Thursday, October 21, 2010
CONNECT THE DOTS… When Squid learned the feds are charging MoneyDots radio host Barbra Alexander with allegedly running a Ponzi scheme that defrauded local investors, Squid couldn’t help being reminded of one of Alexander’s old MoneyDots tips: “Just like the disappearing leftovers that inevitably reappear as science projects and are now too disgusting even to put in the garbage, a legal situation will always raise its ugly head again at the oddest or most inconvenient moments.”
It seems she’s now got enough legal woes to fill a compost bin in the brand-new kitchen she remodeled with money she allegedly stole from investors. In addition to fighting fraud charges in both civil and criminal federal court, Alexander is also involved in two other civil cases: One of her investors is suing her, and in a separate case her company, Gold Coast Financial, is trying to get $30,000-plus out of her former employee, Agnes Flory.
In her column on legal advice, Alexander recommended the book How to Cut Your Legal Bills in Half, by Monterey attorney Hugo Gerstl. Alexander took her own advice, and then some: she hired Gerstl to represent Gold Coast in Monterey County court. But she seemingly went overboard with Gerstl’s message about cutting down legal expenses: She apparently didn’t pay him at all.
Gerstl withdrew from Alexander’s suit against Flory, and Squid suspects Alexander might not have enough “money dots” of her own to hire a new one. In court Oct. 15, Judge Kay Kingsley announced she’d be moving to dismiss the case, since no attorney appeared on Gold Coast’s behalf at a mandatory August court date.
Maybe Alexander should ask Suze Orman for advice?
HIGH FLYING… Monterey Peninsula Airport District counsel David Willoughby nearly walked away with what could be the fattest compensation package awarded to a local public agency’s lawyer: a $20,000 monthly retainer and the option to bill more if he goes to court.
The flap over Willoughby’s contract broke out when airport board candidate Dan Presser says he raised hell over the proposed retainer at a public meeting. Since airport officials proposed the deal with Willoughby without considering other candidates, the board voted 3-2 to squash the contract and directed airport staff to issue a request for qualifications to let other legal talent take a shot.
But airport Director Tom Greer says it’s just election-year politics: “All of the board supported it at one point in time, until it became a political issue.” Hmmm, Squid wonders – did the board OK Willoughby’s windfall in closed session only to suffer buyer’s remorse when it came to light at a public meeting?