Jun
24

Feng shui for the Titanic, earthquake almost ruins curling match, and Mike Stefani pays a fine

By

Things that won’t make a lick of difference
A secret group is secretly asking voters to let the mayor run DPS. Considering the school board includes a Team Kilpatrick kleptocrat, a duly adjudicated child abuser, and idiots who elected a barely literate perv as board president, maybe this isn’t a terrible idea. Until you think about how well mayoral control worked for Ella Bully Cummings’ DPD or the Lighting Department. Or that Mayor Bing, elected on promises of fiscal responsibility, delivered a budget so irresponsible that City Council tore it up and started over. Mayoral control kinda sounds like fundamental change, so close enough! It’s like Mencken said: For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong. (Crains, Freep)

Foreign policy to be Governor Bernero’s top priority
It’s always comical when some nut runs for local office complaining about some issue completely irrelevant to the office he/she seeks. Township Clerk candidates ready to take on the abortion question. Register of Deeds candidates concerned about gun control. Or gubernatorial candidates seeking to re-write international trade policies from Lansing. Oh wait, that last one isn’t some local nut. That’s Lansing Mayor and mainstream candidate Virg Bernero. Can’t wait for Tom George’s plan to win the war in Afghanistan. (DetNews)

Biggest Canadian story in 20 years
Back in 1992, a nation held its breath as Catlin Ryan accused Joey Jeremiah of “fucking Tessa Campanili” on CBC’s made-for-tv-movie Degrassi: School’s Out. That might not sound like big deal to world-weary Yanks from the States, but for Canada, it was a transcendent moment. Not only is Degrassi Canada’s most precious cultural jewel, but it’s also the third largest sector of their economy. Behind hockey and clubbing baby seals. Not since Catlin’s historic f-bomb has Canada seen anything as big as the 5.5 Richter Scale earthquake that gently jostled Ontario and Quebec yesterday afternoon. (Windsor Star)

Deh tuk r weddin’
Illegal immigrants are exactly like the gays, trying to destroy the sanctity of marriage. We’ll spare you the obvious talking point about Rush Limbaugh’s four marriages being less special if every Juan and Maria (or Juan and Jose!) can tie the knot in the USA, but we still don’t get the immigration paranoia. Oh right, dehtukrjibs! Here’s a solution. Make the unemployed file in person. At 5:00 AM. In Home Depot parking lots. That way they’ll get those jobs the Mexicans are always stealing. No luck at Home Depot? No worries unemployed real ‘Mericans, west Michigan’s berry fields need pickers. Hop aboard this flatbed. (MLive)

Mike Stefani needs ice for his knuckles
The attorney who sued the city for Gary Brown, uncovered the text messages, and was pretty much responsible for incarcerated felon Kwame Kilpatrick’s fall violated legal ethics for leaking said text messages to the Detroit Free Press. He has to pay of $5,115 fine. How ever can he afford this tariff? Oh right, probably out of his contingency fee on that $8,700,000 settlement. Let’s hope Stefani learned his lesson. Hopefully, attorneys in the future won’t “unethically” release authentic, damning evidence of elected officials violating the public trust. It might hurt a corrupt politician’s career. Can you even imagine? (Freep)

Categories : State of the State

18 Comments

1

Poutine is behind DeGrassi? Where does overrated adjunct beer come in?

2

It goes:

1. Hockey
2. Baby seal clubbing
3. Degrassi
4. Over-rated beer
5. Poutine

Beer and poutine flip spots if you include all gravy-based snack foods as poutine.

3

I can only assume 6 is Donuts and 7 is Ketchup Chips.

Virg is in trouble, the Teamsters just endorsed Dillon.

4

I love the loverly arranged Titanic deck chair photo. Bravo.

5
Camille Desmoulins
June 24th, 2010 at 11:47 am

HELLO, people … need I remind you about curling?

6

I think you (and the Bar Association) missed the point on Stephani. The leak to the Free Press was the least of this Vigilante lawyer’s ethical violations. Don’t forget, his clients had their day in court and the jury spoke, though apparently not high enough for Stephani, who used the texts to arm-wrestle a settlement far in excess of the jury award.

Stephani got his hands on the texts in defiance of the the judge’s order in the first place. Had he not used them for blackmail (but instead turned them over to the judge), the city wouldn’t have pursued the appeal and his clients would have gotten the amount awarded by a deliberating jury. (i.e., the way our judicial system was intended to work and which Stephani, as an officer of the court, was sworn to uphold.)

Stephani is a crook like Kwame and you’re practically calling him a hero? He could have turned the texts over to the judge and accomplished the same thing (albeit, with a few less zero’s behind the dollar sign on the city’s check). Instead he helped perpetuate a fraud and raped the city’s coffers.

Stephani should have been disbarred. And the Michigan Bar is full of it when they say they can police their own. Why should any law-abiding citizen sit on a jury in Michigan? Two+ weeks of service meant nothing to the vigilante lawyer and the Bar, of which I would remind any Judge the next time I’m compelled by law to serve on a jury. That’s right. I don’t want to participate in this so-called system of justice because the lawyerly arm (the Michigan Bar) lost all credibility with this so-called discipline of Stephani.

One day this may well be seen in Michigan as valid cause to excuse a juror from service. You cannot compel people who are so offended by this degraded system of justice to essentially waste their time.

7
Camille Desmoulins
June 24th, 2010 at 12:03 pm

It was illegal to leak the Pentagon Papers and much of the Watergate documents that found their way to the WaPo … Mark Felt was breaking the law, too, when he skulked around Foggy Bottom parking garages late at night to chat with Bob Woodward.

8

Spelling matters, especially someone’s name, Terry.

9

Oh look, a more literate version of Mike Paul showed up! Cool!

10

It now appears that Arnold “Chick Butt” Reed has engaged Mike Paul in a game of comedic one-upmanship

http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/dpp/news/local/lawyer-kilpatrick-ready-to-fight-federal-charges-20100624-wpms#

11

Oh, Teri, you don’t even know what the hell you’re talking about.

1. There is no mandate that a civil case MUST be tried by a jury and that is the only way it may be disposed of. If the City chooses to settle a lawsuit for a certain amount because there is damaging evidence against them, there is nothing improper about that. And can anyone explain to me how the release of the texts caused the city to appeal the verdict and yet pay more money? I didn’t follow the trial itself, so if someone could make sense of that bizarre set of circumstances for me, I’d appreciate it.

2. Probably about 2% of civil cases (if that) go to trial, an even fewer percentage go to jury trial. We want parties to settle without a jury. Anyways, your two weeks are similarly wasted if a criminal conviction is thrown out on appeal, a judge files a judgment not withstanding the verdict, etc. That’s life. Sorry this guy hurt your feelings. Why should you serve on a jury? I don’t know, that summons that says you have to, on penalty of law. If Stefani bothers you so much, you are welcome to serve jail time in lieu of having your time wasted in the courtroom.

3. I don’t know that what Stefani did was very ethical in a by the book way, but it was a public service to the city and state, so I’ll call it civil disobedience and move on.

Sorry Carlita.

12

The amount the city paid in the Brown suit was not in excess of the verdict. It was the verdict plus judgment interest, to which the plaintiffs are entitled by law. Had the city appealed and lost the appeal the interest would have been even greater. It’s part of the reason losing defendants have to really weigh the risks of appealing.

I am not a huge Stefani fan, but I think the Pentagon paper analogy is about right. An American city – including its police department – had basically been taken over by a criminal gang. Had it not been for Stefani that gang would still be running the city.

I love the Titanic analogy. Once the Titanic hit that iceberg it became a problem without a solution. As is Detroit.

13

Bravo MQT & Evergreen! I would add: Stephanie owed a duty of loyalty to his clients first and foremost. His job was to get as much money, including payment for his attorneys fees (which were awarded by statute), for his clients that he could. He was really in a no-win situation. Had he not done what he did, those horses’ asses at the Grievance Commission would have turned around and disciplined him for acting against his clients’ interests. He is a solo practitioner and not particularly politically-connected, so guess what? They want to put him out of business. If he had been from one of the larger law firms, the investigation never would have happened.

Teri, you have no idea what you’re talking about. Attorneys who have stolen large sums of money from their clients or even physically injured someone have received far less punishment. So who’s the real threat to the public?

14

Didn’t the Free Press also have a hand in helping Stefani extort more money out of the city? It sure smells like it.

That is, unless you believe an attorney would hand over his main bargaining chip to a newspaper without first having an agreement in place that the paper wouldn’t make it public until after he’d used them to get his settlement.

And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge I’d like you to hold onto for safekeeping…

15

@that guy says – Thanks, you’re right, I did (consistently) keep misspelling his name!

@MQT – Funny how you tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about and then state how you don’t know what you’re talking about. What you don’t understand about the circumstances of the settlement (i.e., appeal, texts, costing the city more money), is kind of the crux of my post, so make sure YOU know what you’re talking about before you call other people ignorant.

Yeah, I realize there is no mandate to try civil cases by a jury; the courts actually encourage mediation/settlement, etc., no kidding! The point is the case DID go to trial. Stefani’s clients won and Kwame said that the City would appeal the verdict. This meant more work and hassle for Stefani to collect the trial award, but that’s the life of a trial lawyer. Shortly after trial, Stefani received the text messages which were supposed to have been delivered directly to the judge, per judge’s orders. That’s when Stefani attached the text messages to some bogus brief and offered them up to Kwame’s attorneys and the ‘secret deal’ was hatched, whereby Stefani’s clients get some $2.666 million MORE than the awarded jury verdict, in exchange for Kwame dropping the appeal, see?

Most attorneys find out the opposing party is going to drop their appeal and they’re deliriously happy to be getting paid. But what did Stefani do to earn these extra millions? He could just as easily have gone to the judge with the texts, admitted that he erred by receiving them at his office, and let the judge handle it. Without a doubt perjury charges–at the very least–would have followed and the Mayor would ultimately have been ousted, just like he eventually was. So essentially, Stefani made some $2.666 more because he disobeyed the judge and blackmailed the mayor! Had he handed the texts over to the judge he could have SAVED the city without actually COSTING the city (money he and his clients were not entitled to).

Why is it important to remember that there was a jury trial? Because the jury is instructed and deliberates on the amount and types of damages (pain and suffering, loss of compensation, etc.), and the amount and type of compensation to be awarded (actual damages, punitive damages, etc.). It was obvious from the jury’s findings, favorable to Stefani’s clients, as well as their notoriously generous award, that Stefani made his case without the text messages and that the jury didn’t buy Kwame’s lies. So who the hell was Stefani to decide that he and his clients deserved SO MUCH MORE just because the Mayor wanted to continue the same COVER-UP Stefani was suing him for?

Stefani went through his whole schtick with the safes, secret meetings, leaks, etc., all so Watergate, yeah, yeah. But the same things could have been accomplished another way, so don’t be so naive as to believe he went through all that for the poor people of Detroit, whom he robbed (since it wasn’t Kilpatrick’s money, you know?).

I’ll say this one other way: The uncovering of the texts did nothing to upgrade his whistleblower’s lawsuit. The jury did find for and award Stefani’s clients (based on the Plaintiffs’ claims of a cover-up) after due consideration. After that, what Stefani did with the texts was inexcusable and the Attorney Discipline Board failed the public in respect to their handling of this case.

16

Teri:

The procedural history of the case is not particularly relevant to whether or not Mike Stefani is a big meanie. And nothing you’ve said or what other commenters have said changes that fact. The crux of your post is that somehow, Mike Stefani isn’t supposed to be a zealous advocate for his clients just because he got a favorable jury verdict. Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense. I don’t feel any sympathy for the city on damages because they broke the law and treated these honest cops poorly. Mike Stefani helped bring about a cataclysm of changes to the city in part due to his actions. He’s not Mother Theresa but it’s not his fault that Kwame was and is a tremendous self-serving douche.

“Stefani’s clients won and Kwame said that the City would appeal the verdict. This meant more work and hassle for Stefani to collect the trial award, but that’s the life of a trial lawyer. Shortly after trial, Stefani received the text messages which were supposed to have been delivered directly to the judge, per judge’s orders. That’s when Stefani attached the text messages to some bogus brief and offered them up to Kwame’s attorneys and the ’secret deal’ was hatched, whereby Stefani’s clients get some $2.666 million MORE than the awarded jury verdict, in exchange for Kwame dropping the appeal, see? ”

“More work and hassle for Stefani to collect the trial award”–work and hassle like obtaining damaging evidence and using it as a bargaining chip to obtain a settlement? Kwame paid that money to save his own skin. If the city had dropped the appeal, they’d only have to pay the original verdict plus interest, correct? You following me? That extra $2 2/3rds mil was KK hush money, pure and simple. Your ire is directed at the wrong person.

“Most attorneys find out the opposing party is going to drop their appeal and they’re deliriously happy to be getting paid. But what did Stefani do to earn these extra millions? He could just as easily have gone to the judge with the texts, admitted that he erred by receiving them at his office, and let the judge handle it. Without a doubt perjury charges–at the very least–would have followed and the Mayor would ultimately have been ousted, just like he eventually was. So essentially, Stefani made some $2.666 more because he disobeyed the judge and blackmailed the mayor! Had he handed the texts over to the judge he could have SAVED the city without actually COSTING the city (money he and his clients were not entitled to). ”

Poor Kwame getting blackmailed! I feel awful for him! Oh, no I don’t. I still don’t know who has been injured here by Stefani’s unethical behavior, except the city government which broke the law in this case or the convicted felon ex-mayor who was the subject of it. You cannot actually be serious with your mayoral blackmail comment.

“Why is it important to remember that there was a jury trial? Because the jury is instructed and deliberates on the amount and types of damages (pain and suffering, loss of compensation, etc.), and the amount and type of compensation to be awarded (actual damages, punitive damages, etc.). It was obvious from the jury’s findings, favorable to Stefani’s clients, as well as their notoriously generous award, that Stefani made his case without the text messages and that the jury didn’t buy Kwame’s lies.

Uh, well, the jury award is binding on the parties, right? So Stefani can’t *make* the city do anything without their consent here. Wouldn’t the wise thing for Kwame and the city to do here is not appeal, quietly pay the jury award and move on? Nope, Kwame never does anything wrong and it was appeal, appeal, appeal. Too bad for him and the city that Stefani had them by the short hairs.

“So who the hell was Stefani to decide that he and his clients deserved SO MUCH MORE just because the Mayor wanted to continue the same COVER-UP Stefani was suing him for? ”

Holy crap seriously? What do you think trial lawyers do all day?

The city gambled and lost. Kwame tried to cover himself and lost. A trial lawyer did his job. People who still blindly subscribe to the cult of personality set up for a convicted felon continue to blame everyone else for his problems. Meanwhile, life goes on.

17
de.construct.ion
June 25th, 2010 at 10:47 am

Ah Dyspathy! You forgot that only 10-20 of the 100 unemployed waiting in person for their checks in the Home Depot parking lot at 5am will be getting one. Selection being based solely on their looks or ‘strength’ too. But we all know that the unemployed look the same, so that isn’t a big deal.

“Hypocrisy and distortion are passing currents under the name of religion” – Mahatma Gandhi

18

Cross-post to huh? The point is Americans can’t complain that illegal immigrants dun tuk r jibs, if Americans won’t take the jobs immigrants seek.

In France, the Vichy Right (and some on the far Left) made such a stink about immigrant workers that the government offered to pay unemployed workers willing to take agricultural jobs that normally went to immigrants. Turns out Frenchmen don’t really like picking grapes, even if their wage is complimented by a government subsidy.

Issues of unemployment benefits, labor law, etc are irrelevant to the discussion of immigration policy. If you’ve deluded yourself into believing that immigrants are responsible for your economic situation, then go pick blueberries in west Michigan.

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