Thursday, December 18, 2014

GAY MARRIAGE: GREENBERG TRAURIG Scares Florida Court Clerks, Has Long Global History of Fraud

From Wikipedia:

Lobbying and Jack Abramoff scandal[edit]
In January 2001, lobbyist Jack Abramoff left Preston Gates & Ellis to join Greenberg Traurig. Abramoff brought a book of business then worth more than $6 million annually to Greenberg Traurig, according to his own estimates. At the firm he assembled "Team Abramoff," a lobbying team that was involved in the Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal and the monetary influence of Jack Abramoff. A Greenberg spokesman said that its federal lobbying revenue in 2005 was 1 percent of its total revenues of $860 million.

In 2000, before Abramoff joined the firm, Greenberg had $3.3 million in lobbying fees. After he joined in 2001, the firm took in $16.2 million in fees. By 2002, that number jumped to $17.7 million, and $25.5 million by 2003.[15] The firm became one of the top 10 of Washington lobbying firms, moving from 16th place to fourth, according to the National Journal.[16]

In early 2004 Greenberg Traurig fired Abramoff and subsequently received praise from federal investigators and members of Congress for its cooperation in the Abramoff investigation, according to the ABA Journal.[17]

On July 12, 2006, the Alabama-Coushatta tribe filed a federal racketeering lawsuit against now-convicted Abramoff and his cohorts. Greenberg Traurig was not a named defendant. Its lawsuit states that "There was a nexus between Greenberg, the enterprise and the pattern of racketeering." According to the suit, internal Greenberg e-mails showed that Abramoff associate Michael Scanlon, although not a member of the firm, "billed hours to tribal clients through Greenberg and that members of the law firm, including attorneys Kevin Ring, Shawn Vasell, Stephanie Leger, Todd Boulanger and others, fabricated hours and time entries for Scanlon." The suit also says the firm allowed checks sent by the tribe to a bogus Abramoff-linked think tank to be funneled and cashed through Greenberg Traurig.[15]

In March 2008, prosecutors in Guam indicted Greenberg Traurig on felony counts of allegedly making improper billings to Guam's superior court under the guise of charging for lobbying services by Jack Abramoff.[18] In April 2008, the charges of deception, theft and conspiracy were dismissed by Guam prosecutors after Greenberg Traurig agreed to refund $324,000 in lobbying fees to the Guam judiciary.[19]

In November 2008, a New York State court refused to dismiss a suit alleging that Robert J. Ivanhoe, chairman of Greenberg Traurig's New York City office and head of its real estate group, disregarded his "legal and fiduciary duties" by taking a personal financial stake in a competitor to a client that had invested in a multibillion-dollar real estate venture.[20] The former client had sued Ivanhoe and Greenberg Traurig in April 2008 for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty, tortious interference with prospective economic damages, and malpractice. Greenberg Traurig responded that the allegations were "without merit" and that it would appeal the ruling.[21]
In June 2006, Greenberg Traurig agreed to pay the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation $7.6 million for its role as a legal adviser to the now defunct Hamilton Bank of Miami, to settle allegations that it had helped to cover up bank officers' financial misconduct. The firm paid an additional $750,000 fine to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for allegedly protecting the bank's officers "by making materially false and misleading assertions and by suppressing material evidence."[22]
In December 2008, the firm and several current and former firm attorneys (Harley Lewin and Steven Wadyka) were sued in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia by Catherine and Richard Snyder of Herndon, Virginia. Also named in the suit, Greenberg Traurig's client, Diane Von Furstenberg Studios, Conde Nast Publications, The New Yorker and New Yorker staff reporter, Larissa MacFarquhar. The Snyders' suit stems from a suit filed in the same court by Diane Von Furstenberg Studios against Catherine Snyder in December 2006 for trademark infringement, which resulted in an award of damages to DVF Studios. The Snyders' complaint alleges, among other things, that the Greenberg attorneys made false statements to the court when applying for a search warrant and that one (Wadyka) impersonated a federal officer by flashing a badge and stating that he was with the office of the U.S. Attorney. The suit also alleges that the attorneys failed to post a required bond and that the search of the Snyders' home exceeded the scope of the warrant and resulted in the seizure of many personal items. The suit also alleges that the firm's attorneys improperly brought New Yorker staff reporter MacFarquhar, who was profiling Lewin for a forthcoming article, into the Snyders' home while conducting their raid in December 2006 pursuant to the search warrant.[23]
In November 2006, Jay I. Gordon, the former chairman of Greenberg Traurig's tax practice, resigned from the New York bar and was disbarred for taking over $1.2 million in kickbacks on tax shelters that he had recommended to wealthy clients of the firm.[24]
In December 2005, Leonard Ross, an attorney formerly with Greenberg Traurig's Philadelphia office, was charged with fraud and corruption as part of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation into city government. Ross was a friend and former law partner of Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street: Federal prosecutors alleged that Ross's employment at Greenberg was "entirely dependent on his relationship with Mayor Street" and "a motive for selling his office as a PLC [Penns Landing Corporation] board member."[22]
In May 2005, Philadelphia partner Robert S. Grossman plead guilty to charges that he had lied in a 1996 bankruptcy case to cover up his improper diversion of over $100,000 to his personal account when he worked as a real estate developer in Virginia. Greenberg Traurig professed surprise at Grossman's arrest the following November for failing to report to prison, and stated that Grossman hadn't disclosed the criminal proceeding to the firm. Greenberg has stated that it now does background checks on all new employees.[22]
In 2001, Victor Reyes, who headed the Hispanic Democratic Organization and had close ties to Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, joined Greenberg Traurig and led the firm's Chicago lobbying practice. After Reyes's arrival, from 2001 to 2005, Greenberg earned $3.5 million in city-related legal fees, including for representing the city in the United Airlines and RCN Cable TV bankruptcies. US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald subsequently alleged that Reyes's law office was central to a patronage scheme to funnel city jobs to pro-Daley campaign workers. Reyes resigned from Greenberg in August 2005, and in September federal prosecutors indicted five city employees, including a former Reyes aide, in the scandal. Reyes wasn't charged, but prosecutors called him as a "co-schemer" in the indictment.[25] Greenberg CEO Cesar L. Alvarez stated, "I don't know about anything [Reyes] did in the firm that was wrong. I can only know what I have seen, and I only know that he hasn't been charged."[22]
In 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission looked into insider trader allegations between United States House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health staff director Brian Sutter and Mark Hayes, a lobbyist at Greenberg Traurig.[26]

17 ^
18 ^ Greenberg Traurig Indicted in Guam
19 ^ Felony Charges in Guam Dropped Against Greenberg Traurig
20 ^ Nama Holdings, LLC v. Greenberg Traurig LLP, Index No. 601054/08 (Sup. Ct. N.Y. Cty. Nov. 18, 2008)
21 ^ Lawsuit Proceeds Against Greenberg Traurig, Real Estate Head
22 to: a b c d Will the Corporate Model Backfire on Greenberg?
23 ^ "Couple Sues New Yorker & Greenberg Traurig", from Court House News Service
24 ^
25 ^ Feds link close pal of Daley to hiring
26. ^ Lopez, Luciana; Raymond, Nate (4 July 2014). "House panel opposes giving SEC documents for insider trading probe". (Reuters). Retrieved 4 July 2014.

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