak.  It takes a court capable of creating the LASCJA slush fund — as I have been outlining above — to refuse for eight months to evaluate its own jurisdiction over two non-resident litigants in Rambam v Prytulak.





Lubomyr Prytulak


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