July 22, 2014
Statement on High Frequency Trading Futures Class Action Suit
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Plaintiffs' filed their amended complaint today in Braman et. al v. The CME Group, Inc. The case is important because the United States derivatives markets have been the envy of the world and the global hub for derivatives trading, price discovery and risk transfer. The amended complaint draws specific focus on the existence of clandestine contracts between the futures exchanges and their favored HFT firms along with their allowance of illegal trading practices like wash trades. The futures exchanges have not, as the complaint alleges, been forthcoming about the existence of an exploitable structural advantage that it provides to favored HFTs at the expense of all other market participants, financial institutions and the trading public.
Plaintiffs' attorney R. Tamara de Silva is privileged and honored to have as new co-lead counsel in this case, Victor E. Stewart from the firm of Lovell Stewart Halebian Jacobsen. Lovell Stewart is the premier commodity class action law firm in the nation with a record of verdicts and judgments in commodities-manipulations and price-fixing lawsuits that is without equal.
April 16, 2014
Statement on High Frequency Trading Class Action Lawsuit Against CME and CBOT
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The Chicago derivatives exchanges constitute the largest commodities and derivatives financial marketplace in the world. They have a proud history in Chicago and have superbly met a vital public interest in price discovery and risk transfer while being a stable, and safe global center for derivatives trading. Together with the capital markets, the United States futures exchanges have long been the envy of the world.
For several years, countless market participants big and small, academics, lawmakers, regulators and professional traders have complained seeing the integrity of these markets eroded by the presence and predatory practices of high frequency trading (HFT) at the financial exchanges. Charles Schwab recently described HFT as a " growing cancer that needs to be addressed." On March 18, 2014, at the New York School of Law, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stated that his office will continue to investigate a "new breed of predatory behavior [that] gives a small segment of the industry an enormous advantage over all other competitors and allows them to use new technologies to reap huge profits based on minor but nonetheless unfair advantages" including HFT on the futures and equity exchanges. While Michael Lewis has drawn a fair amount of attention to high frequency trading in his latest book, Flash Boys, the impact of HFT in the financial markets is becoming an old problem.
On April 11, 2014 three independent traders from the Chicago Board of Trade filed a lawsuit (Case# 14-cv-2646) in federal court on behalf of themselves and all other market participants who have been disadvantaged by the CME's facilitation of HFT at the exchange. They like many others have long observed an information asymmetry and the creation of what is effectively, a two-tiered marketplace.
In response to the lawsuit the CME issued a press release declaring that despite pages of specific factual allegations, the Plaintiffs had "no proof" and were not stating any facts. We are confident in our ability to proceed based on the facts before us.
While it is true that the facts alleged in the Plaintiffs' lawsuit have been reported, written about and observed by many disparate market participants, we commend the Plaintiffs for being the first to fight back. The integrity of the markets is a core national interest-one that is vital to the United States economy. Opaque market practices that distort price information erode public participation and trust, and will ultimately lessen the credibility, security and stability of our financial markets.
R. Tamara de Silva
June 3, 2013
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments on June 4, 2013 in two benchmark cases (12-3116 & 12-2848) that challenge the grant of immunity given the members and staff of the Cook County Board of Review and alleges the Board has engaged in bribery, extortion and pay-to-play in the ajudication of County property tax appeals. The first appeal seeks to overturn a grant of quasi-legal immunity that was given to the individual Board of Review Commissioners and staff. The County Board of Review has filed a cross-appeal in the same case, which is also being heard appealing a prior victory denying absolute immunity in the suit at the District level to the Cook County Board of Review.
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva argues that neither the Commissioners of the Cook County Board of Review or the tax appeal body itself deserve any immunity because there are no safeguards against corruption nor checks on the entities processes. The civil case is of consequence to every property owner in Cook County and Chicago. Business owners filed a Federal lawsuit against the Cook County Board of Review and its three Commissioners and staff including Larry R. Rogers, Jr. and current Assessor Joseph Berrios for arbitrarily singling them out for tax increases because of a media attention and investigation by the Cook County State's Attorneys' Office. The lawsuit charges that the Defendants, (Board of Review Commissioners and staff) use the tax appeal body for "unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption,"by trading campaign contributions to the Commissioners and their staff in exchange for tax reductions-as opposed to utilizing a set method "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
December 18, 2012
Chabad House and Rabbi Sue Northwestern for Discrimination Against Jewish Faith
(December 18, 2012 – Chicago) Chicago Tribune discusses a federal case (12- cv-07571) against Northwestern University that charges the University with singling out a branch of Chassidic Judaism for disaffiliation based upon what the suit claims are false pretenses that masque antisemitism. [decision: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-talk-grossman-chabad-20121218,0,1004984.story ]
Plaintiff's lead counsel R. Tamara de Silva commented, "This case is about religious freedom. The desire of people to practice their faith has been one of the most powerful forces in history. It is an important right that goes to the heart of the First Amendment." To view the official complaint, click here.
September 20, 2012
Lawyers Form New Legal Institute to Combat Erosion of Civil Liberties
(September 21, 2012-Chicago) Constitutional lawyers R. Tamara de Silva and Jonathan Lubin formed the Thomas Jefferson Legal Institute to assist Americans whose rights and liberties have been violated. The Institute was formed because the law has not kept pace with technology, federal regulations and executive orders that threaten individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and the laws of the United States. Attorney Jonathan Lubin described the purpose of the Thomas Jefferson Legal Institute:
"This organization was born of both hope and frustration. Our hope is that this country lives up to its Constitutional mandate, and to the model outlined in the writings of Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and John Locke. Our hope is bolstered by the very many wonderful people we have come in contact with in our personal lives, our professional lives, and our legal practices. Our frustration stems from watching our governments – federal, state, and local – side with various powerful and special interests over the American consumer, and over our Constitution. We have observed the right of privacy change because of the use of new technologies to gather data on every aspect of consumption - information that is shared between the private and public sectors, and used for purposes of preventative law enforcement and surveillance, all without the American consumer's knowledge or acquiescence. We have seen the foundations being laid, through surveillance and through an assault on free speech, of a police state unbefitting a nation that calls itself free. The government stands against you, the American consumer, when it engages in domestic surveillance without giving any due process. It stands against you when it collects evidence pursuant to dubious search warrants that are unconstitutional. It stands against you when it observes what you read and write, or records and archives cell phone calls, and grants itself sanction to engage in these unconstitutional acts only under the Patriot Act, and similar "anti-terrorism" measures. When it can take away your freedom based not on anything you have done to violate any laws, but because of what you have said or read. The government stands against you when it passes laws like the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 that grant it the power take American citizens into custody without due process, hold them indefinitely without a trial, or even take their lives. These recent developments together constitute a dangerous and unprecedented attack on the guarantees of liberty and freedom recognized in the United States Constitution.
Individuals throughout the country have realized that the current trajectory is unsustainable, and anti-American. They have created loosely organized groups that span disparate ideologies in fighting against regulations that protect the largest lobbyists and confuse cronyism and corporatism with free markets and capitalism. Activists have begun to put pressure on both political parties to end the intrusive role that government, through law enforcement, is now playing in our private lives. We watched Dr. Ron Paul's presidential bid be dismissed as a joke by media pundits and then we watched Dr. Paul defy all expectations and raise awareness of his message of liberty, constitutionalism, and sustainable federal budgets, and in doing so engage an entire generation of Americans who are now interested in their government and society. We have watched individuals and rogue organizations take on internet censorship. We have watched people rise up to advance the cause of liberty.
But we have not seen the same kind of movement in the legal sector. We have not seen an organization of lawyers dedicate itself to the principles of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Constitution, in the same grassroots way we've seen in other sectors. Jefferson taught that when the people fear their government, there is tyranny; but when the government fears the people, there is liberty. The Thomas Jefferson Legal Institute dedicates itself to being a force for liberty."
For more information, please go to: http://www.thomasjeffersonlegalinstitute.org/
August 6, 2012 – Chicago
Landmark Victory Denying Absolute Judicial Immunity for Cook County Board of Review
(August 6, 2012 – Chicago) Landmark ruling was issued in the Northern District of Illinois (case #10cv 6682) denying the Cook County Board of Review and by extension possibly other agencies, quasi-judicial immunity for alleged Constitutional violations. [decision: http://www.abisoft.org/opinions/2012/1_10-cv-06682_20120802.pdf ] This decision is an historic victory for all residents of Cook County and Chicago who could prove that the County agency, despite grants of immunity to the individual Commissioners and staff committed Constitutional violations. The Court's order and memorandum cited
Hernandez v. Sheahan, 455 F. 3d 772 (7th Cir. 2006) at 776 in which the Seventh Circuit had ruled that entities whose policies are unconstitutional are not entitled to immunity derivative of the possible immunity granted to their employees.
The Supreme Court in Butz v. Economou (438 U.S. 478) sought to equate judicial adjudication with administrative adjudication and granted absolute immunity to the executives of the Agriculture Dept. Grants of immunity against suit were by extension later given to other Federal agencies, and then state agencies. In deciding to grant immunity, the courts have scrutinized the functions of government bodies and whether they are not only functionally comparable in function to that of a judge but also whether state bodies have multiple safeguards in place to protect against unconstitutional conduct.
Plaintiff's lead counsel R. Tamara de Silva commented, "The term 'quasi-judicial' is not a conclusory term-it requires a scrutiny of function. The Cook County Board of Review is not functionally similar to any court of law nor as this suit states, does it employ any procedural safeguards against its violations of the United States Constitution. In this case, the Cook County Board of Review ("BOR") ruled upon the Plaintiff's tax appeal citing no precedent, no written opinion, no reason and exactly no rationale. It acted for improper motives simply because it thought it could."
The Supreme Court in Butz identified the removal of a board from political influence as one of the factors determining that a body has sufficient procedural safeguards against Constitutional violations. The complaint in this case charges that the BOR is the quintessential political body in Cook County. Ms. de Silva had this to say, "As this case charges, all three Commissioners on the BOR have used or attempted to use that office as a stepping stone for higher political office by building campaign war-chests by accepting and soliciting campaign contributions from the attorneys and law firms that practice before them in exchange for preferential treatment. Joseph Berrios was able to successfully run for Cook County Assessor after accumulating over $3 million from the lawyers and law firms that practiced before him while he was a commissioner. Tort lawyer and Commissioner Larry R. Rogers Jr. accumulated well over $1 million and considered running for Mayor. Brenda Houlihan did not raise quite $1 million and was not re-elected Commissioner. In fact discovery would show-even members of the Commissioner's staff are running for office and accepting if not soliciting campaign funds from the lawyers and firms that practice before them."
July 20, 2012 - Chicago
Oral Arguments to be Held July 24, 2012 in Corruption Case Against Chicago Board of Review
(July 24, 2011 – Chicago) Two employees, both analysts at the Cook County's tax appeal board, the Cook County Board of Review, were arrested and charged by Federal prosecutors on July 18, 2012 for bribery. Both men were on the staff of Cook County Commissioner Larry Rogers, Jr. The Chicago Sun Times reported that according to federal prosecutors the two employees "discussed scheming with others to make property tax reductions in exchange for bribes." Oral arguments will be held (case#10 cv 6682) at 3:30 pm on July 24, 2012 in the United States District Court's Ceremonial Courtroom in a Federal lawsuit that alleges the exact same thing--that pay for play and bribery are the mandatory means for the adjudication of property tax appeals in Cook County. The civil case is of consequence to every property owner in Cook County and Chicago. Business owners, Sharad Dani and Harish Dani along with Satkar Corporation filed a Federal lawsuit against the Cook County Board of Review and its three Commissioners and staff including Larry R. Rogers, Jr. and current Assessor Joseph Berrios for arbitrarily singling them out for tax increases. The lawsuit alleges that the Defendants, (Board of Review Commissioners and staff) use the tax appeal body for "unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption," as opposed to utilizing a set method "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
The lawsuit also named a local Fox News affiliate and its reporter Dane Placko, for engaging in unscrupulous, and immoral tabloid journalism. It states that the local Fox News and Dane Placko, in exchange for access, were used by the Commissioners and Board of Review employees to insinuate wrongdoing on the part of the Plaintiffs and former Illinois State Representative Paul Froehlich-all in a successful effort to deflect attention from the investigation of wrongdoing of the Board of Review.
After Federal investigators arrested the two Board of Review employees for bribery, lead attorney R. Tamara de Silva received an email from Former State Representative Paul Froehlich, directed to Fox's Dane Placko, questioning whether Placko will return an Emmy that he received for the false story. The letter states,
"Suppose some reporter had repeatedly alleged on the air that you were "under investigation" -- according to sources we later learned had an ax to grind -- for, say, journalistic fraud. If nothing ever came of that alleged investigation, yet the TV station never said another word about the matter, then you might understand the no-win position I'm in. When the news media public identifies someone as the target of criminal investigation, nothing ever comes of it, and there's some doubt he ever was the target, how does he see to get his reputation back? Do journalists have any professional responsibility to update, if not to correct, the record? Or does the person whose reputation was sullied simply have to live with an indelible blot that follows him to the grave? While the reporter keeps his award."
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "I received a letter from Representative Paul Froehlich addressed to Dane Placko, which reminded my of a quotation from Rush Limbaugh, 'The drive-by media. It's like a drive-by shooter except the microphones are the guns, and they drive into groups of people, they report a bunch of totally wrong libelous stuff about people. Sometimes people get really harmed. They go out and try to destroy people's careers.' This case is a battle for accountability. The major networks assume that no one will ever fight back because of the David and Goliath nature of suing the media in the age of sensationalized tabloid journalism. Similarly, whatever local government officials in Cook County may think-no entity, however powerful, should be allowed to trample upon the rights of private citizens simply because they think they can."
More information can be found at http://www.desilvalawoffices.com/Press-Releases.aspx
February 3, 2012 - Chicago
Attorneys For Vilified Pain Doctor Assert Inaccuracies and Inconsistencies In State License Revocation Decision
February 3, 2012 (Chicago) Attorneys for Dr. Joseph Giacchino today filed a Memorandum in Chancery Court rejecting the accuracy and validity of evidence and testimony used by the Illinois State Medical Licensing Board in revoking the license of the controversial pain doctor (case #11CH 24443). Dr. Giacchino's attorneys seek to overturn the revocation of his license and restoration of his right to provide care to his patients; patients whose lives have been adversely affected by the ravages of unmitigated pain. This case is important to rights of 4,000 physicians in the United States many of whom are being targeted for prosecution by the DEA simply because they treat chronic pain which affects over 116 million Americans.
The DEA was established in 1973 with its founding mission being that of combating the sale and distribution of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, "crack" cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in urban areas. However, in 1999, the DEA came under heavy criticism from Congress on the grounds that there was no measurable proof that the DEA had reduced the illegal drug supply in the country. In fact by all measurable accounts and over a half a trillion dollars later, the War on Drugs was deemed a failure. Since then, the DEA has more than doubled its budget and continues to seek more funds to justify its expansion by focusing on what the Department of Justice has proclaimed, (despite what many in the scientific and medical community point out is a stark lack of proof) the so called epidemic of prescribed drugs. "The DEA, by abusing some sensationalist media, has invented an epidemic in the minds of some government officials in order to justify massive budget increases.
The Village Voice reports that "federal officials claim that nearly 500 people died from overdosing on OxyContin in 2002, but a recent article in The Journal of Analytical Toxicology could find only 12 cases in which OxyContin was the sole cause of death; all the others fell victim to poly-drug abuse—mixing OxyContin with cocaine, alcohol, Valium or various other substances."
This make believe crisis has provided an irresistible incentive by the DEA to focus on pain specialists who the DEA has discovered make easy targets. These specialists are often driven out of business and into bankruptcy just to defend themselves.
"My client, Dr. Giacchino is, and has been, a very high-profile target of the Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) self-proclaimed 'war on pain doctors,'" asserted Giacchino's lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva, "his crime has never been any impropriety, but only being one of the largest pain management doctors in the nation and having a commensurate lifestyle with which one local tabloid columnist seems obsessed." Specialists such as Dr. Giacchino provide treatment and a manageable quality of life for those with spinal injuries, fibromyalgia and other chronic injuries and conditions.
According to the Pain Relief Network's Siobhan Reynolds, "All over America, pain patients are committing suicide because of the DEA's campaign," she claims. "I know of at least 17 recent cases in Arkansas alone. It's really astonishing the amount of human carnage that this campaign has already caused." 
A Time Magazine expose of this serial abuse asks, "Why is the DEA Hounding This Doctor?"  Ron Libby, a professor of political science at the University of North Florida and author of
The Criminalization of Medicine: America's War on Doctors, tells legendary investigative journalist John Stossel, "this government crackdown leaves thousands of patients in pain. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons says this to its members: If you're thinking about getting into pain management using opioids as appropriate: DON'T. Forget what you learned in medical school – drug agents [from the DEA] now set medical standards." 
"We have, unfortunately, become a society that begrudges and resents superior talent, hard work and the success that it produces," de Silva observed, "Dr. Giacchino has seen his professional practice and his life turned upside down simply based on witless media mavens and well-connected, but unscrupulous and vindictive former associates."
"The Licensing Board has demonstrated a fundamental unfamiliarity with such basic tenets as due process and credible testimony," de Silva continued, "its decisions have been based on cursory examination and interpretation of notes; the testimony of paid witnesses whose character and credibility are, at best, undetectable; and, individuals who, motivated by vituperation at the fact that Dr. Giacchino refused to continue to supply them with drugs, with which to self-medicate, have exercised their influence with the Board to deny him his protected right to make a living."
R. Tamara de Silva's associate Attorney Jonathan Lubin commented that, "The Department was under pressure from a few in the Press and others to take away the Doctor's livelihood. The mob wanted blood and they got it. The problem is that the evidence just wasn't there."
August 22, 2011 - Chicago
Lawyer Releases Article on Why Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("PPACA") mandating that individuals purchase private health care, violates the United States Constitution
According to the article, there is absolutely no precedent for Congress using the Commerce Clause to enforce a purely economic mandate. All previous government mandates of individual behavior that have an economic consequence primarily affect an American's responsibilities as a citizen with the United States. The government's mandate of a draft, filing a tax return itself and affect how government defends itself and operates. However, mandated health care would affect and mandate that every citizen interact with a private company- a requirement never before asked by the Government under the Commerce Clause.
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva argues that "The Obama administration's defense before the Eleventh Circuit asserts that by merely breathing, individuals afftect interstate commerce, 'and therefore Congress may regulate them at every point of their life.' This argument would seek to expand Congress' powers under the Commerce Clause beyond current law and give the Federal Government absolute unfettered power to regulate any activity that had but the most tenuous connection to interstate commerce - an unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion."
More information and white paper can be found at http://www.desilvalawoffices.com/Attorney-Articles/Molotov-Cocktail.aspx
August 22, 2011 - Chicago
Lawyer Releases White Paper on Failure of Dodd-Frank Act to Address Causes of Credit or Reform Credit Ratings Agencies
More than two years after the burst of the housing bubble and ensuing Credit Crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act ("Dodd-Frank Act) becomes law. This act of well over 2,300 pages constitutes an unprecedented enlargement of the Federal Government with new Federal agencies and truly Byzantine laws that while said to protect Wall Street and the average American, will likely be one of the most expansive job creation initiatives for lobbyists and attorneys of all time.
Attorney de Silva was quoted as saying, "Congress was able to use the crisis and through the Dodd-Frank Act create seven more Federal agencies and enlarge the reach of Government's regulation of the private sector to an unprecedented extent. Sadly, the root causes of the credit crisis have been left unattended. This sets the stage for the next financial crisis and if even a superficial examination of the history of these crisis is performed, it promises to be so much larger in scope than the last one. Congress had a chance to make meaningful reforms but instead has hastily put forth 2,300 pages of incomprehensible regulation whose intent may be sterling but will put a heavy cost on the private sector and by extension, the economy."
More information and white paper can be found at: http://www.desilvalawoffices.com/Attorney-Articles/Article-9.aspx
July 22, 2011 - Chicago
News Corp and Fox News' Claim of Absolute Immunity Under Citizen Participation Acts in Various States Attacked Today in Historic Court Filing
Potentially historic brief was filed today in the Northern District of Illinois (case #10cv 6682) taking aim at an Illinois Statute that seeks to narrow the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Indian Business owners, Sharad and Harish Dani, wrongfully accused of bribing a former Illinois State Representative Paul Froehlich, fought back against News Corp. and Fox News Defendants, along with tabloid blog, Illinois Review, by making an argument not previously made, that giving absolute immunity to the press, under the Illinois Citizen Participation Act is unconstitutional. Counsel for Plaintiffs point out that Illinois law can never trump the United States Constitution.
The Illinois Citizen Participation Act ("CPA") and acts virtually identical to it in nearly 26 states were well intentioned legislation designed to allow citizens to speak out about matters related to their governance without the threat of being hailed into court and sued by far more well-heeled defendants. However, in practice, these acts, which promise the losing party must pay crippling legal fees, ensure that private citizens never sue the media. These participation acts have been hijacked and used by Fox News and other media titans in almost 26 states to ensure that no one sues the media for publishing falsehoods or engaging in tabloid yellow journalism-giving the media absolute immunity-in addition to existing freedoms of the press.
The lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "Would the grant of absolute immunity for media titans under these state participation acts, as characterized by Fox, mean that if the current phone hacking scandal involving News Corp and News of the World were to have occurred in the State of Illinois, Rupert Murdoch would simply invoke the CPA and say that it barred his ever having to be hailed into court? This would be a preposterous occurrence, yet one possibly allowed in Illinois. These state acts were not intended to provide absolute immunity to media titans, but rather to level the playing field so that an ordinary citizen, much like the Plaintiffs in this case, would not be denied their First Amendment rights of participating in matters involved in their governance and from seeking redress."
R. Tamara de Silva also said, "Citizen participation acts may have been well-intentioned like so many of the hundreds of laws that are put on the books every year, but what was intended to protect David against Goliath's club has been wholly usurped by Goliath and hangs over all private parties victimized by tabloid yellow journalism like the Sword of Damocles-ensuring that the media is never sued when it fabricates facts and publishes untruths. These laws as they are applied today are unconstitutional and violative of the right of privacy and the right to petition the government. They should never have been drafted because they are vague to the point of lacking meaning and as such also unconstitutional."
View Court Filing
Pivotal Lawsuit Defies Unlawful Prosecution of Largest Pain Management Doctor in the United States
A lawsuit with far reaching consequences for all pain doctors and people that seek treatment for chronic pain was filed today by Dr. Joseph Giacchino in Cook County's Chancery Court. This suit may be the first time, a physician is standing up to what the medical profession calls a "government jihad" on pain doctors by the DEA, Justice Department and local agencies staffed with government lawyers and investigators.
Many medical schools and medical associations like the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, among others, are warning doctors not to treat pain at all. Worse yet- lawyers and prosecutors with no medical training whatsoever have hijacked this field of medicine by determining what is acceptable medical protocol-and prosecuting doctors without first establishing any standard for what conduct they themselves consider unacceptable. Law enforcement is making up the rules of medicine
ad hoc and with deadly consequences for all physicians in their field of vision.
According to a leading medical journal, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic and acute pain due to traumatic injuries, botched surgeries, cancer, etc. Class II Scheduled drugs are taken by over 30 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain and are able because of medical pain management to live without crippling pain and to even work and function. Contrary to popular wisdom and myths of raw media driven culture, most medical literature states that less than 1 percent of the users of pain drugs are addicts (usually within this less than 1 percent, many of them were prior addicts, who hid their previous drug use from their physicians). Yet most of the 100 million Americans that suffer from chronic pain (a fact that cost American business almost $100 billion dollars an year)-are under-treated because doctors are afraid to treat them.
This has led many in the medical community to question whether the DEA's loss of the War on Drugs has led them to pursue a different war, one which seeks to bend the line between what is legal and what a DEA law enforcement officer can determine as illegal medical protocol on an ad hoc basis. There are horrific tales of DEA agents using SWAT tactics to burst into medical offices, holding guns to the heads of physicians (never indicted or arrested on legal charges) threatening imminent bodily harm and paying indicted drug users to solicit physicians for sex in exchange for money-money outrageously paid by the DEA.
The lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "To allow lawyers and investigators to determine what is proper medical protocol is outside the legislative intent of the Controlled Substances Act and it constitutes an excessive exercise of state and Federal power based on a complete misapplication of the Federal Law." Attorney de Silva went on to say that, "the problem is that there are no pre-determined standards of what specific conduct a medical doctor engages in to cross the line between legal and illegal conduct-at least not according to the DEA and an Illinois department. This is an absolute abuse of government power. Before you prosecute someone, you must first state what conduct is legal and what is not and announce it beforehand—that is a fundamental principal in our Constitution and sine qua non to our basic freedom as Americans."
R. Tamara de Silva also said, "The determination of which analgesic drug to prescribe, in what dosage, for how long to achieve pain management is never a determination that should be made by investigators and lawyers on an ad hoc basis, who have never practiced medicine in the specialty of medicine at issue in this case anymore than surgery must be attempted by the public with a hammer."
Attorney Jonathan Lubin, Ms. de Silva's associate added, "Administrative agencies like DPR are charged with protecting the public from medical malpractice, and the like. The assumption, therefore, is the decision-makers at these agencies are people who have superior knowledge of the subject matter. But in this miscarriage of justice, Dr. Giacchino was prosecuted by a lawyer-bureaucrat, in front of a lawyer-bureaucrat turned Administrative Law Judge with no more qualifications to adjudicate medical licenses than any member of the bar."
View Court Filing
June 16, 2011 - Chicago
Dr. Giacchino Pilloried by Paid Informant with Criminal Record and Obsessed Journalist, Decides Enough is Enough
Dr. Joseph Giacchino retained new counsel today, who have a history of fighting corruption in Cook County. Dr. Giacchino resolved that he would fight back even if that meant exposing incestuousness and corruption within a powerful department of Illinois government.
Dr. Giacchino has been pilloried in the press for according to one particularly devoted writer, driving a "plush Bentley…doing over 200 boxing fights including on HBO" and committing the ultimate sin of having the, "stunning Cuban esposa, Playboy's Miss June 1998, Maria Luisa Gil" as his wife.
As if this were not enough, out of a thriving practice of 3,300 patients, an Illinois licensing board chose to believe the testimony of 5 highly incredible witnesses some with extensive criminal backgrounds. This is after many of the witnesses admitted to lying on the stand and even being paid.
Dr. Giacchino's lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "Our government is a government of rules and laws and not of men and fickle public opinion. The laws apply to all people alike. It will be a sad day for our Constitution, the Fifth Amendment, Due Process and the right of privacy when a man can be pilloried by a tabloid journalist and his rights taken away by the mere suspicion of guilt. Our justice system is a great system and local government agencies are not above the law to take away a man's license and property based on the word of admitted perjurers and under pressure from nonsensical tabloid news writers. Government, even at the local level cannot be allowed to impinge upon the civil liberties of the unorthodox, scorned, nonconformist and friendless-this is the very way that the strongest, and most orthodox, and ultimately the rights of all individuals in America are taken away. The principles of life, liberty and fairness are more important than how public opinion views the lifestyle of the individual involved."
June 14, 2011 - Chicago
Prominent Business Man Sues Cook County Board of Review for Corruption
A prominent businessman and property owner filed a Federal lawsuit today against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioner Larry R. Rogers, Jr., among others, charging that the tax appeal body abuses its office and official process in the adjudication of tax appeals in Cook County. Lawsuit states that in this businessman's case, the tax body arbitrarily rescinded a tax break they had themselves granted less than one year prior because he was suspected of associating with an unpopular Illinois State Representative-in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution. Specific defendants according to the Federal complaint use the County entity for the institutionalization of a system of pay for play. Commissioners and their staff solicit large campaign contributions from the very same attorneys whose livelihoods depend on their rulings and employ their public office for, "breathtakingly unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption," as opposed to utilizing a consistent basis "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
Plaintiff's lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to trample upon the property rights of private citizens. Property tax appeals should be adjudicated on their merits, not bartered on bribery or political influence. The levying of property taxes and the adjudication of tax appeals is of vital importance to the operation of the City of Chicago, and the County of Cook. Chicago cannot afford to continue having graft and self-dealing as the set currency in this important office. What has happened in this case should be extremely frightening to each and every property owner in Cook County. We simply cannot continue to allow local branches of Illinois or County government to require that the people of Illinois check their Constitutional rights at the door upon entering."
According to another source familiar with the filing, this lawsuit, on the heels of a similar one filed by Schaumburg hotel owners may provoke a tide of similar suits from Cook County property owners against an office that has historically been known for corruption and pure pay for play.
View Court Filing
June 2, 2011 - Chicago
Fox News Loses Another Motion to Dismiss
In a landmark ruling issued yesterday federal judge denied a Fox News motion to dismiss that had been brought on the basis of statute called the Illinois Citizen's Participation Act ("ILCPA"). The ruling stated that while the ILCPA constitutes substantive state law, it cannot be used to abrogate federal rules. Citizens Participation Acts have been adopted in over 26 states through the backing of powerful media lobbyists in an attempt to give the media absolute immunity-even when they engage in what attorney R. Tamara de Silva calls, "make believe tabloid journalism."
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva explains, "any legislation designed to have a chilling affect on free speech would conceivably be an assault on the First Amendment. The Illinois Citizen Participation Act is disguised as a measure to protect the public's right to free and open debate; yet it has the very opposite effect. We are giving the media a very privileged position to pillory the right of privacy and get away, in some instances, with the very worst examples of tabloid journalism and the unconscionable propagation of untruth."
"This ruling gives us the opportunity to proceed, and to take evidence in our defamation claim against, among others, the local Fox affiliate. Obviously the right to speak freely, and to petition the government are cornerstones of our democratic way of life. But that doesn't give license to the media to publish salacious lies, call it journalism, and hide behind so-called constitutional protections. We're excited to have been given the opportunity to hold Fox accountable to at least a modicum of journalistic integrity," attorney Jonathan Lubin said.
View Court Filing
May 23, 2011 - Chicago
Landmark Ruling with Implications for all Property Owners in Cook County and Chicago
In a landmark ruling issued today, a Federal Judge stated that business owners in Schaumburg who claim to have been had been deprived of a fair assessment of their property taxes could state a claim under the Federal Civil Rights Statute, and would therefore not be forced to seek justice in state court.
Defendants unsuccessfully tried to argue that the Cook County Board of Review was like a lower state court, and that the Federal Court would therefore be barred from reviewing its decisions. But today's ruling gives hope to those who believe that decisions made by the Cook County Board of Review (and Boards of Review in other counties, for that matter) were made in an arbitrary manner, and lacked fundamental justice. According to the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, "Despite the lack of any evidence suggesting that the 2007 and 2008 assessments were overly high, the Board arbitrarily rescinded the reduction in property taxes that it itself granted close to one year prior, affecting the 2008 and 2009 appraisals of the Hotel, stating simply, "we can do anything we want."
The Board's Commissioners, according to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, are powerful members of the Cook County Democratic Party and exert political influence over the state's judiciary. "Joe Berrios, who was on the Board of Review when the decisions affecting my clients were made, is vice-chairman of the Cook County Democrat Party's judicial slating Committee. Larry Rogers is president of the Cook County Bar Association. Allowing this case to proceed in Federal Court provides insulation from the political realities of Cook County. That's exactly what the Klu Klux Klan Act, the Federal Civil Rights statute, intended to accomplish." Said lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva.
Attorney R. Tamara de Silva went on to say, "As I wrote in the Complaint in this matter and time and time again-even at the cost of great retaliation, this agency has established and institutionalized a system of pay for play wherein real estate tax appeal lawyers that contribute to the campaign funds and campaign committees of the Commissioners achieve better results for their clients than non-contributing lawyers and non-contributing taxpayers. This is not justice; this is the corruption and graft."
"What this decision allows us to do is to proceed with and attempt to prove our case - that the Board of Review singled out and scape-goated our clients for no good reason, resulting in a perversion of justice. This is an opportunity for the Satkar Corporation, and it's an opportunity for any business or individual who believes they were a victim of 'Cook County justice.' It means that the Board may have to answer for its actions." Attorney Jonathan Lubin said.
View Court Filing
April 4, 2011 - Chicago
Federal Judge Denies Fox News' motion to Dismiss in Historic Defamation and Corruption Case Brought by Schaumburg Property Owners
On Monday April 4, 2011, Schaumburg business owners through their lawyers, R. Tamara de Silva and Jonathan Lubin successfully defeated Fox News Corp's renowned media lawyers and their motion to dismiss. The defamation lawsuit against Fox News may be one of the first times, Fox News is being forced to defend itself in a defamation case in Federal Court.
The lawsuit also charges the Cook County Board of Review, including Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, and Commissioner Larry R. Rogers, Jr. with willfully and intentionally denying Plaintiffs, Satkar Hospitality, Inc., Sharad Dani and Harish Dani, a range of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and according to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, the use of the Cook County Board of Review, "as a means of unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption that is contrary to the law and above the law."
"This entire lawsuit is about accountability: Whether on the part of a media titan that seems to believe it can defame a private citizen with impunity by tabloid make-believe 'journalism' for ratings, or a Cook County government agency that believes it can abuse the process of government, their office and the trust of the people of Chicago because they simply are above the law." said lead counsel R. Tamara de Silva. "In the search for the next headline and ultimately next greenback the local Fox affiliate tarred and feathered the owners of a small business, who had done nothing wrong. We are happy that the Court is going to us an opportunity to hold them accountable." Attorney Jonathan Lubin.
View Court Filing
March 18, 2011 - Chicago
Petition For Temporary Restraining Order Denied - Lawsuit Continues
On Wednesday March 16, 2011, Alderman Rice's lawyers R. Tamara de Silva and Jonathan Lubin did not succeed in trying to stop aldermanic candidate Nicholas Sposato's campaign of disseminating sensationalized and manufactured facts through the use of robocalls. On March 11, 2011, Sposato amazingly decided to accuse Ald. Rice of criminal activity by wholly manufacturing sources and making up facts. Alderman Rice's lawyers thought the conduct sufficiently outrageous to attempt to seek injunctive relief in addition to the filing of a lawsuit for defamation per se.
"As a general rule, the law does not enjoin the publication of libel or slander-there is virtually not a single state or Federal case to support its doing so. However, the facts of this case were so grossly offensive to principles of truth and brought the standards of campaign conduct to such a low that I was compelled to try. A temporary restraining order is an extraordinary remedy and the courts have not stopped speech in a political campaign-I am referring to injunctive relief here and not of course the outcome of civil suits for defamation damages-there are many examples of the latter succeeding. Injunctive relief is different. Judges are understandably very reticent to issue injunctive relief in granting TROs, but almost never when they involve speech." said lead counsel R. Tamara de Silva.
However, Chancery Court Judge Richard J. Billik was very clear in issuing his order denying injunctive relief (denying the lawyers petition for a temporary restraining order) that his decision was in no way to be taken as a commentary on the underlying case for defamation per se against aldermanic candidate Sposato, which is proceeding.
"Nicholas Sposato has made statements about Alderman Rice that are untrue and that have no basis whatsoever. Those statements are damaging to his career and to his reputation. That is the very essence of defamation. We are committed to pursuing this suit and to sending the message that you can't defame someone's character maliciously and with reckless disregard for the truth and expect not to be held accountable for it." Attorney Jonathan Lubin.
View Court Filing
March 14, 2011 - Chicago
Alderman Seeks Temporary Restraining Order - Files Defamation Suit
Attorneys for 36th Ward Alderman John Rice, R. Tamara de Silva and Jonathan Lubin today filed for an injunction and Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), along with a defamation suit against the Ald. Rice's opponent, Nicholas Sposato, and his campaign committee, Friends of Nicholas Sposato. The TRO and lawsuit were impelled by sensationally false accusations made by Sposato, in a press advisory and press conference held on March 11, 2011 in front of City Hall, along with a campaign of robocalls, stating that Alderman Rice is engaged in criminal activity. Attorneys for Alderman Rice moved decisively to ensure Sposato not only issue a retraction but immediately cease and desist publishing defamatory and manufactured falsehoods about the Alderman that lead attorney R. Tamara de Silva said amounted to a, "series of self-serving and manufactured facts, displaying breathtaking intellectual dishonesty."
"Alderman Rice has dedicated his life and his work to building the reputation and character of which his family, his children, his friends, and the people of the 36th Ward can be proud," said attorney Jonathan Lubin, "this is a desperate act to try and paint him in a false light and gave rise to the false implication that he is engaged in criminal conduct, in direct contravention to the truth and doing irrevocable harm in the space of minutes to a reputation, candidacy and profession that takes a lifetime to build. Aldermanic elections should invite candid discussions of the issues, not provide a forum for the publication of defamation."
"Contrary to the Defendants' desire to make sensationalized campaign sound-bites by spurious and false publications, Alderman Rice's career in government and in the private sector, has been unsullied by criminal charges involving political matters or any other matters, and he will not stand idly by while Mr. Sposato aggressively evades the truth in a campaign to say whatever it takes to try and get elected. You cannot literally make anything up just to win an election. Mr. Sposato's attempt to maliciously and wrongfully portray Ald. Rice will not prevail." Attorney de Silva
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February 12, 2011 - Chicago
Federal Complaint Exposes Slating Process of Cook County Judges as Politically Corrupt
Suing the leadership of the Cook County Democratic Party ("CCDP") on its own turf, is nonsensical according to Federal lawsuit. According to the suit, the CCDP is responsible for electing most of Cook County's sitting judges. In a novel legal argument, Plaintiffs argue that it is not possible to get a fair trial in state court if many of the judges owe their position on the judiciary to one or more of the defendants.
In a Federal pleading Friday, Plaintiffs' lead counsel charged that her clients cannot reasonably be expected to get a fair trial in Illinois state court because of conflicts of interests between almost half of the over 400 current sitting state judges, whose slating and ultimate election was due to backing by powerful leaders of the Cook County Democratic Party, including Chairman of the Party and current Cook County Assessor, Joseph Berrios- one of the Defendants, among others, including Larry R. Rogers Jr. and the Cook County Board of Review, in a civil rights suits accusing CCDP members of abuse of office and Equal Protection violations. The defendants, through multiple law firms, are trying to prevent the case from being heard in Federal Court arguing that it should be heard in Illinois state court.
Attorney, R. Tamara de Silva spoke critically about the way judges are slated and elected in Illinois, "The slating process can present breathtaking conflicts of interests and is part of the entrenched corruption and political incestuousness of this town. The problem is that the slating process is completely opaque and completely political-mired in the political traditions and conflicts of interest of old time Chicago politics. You cannot expect someone who got their job because of a politician not to have a conflict of interest, when they have to sit in judgment of that same politician-yet the slating process presents this very conflict when suing the leadership of the Cook County Democratic Party in state court." Ms. de Silva went on to say that, "the process of electing judges is in dire need of reform because it tilts the scales too much towards politics and away from merit. However, even a consideration of this problem seems foolish when you realize that the Cook County Democratic Party's tentacles of power extend to all branches of government in this state. What we lose ultimately is the advantage of separation between the branches of government and we allow the table to be set for the very real possibility of unchecked corruption."
View Court Filing
January 11, 2011 - Chicago
Lawyer Releases White Paper Stating Illinois Citizen Participation Act is Unconstitutional and Stealth Legislation
Freedom of the press is not absolute. White paper by attorney R. Tamara de Silva argues that stealth legislation under legislative title of seeming to protect the right of citizens to speak freely about their government and interests in the form of the Illinois Citizen Participation Act (ILCPA) was actually sponsored by the Media to give Media defendants unconstitutional and absolute immunity. The ILCPA not only gives the Media absolute immunity against Illinois lawsuits but also requires private parties to pay for the Media's attorneys' fees.
Recently Circuit Court Judge James Ryan filed suit against Fox News and the Better Government Association for running a sensationalized "investigative" story about the Judge being at home when he should have been working by showing a picture of his car parked at this house. Judge Ryan's complaint points out that the alleged journalists got their facts wrong because it was not his house and not his car. Attorney, R. Tamara de Silva questions why media defendants in these instances should be given absolute immunity against suits like Judge Ryan's through the ILCPA, "Granting the Media absolute immunity is a breathtakingly unfair move to protect a single industry by chilling the speech or protests of private citizens not only by effectively pricing them out of the courtroom, but by ensuring that in giving the Media immunity-they cannot prevail."
"The ILCPA must be amended at a minimum to conform to its stated legislative purpose, that is to protect the rights of citizens to speak freely about matters that affect their government and their interests. It is unconscionable that this purpose be turned on its head and that the ILCPA be used to grant the media absolute immunity from National Inquirer-esq news stories, thinly veiled as "investigative journalism," while preventing private citizens from going to court by the imposition of massive legal fees. Having this Act slip into Illinois law by stealth under the rubric of good governance legislation is another matter entirely" Said Ms. de Silva.
View Court Filing
December 30, 2010 - Chicago
Federal Court Document Charges Fox News with Running Planted News Stories
Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva filed a memorandum in Federal Court against Fox News defendants and Fox Television Stations charging that Fox News and 'investigative' reporter Dane Placko agreed to be a mouthpiece for Cook County Board of Review officials including new Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios, in exchange for, "being handed a sensationalized... planted, 'investigative' story."
Memorandum states that Board of Review officials, "who were apparently being investigated...used Fox as a pigeon to divert attention away from themselves-creating a smokescreen" and generate false media stories disguised as investigative journalism, carried by Fox at the expense of various Cook County property owners.
"I cannot comment on the specifics of the case beyond what is written in today's filing but if these allegations prove to be true, this is both an explosive abuse of power and proof that certain media outlets' "investigative" reporting is nothing more than sensationalized tabloid journalism in unconscionable disregard for the truth. A free, independent and objective press is the cornerstone of our democracy, when that independence and objectivity is compromised or co-opted, for ratings and viewers, the rights our Founding Fathers envisioned, and for which they fought, are in put in jeopardy." R. Tamara de Silva
View Court Filing
December 21, 2010 - Chicago
Cook County Assessor, Board of Review Delay, Plaintiffs Seek Default In Federal Court Lawsuit
Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva filed a motion in Federal Court for default against Defendants, Cook County Assessor, Joseph Berrios; Cook County Board of Review Commissioners, Larry Rogers Jr., and Brendan Houlihan; and their senior staff. The Motion charges that the Defendants have intentionally and arrogantly failed to provide required Court documents in a lawsuit charging the Board of Review, then including Assessor Berrios, with willfully and intentionally denying Plaintiffs, Satkar Hospitality, Inc., Sharad Dani and Harish Dani, a range of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and according to Plaintiff's Complaint, the use of the Cook County Board of Review, "as a means of unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption that is contrary to the law and above the law."
"It is apparent that the Defendants believe they are immune from having to answer a Federal Court summons a belief in immunity from the law that lays at the very heart of my clients' case." R. Tamara de Silva.
December 1, 2010 - Chicago
Lawyer Releases White Paper Stating High Frequency Trading is Illegal
The trial of a former Goldman Sachs programmer who allegedly stole part of the code for Goldman's wildly profitable high frequency trading practices began today in New York. White paper by attorney R. Tamara de Silva argues that high frequency trading, conducted by Goldman and other firms is illegal and constitutes front-running and trading on insider information.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Mr. Aleynikov in July 2009 after Goldman reported the suspected theft of source code used by investment bank to make lightning fast trades in markets around the world. Free on bail since his arrest, the 40-year-old Mr. Aleynikov faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of stealing trade secrets.
"The Securities Acts came into being with provisions against insider trading and front-running because it was recognized that cheating and unfair advantage harms a free market and is at war with any well-functioning mechanism for price discovery. If the high frequency trading firms are allowed to continue cheating because of the established use of smart routing, in time everyone else will be unable to compete, including all investors and traders other than large volume high frequency trading firms." Said Ms. de Silva.
October 26, 2010 - Chicago
Cook County Board of Review Sued for Abuse of Process along with Fox Television Holdings, Inc., and Rupert Murdoch's New Corp.
Why are property tax bills in Chicago going up as home values decline up to 40%? Hotel owners say it is because Cook County Board of Review does not apply a consistent standard in granting real estate tax appeals-as Illinois statute requires it do. Federal lawsuit filed today against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioners Larry R. Rogers, Jr., (who is considering running for Mayor), Brendan Houlihan (who is running for re-election) and Joseph Berrios (running for Cook County Assessor), charges that the Board abuses its office and official process because in actuality the emperor has no clothes-the Board has no set standards for making tax appeal decisions for property owners in Cook County-in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution and Illinois law.
Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to act capriciously and in a manner that is above the law. The adjudication of property tax appeals is a vital government function with a huge impact not only on interstate commerce but to the lives of hard working Chicagoans and we have allowed it to be hijacked for politics and self-dealing to the detriment of every property owner in Cook County."
According to complaint, Commissioners unlawfully singled out the Plaintiffs' property because of the Plaintiffs' political associations stating simply, "we can do anything we want." Commissioners are further accused of using the Cook County Board of Review to intimidate and harass property owners, "in apparent homage to Torquemada."
Federal suit also names Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, Fox Television Holdings, Inc. and its employees and supervisors for engaging in McCarthy-esq fabrication of innuendo about private citizens. According to Ms. de Silva, "This is nothing less than a battle for accountability. The major networks assume that no one will fight back because of the David and Goliath nature of suing the media in the age of sensationalized tabloid 'journalism.' Lives and reputations built over lifetimes are ruined in minutes and seconds-unchecked and undeterred by the truth. This is closer to pornography than journalism. "
RICO - October 11, 2010 - Chicago
RICO and Honest Services Complaint Sustained in Benchmark Federal Court Ruling
In an historic ruling, the Federal Court of the Seventh Circuit sustained both civil RICO and Honest Services charges in the suit against Cook County Board of Review Commissioners Larry Rogers Jr., Joseph Berrios and Brendan Houlihan, along with members of their senior staffs. The ruling is significant because the RICO (Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization) Act is rarely successfully pled in a civil lawsuit such as to survive Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motions-this case maybe the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court decision narrowing its scope, that the charge of denial of Honest Services has been successfully pled. The benchmark case, Santana v Board of Review, now proceeds to discovery and trial.
"We were heartened by the Court's ruling sustaining these charges,' R. Tamara de Silva, attorney for the Plaintiff stated, 'we understood that pleading both RICO and Honest Services would be challenging, but believed the facts, in this case, warranted the charges. We were very pleased with the Court's ruling."
"It should never be easy to bring charges, such as these, against a government entity like the Board of Review,' de Silva continued, 'but neither should a government entity by allowed to trample on the constitutional rights of a private businessman nor engage in a pattern of activities, anticipated by Honest Services and the RICO Act, with impunity. We believe the Court's ruling substantially advances the evolution and interpretation of both these landmark legal questions."
"My client looks forward to his case moving to discovery and trial,' de Silva said, 'we will be no less vigilant, focused and relentless in revealing the actions, motivations and consequences of the Defendants, and those that participated in the 'continuing enterprise'.
FOX NEWS, BOARD OF REVIEW CASE - October 18, 2010 - Chicago
FOX News, Blog and Cook County Board of Review Sued for Make Believe Journalism and Being "Above the Law"
(October 18, 2010 - Chicago) Hotels owners filed Federal lawsuit against The Cook County Board of Review and Defendant Commissioners Larry R. Rogers, Jr., and Brendan Houlihan, among others, charging that the tax appeal body abuses its office and official process because it has no set standards for making tax appeal decisions for property owners in Cook County in violation of the Equal Protection clause of the United States Constitution and that specific defendants according to the complaint use the County entity for "unabashed self-dealing, capriciousness and corruption," as opposed to employing a consistent basis "for the adjudication of tax appeal claims."
Plaintiffs' lead attorney, R. Tamara de Silva commented that, "No government entity should be allowed to trample upon the rights of private citizens and hardworking business owners by being arbitrary simply because they think they can. The adjudication of property tax appeals translates into real money for real people." According to another source familiar with the filing, suit may provide blueprint for and provoke a tide of similar suits from Cook County property owners.
Federal suit also names Fox News Chicago and widely followed Illinois Republican blog for manufacturing defamatory stories about private citizens for pure sensationalism without fact checking and relying on wholly unreliable sources.
Suit is very significant in that the major media networks are almost never sued for defamation and as Ms. de Silva said, "This is a battle for accountability. The major networks assume that no one will ever fight back because of the David and Goliath nature of suing the media in the age of sensationalized tabloid 'journalism.' Most lawyers would never take on media titans with unlimited resources in a protracted litigation-this is unfortunate. Since New York Times v. Sullivan, the media has been allowed seeming
carte blanche because of the courts' interest in protecting the First Amendment-but what does this do to people's lives and reputations when fundamental truth and facts are ignored? "
Fox News, Board of Review Case
RICO - October 12, 2010 - Chicago
September 7, 2010-Chicago
Lawsuit Charges Forrest Claypool, Campaign Manager and Campaign PAC with Dishonesty and Defamation
A lawsuit and petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) were filed today charging Cook County Board Commissioner and candidate for Cook County Assessor, Forrest Claypool, his campaign manager Tom Bowen, and the campaign's political action committee with defamation, libel and the publication of knowingly false statements directed at a private citizen. Victor Santana, a property tax and political consultant, filed the suit and petition in response to statements and assertions made by Claypool, Bowen and Claypool campaign on a campaign website.
Claypool is locked in a hotly contested race for Assessor with Cook County Board of Review Commissioner and Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joseph Berrios, who is the target of the attack website.
"Mr. Claypool and his camp have engaged in a fundamental disregard for factual accuracy and breathtaking intellectual dishonesty in the statements conjured up for purely political purposes," R. Tamara de Silva, attorney for Santana, stated, "The actions of Claypool, Bowen and their PAC bring everything wrong with politics in Chicago and Cook County into specific focus. Politicians in this crooked town will say absolutely anything to get elected."
The website, "Who Is Joe Berrios?" accuses Santana of having engaged in wrongful conduct and being the subject of a grand jury subpoena. "The Claypool camp manufactured false-hoods and misrepresented sources to gain an advantage in his race," R. Tamara de Silva continued. "Claypool and Bowen essentially made up sources because the sources they quote do not support their made up facts."
Santana, through his attorney, is currently prosecuting a lawsuit, in Federal Court, against Board of Review Commissioners Joseph Berrios, Larry Rogers Jr., Brendan Houlihan and Board of Review senior staff for civil rights violations and conducting a "racketeering enterprise" in violation the Racketeering and Corrupt Organizations Act. That lawsuit is progressing through the federal courts.
"Claypool, Bowen and the Claypool campaign effectively made up facts and the sources to support them in a shameless 'win-at-all-costs' effort without regard for truth, honesty or the damage they would inflict on a private citizen," de Silva concluded, 'My client was never the subject of a grand jury subpoena. He does not have the wealthiest families in town financing him and paying for websites and mass emailings. How does a regular citizen ever get a chance to fight back or defend himself from falsehoods when publicly libeled by a powerful and extremely well financed politician? Let me assure you-it never happens."
Ms. de Silva stated her client demands the removal of the false statements and an apology prominently displayed on the offending website, along with unspecified damages.
September 13, 2010 - Chicago
Claypool and Campaign Relent, Temporary Restraining Order Moot, Lawsuit Charging Defamation, Libel and Dishonesty Moves Forward
The need for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Forrest Claypool, his campaign manager - Tom Bowen, and their campaign PAC was rendered moot today when Claypool, Bowen and the campaign relented and deleted any reference to the name of Victor Santana from an attack website aimed at Claypool opponent, Joseph Berrios. A State Court lawsuit charging Claypool, Bowen and the campaign Political Action Committee (PAC) with defamation, libel and dishonesty, in their website's characterization of Santana, however, will move forward seeking damages in excess of $ 50,000.00.
R. Tamara de Silva, attorney for Santana, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of today's hearing, "the capitulation of Mr. Claypool, his campaign manager and his campaign PAC, in removing my client's name from the offending website, has served to staunch the on-going damage to Mr. Santana,' de Silva stated, 'it was a necessary first step in protecting the rights and reputation, of a private citizen, from the dishonest, defamatory and libelous statements and assertions manufactured by Claypool, Bowen and the Claypool campaign in their rush to gain an advantage in a contentious political campaign."
"We were pleased that the judge rejected Claypool, Bowen and the Claypool campaign's claim that questionable reports, by commentators of suspect objectivity, were sufficient to denigrate the name and reputation of a private citizen,' de Silva continued, 'We believe the State Court lawsuit, charging Claypool, et. al., with intentionally manufacturing dishonest, defamatory and libelous statements, based on fallacious sources, was substantially advanced today."
"The lawsuit is moving forward aggressively and we firmly believe that Claypool, Bowen and the campaign PAC's irresponsible destruction of a private citizen, for purely political purposes, will not be tolerated by a jury of other private citizens,' de Silva concluded, 'If a well-heeled politician can recklessly disparage and malign a private citizen, like my client, who among us is not at risk?"
September 21, 2010 - Chicago
Federal Court Judge Upbraids Board of Review Defense Counsel - Grants Plaintiff's Motion To RespondThe presiding Federal Court judge today upbraided attorneys for Cook County Board of Review Commissioners Joseph Berrios, Larry Rogers Jr., Brendan Houlihan, and their senior staff, for their conscious decision to ignore instructions, of the Court, to consolidate their answers to Plaintiff's charge of operating a 'continuing criminal enterprise' under the civil RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization) Act. The judge had previously instructed the three law firms and fourteen lawyers for the defendants to file a consolidated answer in the interests of efficiency, economy and respect for the Court's schedule. The judge found defense counsel's argument that competing interests, among the defendants, required separate answers to be ineffectual. Plaintiff's counsel, R. Tamara de Silva's motion for leave to file a response to the defendant's two motions and a memorandum.
"We were pleased with the judge's decision which agreed with our contention that counsel for Mssrs. Berrios, Rogers Jr., Houlihan and their senior staff disregarded the Court's instructions,' R. Tamara de Silva, attorney for plaintiff, Victor Santana, stated, 'apparently, defendants' roster of attorneys believe their wishes supersede the instructions of a well-respected federal court judge."
"From the inception of this important case, we have attempted to respond to the suggestions and instructions of the presiding judge,' de Silva continued, 'we believe his stature, that of the Court and of these proceedings demand it."
"We appreciate that the judge granted our motion for a brief and respectful interval in which to answer defendants motions and memorandum, collectively comprising well more than fifteen pages stipulated for such pleadings,' de Silva added, 'We will use the time granted by the Court to sift through the superfluous narrative and ad hominem attacks, which consume a good deal of the defendants' counsels' tomes, and rebut those arguments that clearly misinterpret existing law."
"My client looks forward to the prosecution of this case; a case that carries broad implications for the constitutionally protected civil rights of private citizens, as well as, how those we entrust to ensure fairness and justice, in the administration of the 'Peoples' affairs, conduct themselves and the offices to which we elect them,' Ms. de Silva concluded.
September 30, 2010 - Cook County
Victor Santana, Plaintiff v. Citizens for Claypool, Tom Bowen and Forrest Claypool, Defendants.