Friday, August 10, 2012

NEW DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRUE JACC LAWSUIT, Fat Lady Not Only Does Encore, She Tries To Book Another Performance...

Photo by John Hoff, the infamous first meeting where "Old Majority" met New Majority in the Jordan Neighborhood, blog post by John Hoff

Have you ever heard "the song that doesn't end?" Click on the YouTube embed after the "read more" to hear this little ditty, as performed by the famous puppet "Lambchop."

But be warned.

You might NEVER get it out of your head...

Now change the words, slightly, to describe the "True JACC" lawsuit between the ousted "Old Majority" members and the duly, lawfully elected "New Majority" members and their legitimately elected officers.

This is the suit that doesn't end
Yes, it goes on and on, my friend
Some people started suing, not knowing what it was
And they'll go on suing, forever just because...

(Repeat song from the top)

Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?

So! Apparently not completely satisfied with the butt kicking they received at the District Court level, nor willing to learn from the harsh scolding and massive attorney fees imposed by the State Court of Appeals (which has also been asked to award attorney fees for the COST OF THE APPEAL, click here) now the JACC plaintiffs have decided to ask for "further review" of the State Appellate Court decision.

With attorney Jill Clark in the midst of a lawyer discipline proceeding--delayed, some might say opportunistically, by a purported health crisis--her cases are being handled by other attorneys.

So far, I've seen Ben Myers handling one case (the useless request for "re-removal" to the Federal Court of Jill's discipline case) and another part of the Clark disciplinary case being handled by Diana Longrie, the controversial former mayor of Maplewood.

Dokor Dejvongsa With A Lemon Garnish

Now, attorney Dokor Dejvongsa's name appears on the request for review by the State Supreme Court of the JACC case. Dejvongsa is the law partner of Ben Myers at Dejvongsa, Myers and Associates. (If there are actual "associates" employed there, this blogger is unaware of who they might be and would welcome the info) In the few times I've laid eyes on Dejvongsa, her face was stuck in a sour expression like she'd just sucked a lemon.

I suspect that expression won't be changing anytime soon, given the history of this case. All the same, Dejvongsa wrote out her basis for review by the State Supreme Court, and misspelled the last name of New Majority member Michael "Kip" Browne in the very first line. Somehow, Dejvongsa got his name right in the same document while writing out the names of all the defendants.

I can't help but think this was done purposefully to irk Michael Browne, who is indeed quite "irkable" when it comes to that extra "e" at the end of his name. All the same, I'm left to wonder aloud, "Is this the best the Old Majority Lawyers can do? Misspell Browne's last name? It would be funny if it wasn't so pathetic and sad.

Not Bad Faith, Really, And We Can Explain About The Checks

In the request for review dated August 1, filed August 2, Dokor Dejvongsa notes in a footnote, "Jill Clark is still counsel of record, Dokor Dejvongsa substitutes for Ms. Clark temporarily." The document goes on to say, in a nutshell, the plaintiffs in this case have been treated badly because of their "status" and not the rule of law. The plaintiffs are, says the document, "Mostly African Americans who have exercised their rights to challenge the establishment." No mention is made in the document that some of the defendants are also African American.

These defendants, says the request for review, have been "retaliated against and discriminated against" in the Minnesota Court system and "(t)heir carefully developed factual case has been ignored by every court." Their "well-researched legal theories were mostly not considered." The courts (the document cries) actually "created arguments" that were not raised.

Incredibly, the document says the plaintiffs merely "came to court to ask for guidance" about which board should legally control a corporation and this request for court guidance is being called a "bad faith" lawsuit. Here is one of the most telling sections, where Dejvongsa tries to explain about Ben Myers (who is both her law partner and one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit) writing out two checks on the JACC bank account.

The only "fact" the COA (Court of Appeals) had to support the affirmance of "bad faith" was the allegation that Ben Myers wrote two checks. Appellants' brief explains fully that not only did Myers not try to hide that he had the checkbook, it was the bank's refusal to pay on checks he wrote that caused appellants to file this case to have a court decide which board was valid.

In a footnote after the first sentence, Dejvongsa notes, It was always disputed who ended up with the other property described by the COA at p 9-10.

Old Majority Characterized As People Without Power

The document also contains a lot of whining about Jerry Moore being fired over a physical altercation on the night of the disputed JACC election, in which Moore reportedly punched a board member named P.J. Hubbard in the face. The document claims JACC never identified any "act" on which the termination was based.

In one of the most telling sentences near the end of the document, the members of the Old Majority plaintiffs are characterized as "people without money and power" who should not be treated as "second class" with the court "bending over backwards" to help "powerful" defendants.

This characterization of all the defendants as "powerful" simply doesn't match up with the facts. Naming Council Member Don Samuels as a defendant when he wasn't even on the board, and did nothing but recognize the duly elected "New Majority" board, was nothing more than the plaintiffs carrying on their cracked and crazy campaign against Don Samuels which has been

After that, looking at the "New Majority" defendants versus the "Old Majority" who brought the lawsuit, there are people who are homeowners and relatively well off on the New Majority side (Kip Browne is an attorney, there are homeowners among the New Majority) but the same is true of the Old Majority (Ben Myers is a lawyer, and there are homeowners among the Old Majority like Ethylon Brown)

There are, among members of the New Majority, probably more people who own their own homes. These are, however, humble homes and not mansions. Even Kip Browne, who may be the most well-heeled of the JACC defendants, lives in a cute little bungalow, not a mansion.

So to characterize the New Majority defendants as "powerful" is a mischaracterization which makes this sound like a battle between "haves" and "have nots."

The Power Of The New Majority

Yet, at the same time, it is NOT a mischaracterization. It is accurate. The New Majority is more powerful than the Old Majority, but not because of economic power. They are more powerful for four reasons.

1.) They have much better legal counsel which is A.) not cracked in the noggin, B.) not blurring the lines between counsel and client.

2.) They have the law on their side because they are law-abiding. They don't disappear with the organization's checkbook and write out checks. They don't make computers and paper records disappear in the dark of night, not yet to reappear.

3.) They have the trend of history on their side. North Minneapolis is slowly, painfully turning around and becoming revitalized. The "New Majority" represents an attitude of "make our neighborhood better and safer." In contrast, members of the Old Majority represent an attitude of "keep the hood the hood, no matter who it kills."

4.) They have the legitimate use of a neighborhood organization on their side.

Members of the Old Majority, in stark contrast, always appeared more concerned with "social justice" issues than traditional "neighborhood" issues. Prior to the "sea change" JACC election, neighbors tell stories of being unable to find where the Public Safety Committee of JACC was meeting, going from place to place, only to reach the last place and find the meeting was cancelled. Public safety is a bread and butter neighborhood issue for which neighborhood organizations are created.

But in the hands of Ben Myers (a criminal defense attorney) and Jerry Moore (whose name came up in association with the spectacular mortgage fraud at 1564 Hillside Ave. N.) it appeared JACC was being transformed into an organization primarily dedicated to "social justice" issues (at best) or somebody's personal piggy bank for living "high on the hog" (at worst).

The neighborhood rose up. The neighborhood took back JACC.

Yes, It Goes On And On, My Friend

It was, incredibly, FOUR YEARS AGO the "True JACC" civil war occurred.

And yet the fat lady goes to court, and sings one aria after another.

When will it end? Will it EVER end?

Or is it truly the suit that never ends?


Anonymous said...

I know you love that word: BUNGALOW!

Johnny Northside! said...

The anonymous commenter, whose identity is known to me from the comment, is referencing one of the many cartoon characters who live inside of me and come out in zany verbal imitations.

One of them is called Captain Bungalow and, yes, he LOVES bungalows. Driving around our neighborhood in the midst of its revitalization struggle, this character is prone to say things like, "Oh, look, there is a bungalow. Oh, look, there is one TOO."

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Johnny Northside! said...

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