Archive for the ‘Coopergate’ Category

2/3/2014 Update is below — Memorandum and Order sanctioning Prenda and Duffy.


U.S. District Judge
John W. Darrah

Today a hearing in Prenda v. the Internets (ILND 13-cv-04341) was held in Chicago. Cook County Record’s reporter Bethany Krajelis was there:

U.S. District Judge John Darrah at a brief status hearing today granted the motion for sanctions that defendants Paul Godfread and Alan Cooper filed this past fall against Prenda and Paul Duffy, who served as the firm’s sole officer before it dissolved and now serves as its attorney in the matter.

Following his verbal ruling on the sanctions motion, Darrah asked the defendants’ attorney, Erin Russell, to submit a list of itemized fees to the court by Feb. 6, presumably to help him come up with a dollar figure to attach to his decision.

We are waiting for the full order, and I will update this post as soon as it is filed. So far the only new document was a “Notification of docket Entry”:

 

Note that the judge also denied yesterday’s eleventh hour motion to leave to file surreply. The proposed surreply was weak even by Duffy’s standards, and the explanation of the last minute submission is mind-boggling:

Plaintiff has this week realized that that [sic], while it filed a motion to file a Surreply in opposition to Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions (filed on or about October 7, 2013 (ECF #52.)), he did not notice the motion for a hearing. This was simply the result of an oversight on the part of Plaintiff. Plaintiff now re-submits the proposed Surreply and respectfully requests that the Court grant it leave to file it.

As Raul nicely put it,

 

Indeed.

Update

2/3/2014

We have been waiting for more than a week, and finally Memorandum Opinion and Order has been issued by Judge Darrah. To say it is harsh on Prenda and Paul Duffy is an understatement. Enjoy the sweetness of justice:

Based on the conduct of Prenda and its counsel, it is clear that sanctions are warranted.

Duffy had the opportunity to address this lie in his response to the Motion for Sanctions and did not. To fabricate what a federal judge said in a ruling before another court falls well outside the bounds of proper advocacy and demonstrates a serious disregard for the judicial process.

Prenda and Duffy’s arguments against the Motion for Sanctions are unpersuasive at best. In a final act of audacity, Prenda, in response to Defendants’ Motion for Sanctions, contends that the “Court should award Prenda the fees it incurred in defending against Defendants’ patently frivolous motion.”

Media coverage
A lot of events are still going on the Prenda front. I almost stopped covering Prenda stories, firstly, because I think that Prenda is mostly done since this spring, and I should refocus my efforts on other trolls; second, because many other people now dig for the information, discuss and cover new events. I’m happy about it. If you want to stay informed, it is better to subscribe to Popeheat’s Prenda stories’ discussion threads: the latest story usually has the most active discussion. And don’t forget to contribute to the Prenda Recap fund (PayPal simality@gmail.com) run by Kat (she checks for new documents twice a day and recaps if there are any). I hope that the TrollWiki project (currently Prenda-only) run by Andrew Norton will mature and become a useful reference resource.

I’ll continue covering the most significant and/or interesting Prenda-related events when I have time.

Motion for sanctions

On 09/09/2013 Cooper’s and Godfread’s counsel Jason Sweet and Erin Russel filed a powerful motion for sanctions in the Prenda v. the Internets (ILND 13-cv-01569). Don’t forget to browse the recapped exhibits. Exhibits A and B are hearing transcripts: I’m sure you’ll find a striking difference (in ethics and professionalism) between Duffy’s and Russel’s dialogues with the judge. Other exhibits are interesting too.

In every conceivable way, Prenda and Duffy have crafted their own doom. Lying to courtofficials, presenting false documents, making material misrepresentations on the record in this Court, filing documents in this Court with full knowledge that they lacked legal merit, pursuinglegal arguments that lack merit, all while under siege by state and federal courts issuing crushing sanctions orders, and at all times following a course of action from which any reasonably prudent attorney would run. […]

 

First amended counterclaims

On 9/18/2013 an equally powerful amended set of counterclaims has been filed. There are two major parts in this document.

The story

The first part of the document is a new short and concise iteration of the previously told story of Prenda’s theft of Alan Cooper’s identity (and of the subsequent retaliatory lawsuits).

The vermin have built rather a non-linear system of stinky burrows, and this document describes only one cross-section (Cooper- and Godfread-related), purposely leaving out the side stories (even the story related to the very same case — the one that triggered the EFF involvement). I already wrote a plethora of compliments to Jason Sweet, like

[…]as usually, a memo accompanying this motion is an excellent, refined iteration of a guide to Prenda’s shameful history of deception and abuse.

I cannot help repeating myself this time, yet this variant of Prenda’s story is told in a way worthy of mass media attention, beyond tech blogs.

The counterclaims

There are five counts:

  1. Declaratory judgment pursuant to Minnesota Anti-SLAPP immunity;
  2. Invasion of privacy — appropriation;
  3. Civil conspiracy;
  4. Defamation;
  5. Abuse of process.

 

Yes! The brand new counterclaim has been added: defamation. The bizarre nature of this Prenda’s lawsuit has been clear to any honest person: it is Prenda who defamed and harmed Alan Cooper and hundreds and hundreds of other people, damaging their careers, ruining families and relations with neighbors. Not the other way around. It is obvious to anyone that Prenda deliberately entered the libel-proof territory long time ago: you cannot defame a proven crook.

 

Daniel Ruggiero, Prenda’s local in the Eastern states, filed dozens of cases on behalf of Prenda’s fake plaintiffs. Today he submitted a curious motion to withdraw (without substitution) as Plaintiff’s counsel in AF Holdings, LLC v. Chowdhury (MAD 12-cv-12105), one of the two cases Prenda couldn’t easily dismiss because the counterclaims are pending (hat tip to Booth Sweet). In this motion Ruggiero plays a gullible attorney, who did not know that “Prenda” is a synonym of “Fraud” and suddenly wakes up:

The undersigned had absolutely no prior knowledge of any of the findings of Judge Wright and the additional findings of Judge Chen.

Once I became aware of the “on goings” of AF Holdings and the others mentioned in his decision, I reached out to speak with someone about it. I received a phone call from someone who claimed to be Mark Lutz. It is my understanding that Mr. Lutz is the owner of Plaintiff, but to be honest, I have no idea what to believe.

While I share Daniel Ruggiero’s sentiments regarding Mark Lutz, I don’t believe in Daniel’s sincerity: either he is a cynical hypocrite or he has an IQ of… to not figure out Prenda’s “on goings” much earlier. Well, neither conclusion is flattering.

 

There are rumors that Ruggiero has 99 problems with Massachusetts’ Bar, and Prenda ain’t one. Thus, I wouldn’t worry too much: justice will be served one way or another. In addition, by throwing his former bosses under the bus, Ruggiero has finally done something useful that will heal one or two bruises on his abused Karma.

In other news

Prenda’s/Anti Piracy Law Group‘s site wefightpiracy.com / wefightpiracy.org now redirects to Google. Good riddance. Fightcopyrighttrolls.com and dietrolldie.com are alive and well.

Update

8/21/2013
Judge Joseph L. Tauro Endorsed ORDER entered — Allowed 22 Motion to Withdraw as Attorney. Attorney Daniel G. Ruggiero terminated. 

Ruggiero has dodged the bullet.

By Mysterious Anonymous

Since I made it to the Spring Street Courthouse again to see Friday’s performance, SJD asked me to write up my impressions as a community representative. I had a super-busy weekend so I didn’t think there would be anything left to say by the time I found time, but I came up with an editorial angle that might be more entertaining to people who have come to read this site not because they have read about John Steele on Techdirt and Ars Technica, but because they were actually threatened by Steele | Hansmeier, Prenda or one of their other guises.

I had seen John Steele previously at the April 2 hearing where he plead the 5th, but I had never actually seen him perform, and the take-home lesson from last Friday’s hearing is…

John Steele is an idiot.

I had assumed Wright was simply calling Steele’s bluff by scheduling a hearing on Steele’s motion for reconsideration. Surely, given Steele’s history of trying to avoid Wright’s courtroom, Steele was bound to no-show even with his own motion scheduled for a hearing, giving Wright justification to deny the motion by default. But Wright’s plan was far more devious than that. After briefly chewing Steele out for filing documents that have nothing to do with anything, Wright had Steele staring at his own request to substitute counsel (or in Steele’s case go pro se) that had an incorrect mailing address… When Steele was there to complain about not being served by mail…

Unhappy troll

Things went all downhill. Steele basically couldn’t put a sentence or an argument together. As covered in detail elsewhere, Wright had gone over Steele’s filings in meticulous detail, found the inconsistencies, and grilled Steele with pointed and specific questions. Steele was desperate, pathetic, grasping for straws. He could barely answer any of Wright’s questions and never had a straight, specific answer, it was always an appeal to emotion, or his rights, or a wild conspiracy to deny Steele said rights. Wright repeatedly asked him to make an argument, explain a problem, and/or state some facts to back up anything he was saying, and Steele just couldn’t do it. He did manage to keep talking, we all know Steele can’t keep his mouth shut, and that is true no matter how deep of a hole he digs himself. Steele’s mouth kept running but the garbage coming out became less and less intelligible. It sounded like “blah blah blah MY RIGHTS blahbaddy blah 5TH AMENDMENT blah blah blah PATTERN OF FRAUD blah.”

The incoherence, paranoia, ego. Unbelievable. John Steele is so full of shit that I won’t even try to describe how full of shit he is. If you had tried to explain to me that a person could be that full of shit before I saw John Steele performing in Los Angeles, I would not have believed it was possible.

For those who have been intimidated and scared by Steele in the past: There is no evil genius here. There is no master plan, no craft, no clever, no intelligence. Just a bully who got lucky a few times bluffing laypeople with no understanding of the law. Now that he must practice his profession against real opponents he is a complete and utter failure. Such a failure that Wright joked about the Ninth Circuit having a reserved parking space for him. Such a failure that many attendees were wearing government ID badges. Investigators from the DOJ and IRS? Maybe. We can hope. But they looked a bit young to be seasoned investigators, so I think it is likely that John Steele has become a celebrity in the courthouse, and anyone who could slip away from work was there to watch him make a fool of himself.

John Steele has become the Court Jester of the Central District of California.

He brings shame to the University of Minnesota for having such low standards it awarded him a JD.

He brings shame to the state bar exam preparers of Illinois that created an exam so weak that John Steele could pass it.

He brings shame to every lawyer in every state where Prenda has filed cases, for having such collectively low standards and ethics that they call this scum their peer.

I would like everyone who has been threatened by Steele, intimidated by Steele, harassed by Steele, who has lost sleep because of Steele to know that John Steele was very, very unhappy on Friday. John Steele was mad. John Steele was worried. John Steele wore a deeply concerned and unhappy face that I wish all of you could have seen (I had to work to suppress the urge to break courtroom protocol and try to sneak a picture of Unhappy John Steele; it would have made great memes). I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time, and like many other attendees could not keep from chortling and snorting with derision, glee and surprise at the contemptible foolishness of John Steele.

John Steele is struggling to deal with all the trouble John Steele has made for himself and behaved like he’s coming apart at the seams. His final words in the courtroom, a bellowed “It’s called cutting and pasting!” are a suitably pathetic example of how ridiculous this sad excuse for a man has become.

Everyone who has worked with or for Prenda should read this, and read everything else about Friday and their current state of affairs, and be scared. Very, very scared. Because their mastermind is a clueless buffoon of little ability who went all in with an empty hand and had his bluff called.

Update

SJD, 7/16/2013

On 7/9/2013 John Steele filed an apoplectic reply to Ranallo/Pietz/Heller response. The caveat is that, as a manual filing, it was stamped only on Friday (right before the hearing), and appeared on Pacer only today.

You’ve read the story above, now read Steele’s BS through the glasses of Friday’s event: it is entertaining.

 

Another [fantastic] update

SJD, 7/18/2013
Judge Wright issued an order on Steele’s motion for reconsideration, denying it and referring a purported attorney John Steele to Pro Se Clinic! This is probably the second-best (after the “Star Trek order”) by Wright in this case:

Based on these findings, the Court finds Steele’s Motion meritless and frivolous. Therefore, it is appropriate to consider whether sanctions should be awarded to Pietz and Ranallo for the expense of defending this Motion, one where Steele sought sanctions against them for their failure to serve.

Pietz and Ranallo are hereby directed to file a regularly noticed motion for Rule 11 sanctions against Steele in connection with his filing of this Motion. A hearing should be noticed for the motion no later than August 26, 2013. The Court hereby reminds Steele that failure to timely oppose the motion may result in the automatic imposition of the requested sanctions. L.R. 7-12.

Steele’s Motion for Reconsideration is hereby DENIED. Steele is advised that the Federal Pro Se Clinic is located in the United States Courthouse at 312 N. Spring Street, Room G-19, Main Street Floor, Los Angeles, California 90012. The clinic is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between the hours of 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Federal Pro Se Clinic offers free, on-site information and guidance to individuals who are representing themselves in federal civil actions. Steele is encouraged to visit the clinic for advice concerning his case.

 

As you know from the previous posts here and a never-ending Popehat thread, after four clowns (Steele, Paul and Peter Hansmeiers, Mark Lutz) unwisely submitted frivolous motions claiming that they were not properly served by the opposition in the “Star Trek” case (and demanding sanctions against Pietz and Ranallo), Judge Wright set a hearing on these motions to this Friday, July 12. In the meantime, Pietz and Ranallo have lawyered up and delivered a sledgehammer response.

It was not unexpected that Steele would ask the Court to appear telephonically, and he did ask to appear by phone without specifying the phone (no email was provided either — only a Regus virtual office address):

 

Equally not unexpectedly, this motion was denied almost immediately:

 

Note that according to the order, the clerk did not advise Steele to file this motion while he claimed just the opposite.


If I close my eyes, there will be
no Wright, no Pietz, no Ranallo…

Now, we are all used to Steele’s lies, nothing is surprising anymore, except maybe the fact that John chose the most self-destructing path to go. Maybe he still thinks it’s a poker game and there is a room for bluff? But is he the only one who doesn’t see that mirrors are everywhere, and everyone knows that his cards are crap?

Claiming that he was not aware of the hearing prior to Monday? Bullshit: I know, John, you check our blogs and Twitter a couple of times a day and learn the news in real time. Who will believe you? This is the most important case in your life: many things, including your freedom, are at stake. While I called you derogatory names, I always thought that your IQ is above average, but seeing your latest actions, I have started to doubt it.

Now, a poll:

 

Media coverage
  • ArsTechnica: Prenda’s motion to reduce $238,000 appeal bond falls flat by Joe Mullin. I liked one reader comment in particular. AaronLeeR wrote:

    “[S]everal of the pro se persons in this matter are of limited income and cannot afford the extreme financial hardship associated with missing work and flying across the country on 3 days notice.”

    Financial hardships didn’t seem to be a concern when they were extorting people for cash. What goes around….

  • Yesterday I mentioned four motions from the Prenda gang claiming that Steele/Hansmeiers/Lutz were not served by Pietz/Ranallo with the copies of the documents from “The Star Trek” case. The most serious is John Steele’s motion — as it exhibits Pietz’s email purportedly admitting the wrongdoing¹. Today, obviously heeding the legal wisdom that “an attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client,” Morgan Pietz replied via newly hired law firm Heller and Edwards.

    One might imagine that after being severely sanctioned by this court for what amounts to no less than a criminal enterprise which exploited an unknowing court system in order to extort an innocent citizenry, John Steele and his cohorts would think twice before tiling frivolous and procedurally defective motions. One might imagine […]

    The main points of the reply are:

    • The motion is improper because it is a “motion for reconsideration,” and any reconsideration request must be based on new evidence. No new evidence was presented, according to Pietz/Heller.
    • It is no one’s fault but Steele’s that he has not been receiving document copies: John failed to maintain updated contact information with the court, a strict duty.
    • Steele’s exhibit (Morgan’s email to the Prenda parties, johnlsteele@gmail.com in particular) is forged. Pietz does not deny sending this email. But… it bounced. I tested it and Google said that no such user exists. At the same time, on the page 5 of his motion Steele claims under penalty of perjury that it is “a true and correct copy of an email I received from Morgan E. Pietz.” Heller concludes that the exhibit is doctored (that Steele obtained a copy from one of the CC recipients and “fixed” it to look like he himself received it). If so, I praise a great idea to present a forged document to Judge Wright. Smart!
    • Steele actively participated in the discussion (with Prenda’s attorney Philip Vineyard) about the recent case developments. So, despite not being served with copies by Pietz, John was perfectly aware about the case progress (it would be insane not to follow the most important lawsuit of his life):

      In view of all this evidence, it seems that Steele was just about as “shocked” about the bond issue before this Court as Captain Renault was to find that gambling was going on at Rick’s Café Americain. (See Cap’t. Renault, Casablanca, Warner Bros. (1942)).

    Expectedly, the movants request sanctions:

    Although already sanctioned by this court, it is clear that neither Steele nor his contingent have learned their lesson. As frivolous as Steele’s motion is, Pietz and Ranallo were compelled to retain outside counsel to defend it. Pietz and Ranallo should be compensated for having to respond to this baseless motion through the court’s issuance, on its own initiative, of an OSC re: Sanctions or, alternatively, through the court’s setting of a hearing date for Pietz and Ranallo to have their Rule 11 sanctions motion heard.

    It must be said: finally, enough is enough!

     

     

    Spoliation of evidence?

    Was Steele’s exhibit “A” doctored or not can be debated (and I’m skeptical that it was forgery: fraud/deception — yes, forgery/doctoring — not likely), but there is an elephant in the room that was initially unnoticed: the very fact that Steele has deleted his email account. A comment by Mysterious Anonymous explains it better than I would:

    John Steele deleted his Gmail account?

    One that has been used extensively in the course of his litigation activities at Steele | Hansmeier and Prenda Law, Inc., in perhaps hundreds of cases in dozens of federal district courts across the USA?

    One that was used to register domain names for Prenda and their supposed clients?

    One that was associated with the Alan Cooper ID theft?

    After he was referred to the USAO and IRS-CI for criminal investigation?

    After he was referred to state Bar associations for investigation?

    Holy shit! Can you say

    SPOLIATION

    OF

    EVIDENCE

    ???

    Wow.

    Wow. Wow. Wow.

    What was in there that Steele is suddenly so desperate to hide?

    I’m surprised Heller didn’t raise the issue, seems like a huge oversight. Even though it may not be strictly relevant to the 08333 case and their response, it is surely useful as another demonstration of Prenda’s bad faith and lack of ethics. Surely attorneys operate under record retention requirements that do not include “I can delete all my f%^&king email whenever I want because I am in a panic trying to avoid service and destroy evidence!”

    All the histrionics about the guy with CCleaner installed and Steele wipes his f%^&king email account?

    This isn’t going to end well. If Nick and Morgan don’t take him to task for it, every other defendant with a counterclaim will have a field day, as will the guys driving the party vans.

    Media coverage

     


    ¹ I think (and I wonder if anyone disagrees) that Pietz’s email is nothing but an example of the professional courtesy.

    The post below is a follow-up to the recent two articles:

     

    This post is yet another community contribution, which makes me happy: this blog was never about me or my ego, and I’m always glad when more writers are involved.

    Before I pass the pen to JoseDoe, I want to note that the missing exhibits to the bizarre troll Goodhue’s pleading (which is in the center of the ongoing discussion) have been finally filed today (see the docket, entry 59). The most interesting piece is John Steele’s sworn affidavit. In my opinion, John waived his 5th amendment rights by filing it. Someone has immediately noted that the notarized date is 5/28/2013, while Goodhue’s response to OSC was filed on 5/25/2013. Moreover, some quotes purportedly from this affidavit in the motion itself can’t be found in the affidavit (e.g., “cut down significant acreage of wood and unlawfully removed it from Steele’s property”). Indeed, it is hard to quote a document that does not exist yet.

     

     

    By JoseDoe

    I received a report from Aitken County on the land parcel that contains the former vacation home of John Steele, at 21251 220th St, Mc Grath, MN 56350 (Lat: 46.3329, Long: -93.2880). The parcel number is 25-0-008600, and the file is dated 12/12/2012, before the final sale of the property in February of 2013. The size of the parcel is 44.5 acres, according to Aitken County.

    Who owned the land?

    The first thing to note is that John Steele did not own this land. An entity called, variously SRR Properties LLC or Snake River Ranch, LLC owns it. I do not believe that it is the more famous Snake River Ranch in Wyoming that is buying property in Minnesota, either.

    A check of the Minnesota Secretary of State shows that Snake River Ranch, LLC is a Limited Liability Corporation owned by… John Steele, with a mailing address to his next door neighbor. Just like Saltmarsh, Mooney, and Cooper, Steele appears to have named one of his shell companies after something else more famous. The LLC was founded two months before the deeding of the property over to it.

    But it does get better. See Property Sale below.

     

    How big is the property?

    The property was conveyed to SRR in June of 2004, from the Estate of John Steele Sr., our troll’s father, who passed away in July 2003. The property was conveyed to SRR as a “Trade, Gift, or Estate” for $151,827.00. The Aitkin County Detailed Parcel Report (embedded above) states the parcel size at 44.50 acres. I searched various real estate websites, such as Zillow and Trulia. The size given for the property on Zillow is 125 acres. Here is a map of the parcel on Trulia:

     

    The logical question is: who is right? The mix-up can be explained by the fact that the original estate was broken into three parcels (25-0-008600, 25-0-008800 and 25-0-008700): presumably one for each sibling. John got the cabins, Jayme and Elizabeth — only land.

    How Clear the Cutting?

    One of the more scurrilous allegation is contained on page 8, lines 19-20:

    In September 2012 […] [Alan Cooper] cut down significant acreage of wood and unlawfully removed it from Steele’s property…

    There are two ways to refute this allegation: one is to compare before and after pictures, the second is to consider how something like that would be done.

    Compare the ait-17-016 shot in 1998 with Google maps. I cannot guarantee that the satellite imagery is after February 2013, but the imagery is “copyright 2013.” Bing Maps shows similar imagery. In each case, there is no readily identifiable deforestation as alleged. The small trail that runs south to the river ford actually runs off the property lines in both the Trulia image as well as those general property lines formed by the tree lines. When John Steele allegedly went four-wheeling with Alan Cooper, he trespassed on his neighbor’s property.

    Let us consider from where all these trees would have been cut. The ones lining 220th Street appear to be intact, as well as any other trees north of the river. This leaves south of the river. The trees there appear to be too small to harvest, especially when you look at photos 8 and 9 of the Trulia listing. But, for the sake of argument, let us say they were cut down. How were they removed? The only possible way is via the trail across the river ford. Certainly, dragging “significant acreage of wood” across the ford would have wreaked major destruction with the soft soil around the ford. None of this is evident in the aerial imagery.

    I have not inquired as to where the trees would have gone, although if I were so moved, I would call a few of the licensed firewood vendors in the McGrath area and ask them if an Alan Cooper sold them live timber in September of last year.

    Property Sale

    According to Goodhue (Page 7, line 21), “In mid-2012, Steele listed his vacation property for sale by auction.” Well, this is curious. Because, Steele didn’t own the property, SRR did. But wait. According to the MN Secretary of State, Snake River Ranch, LLC was “Administratively Terminated” on 01/07/2008. It didn’t exist. It couldn’t sell anything. How can a terminated LLC convey good title to a plot of land?

    But let’s examine the sale. On 8/19/2012, the property was first offered for sale for one dollar. It was listed under MLS# 4183515. On 10/02/2012, the price was pushed upward to $465,000. The property was sold on 2/28/2013 for $417,000.00. The listing was removed on 3/09/2013 at that same price. (all data from ReMAX Results) The agent appears to be Brent Berry. According to Realtor.com, both the buyer and seller used ReMAX Results as the property brokers. The current Zillow.com estimated price is just under $322,000 — the new owners are already $95,000 underwater, a loss of almost 23% in three months. The seller made out well. $417,000 – 6% realtor commission = 391,980 – 151,827 = $240,153 profit.

     

    Taxes

    Here’s where it gets interesting. If the LLC was administratively terminated, could it convey good title? What is the statute of limitations? What if John Steele signed as one of the officers of a defunct LLC, deeded the property over to the new owners, and just pocketed the check? He didn’t sell the property, the LLC did. But the LLC died five years previously. There’s also the wrinkle that this is a vacation home. I’ll have to research this some more, but it is possible that capital gains taxes may be due this year on the $240K profit Steele made on the sale of the property.

    What does it all mean? It’s another typical Steele operation. The receipt, ownership, and sale of the property are cloaked in ambiguity. Did Steele own it or not? Who pays taxes on the gain? The Goodhue story of the widespread tree cutting cannot be countenanced, for the trees are too small to be commercially salable and their supposed removal left no traces on the landscape, as seen in images from 1998 and 2013.

    But it’s a fair bet their neighbors can’t pick up their WiFi signal.

    Another reader, who wished to remain anonymous, made a couple of notes independently. Here are the points that have not been addressed above:

    • I noticed that the property was sold in February, 2013 for full value. If the property was indeed damaged by a chainsaw there should have been a reduction in price or there would have been repair work done on the property. Another local realtor would know if the property was damaged or the price was reduced.
    • I would LOVE to know who the buyer was – and if they were told anything about cut timber or chainsaw damage. It’s a log cabin, after all. It would be pretty obvious if a repair had to be done. it’s not as simple as replacing some sheet rock.
    Update

    5/29/2013

    The latest tax documents on the three parcels that were sold in February: all three now have the same owner:

    5/30/2013

    A Techdirt post explores yet another blooper in Steele’s declaration: John Steele’s Claims About Alan Cooper Contradicted By History by Mike Masnick.

    By Dragon

    Yesterday we took a look at the newest filing from AF Holding’s v David Harris (AZD 2:12-cv-02144) where Prenda’s lackey Steven Goodhue attempts to dismiss the fact that Cooper’s identity was stolen and downplay the events in Honorable Judge Wright’s courtroom. Hopefully, I was not alone in immediately identifying several “holes” in the story he presented related to Cooper’s now alleged involvement at the outset of this debacle. Here’s a more in depth look at the Response as well as the inconsistencies presented.

    Goodhue starts with the same song and dance that we have seen since the start of Coopergate, namely it doesn’t matter who signed the assignment, AF Holdings still has standing to file suit against infringers. This argument didn’t work before, however I’m not surprised that it is still an integral part of their defensive strategy. It will be interesting to see how the Honorable Judge responds to this…

    Next, Goodhue embarks on an extensive explanation into Cooper’s involvement in the copyright scheme. He leads through a heartwarming tale of Cooper and Steele being best of friends after they entered into their arrangement with Cooper as live-in caretaker of Steel’s property:

    Steele visited his vacation property regularly between 2005 and mid-2011 and became close friends with Cooper. Steele and Cooper spent substantial time together, including, for example, boating on Lake Mille Lacs, riding all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiling, and attending estate auctions. Steele and Cooper would regularly collaborate on various handyman projects, including building a porch addition to and reroofing the guest cabin. Cooper and Steele regularly attended county fairs and other Northern Minnesota social events together, including the White Pine Logging and Thrashing show, Howie’s Mud Bog, the Aitkin County July 4th fair, and the Kanabec County fair. Cooper’s relationship extended to Steele’s family. Conservatively speaking, Cooper joined Steele’s family for dinner over 100 times. On several occasions he babysat Steele’s daughter. The two were such good friends that Cooper remarked on several occasions that Steele was the brother he never had.

    But Cooper had a small problem, he was broke. So Mr. Steele, being the charitable man he is, introduced Cooper to Mark Lutz (CEO for AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13) as the answer to his financial woes. Cooper was involved in two copyright assignments as a “corporate representative”, even though he knew nothing about the adult industry, but soon this created too many issues with his second wife, so he soon withdrew from this status. Finally, Goodhue ends this saga with Cooper’s downhill slide, that started with his divorce coupled with Steele putting his property up for sale (which would end Cooper’s “free” residence) and ultimately drove him to a mental state where he was attacking guests, vandalizing Steels property and pilfering everything that wasn’t nailed down:

    […]Cooper used a chainsaw to remove large portions of load-bearing walls in Steele’s guest cabin, tore down nearly every interior wall in the guest cabin, stole 4 rifles, 1 shotgun and 5 pistols Steele stored on his property, threatened prospective buyers of Steele’s property, cut down significant acreage of wood and unlawfully removed it from Steele’s property, and stole hundreds of items, including tools, equipment, lumber, and virtually every item that was not bolted down in Steele’s kitchen. Cooper even stole a large trailer of Steele’s that Cooper used to haul away entire rooms of furniture from Steele’s cabin.

    Hungry for revenge, Cooper was conveniently “recruited” through text by Godfread to file a lawsuit against Steele. Of course the EFF was involved, essentially asserting that they along with Cooper and Godfread collaborated together to “launch collateral attacks on Plantiff’s copyright infringements lawsuits.”


    “Cooper used a chainsaw to remove large portions of load-bearing walls in Steele’s guest cabin.”

     

    I can’t help but think of one of my favorite lines from Ace Ventura, “well fiction IS fun, but I prefer the story where”… Goodhue must have selective memory. Let’s go back to the very beginning of Coopergate and follow the events leading up to the pivotal ruling in the CACD and the recent Goodhue Response. Way back in November, when Cooper initially retained Godfread, his goal was clearly stated, “My client would like certainty that his identity is not being used without his knowledge and against his will as the would be CEO of AF Holdings, LLC or as a manager of Ingenuity 13, LLC.” It wasn’t until several months later, after Prenda and Duffy dodged their question, including flat out stating that they refused to answer, that Cooper was forced to file suit (January 22nd to be precise).

    During this same time, Attorney Morgan Pietz, defending Does in California, engaged in several emails requesting that Prenda’s Brett Gibbs answer two simple questions. First, identify if there was another Alan Cooper that was being held out as the Principal of AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13. There was a mess of childish behavior including the now famous line, “I’m sure there are hundreds of other Alan Coopers in this world”. Secondly, when Gibbs purportedly had to ask his client for the original assignment, Pietz requested to know who “the client” was. As events unfolded, Gibbs threw “tantrum” after “tantrum” to avoid answering these two simple questions. Shortly thereafter, Nick Ranallo and Morgan Pietz asked Judge Wright to allow discovery on these two issues and a few more pointed questions to get to the heart of the Alan Cooper issue. And they got it. Gibbs response? “I think I’ll try to disqualify the Honorable Judge Wright for abhoring Plantiffs who try to protect their pornography copyrights.” When that didn’t work, Gibbs tried the cut and run, dismissing the case. Duffy substituted in for all the Gibbs cases and then stated dismissing them one by one.

     

    All of this history begs the answer to a couple of questions relating back to Goodhue’s response. If Alan Cooper was truly involved in from the beginning as “a Corporate Representative” for AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 and signed the original copyright assignment, why would Gibbs et al go through such great lengths to avoid answering that Alan Cooper from Minnesota signed it? When asked to provide the identity of his “client”, why would he not simply identify Mark Lutz as the client? Mr. Goodhue, the facts clearly show that Cooper’s intent was not to file suit as was stated, but to clear his name. When this failed, he had no option but to file a lawsuit. Further, Mark Lutz was not identified as the CEO of the off-shore companies until the February Deposition of Paul Hansmeier, which is why Gibbs was unable to identify him before that date. But Goodhue doesn’t bother to mention any of these discrepancies.

    Goodhue also attempts to incorrectly reference the transcript of the March 11th hearing to prove that Godfread sent a text message to Cooper to recruit him to his cause. However, Cooper never stated under oath that it was Godfread that sent him the text, simply that someone alerted him to the situation and told him to contact Godfread. He also conveniently skips the part where Cooper, still under oath, states that it was not his signature on the documents in question, that he uses a middle initial in his signature. And let’s not forget that the fairy tale woven by Goodhue comes from the Affidavit of John Steele, who was not under oath. Should we trust the words of a man who “suffers from a form of moral turpitude unbecoming of an officer of the court?” Let’s hope that the Honorable Judge does his research and is able to quickly dismiss Goodhue’s Fable.

    (The illustration above does not show the actual John Steele cabin.)
    Followup
    Update

    5/28/2013
    Yesterday, 5/27/2013, defendant David Harris filed his response.

    Background (which is not really relevant): DieTrollDie wrote in a recent post that on 5/17/2013 Judge Murray Snow stayed AF Holdings LLC v. Harris (AZD 2:12-cv-02144) due to concerns based on the sanctions laid down in Judge Otis Wright’s order:

    IT IS ORDERED that Plaintiff show cause within seven (7) days of the date of this Order why this Court should not dismiss this case. To the extent that Plaintiff asserts a right in the continuation of this case, Plaintiff is ordered to identify: (1) the persons who signed Exhibit B in the names of Raymond Rogers and Alan Cooper; (2) all persons who hold any interest in Plaintiff; and (3) if Exhibit B to the Complaint is in fact not signed by Alan Cooper and/or Raymond Rogers why Plaintiff and/or counsel should not be sanctioned pursuant to the Court’s inherent power and Fed. R. Civ. P. 11 for filing a fraudulent document with this Court. In the interim, this action is stayed until further Order of this Court.

    Why did I say that the background is not really relevant? Well, the following story could be injected by Prenda into any lawsuit where a judge questioned Alan Cooper’s signature. When after 6 months of struggling with writer’s block, Steele and Hansmeier came up with a story that “plausibly” connects the dots in what we call Coopergate, the judge’s order directing troll Steven Goodhue to confirm the validity of the copyright assignment signatures was a convenient moment. Emboldened by recent relative victories, the gang is gambling on judge’s gullibility, yet with Aaron Kelly’s firm involvement in this case, I wouldn’t bet a single penny on Prenda’s “red” (herring).

    Yes, it took six months of inventive evasion, attempts to remove a judge from a case, lies, invoking the Fifth Amendment to finally come up with a crafty plot that for the first time explicitly accuses Steele’s caretaker Alan Cooper of willfully participating in Prenda’s “business.” Furthermore, the trolls accused Cooper of changing his story with a goal of extorting Steele & Co.!

    While this is no more than one in a series of delaying tactics, it is really sad that the crooks continue bringing hell to a simple man’s life. Sad, but inevitable: you cannot expect anything but a blank stare from these heartless creatures when they witness suffering.

    (Note than none of the supporting documents referred in the Goodhue’s reply was filed. Update: all the exhibits were finally filed on 5/29/2013.)

    Followups
    Update

    5/28/2013
    Yesterday, 5/27/2013, defendant David Harris filed his response to the fable:

    Media coverage

    There has been a hearing today in a precedent-setting copyright trolling lawsuit where motion to post an undertaking was granted (AF Holdings, LLC v. Trinh, 12-cv-02393). After Prenda unsuccessfully tried to reverse judge’s decision, on 3/8/2012 Judge Breyer issued a judgement with prejudice against the Plaintiff. The concern of today’s hearing was the motion for attorney fees. Paul Duffy appeared by phone. EFF’s Kurt Opsahl was at the hearing, and minutes ago he tweeted:

     

    Minor congratulations to Nick Ranallo! (I’ll extend my major one when he is able to collect.)

    ArsTechnica’s coverage (link below) contains a brief interview with Kurt:

    In a brief interview, Opsahl told Ars the judge was “businesslike” during the short hearing, only asking whether the Wright sanctions order had been appealed (it has). Duffy then spent some time arguing the amount of sanctions was too high, as Ranallo could use similar arguments in his other cases.

    “For what its worth, $9,400 for the amount of work Ranallo put in was a bargain,” opined Opsahl. “Any major law firm would have charged three or four times that amount, and the court probably wouldn’t have batted an eye.”

    Media Coverage