Archive for the ‘lawsuit’ Category

ACORN Board of Directors Meet Amid Internal Lawsuit, $1M Embezzlement Caper, Leadership Struggle

October 17, 2008

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press Writer

NEW ORLEANS – ACORN, the national activist group dogged by a high-profile voter registration fraud scandal, has another bruising item on its agenda when its board of directors meets here this weekend.

Leaders of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are locked in a legal dispute stemming from allegations that the brother of the group’s founder misappropriated nearly $1 million of the nonprofit’s money several years ago.

The embezzlement case, a recent revelation to some board members, has spawned a lawsuit and set off a power struggle inside ACORN at a time when the liberal group’s voter registration practices are the subject of fraud investigations and fodder for presidential campaign attacks.

Bertha Lewis, ACORN’s interim chief organizer, called the lawsuit “a distraction from us marshaling our forces to deal with the Republican right-wing attacks” over ACORN’s voter registration.

The lawsuit filed in August by two board members accuses ACORN founder and former chief organizer Wade Rathke of either concealing or failing to properly report that his brother Dale embezzled around $948,000 from New Orleans-based ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000.

Instead of reporting the allegations to law enforcement authorities, a small group of ACORN executives allowed the Rathke family to repay the misappropriated money, according to the lawsuit brought by board members Karen Inman and Marcel Reid.

Wade Rathke is seen in a Tuesday Feb. 26, 2002 file photo, in ... 
Wade Rathke is seen in a Tuesday Feb. 26, 2002 file photo, in New Orleans. A lawsuit filed in August by two ACORN board members accuses ACORN founder and former chief organizer Wade Rathke of either concealing or failing to properly report that his brother Dale embezzled around $948,000 from New Orleans-based ACORN and affiliated charitable organizations in 1999 and 2000.(AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)

Inman and Reid said the agreement, which called for the stolen money to be carried on the books of an ACORN affiliate as a loan to an officer, was kept a secret from the full 51-member board until earlier this year.

“We need to find out what happened, when it happened and make sure that ACORN is viable,” Inman said during a press briefing about the dispute Thursday in New Orleans. Inman also says she wants an independent audit of ACORN’s books.

Rathke, who founded ACORN in 1970, defended the decision to keep his brother’s actions an “internal matter” and resolve it with “private restitution.” Reporting the case to law enforcement could have left the group at risk of financial ruin, Rathke said.

“One choice would have been to go that way, but then we wouldn’t have been able to collect that money,” he said.

No working phone number for Dale Rathke could be found and a request by The Associated Press to contact him through his brother wasn’t immediately answered.

Lewis said the group’s board recently hired attorneys to explore whether Dale Rathke’s actions warrant a criminal investigation or could be the subject of a civil case.

“Remember, we just found this out in June,” she said.

Rathke said he took responsibility for his brother’s “mistakes” by resigning, while Inman says he was fired. Rathke blames a “small group of dissidents” for the turmoil that has followed his departure.

“I wish they would have kept the internal affairs of the organization internally,” he said.

Inman and Reid filed suit for access to ACORN financial records that staff members allegedly refused to give them.

During their meeting this weekend, board members are expected to discuss the lawsuit and explore ways to resolve it. A state judge presiding over the case has asked for a transcript of the board’s discussion.

Lewis said Inman and Reid don’t speak for the entire board and didn’t have authority to file suit on the board’s behalf.

“As you can well imagine, any organization that just fired its founder after 38 years would have internal issues,” she said.

Wade Rathke says he stepped down as ACORN’s chief organizer in June, but remains chief organizer for ACORN International. A spokesman for ACORN said the two organizations are separate entities, although they have shared office space in New Orleans.

Rathke shrugged off the board members’ lawsuit, calling it a “minor matter,” and expressed confidence that the voting registration controversy won’t consume the group.

“ACORN is a big organization now, and they’re big enough to weather this,” he said.


Above: Just a reminder: the FBI is investigating ACORN…..

Related:
ACORN Now Subject of Major FBI Probe

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081017/ap_on_re_us/acorn_missing_money_1

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Vietnam’s Catfish Farmers: Off The Hook

December 27, 2007
Thursday December 27, 2007

HANOI, Dec 27 Asia Pulse – The Association of Catfish Farmers of America (CFA) and US catfish processors have removed the names of 27 Vietnamese tra and basa exporters from the list of companies subject to the fourth administrative review, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

On August 31, 2007, the plaintiff in the catfish dumping lawsuit informed the US Department of Commerce (DOC) of the names of Vietnamese companies subject to the fourth annual administrative review.

However, the law firm Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLp, representing the plaintiff, sent a letter on December 20 to the DOC Secretary, announcing that the plaintiff has agreed to remove the names of 27 Vietnamese companies from the list. The DOC will conduct an administrative review of tra and basa exports to the US by Vietnamese companies between August 1, 2006 and July 31, 2007.

The 27 Vietnamese companies which have been removed from the list of those subject to review are: Afiex An Giang; Agifish; Anvifish Co., Ltd; Basa Co., Ltd; Cataco; Caseamex; Cafatex; Caseafood; CL-Fish Co., Ltd; Seaprodex Da Nang; Coseafex; East Sea Seafoods Joint Venture Co., Ltd; Gepimex 404; limited companies: Hai Nam, Hai Vuong, Hoan An, Hung Vuong, Kim Anh; Mekongfish; Nam Viet (NAVICO); Ngoc Thai; South Vina; Vietnam Fish-One Co., Ltd; Vinh Hoan (ong Thap); Vinh Hoan Corporation; Imex Cuu Long and Vinh Quang Fisheries Corporation.

All other companies named on the August 31, 2007 list will be subject to the fourth review.

The US catfish farmers brought suit against Vietnamese filet tra and basa producers five years ago, the result of which was the DOC’s decision to impose anti-dumping tax rates on Vietnamese companies’ exports. Every year, the DOC conducts an administrative review of named exporters, which decides appropriate tax rates for the companies.

Despite the anti-dumping tax rates imposed on exports to the US, Vietnam is still able to export a large volume of catfish globally, with turnover nearly reaching the US$1 billion level.

The demand for catfish keeps increasing on the world market. Exports to Russia, the second biggest market for Vietnam’s tra and basa fish, resumed after food hygiene problems were settled. Vietnam’s export products now meet the strict requirements set by major importers (the EU, US, Russia and Australia).

In the first three quarters of 2007, the EU remained the biggest importer of tra and basa from Vietnam, consuming 46.2 per cent in terms of quantity and 49 per cent in terms of export turnover. Russia is the second biggest export market for Vietnam’s catfish, followed by ASEAN countries, the US, Ukraine and Mexico.

(VNA)

Related:
Vietnam: China’a Seafood Exports Slide as Vietnam’s Boom

Tricky Vietnamese Truth About Catfish

Former Office of Judge Who Had Sued Over Pants Is Targeted

November 2, 2007

By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2007; Page B07

The D.C. inspector general is investigating the city office that employed Roy L. Pearson Jr., the administrative law judge whose lawsuit over a pair of pants drew international attention.

The investigation goes beyond the conduct of Pearson, who lost his job this week. The inspector general is focusing on the overall performance of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which handles disputes involving city agencies. Pearson, who served two years on the bench, was one of about 30 judges in the office.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/31/AR2007103102576.html

Judge Who Lost Pants Likely To Lose Job

October 23, 2007

By Keith Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2007; Page B04

Roy L. Pearson Jr., whose $54 million lawsuit against a Northeast Washington dry-cleaning shop was rejected in court, is about to lose his job as an administrative law judge, sources said last night.

A city commission voted yesterday against reappointing Pearson to the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings, which hears cases involving various D.C. boards and agencies. Pearson, who was up for a 10-year term, had tried to hold on to the job.

Roy L. Pearson Jr., who has served two years on the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings, had sued dry cleaners for $54 million. Roy L. Pearson Jr., who has served two years on the bench of the Office of Administrative Hearings, had sued dry cleaners for $54 million.
Photo Credit: By Jacquelyn Martin — Associated Press
Related Article: Judge Set to Lose Job, Sources Say, page B04

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/22/
AR2007102202170.html