Yesterday, the same day word went far and wide that Jill Clark had lost both of the rancid and hopeless "Spanky Pete" court cases, (click here for that story) Clark was also in front of a three judge panel of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The case concerns what has become known as the "True JACC" controversy...
...in which newly elected members of the Jordan Area Community Council (JACC) board of directors wrestled control away from a clique of individuals who had allowed mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility to ride roughshod over the organization. (The case, if you want to look it up, is Ethylon B. Brown, et al v. John Hubbard, et al, 27-CV-09-2277)
Because the JACC board split into factions and some aspects of the election were disputed, with two groups proclaiming themselves the "true" executive officers of the board, the controversy came to be known as the "True JACC" dispute.
Naturally, flakey Golden Valley attorney Jill Clark threw in with the losers, malcontents and bad actors as their attorney. This resulted in a decisive and overwhelming loss in district court. In fact, the losing plaintiffs were assessed attorney fees.
Naturally, Clark appealed. At one point, as I previously reported, she whined about being ill and asked for an extension to file something. My source tells me that despite being granted an extension in response to her whining and (my gut tells me) 200 proof pure malingering, not everything expected to be filed was actually filed.
But at least Clark showed up in court yesterday. Given her recent flakey trend of "attorney unavailable," I wouldn't have bet my paycheck on it. Clark was dressed all in black like a badly aging lounge singer. She had a very small and pathetic entourage.
Terry Yzaguirre, the force behind the Mpls Mirror blog whose extensive and bizarre legal troubles are in the hands of Jill Clark, was seen out in the hallway but reportedly didn't enter the room to watch the hearing. Clark's cheering section inside the court room reportedly consisted of her client, Level Three Sex Offender Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer.
Just as the hearing was about to begin, some legal papers were handed to the defense side: court orders in one of the two "Spanky Pete" cases decided April 5. Spanky had lost.
And, also, as fate would have it--Spanky had lost in the OTHER case, too.
It was a good omen for the defense. Having already won the JACC case overwhelmingly in the district court, they simply needed to hold their ground. It was Clark who needed a miracle, but there was no sign of God in her corner...only the Level Three Sex Offender who had just lost two court cases where Clark was representing him. If there were a musical sound track for this court proceeding, it would the Titanic theme.
My source says Clark looked "rattled and crazy" as she stood to speak with "pages of handwritten notes." The judicial panel started out with three female judges but then, incredibly, a judge named Kevin G. Ross (click for his profile) tapped one of the female judges on the shoulder and the judges "switched out." My source tells me it was Judge Bjorkman who was replaced by Judge Ross. Judge Halbrooks was presiding and Judge Worke was also on the panel, but Ross was the one asking all the pointed questions.
Ross seemed extremely familiar with the case and began "hammering" Clark. My source described it as "a painful legal enema" and said it was "hard to watch." The other two judges said nothing as Ross took the lead.
Clark started out by saying the court should use its "equitable powers" to reinstate the ousted JACC officers. "Equity," for those who only think it's the portion of your mortgaged home you actually own, means powers inherent in the court to decide things based on what seems "fair" and not just case law or statutes. Equitable powers are something of a relic but raise their head every so often in lawyerly arguments. Generally, when you're arguing "equity" it's a sign you don't have either the law or facts on your side, but you desperately hope your cause (or your client's cause) seems "right" or "just" at some emotional level and the court will throw you a bone.
However, Clark's mangy dog of a case didn't seem to be getting any equitable bones. The court asked pointedly about why the court should use "equitable powers" when the ousted executive board members had the option (which they did not exercise) of running for election.
"YES OR NO," asked Judge Ross, trying to nail Clark's legal jello to the wall. "Did they run for subsequent election?"
"No," Jill answered. It was the perception of my source that Clark "backed away" from her argument about equitable powers when Judge Ross seemed unreceptive.
There was next a discussion about "derivative claims," i.e., the ability of a board member to sue ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD and whether you can somehow bring these rights along with you when you're no longer on the board. Some great quotes that came out of this arcane discussion:
Judge Ross: Are you disputing that there is a holding?" (by the district court)
Clark: I'm not disputing that, it says what it says.
And, also, at one point Jill insisted the district court did not consider "the factual facts."
Where is the law? Judge Ross kept asking. Where is the equitable remedy? What was the equitable remedy that the district court was compelled to order given the undisputed facts?
"I don't have it in front of me," Clark admitted.
Poor Clark. In legal water so high above her head. Imagine a lawyer being asked by a judge to cite to the applicable law! The whole time this legal spanking is taking place, who is watching but Spanky Pete? What's going through his mind? I wonder. And also I wonder, well, do I actually want to know? This may be the reason "factual facts" are avoided in the first place. They are too much to endure.
According to my source, the next questions were along the lines of, "Okay, let's say there was anything illegal or improper by the new executive board. Point me to the statute that says you've got any remedy. What is your remedy?" My source estimates "two thirds" of Clark's allotted time was taken up by questions about "what is your remedy" and that Clark kept ineffectually trying to dodge, duck, dip, and dodge.
At some point the Honorable Judge Ross turned to the issue of Executive Director Jerry Moore's contract. Moore--as many Johnny Northside readers are aware--was fired by the newly elected JACC board after he PUNCHED A BOARD MEMBER IN THE FACE during the previous night's board election. Scrutinizing the language of the contract--which this blog and others have always described as a "purported" contract and some strongly suspect it to be ex post facto in its origins, but what did it matter? It still had a "malfeasance" clause--Ross "called out" the language of the contract as "not typical" of contract language.
In regard to Moore getting fired, the only remedy in the (purported) contract seemed to be Moore had a right to know why he was being fired. Whether this meant nitty gritty specifics or a just a general idea didn't seem to be spelled out very well, but what did it matter? There wasn't talk of severance pay and, furthermore, there was a malfeasance clause! If you do something bad (like punch a board member in the face) you can be fired.
Ross asked Clark about a "hypothetical" situation with the contract. Let us say somebody PUNCHES A MEMBER OF THE ORGANIZATION IN THE FACE.
Would THAT be malfeasance? Hmmmmm?
Clark made some weak comment about how "it might be self defense." At some point Clark said, "I can't accept the hypothetical." Ross reportedly looked around at the other judges like, "What on earth? I'm asking the question and she won't answer it? When does THAT ever happen in Appeals Court?"
It was the defense attorney's turn. Diane (last name unknown) an attorney for Briggs and Morgan, stood before the court and summarized all the hearings--dear god, the many many hearings, all the precious human time and effort Clark and her reprobate clients had burned up just to vent the bile from their livers over losing power in the neighborhood election. (I'm paraphrasing, here) (A lot)
It was time for Clark's rebuttal and Judge Ross once again pushed for Clark to cite something specific that gave her a remedy. Clark kept trying to pull a fast one and mention how she'd been an employment law attorney for oh-so-many years.
C'est moi! I AM THE LAW.
The hearing was over, but there was still a little bit of entertainment value left in this cartoon network special. Near the end of the proceedings, sex offender Peter "Spanky Pete" Rickmyer could be heard trying to chat up the security guard. "How you doing? How are things going?" That kind of thing. The guard did his best to ignore The Spankinator.
Trying his best to act a gallant gentleman, Spanky Pete ran to hold the courtroom door for Jill Clark, and ended up becoming a doorman for Diane the defense attorney, David Schooler (also for the defense) and defendant Michael "Kip" Browne.
Then, in a sad little epilogue to the proceeding, Pete realized he'd forgotten his white hat and had to run back inside, awkwardly.
My source tells me Spanky Pete and Jill Clark were spotted the next day (today) at Eddington's Soup and Salad near the Hennepin County Government Center, dining together, no doubt plotting their next move like insane inmates plotting to take over the asylum.