Thursday, January 28, 2016

City Attorney, Robert Tafoya Loses $7.3 Million in Wrongful Termination Case

Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, Plaintiff and Victim of Bikram Choudhury
Picture copyright ABC
The jury awarded the victim and plaintiff, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, an additional $6.4 million in punitive damages. In total, the court found that Bikram Choudhury, infamous founder of Bikram Yoga has to pay $7.3 million to the plaintiff.

The claim was for wrongful termination and sexual harassment, in which Jafa-Bodden claimed that she was fired by Bikram because she was investigating rape claims by him. She also stated that he urinated in front of her. At a later point, he asked her to sleep with him in a hotel.

The one defending Birkam Yoga are also the defenders of the City of Baldwin Park, Robert Nacionales-Tafoya and the law firm of Albright, Yee, and Schmit. As one attorney put it, "It got handed to Tafoya!"

So, time for some legal analysis for the public. I didn't watch the trial, but in general, people may not know what punitive damages are. Although the law states that purpose of punitive damages are to send a message to other evildoers not to repeat such actions, in reality, punitive damages act as a punishment against defendants the the courts find reprehensible.

The actual damages, also called compensatory damages, came out to $924,000 - which would primarily have been for lost wages. But the hefty punitive fee of $6.4 million really tells you that the jury found Bikram and what he did to be reprehensible.

What's most likely going to happen is that the case will be appealed, and the defendant will ask for a reduction of the punitive damages award. While the appeal is pending; however, 10 percent interest will attach to the final the damage amount. So, for example, if the appeal takes three years, but the award is $5 million, the interest will still come out to $1.5 million, totaling over the $6.4 million originally awarded.

It appears that Robert Tafoya chose a poor legal strategy in this case. It'd have been much better for him to settle this case (or convince the client to do it) away from the public eye. Not only will the defendant now have to pay the huge damages, but he's taken a huge public relations hit - which no doubt will affect his future business. What that cost is, nobody knows yet?

In any event, the women I talked to about the case see the plaintiff as a heroine for women's rights. She's someone that showed the world that money doesn't buy your way out of our American justice system.

(I wish the same could be said about holding cities accountable, but that's an article for tomorrow.)

The sad looking Robert Tafoya
Photo shot after losing TRO trial to me.

Monday, January 25, 2016

City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, Loses Closes to $1 Million at Trial Today

Sad Picture of Robert Tafoya
Today, Robert N.-Tafoya loses trial for his client Bikram Choudhury, founder of Bikram Yoga, in a sexual harassment case. The compensatory damages came out to $924,500 alone.

The jury also found that there will be an award of punitive damages, which will mean that damages can be double, triple, quadruple, or even more.

You can read more about it on the LA Times here: Yoga guru Bikram Choudhury must pay $900,000 to former employee, jury decides

I'm not sure if attorney's fees are part of a sexual harassment claim in California, but if they are, I wouldn't be surprised if another million is awarded in attorney's fees.

As I stated earlier in my post, how can a city attorney be taking on such a complex case and still be diligently working for the city? Doesn't it compromise the attorney's duty of loyalty to both clients?

For instance, tomorrow, the city attorney has a big hearing against me in the Casas case. After he spent so much time preparing for this trial, how are there enough hours in the day to work on the Casas case?

Also, regarding the Bikram sexual harassment case, the Tafoya and his law firm was fined twice with Attorney's Fees because it wouldn't release information. This, too, has been happening in my case. Is this how a city attorney should be behaving?

In any event, win or lose, I'm going to tell everyone what happens tomorrow. The public has the right to know what's going on with this case, since it is a public interest case. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Friday, January 22, 2016

Extra! Extra! My Settlement Makes the Papers!

From the Desk of Paul Cook
Well, folks, my settlement of $67,500 made the regional paper - the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. Read about it here: Baldwin Park pays $67,500

In blaming the contracting company, the City is claiming that $52,500 is coming from the contracted jailing company. I'm not sure if that's true. Have to investigate that one.

Also, I think it's time for the city to get a new public relations person. I can't believe the City Attorney said that they won't change its strip-search policy. Sounds like it's just more evidence for another strip search lawsuit.

In more professional cities, like Los Angeles, the administrators usually say that they'll be reviewing their policies and procedures to determine if everything is in compliance with the law.

Well, all I can say, with our incompetent administrators and public officials and all their mean-spiritedness, is that the City of Baldwin Park is like a big piñata. If you hit it hard enough with a lawsuit, all this candy comes out.

Here's my Spanish proverb: "Agua de enero, pan para todo el año."

When it rains in January, there's harvest for the whole year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Baldwin Park City Attorney, Robert Tafoya, Defends Alleged Rapist

City Attorney, Robert Nacionales-Tafoya
Photo shot after losing to Paul Cook
The Baldwin Park City Attorney defends an alleged rapist, Bikram Choudhury, the founder of Bikram Yoga. According to CNN, Five women are alleging that Choudhury raped them. One alleges that he sexually assaulted her. CNN Story on Bikram Yoga

The video is quite interesting on CNN, and I recommend watching it. Tafoya gives an interview, and he basically discredits the women, saying they're only after money.

How did this story end up on the Legal Lens? I've never met a City Attorney that defended a rape case. But hey - this is Baldwin Park, and the public officials and administrators do what they want here.

Another coincidental oddity about the case is how Albright, Yee, and Schmit is defending the case too. If you remember, Baldwin Park also contracted the firm to defend my appeal. It's just really strange how all these same attorneys keep appearing together in sketchy cases.

According to law360, many of the lawyers no longer wanted to represent Bikram or his organization. They wanted to drop off as the attorneys before the trial. Law360 Story Well, the Judge said No. They had to defend the Yoga Guru against the allegations.

Also, Tafoya wanted to postpone the trial because of an alleged knee surgery. He showed up on crutches in December in front of the judge. According to Law360, the judge was skeptical of his claim he was going in for surgery. Also, the opposing counsel asked him to produce a doctor's note, which he never produced. Well, there's been no evidence that Tafoya went in for surgery, and he appears to miraculously healed overnight and walks fine now.

I can testify that I don't believe he ever needed knee surgery. Remember, back on September 10, 2015, Tafoya dropped his crutches, lunged at me, and tried to punch me. Then realizing that he exposed his whole sham that he was on crutches, picked the crutches back up, and pretended once again to hobble. My goodness: what is this world coming to?

Well, although this seems, in someway to appear to be a bad reality TV show of lawyers, I have to say that I'm concerned about taxpayer money being spent on this City Attorney and the reputation of the profession.

Doesn't a City Attorney have a duty to devote his time and energy to defending the City, especially when the City is paying that attorney close to half a million dollars a year for losing cases? Here, it looks like Tafoya is taking on too much.

He's currently at trial, while he's litigating against me. He even told the judge, in my case, that he wasn't fully prepared because of his Birkam case. He submitted a very unimpressive opposition to Casas 1. And next week, I have two hearings against Baldwin Park? How does a City Attorney prepare for all this, when he's currently scheduled for a long and drawn out rape trial?

Anyways, I don't know the facts of the Bikram case. But, may justice prevail.

Monday, January 18, 2016

FBI Busts Towing Company for Bribes and Kickbacks

Royal Coaches Towing, the Cancer of Baldwin Park
Ruben Vives and Joel Rubin, of the LA Times, covered a story in Huntington Park, in which the FBI has busted the city's monopoly tow company for offering kickbacks to council members and for them accepting them. Read about it here: Informant in FBI bribery case was Huntington Park councilman

The problem illustrates the problem that the city has with monopolizing towing company contracts. In Baldwin Park, the citizens have had their cars stolen from the City and Royal Coaches Towing, otherwise known as a taking. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that at least $1.2 million in revenue. The people that have benefited are the council members, mayor, and the tow company. The people that have lost are the owners of their property.

Remember, in a free market economy, which America purports to be, businesses provide goods and services for us. But Baldwin Park's economy is rotting away with their practice of towing and impounding. Here, it's big money for the City and the tow company. The City and tow company target cars of the poorest of the poor, and confiscate them, and sell them at auction. This is a blatant taking of property from the poor, which is redistributed to the government, which resells it. In short, there is no services or goods produced. In essence, Baldwin Park is exactly the same type of communist system the U.S.S.R. was running. (For you millennials whom don't know who the U.S.S.R. was, it was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, but it was mainly communist Red Russia.)

In any event, read about the LA Times story. My team has found and is gathering more evidence on the matter to present to you.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

City of Baldwin Park Pays $67,500 to Settle Lawsuit Against Attorney-Activist

Boo to the Chief of Police - Michael Taylor
Baldwin Park Police pays $67,500 to settle a federal lawsuit with attorney activist, Paul Cook. The lawsuit was filed in response to the shameful behavior of the Lt. Mark Harvey and his men, arresting and jailing Cook for leafleting at the park and booing at Manuel Carrillo Jr. for being a money launderer. The suit also included a claim against a woman officer - who made him strip to his underwear and patted his buttocks.

Cook was happy with the result and said, "It's shameful to see that the Baldwin Park Police Department received raises this year for attacking and sexually abusing its own citizens and residents. I just don't know how that happened, especially in this country - which is supposed to have Free Speech Rights."

He added, "In any event, you just have to make the best of something that went totally wrong. I try to be grateful for the experience because it really helped me understand how the police pick on the poor and helpless, like the undocumented and homeless. I also know what it feels like to be abused by the people we trust in authority. I, truly, felt violated by Michael Taylor and his men and women. I know in his personal life, Taylor's been accused of sexual harassment, but there's no place for it in his professional endeavors. Let's hope that they've learned that they can't get away with such misconduct and abuse in the United States of America."

Included as part of the settlement, was an agreement that the City would expunge Cook's record and clear him of all wrongdoing. Cook considered it a step in the right direction. The settlement amount includes a good portion of attorney's fees and court costs.

Cook wished to thank his attorneys on the case - whom are dedicated to the protection of the rights of the people. Thank you to the boxer - who also caught the entire incident on film - bravo, for changing the world.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Boxing Coach Lawsuit Has Been Filed for Appeal - Should the City Pay For Manny Carrillo's Legal Fees for Stealing Money?

Are taxpayers responsible for paying for the personal lawsuits of individuals who work for the city? Manuel Carrillo Jr., the Director of Parks and Recreation of Baldwin Park thinks so.

Currently, in Julian Casas second lawsuit, Casas has filed an appeal against the City of Baldwin Park because Carrillo has the city paying for his legal fees, in a lawsuit, in which Casas sued Carrillo - accusing him of laundering money through a sham non-profit corporation.

And although Carrillo believes his legal fees should be paid by the City of Baldwin Park, it's puzzling why the Mayor and Council Members are agreeing to this too. It appears that they're willing to whitewash all of the transgressions committed by the Director of Parks and Recreation. For instance, if money laundering wasn't enough, Carrillo's also been caught for being a potential sex offender in Texas, for hiring sex offenders to work with children, for hiring violent criminals to work with children, and yet, the City still lets him work with our children.

But in making the decision to pay for Carrillo's attorney's fees, it looks like the Mayor and Council Members don't want people to know that it's made such a decision. There's no minute order of the Council Members or Mayor ever taking a vote on this matter, which is required by law. Both the government code, regarding City Attorney representation, and the Brown Act, require that a vote be taken to defend Carrillo and to have that decision announced in an open meeting.

Also, even if the City Council did vote to have us pay for the Sex-Offending-Director's legal fees, such a decision is illegal. It seems pretty obvious to me that free legal fees are not part of the employment package when you work for a City. I mean, can you imagine, your employer telling you, hey if you work for us, we'll pay for all your legal fees whenever you get sued.

But hey - Robert Rizzo of the City of Bell tried to make that argument and said his employment contract demanded that the City of Bell pay for his criminal defense fees, even though he stole millions from Bell. The Court of Appeals, then, thought the notion brazen.

Wouldn't that be great to have a lifetime contract that said all legal fees would be paid for your personal matters on taxpayer money? It would encourage you to lie, cheat, steal, and abuse. Hey, isn't that what we have here with our director? But, because the City is not a private organization, his legal fees are costing the taxpayers, us, for all his wrong doings.

And if that wasn't enough, we also have to ask ourselves the question: What kind of attorneys are defending such a case? Funny enough, it isn't N.-Tafoya this time. I guess the City didn't find N.-Tafoya competent enough to defend the appeal. And if you've been following this blog, you'd know why.

Instead, it hired out the law firm of Albright, Yee, and Schmit (AYS). The attorney on record is Benjamin Caplan. It appears, however, that the law firm's reputation isn't that much better than Tafoya's. At one point, AYS over-billed the City of Southgate (another corrupt city) for $2 million to defend a council member. You can read the LA Times story here: Law Firms Agrees to Pay Southgate $2M.

Also, the FBI raided the firm once. FBI Raids Albright Firm In the story, the firm's partner, "Albright acknowledged accidentally duplicating billings of $6,000, an admission that was met with a mocking swipe by" the City's Council Member.

It's not the only time the firm's been accused of unethical billing with Southgate. The firm was also hired by a disbarred lawyer working for the City of Southgate. Outrageous Attorney Billing The disbarred lawyer also has ties to Robert Nacionales-Tafoya. As I keep saying, birds of feather flock together.

And with regards to Baldwin Park, the City paid AYS a grand sum to fire a boxing coach, named Julian Casas. Incidentally, yours truly defended Casas deposition against Clifton Albright - who tried to get Julian into admitting that he committed crimes against children, when no such thing ever happened. (Now, when you think of attorneys that are getting paid on our money, do you think they should be hired for such purposes?)

It's no wonder that the public has such a bad impression of lawyers. The new mission statement of the California Bar is, "Protection of the public is the highest priority of the State Bar of California." How this mission will be achieved when lawyers are enabling corruption is a pressing question, especially when such lawyers are supposed to be public servants?

And although the exposure of all these illegal decisions can be disheartening, I wanted you to know that the boxing club is attempting to fight back against those who make it and those who take our money for executing it.

Casas and his attorney filed an appeal and an emergency appeal in the Court of Appeals against the City and Tafoya. After all, someone had to do it, and it isn't going to be a big firm, who could lose potential revenue from defending crook politicians on our dime later.

Now, if you had money to bet, would it be on the City with $8 million in reserves, or the fired boxing coach and his lawyer - who lives at home still? So far, though, we've won against all the odds. Well, as the common knowledge says - fate favors the fearless.

Regarding the appeals, briefing has just been finished in the case. Now, we're all just waiting to see when the Court of Appeals will review it.

I suppose George Bernard Shaw said it best once: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man." And it is our view, that This City needs one big cleanup of the Mayor, Council Members, and most of all Sex-Offending-Director of Park and Recreation.

Friday, January 1, 2016

2016 - The Year of Community

Our will to endure can burn brightly - even in the darkness.
I've been reflecting, and I believe that 2016 is the year for community. Before I get into what I forecast for the New Year, we have to look back at 2015.

In 2015, I wrote that it should be a year of light, that we should shine as light in the darkness. By that, I meant, that we should continue to brave through the evil corruption that the Lozano and Manny Carrillo Administration cast against us, even when we didn't know where it'd lead.

The bearing of witness to the truth and the will to endure has been rewarded. This year, the Boxing Coach, Julian Casas, was able to win a significant attorney's fee hearing, in the beginning of the year, teaching the City a hefty lesson for covering up their scandals. We were able to sue the City of Baldwin Park for arresting and jailing me, in July, once again to shut us up from telling the world about what Manny Carrillo and Lozano did to us. Also, I was able to prevail, and get a second court order against Baldwin Park for not obeying the first court order to release records. Regarding the second case, court briefing has finished before the end of the year about another corrupt issue the City Attorney and Manny Carrillo are involved in. (I'll discuss more about it in the next court case.) In summary, in 2015, the truth has and is piercing through the darkness.

Not only did we bear the truth to others, the public has been invited to bear the truth of what's been happening in Baldwin Park too. Publicity has been great for us and bad for them. The LA Times covered our story in the front page. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune and La Opinion also managed to stress all of the misconduct the Lozano and Carrillo administration have committed.

Regarding exposing lies and deception, it was great that we exposed that Manuel Lozano, Ricardo Pacheco, Raquel Monica Garcia, Robert N.-Tafoya, and Manny Carrillo all have a criminal background. (And there's still more to come!) They're in the business of stealing taxpayer money.

I hope in 2016, the number of lawsuits multiply and so does the publicity. Justice still must be brought to this criminal syndicate, who is in the business of laundering our taxpayer money. Let us never forget - that in Manny Carrillo's quest for more money, he tried to kill our boxing club. But we stood up against him and won back our gym.

I stress once again that justice must brought against these evildoers. And in doing so, I'd like the world to see how a small, little boxing club, brought down the evil and corrupt criminal Lozano-Carrillo syndicate.

Nonetheless, there was bad news too, though. I feel like our community still felt the suffering of Carrillo's firing of the head boxing coach. Salt was only added to the wound, when Carrillo hired a known criminal to replace him - who also had to be fired.

From that experience, I learned something important. I want the boxers and the world to know, that the worst thing any government can do is destroy communities and breakdown the trust and relationships we have with each other. In the face of these malicious intentions, we must endure, persevere, and continue to look out for each other's interests and well being.

Towards the end of the year, I took a break to New Zealand. My trip to New Zealand changed my life. There, I reconnected with the community I once had - from my former judo club, to my former coworkers, my former church friends, and my former international friends. It healed me and gave me perspective for the year to come.

Thus, I know that our wounds need to heal. We need to value the importance of relationships with each other. And we must remember, to be courageous for others, when confronted with threats, lies, and violence from the Lozano-Carrillo Administration.

I end with these words, to follow in your personal life, and for the community. I'll do my best to follow them too. "Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the Lord your God, am with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9 GNT).