According to the complaint, the actual plaintiffs are:The ethical issues are a Rat's Nest. Who is the client in either case - this initiative or the Grand jury move?
"Legal Ethics" differs from most other standards of professional ethics. And lawyers representing a client have a lot of leeway to present what the client wants said without the falsehoods or partial truths reflecting directly on the lawyer. But those 'protections' vanish when the lawyer acts as the plaintiff.
And that is a separate matter distinct from the near stupidity of the claims. I haven't reviewed either set in detail (if they are different). But from my first reading many months back few of the claims would even meet 'prima facie' standard in a court case. The defendants initial submission could well be "We submit no case to answer**" times whatever number of distinct issues they challenge.
** That's the Aussie version - the US terminology MAY be different - the intent wont be.
Thanks for those US specific details. Essentially the same principles as the AU system I am more familiar with.
Agreed - that is also my interpretation.it's also possible that the plaintiffs know full well that these efforts will fail and are simply undertaking them anyway (for PR or other reasons), in which case AE911Truth and the Lawyer's Committee in particular are both in ethically dubious territory as they both raise money on the premise of the effectiveness of these legal efforts.
You beat me to it. Given who the parties are the conflict of interest issues are blatant.After thinking about this more, I think there is another glaring ethical issue at play here: ......
It's all very shady to me but seems par for the course for how fast and loose these money-making conspiracy theory organizations play with ethical norms.
To me, a non-lawyer, this seems to indicate that compensatio that is not excessive would not be a problem. I'd expect that the other lawyers on the board should be able to judge the amount and validity of legal fees billed, but I'd also expect that there is a process to perform these checks.For example, paying an individual who is in a position of substantial authority excessive compensation serves a private interest.p
The related party transaction issue here is not one of board-approved compensation paid to an executive officer for that executive officer's work for the charity; it is an issue of the use of the charity's funds in a related party transaction that directly benefits a board member of the charity. The latter is problematic, and the arrangement in this case should thus be subject to much more scrutiny, because it is the very board itself that is ultimately tasked under the law with the duty of ensuring the integrity of the charity's activities. If Mr. Harrison were simply being compensated as an executive of the charity, that compensation would need to be disclosed annually to the IRS, along with details of the work he was doing. By compensating him indirectly through the related party transaction, the LC is depriving the IRS and its donors of that information (which is not otherwise affirmatively disclosed elsewhere from what I can see as of the time of this post). In addition, charitable donors should assume executives of charities are reasonably compensated (which compensation could not actually be contingent upon fundraising or other revenue performance metrics), but they should have no reason to suppose the board members of a charity would directly benefit from their donations in this way.To me, a non-lawyer, this seems to indicate that compensatio that is not excessive would not be a problem. I'd expect that the other lawyers on the board should be able to judge the amount and validity of legal fees billed, but I'd also expect that there is a process to perform these checks.
Do you have any evidence that they're handling it the unethical way instead of the ethical way (declaring it as executive compensation)?If Mr. Harrison were simply being compensated as an executive of the charity, that compensation would need to be disclosed annually to the IRS, along with details of the work he was doing. By compensating him indirectly through the related party transaction, the LC is depriving the IRS and its donors of that information...
Yes. As noted in my above post, he signed the latest filing as counsel to the plaintiffs. That means he has been engaged as an attorney by the plaintiffs, which plaintiffs include the charity of which he is a board member.Do you have any evidence that they're handling it the unethical way instead of the ethical way (declaring it as executive compensation)?
It's possible that Harrison gets compensated as board member PLUS gets a fee as counsel - paid twice for the same work.Do you have any evidence that they're handling it the unethical way instead of the ethical way (declaring it as executive compensation)?
It we can believe the numbers on AE's fundraising page, they already have hundreds of donors, averaging $40 or thereabouts. Surely they don't have uniform expectations. I am sure some do believe there will be some sort of win in the end, i.e. a court ruling that affirms their Faith in "Explosive Demolition".I dont think the donors care if they drag out an unwinnable lawsuit. Or pay themselves as lawyers. That's the whole point of donating to this particular 'charitable' organization.
It's possible that Mr. Harrison is not being paid fees for the legal work he does for the LC in his individual capacity; however, I believe that is highly unlikely. If Mr. Harrison is doing any substantial amount of work on the case pro bono, then it is not clear why the complaint in this case would have cost $30,000 (other lawyers working on the case are not allowed to bill except for the work they actually do, and the amount of work they would need to do would be offset by the pro bono work done by others). A bare bones complaint of this type, prepared by lawyers of this caliber, should not cost any more than $30,000 if all work done to prepare it was billable. If Mr. Harrison did not actually do any billable work for the LC and other plaintiffs on the complaint, it is very odd that he would sign the court filing as their counsel. There is also a widely-accepted convention for this sort of legal work that the lawyers will execute a filing in order of their firm's relative involvement in preparing that filing, and so it is somewhat notable (though not dispositive) that Mr. Harrison signed the complaint first. It makes me suspect that Mr. Harrison primarily drafted the complaint and the other law firm was retained primarily so that Mr. Harrison could submit it in a jurisdiction in which he is not admitted to practice. In short, there is a small possibility that there is some mitigating circumstance or arrangement that reduces the ethical issue here, but I think it's much, much more likely that Mr. Harrison is doing billable legal work in his individual capacity for the LC and there is thus a genuine ethical issue that has not been properly mitigated.It's possible that Harrison gets compensated as board member PLUS gets a fee as counsel - paid twice for the same work.
Then again, it's possible that he gets no money in either role (in that case, the other lawyer, and/or other as yet unnamed lawyers, get the $30,000 fees from round 1 of fundraising).
We could try asking them directly.
Agreed. I doubt many of them are aware of how tenuous these legal efforts are or that there is apparently a substantial conflict of interest in how the charity to which they are donating is pursuing them.It we can believe the numbers on AE's fundraising page, they already have hundreds of donors, averaging $40 or thereabouts. Surely they don't have uniform expectations. I am sure some do believe there will be some sort of win in the end, i.e. a court ruling that affirms their Faith in "Explosive Demolition".
I'd love to interview a few of them...
For some years AE911 supporters appeared episodically on several other forums. JREF/ISF, DebatePolitics being two I am aware of. They would engage is active debate for a period of weeks or months then withdraw until the next episode. Usual practice was a "tag team" of Tony Szamboti with Chris Sarns or Gerrycan - those two I remember.I'm confident that individuals affiliated directly with AE911Truth read metabunk from time to time and thus can respond to these issues if they so choose.
Maybe the author was getting harassed because of her name. And she decided reporting the news wasn't worth the grief.I wonder if Courthouse News took it down because of the recent crackdown on fake news and conspiracy theories on social media. Lots of sharing of a conspiracy story might get them flagged somehow. Seems unlikely, but maybe someone was being over-cautious.
Good finds. I searched on guidestar too (as well as directly with the IRS and on a few other search sites) so not sure why I couldn't pull that up, but its good that they at least initially registered at some point. Putting aside whether they are still current in their registration, which isn't clear, there is still an issue for their donors in that the LC's website has their corporate name wrong and so donors may be increasingly the likelihood that they will be audited by using that wrong name on their tax returns.[listed public info found re the LC]
It is odd. I can see them not wanting to be a pawn in the spreading of total bunk ( although lots of court casses involve bunk), but they could have edited out the total hearsay/paraphrasing bits or what ever they felt was hardcore bunk.)AE911Truth are trying to make something of the removal of the article.
Good point.It appears to me this IS the entire content of the Form 990-N!
You know, like organizations with receipts <$50K just don't have to report anything other than that they still only received <$50K
Yes, here is an archive of the original article.Not the original Courthouse News article, that had another author (female, name hidden somewhere above).
Oh i see, thanks. According to wiki (with source links) they renamed "You News Wire" to "News PUnch" (the name in my link).the article you quote has Sean Adl-Tabatabai and YouNewsWire at the bottom (is that called the "byline"?) - known sources of woo
He has the extra paragraph in his version.Sometime on March 28: NewPunch (formerly YourNewsWire) posts a copy of the article, with the missing paragraph, under the byline "Sean Adl-Tabatabai"
That was me and i stuck it in Micks comment, because when i clicked his link the page was gone.March 27th, 22:54:56 UTC: Someone has noticed the article is gone, and captures it from Google Cache, with the deleted paragraph
I did! Strange things are happening!I'll monitor the success of the fundraiser, as I always do