Below is another story from the AF Holdings v. Patel (GAND 12-cv-00262) hearing held on 1/28/2014 in Gainesville, Georgia. Thursday’s post featured transcript-like notes made by Oralia Oglesbee. Today’s story by Kat is a bit more personal and perfectly complements the previous report. I also storified Kat’s tweets related to this event. Enjoy and send big thanks to both ladies.
Nazaire was a surprise to me. The word that came to mind when he started speaking was “cultured”. Which is proof that crazy comes in all forms.
The man wanted names. He initially asked the Judge to order every member of the audience to identify themselves. He did so after looking over to where Graham, Oralia and I were sitting. And when he did, I couldn’t help but smile back at him. He was worried that one of us was a surprise witness. The judge asked Blair if he had any witnesses in the audience and that is when Graham was identified and forced to leave.
At this time John Steele was not in the audience. I think he must have come in while Graham’s back was turned because nobody saw him enter.
Later Nazaire demanded that Blair turn over the names of all donors of the crowd source fund. He wanted to know if any of the lawyers in the other cases had donated. That ain’t happening either. Nazaire made a big deal of how Blair had promised videos and transcripts of Mark Lutz’s deposition to all donors and said that the purpose of the deposition was to serve as evidence for cases outside of Georgia (where discovery had not been granted). The Judge didn’t see a problem with this and pointed out that one of the court reporters had made a small fortune selling copies of a transcript an “expert” witness’s deposition “from here to Hawaii”.
The thrust of Nazaire’s questions, arguments, and discussions with the Judge is that this case should have been over. He asked Patel if he understood what “dismissed with prejudice” meant. He accused Patel (and Blair, by proxy) of “going after” (his words) AF Holdings. This was an accusation that Patel didn’t deny. While the judge was berating Chintella over how he handled discovery, and how long this case has dragged out, Nazaire pointed out he had offered Blair $3,100 to dismiss. The Judge called this inappropriate and chastised Nazaire for interrupting.
During his cross examination of Blair, Nazaire wanted to know how much had been raised. How much had been spent. And what it was spent on. He seemed to be implying that Blair was embezzling funds. He also spent a fair amount of time grilling both Blair and Patel over the logistics and accounting of the money raised, citing various rules and regulations. Gotta hand it to him, the man knows the rule book back and forth.
Mark Lutz stated that he was — to his knowledge — the sole owner of AF Holdings. Nazaire asked if Steele, Hansmeier or Duffy (among others) owned any shares and Lutz answered in the negative. When speaking of AF Holdings, Lutz kept saying “we”. When Blair asked who “we” was, Lutz said that it was just “AF Holdings,” but since Lutz wasn’t entirely consistent with the royal “we”, I’m pretty sure that was a lie.
Lutz claimed that AF Holding consisted of just himself. That he was the sole owner and had no employees. He said that Hansmeier was not paid to represent AF Holdings. He said that AF Holdings had the right to go after pirates because they were stealing. He also claimed that he had not had the opportunity to testify in the past and that he had failed to appear at the deposition because he felt its sole purpose was to humiliate him and that the questions would have no relation to the Patel case.
Lutz stated that this and other lawsuits had forced him to start over. That he is currently rebuilding by starting a new business in a new industry. He implied that he didn’t have a lot of money. He said that being there in court had cost him $500.00.
When Blair cross examined Lutz, Lutz said that he had known John Steele for three years; that they were not living together; but that they may have leased an apartment together.
Lutz said that AF Holdings no longer has any assets. That it had previously owned copyrights to several videos which were worthless because of pirating. He stated that AF Holdings was not distributing the videos commercially because there was no point in doing so while they were being pirated. He also stated that AF Holdings’ intention was to increase the value of the copyrights (presumably by going after the pirates) and then distribute the videos commercially at a later date.
He said that AF Holdings had purchased the copyright to Popular Demand in 2011.
Lutz stated that at one time or another he had worked as a paralegal for Paul Hansmeier, John Steele, and Paul Duffy.
Blair asked if AF Holdings was a client of both employers (Steele|Hansmeier and Prenda Law). Lutz answered “yes”.
The judge asked where Blair was going with all this, and Blair said that he was illustrating how the CEO of AF Holdings was employed by the firms retained to represent his business.
They then moved onto the subject of trusts. And boy does Lutz have Trust Issues.
Oralia already mentioned the inconsistencies with the trust names and the mindboggling explanation for them. But here’s something else: Lutz admitted that the Trust’s sole source of income was Prenda Law. He also stated that he had instructed his attorney to answer the interrogatories. He didn’t seem to be overly familiar with the interrogatory documents.
And that’s when the weather intervened. Dammit.
Minute Sheet for proceedings