Tag Archives: Lawyers

Remember That Cost Matrix That Rena Leddy And Urban Place Consulting Claimed In March 2017 Was A Trade Secret And Even Hired A Lawyer To Prevent Its Release Under CPRA? Well, Rena Leddy Herself Released It Into The Public Domain In October 2016. The Proper Response Is (a) WTF?! (b) Is Paying Lawyers To Fight Already-Lost Battles An Acceptable Use Of The BID’s Money? (c) All Of The Above

A couple days ago I published a collection of Rena Leddy’s reports to the Board of Directors of the Fashion District BID. This is turning out to be an incredibly rich source of information, revealing, e.g., that a marketing consultant hired by the BID thinks, among other deeply stupid thoughts, that lobster rolls confuse Latinos. And today I have another gem, but, for good or for ill, this one’s more technical although no less interesting.

Perhaps you recall that Urban Place Consulting is working for the Fashion District coordinating the BID’s pending renewal with the City. I obtained UPC’s contract with the BID from Rena Leddy via the California Public Records Act, but she claimed that the chart showing the actual hourly rates of UPC bossboy Steve Gibson and his assorted flunkies was exempt from release because it was a trade secret. Then we spent three months arguing about it and everybody got lawyered up and eventually she gave in and sent me an unredacted copy of the contract showing how much money all the UPC folks were getting paid.

Well, it turns out it was all for nothing. You see, in October 2016, UPC submitted a proposal to the BID for the consulting job. Here is a copy (transcription after the break, as always). And Rena Leddy included this proposal in the November 2016 Board Packet. And the proposal contained an unredacted copy of the cost matrix. To see why this action of Rena Leddy’s obviated our entire subsequent dispute about whether or not the cost matrix was exempt, turn the page, friend!
Continue reading Remember That Cost Matrix That Rena Leddy And Urban Place Consulting Claimed In March 2017 Was A Trade Secret And Even Hired A Lawyer To Prevent Its Release Under CPRA? Well, Rena Leddy Herself Released It Into The Public Domain In October 2016. The Proper Response Is (a) WTF?! (b) Is Paying Lawyers To Fight Already-Lost Battles An Acceptable Use Of The BID’s Money? (c) All Of The Above

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The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

Late last year it occurred to me that BID consultants, who help BIDs with the City processes necessary to establish or renew a BID, are essentially engaging in lobbying activity as defined in the Municipal Lobbying Ordinance at LAMC §48.02 and yet none of them1 seemed to be registered with the Ethics Commission as required by LAMC §48.07(A).

I then spent months piecing together over 100 pages of evidence to show that BID consultant Tara Devine had violated this law. Subsequently it occurred to me that the contracts that the consultants sign with BIDs would provide essential evidence that they’d been acting as lobbyists, so I determined to request these from many renewing BIDs. This led me to the discovery, thanks to the incomparable Laurie Hughes of the Gateway to LA BID, that GTLA’s BID consultant, Larry Kosmont, actually was registered as a lobbyist and had disclosed his BID consultancy as lobbying in his required reporting. The San Pedro BID is also up for renewal, and has recently released a fairly complete set of BID renewal records.

This brings us to the Fashion District. On February 21, 2017 I emailed Rena Leddy to request, among other material:

… all records associated with the renewal process, including but not limited to communications between the BID and the consultant and/or the engineer, contracts with and invoices from the consultant or the engineer, materials prepared by the consultant or the engineer for the renewal process, databases and mailing lists prepared or used by the consultant or the engineer, and also any communications between the consultant and the engineer that aren’t already responsive to the first part of this request.

The story of what happened after that stretched out over three months and generated many many megabytes of discussion. Read on for a (far too) detailed and exceedingly well-documented narrative recounting, complete with a happy, happy ending!
Continue reading The Fascinating Story Of How It Took Three Months And A Demand Letter From An Attorney To Get Rena Leddy To Disclose That The Fashion District BID Is Paying Steve Gibson Of Urban Place Consulting $215 Per Hour For BID Renewal Consulting, Which Is Less Than Larry Kosmont Gets But More Than Ed Henning

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How The Racist Cancer Of The HPOA Signal Box Art Contest Rules Spread To The Ritzy Little Apartheid Stronghold of Larchmont Village, Forcing Me To Hire A Lawyer To Pry The Evidence Out Of Their Secretive Grasping Scofflaw Zillionaire Fingers

Artist Ann Bridges's original submission to the Larchmont Village BID's signal box art contest, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Larchmont Village BID signal box art contest winner Ann Bridges’s original submission, showing a later-censored illegal fruit cart.
Last Summer we broke the story of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance’s anti-Latino signal box art contests and of CD13 Councildude Mitch O’Farrell’s willing complicity in this disgraceful episode, along with his stubborn doubling-down through silence in the face of what1 seems like some pretty cogent criticism. The story has dropped off the blog, but not off our agenda. The last thing I discovered, but did not write about until now, was that the Google revealed2 that the kooky little backwater BID in Larchmont Village, that old-school Southern California Apartheid throwback3 ritz-o-rama neighborhood in South Central Hollywood,4 had also held a signal box art contest, and it had also included the very phrase made famous by its ethnic-cleansing big sisters to the North: “No cartoon images or graffiti work of any kind will be considered.”

Well, naturally, I was going to investigate this phenomenon, the point being to find ground zero of this pernicious nonsense,5 so on August 6, 2016, I fired off a CPRA request to Heather Duffy Boylston, whose email address is linked to in the BID’s contact form. Wait a while. Crickets. I spent the next couple months firing off more emails to various co-BIDspirators,6 making phone calls, leaving voicemails and messages, offering to stop by offices, whatevers, and still…just silence. I asked Miranda Paster to intervene. I asked Holly Wolcott to intervene. Nothing. So finally, even though I hate to spend the money, but who can sit around doing nothing7 while zillionaires flaunt their characteristic indifference to truth, justice, and the rule of law, I hired a lawyer to fire off a demand letter. That woke them up, and they sent me a whole bunch of nonsensical irritating junk about their signal box art contest. You can browse through it in the usual places:

And turn the page for the highlights of the contest itself. As always, it’s chock-full of unselfconscious zillionaire weirdness and such-like goodies.
Continue reading How The Racist Cancer Of The HPOA Signal Box Art Contest Rules Spread To The Ritzy Little Apartheid Stronghold of Larchmont Village, Forcing Me To Hire A Lawyer To Pry The Evidence Out Of Their Secretive Grasping Scofflaw Zillionaire Fingers

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Acting on Behalf of Street Vendors National Lawyers Guild LA Sues City, Fashion District BID Over Illegal Confiscations, Color-of-Law Abuses. PDF of Initial Complaint Available

Another street vendor arrested, shackled, jailed, and abused by the Hollywood BID Patrol
Another street vendor arrested, shackled, jailed, and abused by the Hollywood BID Patrol
Yesterday, the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles filed suit in Federal Court against the City of Los Angeles and the Fashion District BID on behalf of the Union Popular de Vendedores Ambulantes. First of all, I set up a page to collect filings. I managed to track down a copy of the initial complaint (OK, I mean I bought it from PACER for $1.70, you’re welcome!), and you can read about it in the LA Times here if you want.
The title of this file claims that it's abandoned property and that it was donated to Blessed Sacrament.  It's obvious from the context, though, that it's really stuff that was confiscated from a street vendor by the BID Patrol or else abandoned when the vendor ran away because the BID Patrol was threatening to arrest him.  In any case, it did not belong to them and they stole it when they took it to give to the church.
The title of this file claims that it’s abandoned property and that it was donated to Blessed Sacrament. It’s obvious from the context, though, that it’s really stuff that was confiscated from a street vendor by the BID Patrol or else abandoned when the vendor ran away because the BID Patrol was threatening to arrest him. In any case, it did not belong to them and they stole it when they took it to give to the church.

There’s an excerpt from the complaint after the break, but it’s really worth reading the whole thing.

One of the main points is that the LAPD and the BID conspire to not only cite and/or arrest the vendors, but to destroy their stuff. We’ve written before about how the Hollywood BID Patrol does the same thing. They not only arrest the vendors, but without any kind of due process, they ruin all their stuff, or even worse, appropriate it and steal it. You can see an example of this in the photo somewhere near this sentence. I would imagine that, now that the Fashion District BID is being sued, the HPOA is getting a little nervous. Turn the page to hear why!

Continue reading Acting on Behalf of Street Vendors National Lawyers Guild LA Sues City, Fashion District BID Over Illegal Confiscations, Color-of-Law Abuses. PDF of Initial Complaint Available

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Kerry Morrison and/or Minions Almost Certainly Lied to Sesame Street to Evoke Anti-Big-Bird, Anti-Elmo C&D Letters

What laws are being violated here?  Is the photographer violating trademarks?  Performance rights?  Right of publicity?  Are we violating any of these rights by republishing this photo?  I guess we're gonna find out!  At least the BID Patrol can't pop old Elmo for violating LAMC 41.47.2.
What rights are being violated here? What torts being committed? Is the photographer violating trademarks? Performance rights? Rights of publicity? False light?!? Are we violating any of these rights by republishing this photo? I guess we’re gonna find out! At least the BID Patrol can’t pop old Elmo for violating LAMC 41.47.2. At least not this time…
We recently had occasion to write about the HPOA’s continent-spanning conspiracy with a bunch of their creepy counterparts in Manhattan to abuse intellectual property law, to violate California Penal Code §158, to constructively violate the first amendment, and both stridently and characteristically to act the fool with respect to the burning issue of street characters.
You can't trademark breasts, so what are they going to do about topless street characters when they get to L.A.?  One might argue that women can bare their breasts legally in New York but not in California.  That's not the kind of law that's going to withstand any pressure, though.  It just hasn't been rigorously tested here....yet!
You can’t trademark breasts, so what are they going to do about topless street characters when they get to L.A.? One might argue that women can bare their breasts legally in New York but not in California. That’s not the kind of law that’s going to withstand any pressure, though. It just hasn’t been rigorously tested here….yet!

Since last we examined this issue, the NYPD has gone nuclear by asking Disney and Marvel to sue the street characters, something which those companies seem to have proved unwilling to do. Of course, what the city and the local BIDs really don’t like is the naked ladies. Some of the information we were missing then we’ve obtained now. First, you will recall that in a finger-down-throat-fawning set of emails Kerry Morrison advised Tom Cusick, the dude who’s her counterpart at the Fifth Avenue BID, that they hadn’t had much luck with their criminal attempts to incite litigation against street characters. She mentioned to Tom, though, that the HPOA had managed to get Sesame Street to send cease and desist letters to Big Bird and Elmo one time under special circumstances. We now have copies of those letters. Read on for analysis.
Continue reading Kerry Morrison and/or Minions Almost Certainly Lied to Sesame Street to Evoke Anti-Big-Bird, Anti-Elmo C&D Letters

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HPOA Precursor Organization and Former Employer of Kerry Morrison California Real Estate Association Sought to Warp, Pervert, and Destroy U.S. Constitution in 1948 to Prevent “The Threat of Occupancy by Negroes”

Kerry Morrison, late of the  California Association of REALTORS®, formerly known as the California Real Estate Association, with friend.
Kerry Morrison, late of the California Association of REALTORS®, formerly known as the California Real Estate Association, an immensely influential Twentieth Century California white supremacist group, sitting extraordinarily close to some guy whose name we don’t know.
While poking around in the bowels and hidden bits of the HPOA’s website recently, we happened to notice, in friend Kerry Morrison’s bio, the following intriguing statement: “Prior to coming to Hollywood, she spent 14 years in public policy and senior management roles at the California Association of REALTORS in Los Angeles.” Maybe it was the ALL-CAPS that caught our eye, so weirdly dystypographical and yet so clearly intentional,1 or maybe something else. In any case, we resolved to discover just for whom it was that Kerry had spent 14 years working for prior to the BID and why it seemed so important to her to include this in her biosnippet. Note, by the way, that the California Association of REALTORS® was formerly known as the California Real Estate Association.2
California real estate agents have done far, far more to shape this state for evil and for good than is commonly acknowledged.
California real estate agents have done far, far more to shape this state for evil and for good than is commonly acknowledged in popular discourse.

Kerry, as the first and sole director of the HPOA since 1996, has clearly formed and molded that organization in her own image. Thus, we thought, it might be illuminating to understand the professional crucible in which that image was forged. So we sent our faithful correspondent out onto the wild uncharted moors of scholarlandia through the portals of Google scholar, JSTOR, and UCLA. Our minds were well and truly blown by what he discovered, and perhaps yours will be too. There’s far too much material to cover in one post, so we’re going to lay it on you in increments, starting today with some background and a shocking episode from the long hot summer of 1948.
Continue reading HPOA Precursor Organization and Former Employer of Kerry Morrison California Real Estate Association Sought to Warp, Pervert, and Destroy U.S. Constitution in 1948 to Prevent “The Threat of Occupancy by Negroes”

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The Bloody Slave Empire of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance

Extracting ever-increasing amounts of money from dark-skinned bodies requires ever more efficient technology.  The BID Patrols are the latest innovation created for this purpose by five centuries of American enslavers.
Extracting ever-increasing amounts of money from dark-skinned bodies requires ever more efficient technology. The BID Patrols are one of the most recent innovations created for this purpose by five centuries of white-supremacist zillionaire American enslavers, whose financial and industrial heirs the BIDs are.
In his magisterial work, The Half Has Never Been Told, Cornell historian Edward A. Baptist makes an overwhelmingly convincing argument that the growth of the economy of the United States until 1865 is essentially the growth of technology1 for the efficient extraction of money from dark-skinned bodies.

It’s trivial to extrapolate his arguments past the end of slavery, through the Jim Crow system which supported the South’s cotton economy until the 1960s and beyond, and into the present day. The modern death-star economy of the United States, Baptist shows, was built with the labor of black bodies and fertilized with black blood. The white real-estate zillionaires who make up the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance, therefore, would have none of their wealth, none of their resources, if it weren’t for the torture and murder of black people which nourished the roots of American capital over the last half millenium.

According to Baptist:

Thus enslavers extracted a massive rise in cotton productivity from the 1790s to 1860. While planter-entrepreneurs did not publish their method for making cotton-picking as efficient as possible in a textbook or an agricultural journal, they created practices, attitudes, and material goods—whips, slates, pens, paper, and the cotton plant itself—that made up the method’s interlocking cogs. White overseers also played an important role, and not just as the ones who often put this system of violent labor rationalization into hour-by-hour practice. They probably invented many of the practices of accounting and torture as they carried their slates and bullwhips ever west and south.2

And it’s not all in the past.
Continue reading The Bloody Slave Empire of the Hollywood Property Owners Alliance

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