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Over the course of his well promoted career – twenty years as Connecticut’s attorney general, and now but a heart-throb away from occupying U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat – Richard Blumenthal has sued, in the past 8 years alone, more than a thousand companies. A PFD link to companies that have had court appearances with Blumenthal as a party to the suits can be accessed through a link on the following blog: Blumenthal’s Suits.
A recent Republican American editorial notes that Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has bitten off far more than he can chew: His most recent annual report shows that “his office had 36,495 cases pending at the end of 2008-09, a 40 percent increase over 1995-96.”
Virtually none of the principals involved in Blumenthal’s Byzantine and punishing suits have made themselves available to the media, even after courts have found against the attorney general, as happened recently in a case involving a small computer company – now out of business, thanks to one of Blumenthal’s suits – formerly located in East Hartford. A reference to that case may be found here: Blumenthal Good For Business.
All this will change when one of Blumenthal's targets makes an appearance on the Dan Lovallo “Talk of Connecticut” radio show on Monday, April 26 at 5:00. The show may be heard on the following stations: WDRC1360-WMMW1470-WWRO12409-WSNG610.
The case to be discussed on Lavallo's radio program and another case, New England Pellet (NEP), have in common a few striking features:
Most egregious is the misuse of affidavits in ex parte proceedings. An ex parte proceeding is one in which only Blumenthal – and not the company he is suing – is represented at court. In both cases, Blumenthal presented to the presiding judge affidavits that were defective on the strength of which he was invested with court authorization to impound assets, effectively putting the companies out of business and making it impossible for the owners of the companies to satisfy complainants in a timely manner.
In the NEP case the affidavit – charging that the principals of NEP either had or were about to fraudulently transfer assets – was signed by an “investigator” attached to Blumenthal’s office who, later in a deposition, swore under oath that he had no reason to believe the charge made in his affidavit, also a sworn document, was true. In the case on Lavallo's program, the affiant, the person who signed the sworn document, was not someone who had direct knowledge of the events that preceded prosecution. It was – amazingly – the assistant attorney general prosecuting the case. It is difficult to over estimate the harm that could be caused when lawyers – rather than proper affiants – are permitted such extraordinary powers. The power to impound assets is the power to destroy companies, which is why courts have surrounded ex parte proceedings with statutes and court decisions that require affiants to have direct knowledge of the events to which they swear in affidavits.
The affidavit found defective by a Superior Court Judge was additionally used to impound the assets of the business owner's husband, who was not materially connected to her company. That impounding, and subsequent impermissible contact between the attorney general’s office and bank officers in Maine, effectively destroyed her husband’s business.
Most distressing is the progression of events in these two cases. Attorneys general focused on justice begin their process of recovery and mediation by an exhaustive investigation, usually followed by a negotiation process in which a reasonable and just offer is made to satisfy complainants.
Blumenthal, it would appear from even a cursory glance at these two cases, begins with defective investigations, followed by defective affidavits, followed by bullying and threats designed to intimidate his targets in such a way that they will accede to his outrageous money demands, followed by a self serving, self promoting press release that paints the companies he is negotiating with in the harshest terms, followed by – endless litigation, the purpose of which is to force his victims, in reduced economic circumstances because he has impounded their assets, into satisfying his money demands.
A lawyer was hired to defend the woman from a demand to pay Blumenthal $1,332,000 – this from a person whose business was selling herbs and tea.
The woman offered to make all her complainants whole BEFORE Blumenthal sued. The owner of NEP, who put up his house as collateral and already had paid a large portion of what savings he had to satisfy his customers, offered to make all his complainants whole BEFORE Blumenthal sued.
Of the two, the NEP case is the most shattering. Evidence in that case was presented to Blumenthal indicating that the owner of NEP was himself a victim of extortion. NEP’s supplier shorted the company of pellets the supplier was under contract to deliver, e-mails made available to Blumenthal show, because the supplier wanted to acquire valuable contracts NEP had developed in New Jersey and New York. More sinned against than sinning, the owner of NEP, watching his business and his reputation swept into a sewer by Blumenthal’s press release and the impounding of his business equipment, attempted suicide – and he very nearly succeeded.
The story will air on the Dan Lavallo show on Monday, April 26 at 5:00.