Ukrainian Archive, www.ukar.org
28 November 2002
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. [...]
CA NOW Executive Director
California National Organization for Women canow.org/famlaw_report/audit_ltr.pdf Bold emphasis added.
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
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.