Advertisements



The Houston doctor who was fired for administering leftover vaccine doses is suing Harris County, Texas, after being acquitted by a grand jury

"I don't think I was treated fairly, so I'm hoping to get a sense of fairness out of this, that's number one," Dr. Hasan Gokal told Insider. Dr. Hasan Gokal Courtesy of David Oates/PR Security Dr. Hasan Gokal was fired in January for giving away 10 COVID-19 vaccine doses that were due to expire. The Harris County District Attorney charged Gokal with theft but a grand jury acquitted him in June. Gokal is now suing Harris County for more than $1 million for discrimination. See more stories on Insider's business page. A Houston doctor who was accused of stealing COVID-19 vaccine doses and later acquitted by a grand jury is now suing Harris County in Texas for discrimination for more than $1 million. Last December, Dr. Hasan Gokal was working with Harris County Public Health at their first vaccination site. At the end of a shift, Gokal tried to find eligible people for leftover doses of the Moderna vaccine that would have expired and went door-to-door to administer shots.Gokal was accused of violating protocols and fired. District Attorney Kim Ogg also filed theft charges against him.Harris County Public Health also reached out to the Texas Medical Board to initiate an investigation for unethical behavior which was dismissed in March. Gokal was unable to work until that investigation was complete. In June, a grand jury acquitted Gokal of the charges. Gokal told Insider it was soon after the charges were dropped that he began thinking about suing the county, but it wasn't until about a month ago that he seriously discussed it with a lawyer. He said while he was relieved the case against him has been dropped, the past nine months weighed heavily on him and his family and hopes the suit will bring him justice."The first few months of this was rough, not being able to do a job. Not sure if my career is over. What's going to happen with the criminal charges and so on and so forth. Anybody in that level of stress and degree of uncertainty in life is going to be impacted by that uncertainty," Gokal said. "It was felt throughout my family. The kids are young and you can see the stress on them. My wife, certainly her condition got worse through all the stress."Gokal added that he's also hoping to ensure this doesn't happen again: "You're talking about a physician who does what a physician does, and you suddenly turn it into a criminal issue. That shouldn't happen to anybody else. Any way you cut it, it's just wrong," he told Insider. Additionally, Gokal said he wants to bring attention to the issue that Harris County Public Health, like other public health agencies across the country, is "not using physicians anymore and they're making decisions on their own without it." He said these agencies are making decisions about public health without necessary experts like doctors. "This has changed in the last year, and it's a very worrisome and dangerous trend," Gokal said. In a press release emailed to Insider, Gokal and his attorney said the public health department told him "he picked the wrong people to help - too many of them had 'Indian' names, too many of them were Asian.""It's very clear that if he had vaccinated people named Anderson, Smith, and Jones he would have been called a hero and not have been fired, charged, vilified, and brought before a grand jury that thankfully refused to indict him," Gokal's attorney, Joe Ahmad, said. The Harris County District Attorney did not respond to Insider's request for comment at the time of publication but previously told CBS News "The District Attorney's Office prosecutes state crimes that occur in Harris County. In pursuing prosecution against all accused, our intent is to seek and obtain justice in every case. We follow a strict protocol of evidence-based prosecution. The criminal charges of Theft by a Public Servant against this Defendant were based upon evidence obtained from witnesses and statements of the accused, both before and after his employment was terminated by the Harris County Health Dept. While grand jury witnesses are also prohibited in Texas from revealing what occurred in the grand jury, they are free to tell you about what they witnessed in an incident."Ahmad told Insider it's not clear how much of a financial loss the charges and case against Gokal will cost him, but they assume the impact will extend for years. "The full nature of the damages isn't known yet because frankly, the economic damages are still being suffered. Dr. Gokal is working, he's taking some shifts in the ER room. It's not the ideal job, but he's doing it," Ahmad told Insider.Gokal told Insider the case caused him a lot of stress and he wasn't able to dedicate his attention to patients full time. Additionally, Ahmad told Insider the publicity from the case has negatively impacted Gokal's reputation. "We believe he's going to be suffering a year from now, two years from now, if for no other reason than the nature of the publicity against him - how he was vilified, nationwide, worldwide," Ahmad said. "And so, do we believe that the damages could exceed $1 million? Absolutely. We'll know more as time goes by."Gokal said he's frustrated because he did what he was supposed to do."I don't think I was treated fairly, so I'm hoping to get a sense of fairness out of this, that's number one," he said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider9 hr. 7 min. ago

Trump"s lawyer says he"s not worried prosecutors named Trump personally in the tax-fraud indictment against his namesake company

Donald Trump's lawyer Ronald Fischetti said he's confident the Manhattan DA's office wouldn't charge the former president as part of its inquiry. Former President Donald Trump at an August 21 rally in Cullman, Alabama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images A tax-fraud indictment against the Trump Organization and its CFO personally named Donald Trump. Still, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider he didn't think the Manhattan DA would charge Trump. He said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to "pennies." See more stories on Insider's business page. An attorney representing Donald Trump said he wasn't worried that the former president was personally named in the indictment against his namesake company, telling Insider he's confident Trump wouldn't be charged in the Manhattan district attorney's long-running investigation.Prosecutors named Trump in charging documents unsealed July 1. They said he cut checks for family members of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, whom they also accused of tax crimes."Trump Corporation personnel, including Weisselberg, arranged for tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account of and signed by Donald J. Trump, and later drawn on the account of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust," prosecutors alleged in the indictment.Trump's lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider the mention had no bearing on the former president's personal legal exposure in the district attorney's investigation. He said Trump paid the tuition bills personally, rather than through corporate accounts, and took "no deductions" on them."All that money paid for [Weisselberg's] grandson's tuition - to the same school that Donald Trump's son Barron goes to - was paid by Donald Trump personally, never from the company," Fischetti said. "No checks ever went from the company to pay for that tuition."Fischetti said Trump made the tuition payments because Weisselberg's son, Barry, was undergoing an acrimonious split from his wife, Jennifer Weisselberg. Trump wanted to make sure the grandchildren of a "trusted employee" could remain at their school, Fischetti said."Donald Trump, out of his generosity, paid for it personally," Fischetti said. "No deductions, no nothing."The Trump Organization is expected to face trial next yearWeisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment, where prosecutors described a wide-ranging tax scheme in which they accused Weisselberg of dodging taxes on $1.7 million of his income, much of which they said came in the form of perks like tuition payments, apartments, and cars.Prosecutors said more than $359,000 of that untaxed compensation came in the form of tuition payments from 2012 to 2017. They alleged the tuition payments were categorized as compensation in the Trump Organization's internal records but not on Weisselberg's personal tax forms. The Trump Organization's CFO, Allen Weisselberg, in State Supreme Court in New York City on Monday. Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times via AP Fischetti said that Trump paying the tuition out of his own pocket, rather than corporate coffers, indicated Trump had already paid all the appropriate taxes on his end."It's not taxable for that person," Fischetti said. "And it's not a deduction for the person who's giving it to them."Weisselberg's grandchildren have attended the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which was subpoenaed in the district attorney's investigation.Since last fall, Jennifer Weisselberg has been a cooperating witness and has given troves of documents to prosecutors. She told Insider in an interview earlier this year that the Trump Organization sometimes gave employees perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of monetary bonuses as a way to control their lives.In a court hearing Monday, New York State Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan said attorneys for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization had until January to review 6 million pages of documents in the case and submit pretrial motions. Merchan told the attorneys to expect a trial to begin in August or September of next year.Fischetti said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to 'fucking pennies'Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney representing Weisselberg in the case, said in court Monday that he expected more indictments from the grand-jury investigation.Fischetti told Insider he didn't expect Trump to be among the indicted. He said the tax savings prosecutors describe would amount to "pennies" for the former president."This guy's a billionaire. What's he going to get out of this?" he said, adding: "It's fucking pennies! It's ridiculous. They have nothing on the president. Absolutely nothing."Fischetti said he met with prosecutors in June and they'd brought no evidence that Trump had any personal knowledge of or involvement in the alleged tax scheme."They have said nothing about the president knowing about this," Fischetti said. "They have no tape recordings, they have no email, they have no text. They have no documents. They have nothing!" Weisselberg waiting for a car after leaving a court appearance on Monday. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle Prosecutors typically meet with attorneys of people they plan to accuse of white-collar crimes shortly before indictments, but Fischetti said he'd heard nothing from the district attorney's team since that summer meeting. Mark Pomerantz - Fischetti's former law partner and a leading member of the Manhattan district attorney's team - assured Fischetti he'd give him a chance to defend Trump in advance of bringing any charges.Attorneys for other witnesses who've testified before the grand jury said none of the clients had anything to say about Trump's personal involvement, according to Fischetti. He said prosecutors' only hope of indicting Trump would be to "coerce" people to tell the grand jury they acted at Trump's direction."The only thing they could possibly have are witnesses that would go into the grand jury and say, 'Yes, I got a free car and I got a free apartment, and he deducted it from my salary or would give it to me as a bonus so the company made money,'" Fischetti told Insider. "He needs witnesses! He has none! Zero!"A representative for the Manhattan district attorney's office declined to comment for this story.Prosecutors also were said to have been investigating whether the Trump Organization broke tax laws by keeping two sets of books to secure favorable tax, insurance, and loan rates, as well as whether the company broke campaign finance laws by facilitating hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 election.Fischetti said he hasn't heard anything about charges related to those inquiries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

Donald Trump"s lawyer says he"s not worried prosecutors named Trump personally in the tax fraud indictment against his namesake company

Donald Trump's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, said he's confident the Manhattan DA's office won't charge the former president as part of its investigation. Former U.S. President Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021 in Cullman, Alabama. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images A tax fraud indictment against the Trump Organization and its CFO Allen Weisselberg personally named Donald Trump. Still, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti told Insider he doesn't believe the Manhattan DA will charge the ex-president. He said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to "fucking pennies." See more stories on Insider's business page. An attorney representing Donald Trump said he isn't worried that the former president is personally named in the indictment against his namesake company, telling Insider he's confident Trump won't be charged in the Manhattan District Attorney's long-running investigation.Prosecutors named Trump in charging documents unsealed on July 1. They said he cut checks for family members of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who they also accused of tax crimes."Trump Corporation personnel, including Weisselberg, arranged for tuition expenses for Weisselberg's family members to be paid by personal checks drawn on the account of and signed by Donald J. Trump, and later drawn on the account of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust," prosecutors alleged in the indictment.Trump's lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, told Insider that the mention had no bearing on the former president's personal legal exposure in the DA's investigation. He said that Trump paid the tuition bills personally, rather than through corporate accounts, and took "no deductions" on them."All that money paid for [Weisselberg's] grandson's tuition - to the same school that Donald Trump's son Barron goes to - was paid by Donald Trump personally, never from the company," Fischetti said. "No checks ever went from the company to pay for that tuition."Fischetti said Trump made the tuition payments because Weisselberg's son, Barry, was undergoing an acrimonious split from his wife, Jennifer Weisselberg. Trump wanted to make sure the grandchildren of a "trusted employee" could remain at their school, Fischetti said."Donald Trump, out of his generosity, paid for it personally," Fischetti said. "No deductions, no nothing."The Trump Organization is expected to face trial next yearWeisselberg and attorneys for the Trump Organization pleaded not guilty to a 15-count indictment, where prosecutors described a wide-ranging alleged tax scheme in which Weisselberg dodged taxes on $1.7 million of his income, much of which they said came in the form of perks like tuition payments, apartments, and cars.More than $359,000 of that untaxed compensation came in the form of tuition payments from 2012 to 2017, prosecutors said. They alleged the tuition payments were categorized as compensation in the Trump Organization's internal records, but not on Weisselberg's personal tax forms. The Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg appears in State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Monday, Sept. 20, 2021 in New York. Jefferson Siegel/The New York Times via AP Fischetti said that Trump paying the tuition out of his own pocket, rather than corporate coffers, indicated that the ex-president had already paid all the appropriate taxes on his end."It's not taxable for that person," Fischetti said. "And it's not a deduction for the person who's giving it to them."Weisselberg's grandchildren have attended the Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in Manhattan's Upper West Side, which was subpoenaed in the DA's investigation.Since last fall, Jennifer Weisselberg has been a cooperating witness and has given troves of documents to prosecutors. She told Insider in an interview earlier this year that the Trump Organization sometimes gave employees perks like apartments and tuition payments in lieu of monetary bonuses as a way to control their lives.In a court hearing Monday, New York State Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan said attorneys for Weisselberg and the Trump Organization had until January 2022 to review 6 million pages of documents in the case and submit pre-trial motions. Merchan told the attorneys to expect a trial to begin in August or September 2022.Fischetti said Trump's tax savings in the alleged fraud scheme would amount to 'fucking pennies'Bryan Skarlatos, an attorney representing Weisselberg in the case, said in court Monday that he expects more indictments from the grand jury investigation.Fischetti told Insider he doesn't expect Trump to be among the indicted. He said the tax savings prosecutors describe would amount to "fucking pennies" for the former president."This guy's a billionaire. What's he going to get out of this?" he said, adding: "It's fucking pennies! It's ridiculous. They have nothing on the president. Absolutely nothing."Fischetti said he met with prosecutors in June, and that they've brought no evidence that Trump had any personal knowledge of or involvement in the alleged tax scheme."They have said nothing about the president knowing about this," Fischetti said. "They have no tape recordings, they have no email, they have no text. They have no documents. They have nothing!" The Trump Organization's Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, center, awaits a car after leaving a courtroom appearance in New York, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. AP Photo/Craig Ruttle Prosecutors typically meet with attorneys of people they plan to accuse of white-collar crimes shortly before indictments, but Fischetti said he's heard nothing from the district attorney's team since that summer meeting. Mark Pomerantz - Fischetti's former law partner and a leading member of the Manhattan DA's team - assured Fischetti he'd give him a chance to defend Trump in advance of bringing any charges.Attorneys for other witnesses who've testified before the grand jury said none of the clients had anything to say about Trump's personal involvement, according to Fischetti. He said that prosecutors' only hope of possibly indicting Trump was to "coerce" people to tell the grand jury that they acted at Trump's direction."The only thing they could possibly have are witnesses that would go into the grand jury and say, 'Yes, I got a free car and I got a free apartment, and he deducted it from my salary or would give it to me as a bonus so the company made money,'" Fischetti told Insider. "He needs witnesses! He has none! Zero!"A representative for the Manhattan DA's office declined to comment for this story.Prosecutors also were said to have been investigating whether the Trump Organization broke tax laws by keeping two sets of books in order to secure favorable tax, insurance, and loan rates, as well as whether the company broke campaign finance laws by facilitating hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels in advance of the 2016 election.Fischetti said he hasn't heard anything about charges related to those inquiries.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

Federal prosecutors subpoenaed a top Trump Organization executive to testify in the Michael Cohen case

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters A top Trump Organization executive was reportedly summoned to testify before a grand jury in the ongoing criminal investigation involving President Donald Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. The executive, Allen.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJul 26th, 2018

"Nasser Was Not An Outlier" - Exposing The FBI"s Incurable Rot

'Nasser Was Not An Outlier' - Exposing The FBI's Incurable Rot Authored by Julie Kelly via American Greatness (emphasis ours), The incurable incompetence, corruption, and moral rot of the Federal Bureau of Investigation was on full display last week. Within a 24-hour period, some of America’s toughest female athletes recounted to a Senate committee their painful tales of how the FBI ignored evidence that team doctor Larry Nassar was a sexual predator, and a powerful attorney who colluded with the FBI to concoct one of the most animating chapters of the Trump-Russia collusion fiction was indicted for lying to federal officials. Overlap in the two cases is more than ironic, it’s illustrative: Michael Sussman, a lawyer for Perkins Coie, the law firm that was working on behalf of the Hillary Clinton campaign, met with the FBI’s general counsel in September 2016 to plant a false story about Donald Trump’s financial ties to a Russian bank. That same month, the Indianapolis Star broke the story of how Nassar, the longtime physician for the USA Gymnastics team, had sexually abused several female gymnasts. One victim filed a lawsuit after the FBI refused to investigate complaints made to at least two FBI field offices in 2015 and 2016. But the FBI at that time was too preoccupied with protecting Hillary Clinton to deal with a monster who had systematically raped nearly 300 female American athletes. (As Lee Smith recently noted, the FBI “has been used for a quarter of a century as the place to clean up the Clintons’ dirt.”) Months before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI, led by James Comey, used its unchecked authority to sabotage Donald Trump. Meanwhile, elite American athletes, including Olympic gold medalists, could not get the bureau’s attention while a sexual abuser continued his rampage. Local FBI agents passed the buck and allegedly falsified reports; one agent reportedly tried to shake down a USA Gymnastics official for a job with the organization. The FBI’s political game-playing came with irreversible human cost. According to an analysis by the New York Times, at least 40 women and girls, including some of the youngest victims, were assaulted by Nassar between July 2015, the first contact with the FBI, and September 2016. Had the Star not published its exposé of Nassar that month, which finally prompted some action by the FBI, who knows how long his depraved predation would have continued? “If they’re not going to protect me, I want to know, who are they trying to protect?” McKayla Maroney, a two-time Olympic medalist and one of Nassar’s most frequent victims, asked the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 15. Maroney may or may not be surprised to learn the agency assigned with protecting the most vulnerable is actually in the business of protecting the most powerful. Nasser Was Not an Outlier FBI Director Christopher Wray, hired by President Trump in 2017, publicly apologized. The “fundamental errors” made in the Nassar case, Wray told the judiciary committee, would not happen again as long as he’s head of the agency. “I want to make sure the American people know that the reprehensible conduct . . . is not representative of the work that I see from our 37,000 folks every day.” The rank-and-file, Wray insisted, perform their jobs with “uncompromising integrity.” But Wray is wrong to claim that the Nassar case is an outlier. From the top of the command chain down, the FBI has trashed its reputation through a series of scandals. It’s not just the alarming texts between spousal cheats Peter Strzok and Lisa Page; the ambush of Lt. General Michael Flynn in the White House; Comey’s use of the shady Steele dossier to set up Donald Trump; or Andrew McCabe’s lies to his own FBI investigators. It’s not just the other set of “errors”—17 to be exact—found in the FBI’s four unlawful FISA applications on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. Or the official email doctored by a top FBI lawyer cited as evidence on one of the applications. Or the fact that no one in the agency has gone to jail for perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in history on the American people. As seen in the alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, lowlifes populate the FBI’s rank-and-file. Richard Trask, the special agent in charge of the investigation, was arrested in July for physically assaulting and choking his wife after attending a swinger’s party. Trask was fired this month; he faces numerous criminal charges. Prosecutors decided not to use Trask as a witness after his social media account revealed numerous anti-Trump posts, including calling the president a “piece of shit.” Defense attorneys in the Whitmer case asked the judge to delay trial for 90 days as they investigate the conduct of at least a dozen other FBI agents involved in the conspiracy. The FBI gave one informant $24,000 and a new car for his services. Wray brags that every FBI field office is participating in the Justice Department’s “unprecedented” investigation into the breach of the Capitol. But reports of how his agents have handled more than 600 arrests do little to support Wray’s assurances of professional “integrity.” Defendants have been subjected to pre-dawn raids conducted by dozens of armed agents using military-style vehicles. I spoke with the spouse of one defendant who told me agents interrogated her about what cable news channel she watched, her views on illegal immigrantion, and who she voted for in 2020. The FBI raided the home of an Alaska couple then handcuffed and interrogated them in separate rooms for hours until investigators realized they had the wrong suspects. A 69-year-old man in New York City suffered a heart attack as FBI agents raided his apartment with a television news crew standing by; the man never was charged. FBI agents arrested a Florida man in front of his wife and young daughter, who asked why officers were “locking daddy’s hands.” Casey Cusick was charged only with misdemeanors for entering the Capitol on January 6. Agents seized as evidence a Lego set of the Capitol building during the raid of Robert Morss, an Army ranger with three tours in Afghanistan. Far from nefarious intent, Morss had the Lego set to use with his students as a substitute high school history teacher. (He was fired after his arrest.) And those are just a few stories. No Accountability Wray picked up where Comey left off, allowing his agency to be part of Democratic Party political spin. He recently issued a “threat assessment” on QAnon and disclosed that the FBI so far has arrested at least 20 “self-styled QAnon adherents” related to the Capitol breach investigation. Wray designated January 6 as an act of “domestic terror” and his agency regularly tweets out the faces of “most wanted” Trump supporters who were at the Capitol on January 6. Infuriatingly, Wray fired only one agent involved in the Nassar fiasco—and the man was fired the week before the Senate hearing, six years after he first interviewed Maroney. “Someone perhaps more cynical than I would conclude it was this hearing here staring the FBI in the face that prompted that action,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said to Wray. But what ails the FBI cannot be solved with a few firings. It cannot be solved with more congressional oversight or threats to cut federal funding. The moral rot that infects the agency from top to bottom renders the agency unsalvageable.  “This conduct by these FBI agents . . . who are expected to protect the public is unacceptable, disgusting, and shameful,” Maggie Nichols, the gymnast who first reported Nassar’s crimes to the FBI, told the committee. Her description, however, applies to the entire FBI—an institution with no shame, no remorse, and no accountability. There’s no fix for that. *  *  * About Julie Kelly Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 20:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge14 hr. 39 min. ago

Adamis Pharmaceuticals discloses NY grand jury subpoena, criminal investigation

See the rest of the story here. Theflyonthewall.com provides the latest financial news as it breaks. Known as a leader in market intelligence, The Fl.....»»

Category: blogSource: theflyonthewallMay 25th, 2021

A grand jury has been impaneled in the federal investigation into Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani's attorney told ABC News that his assistant was doled a subpoena to appear in front of a feder.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2021

Swiss probe incident involving ex-Credit Suisse banker Khan, private detectives

Zurich prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into an incident last week in which private detectives allegedly shadowed ex-Credit Suisse banker Iqbal Khan and his wife, the district attorney's office said on Monday.....»»

Category: topSource: reutersSep 23rd, 2019

Stenger hires preeminent criminal defense attorney

County lawmakers on Sunday told media outlets that a federal grand jury has issued a subpoena to St. Louis County, seeking records involving the county executive......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsMar 26th, 2019

Facebook data deals under criminal investigation

The New York Times reports that federal prosecutors are  into Facebook's data deals with major electronics manufacturers. The newspaper says a grand jury in New York has subpoenaed information from... To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkMar 15th, 2019

U.S. criminal probe of Facebook is said to extend to grand jury

A Facebook Inc. investigation by the U.S. J.....»»

Category: topSource: latimesMar 14th, 2019

Facebook data-sharing being investigated by grand jury: report

A grand jury is undertaking a criminal investigation into Facebook Inc.'s data-sharing practices, ac.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMar 13th, 2019

Trump Organization CFO"s Immunity Deal Shows Value of Finance Chief

Prosecutors granting Allen Weisselberg immunity after he testified before a grand jury in the investigation on President Trump’s former lawyer, underscores the critical role accountants and CFOs play in criminal prosecutions......»»

Category: smallbizSource: wsjAug 28th, 2018

R. Kelly facing potential criminal charges over sex tape after a secret grand jury convened in Chicago

AP Photo/M. Spe.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 17th, 2019

The lawyer for Eric Trump in a civil fraud investigation against the Trump Organisation quit the case, court records show

Marc Mukasey, who successfully defended the former Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher in court, stopped representing Donald Trump's youngest son. Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization. Noam Galai/WireImage via Getty Images Eric Trump's attorney in a fraud lawsuit against the Trump Organization has quit. A court filing from September 14 showed that Marc Mukasey stopped giving counsel to Eric. Neither Mukasey nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment. See more stories on Insider's business page. The attorney representing Eric Trump in a civil fraud lawsuit against the Trump Organization has quit, a court filing shows.Marc Mukasey of Mukasey Frenchman LLP was one of two attorneys representing Donald Trump's youngest son.The lawsuit was filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Trump Organization, of which Eric is the executive vice-president.A court filing dated September 14, which was first reported by Forbes, said that Mukasey will "hereby withdraw my appearance as counsel of record for Respondent Eric Trump."Mukasey is a high-profile criminal defense attorney who successfully defended Eddie Gallagher, the former Navy SEAL, against a charge of premeditated murder.James announced last year that she was taking legal action as part of a civil investigation into whether executives at the Trump Organization falsely inflated the value of its assets to get access to loans, and underestimated them for tax purposes.The legal action was a motion filed in August 2020, partly designed to compel Eric Trump to give testimony after he failed to turn up for a scheduled and subpoenaed interview.Eric was, according to James' office, "intimately involved in one or more transactions under review."She opened the investigation in 2019 after Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal lawyer, testified before Congress that Trump's annual statements inflated the value of his assets in order to secure favorable loan terms and insurance coverage, as well as other benefits.Insider contacted both Mukasey and the Trump Organization for comment but did not receive a reply at the time of publication.Eric Trump will continue to be represented by criminal defense attorney Alan Futerfas, the court filing said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider4 hr. 55 min. ago

Rep. Nunes Wins Major Victory In Defamation Case Against Ryan Lizza And Hearst

Rep. Nunes Wins Major Victory In Defamation Case Against Ryan Lizza And Hearst Authored by Jonathan Turley, We have been following a slew of defamation lawsuits by political figures over the last few years. (See, e.g., here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). For torts scholars, it has been a bonanza of interesting issues touching on every element of defamation law. There is now an important ruling out of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit that could have enormous implications not just for the media but anyone who retweets stories or claims. The appellate panel ruled unanimously for Rep. Devin Nunes against journalist Ryan Lizza who now writes for Politico. Nunes will be allowed to litigate his claim that Lizza defamed him by claiming that he secretly moved his farm from California to Iowa and linked the move to the alleged use of undocumented labor. Not only does Nunes have no reported stake or operational involvement with the farm, there is no evidence of his effort to hide the move or conceal any use of undocumented laborers. However, the interesting aspect of the ruling is how a retweet by Lizza resuscitated the case for Nunes. In 2019, Nunes sued Lizza and Hearst Magazines after Lizza wrote a feature article entitled “Devin Nunes’s Family Farm Is Hiding a Politically Explosive Secret,” in Esquire. Lizza asked in the article “Why would the Nuneses, Steve King, and an obscure dairy publication all conspire to hide the fact that the congressman’s family sold its farm and moved to Iowa?” The “explosive secret” appeared to be his moving the family dairy farm to Iowa from his district and the suggestion that the farm was using undocumented labor. The claims, if false, could be the basis for defamation and a separate lawsuit against Lizza and Hearst by the family farm, NuStar, was previously found valid for the purposes of a trial. The issue was the separate Nunes complaint and federal judge C.J. Williams rejected his claims because “[m]oving or concealing a move is not a crime. Because the object of the ‘conspiracy’ is harmless, no reasonable reader could interpret the term ‘conspiracy’ to imply criminal conduct in this context.” The appellate panel agreed that there was no express defamatory statement in the article. However, it found that a reasonable jury could find it defamatory by implication. As such, the statements do no need to be individually defamatory by creates defamatory meaning in the juxtaposing of fact or omitting facts. The court ruled that “[b]ased on the article’s presentation of facts, we think the complaint plausibly alleges that a reasonable reader could draw the implication that Representative Nunes conspired to hide the farm’s use of undocumented labor.” The problem for Nunes is that he is a public official. The standard for defamation for public figures and officials in the United States is the product of a decision decades ago in New York Times v. Sullivan. This is precisely the environment in which the opinion was written. The Supreme Court ruled that tort law could not be used to overcome First Amendment protections for free speech or the free press. The Court sought to create “breathing space” for the media by articulating that standard that now applies to both public officials and public figures. As such, public officials and public figures must show either actual knowledge of its falsity or a reckless disregard of the truth. Notably, Nunes sought to challenge New York Times v. Sullivan, which a lower court could not set aside. Presumably, he will seek an eventual Supreme Court review to achieve that purpose.  However, the appellate court is bound to follow the precedent and held “[u]nder that demanding standard, we agree with the district court that the complaint is insufficient to state a claim of actual malice as to the original publication.” That is when the case took a very interesting turn.  The Court found that Lizza later retweeting and linking to his story created a viable basis for defamation. Under the “single publication” rule any one edition of a book or newspaper, even if distributed to in thousands of copies, constitutes one publication that may support only one cause of action. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 577A(3) (Am. L. Inst. 1977). However, there can be liability for a “republication.” That is what the court found Lizza did when he later retweeted the publication. On November 20, 2019, Lizza tweeted: “I noticed that Devin Nunes is in the news. If you’re interested in a strange tale about Nunes, small-town Iowa, the complexities of immigration policy, a few car chases, and lots of cows, I’ve got a story for you.” That, according to the panel, tripped the wire by showing actual malice since he was now aware of the denials of involvement in the farm: “The complaint here adequately alleges that Lizza intended to reach and actually reached a new audience by publishing a tweet about Nunes and a link to the article. In November 2019, Lizza was on notice of the article’s alleged defamatory implication by virtue of this lawsuit. The complaint alleges that he then consciously presented the material to a new audience by encouraging readers to peruse his “strange tale” about “immigration policy,” and promoting that “I’ve got a story for you.” Under those circumstances, the complaint sufficiently alleges that Lizza republished the article after he knew that the Congressman denied knowledge of undocumented labor on the farm or participation in any conspiracy to hide it.” It is important to keep in mind that the “actual malice” standard can be shown by either making knowingly false statements or showing a reckless disregard for the truth. The panel held: “Lizza tweeted the article in November 2019 after Nunes filed this lawsuit and denied the article’s implication. The pleaded facts are suggestive enough to render it plausible that Lizza, at that point, engaged in “the purposeful avoidance of the truth.” Harte-Hanks, 491 U.S. at 692.” This could present a major new precedent if it is appealed to the Supreme Court. First, it could allow the Court to review New York Times v. Sullivan given the questions raised by some justices recently about the case. Second, even if Sullivan is safe, it could expand possible liability by treating social media links and retweets as republications. We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. This ruling could present a serious push back on advocacy journalism where the line between fact and opinion is becoming increasingly blurry. Here is the decision: Nunes opinion Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 17:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge15 hr. 39 min. ago

Flood and Disaster Disclosures: Law, Precedent and Grades for All 50 States

As more and more climate change-fueled extreme weather events—from historic hurricanes to unexpected summer downpours—affect homes, one issue anyone selling or buying a home needs to be aware of is disclosure. While some states require a seller to expansively detail any history of flood damage, flood zone designation or other natural disaster threats, others have […] The post Flood and Disaster Disclosures: Law, Precedent and Grades for All 50 States appeared first on RISMedia. As more and more climate change-fueled extreme weather events—from historic hurricanes to unexpected summer downpours—affect homes, one issue anyone selling or buying a home needs to be aware of is disclosure. While some states require a seller to expansively detail any history of flood damage, flood zone designation or other natural disaster threats, others have little or no disclosure requirements or provide only vague guidelines on what needs to be disclosed A recent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) panel rated all 50 states on the transparency of their flood disclosure policies on a letter grade from “A” for very transparent to “F” for failing to provide adequate policies or guidance. With 21 states receiving an “F” grade, the FEMA panel recommended the creation of a nationwide database of flood events, flood insurance claims and disaster claims. Though most local REALTOR® associations offer a voluntary form which can be provided to clients—all of which include some flood or disaster disclosures—every real estate professional should be aware of the legal requirements and precedents around flood and disaster disclosure in their state. ALABAMA — GRADE: F Alabama has no statutory or regulatory requirements for disclosure of flood risk, federal flood insurance requirements or past flood damages. Sellers must disclose a “material defect or condition that affects health or safety [when] the defect is not known to or readily observable by the buyer,” and a jury found in the 2000 court case Cooper & Co. v. Lester that this applies to “misrepresentations and suppression of material facts” related to flooding. ALASKA — GRADE: C Sellers in Alaska must disclose the flood zone designation and any floods they are aware of on the property, as well as damage caused from “landslide, avalanche, high winds, fire, earthquake or other natural causes.” It also requires that sellers disclose water or leakage in the basement along with frozen pipes or drains. ARIZONA — GRADE: F Arizona state statute requires licensed real estate agents to notify buyers through a written affidavit whether or not the property is on a FEMA-designated floodplain. Arizona also offers a list of other items to disclose, including fissures and environmental hazards affecting, but this report is explicitly not mandatory. Licensed real estate agents must also disclose any water that is a “feature” of the property, and whether it fluctuates “substantially in size or volume.” The in the 2011 court case Barton v. Boesen ruled that a real estate agent and his brokerage could not be held responsible for selling a new house with a defective, regularly leaking foundation because the buyers could not prove he “knew or should have known any information about the construction of the home.” ARKANSAS — GRADE: F Arkansas’s real estate commission explicitly states that no state law requires disclosure of specific information about their property, including floods and natural disasters. However, licensed real estate agents have to make “reasonable efforts” to obtain and disclose information that is “material to the value or desirability” of the property. In the 2011 court case Worley v City of Jonesboro, buyers sued a seller and her brokerage for allegedly understating flooding issues ruled in favor of the seller, with a judge saying that sellers can only be held responsible for nondisclosure in “special circumstances” when they have knowledge a buyer is relying on incorrect or misleading information in a transaction. CALIFORNIA — GRADE: C California has a specific and detailed mandatory form that statutorily requires property sellers to disclose a variety of past damages or potential future hazards, including major flood damage, flood zones, historic forest fire risk and earthquake fault lines. Whether or not a property will require flood insurance does not need to be disclosed. Two new laws passed in 2021 also require sellers to disclose certain fire hazard risks, including any fire hazard zone the property is part of and specific mitigation steps taken to defend against wildfires—everything from ember-resistant roof vents to non-combustible landscaping buffer zones. COLORADO — GRADE: F Real estate brokers are required by the state Department of Regulatory Agencies (DRE) to use state-approved disclosure forms “when appropriate.” While certain disclosures are codified in state law, disaster disclosure—whether a property has been damaged by “hail, wind, fire, flood or other casualty”— is not. The DRE vaguely warns on its website that real estate brokers are “responsible to make all required disclosures to all parties under applicable laws, rules and regulations governing real estate brokers.” In Jehly v. Brown, a 2014 court case involving buyers who were not informed their newly constructed house was built in a floodplain, saw a judge rule in favor of the seller (who did not fill out the disaster disclosure form) despite the fact that the third-party builder of the home knew about the floodplain. CONNECTICUT — GRADE: D Connecticut requires by law that sellers disclose flood hazard and inland wetland designations along with fire and smoke damage, but does not mandate anything regarding past flooding events or damage, or whether flood insurance is required on that property. DELAWARE — GRADE: C Delaware has a mandatory seller disclosure form that includes flood damage, drainage problems and flood zone or wetland designations. Flood insurance, and the current annual premium cost, must also be disclosed when applicable. The state also requires sellers to disclose if the property owner is responsible for repairing nearby streets or sidewalks, and the estimated cost if they are. DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — GRADE: C The district does have a mandatory disclosure form that asks if there are any exterior drainage problems or if there has been previous flood, fire or wind damage to a property. There are no requirements to disclose flood insurance or floodplain designations. FLORIDA — GRADE: F While Florida has no statutory requirements regarding flood or disaster disclosure, courts have sometimes found that sellers can be held liable for not disclosing “facts or conditions about the property that could have a substantial impact on its value or desirability.” In the 1985 court decision in Johnson v. Davis, a seller was held responsible for not disclosing that a window regularly “gushed” water during rainstorms after they had told the buyer leaking issues had been mitigated, with the judge saying that enough omissions or misrepresentations by sellers could “amount to fraud in the legal sense.” On the other hand, a 1997 decision in Nelson v. Wiggs ruled in favor of a seller who had not disclosed regular property flooding, faulting the buyers for not asking questions of the seller or doing their own research. GEORGIA — GRADE: F Georgia has no codified or statutory mandatory disclosures for flooding. A 2010 appeals court ruling in Shaw v. Robertson faulted a homebuyer and their agent after they discovered significant flooding on a newly-purchased property, saying they “failed to act diligently” by doing more research or observing land conditions before making an offer. HAWAII — GRADE: D Sellers in Hawaii must disclose if a property is in a flood hazard area, but not any flood damage or flood insurance requirements. A mandatory form also asks sellers to disclose “material facts” that “are within the knowledge or control of the seller” or “can be observed from visible, accessible areas,” though how and when this would include flood damage or other natural disaster concerns is not defined. IDAHO — GRADE: F Idaho does not have disclosures for flood damage, flood zones or flood insurance, though a mandatory form does ask if there are “specific problems” with drainage or basement water. That form also has a space requiring “legal, physical, or other” disclosures, though it is not clear if flooding would be included. A 1997 court ruling in Enright v. Jonassen held a seller partially responsible after he failed to disclose a floodplain designation after he was asked explicitly by the buyer about additional building restrictions on the property. ILLINOIS — GRADE: C Sellers must disclose in Illinois whether there has been flooding or leaking in a basement, or whether it is located in a flood plain or currently has flood insurance. Sellers must also disclose if the property has “earth stability defects.” Licensed real estate agents must also disclose “latent material adverse facts pertaining to the physical condition of the property that are actually known by the licensee and that could not be discovered by a reasonably diligent inspection,” but cannot be held liable for passing on false information from a client if they did not have “actual knowledge the information was false.” INDIANA — GRADE: C Sellers in Indiana must disclose if there is any damage to the property due to “wind, flood, termites or rodents,” along with floodplain designations and current flood insurance. That mandatory form also includes “hazardous conditions,” including mine shafts or radioactive material on site. IOWA — GRADE: C Iowa does have mandatory disclosures, though how they are presented can vary. A recommended form requires sellers to disclose past flooding, drainage, grading issues, or floodplain designations, along with “water or other problems” in the basement or foundation. Iowa law specifically allows sellers to draw up their own disclosure form as long as it “contain[s] at a minimum the information required by” the recommended form, and complies generally with state statutes. NAR guidance warns that “no particular language is required provided all mandatory items are included” in a disclosure. KANSAS — GRADE: F Kansas generally requires that a seller discloses “[a]ny environmental hazards affecting the property which are required by law to be disclosed.” This does not explicitly mention flooding or any other natural disaster, though according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), courts have provided some precedent that sellers can be held responsible for certain material omissions, which might include flooding. In the 2013 court case Stechschulte v. Jennings, which involved a seller who had misrepresented repairs he made to windows—leaving behind a can of paint expressly designed to conceal water damage that buyers discovered—the court ruled the seller could be held liable. The seller’s real estate agent, who was also his fiance could be held liable as well, the court ruled, even though she did not live in the home at the time and claimed she had no direct knowledge of leaks or flooding. KENTUCKY — GRADE: C Kentucky requires mandatory disclosure of “draining, flooding, or grading,” as well as its flood hazard designation and flood insurance. It also requires sellers to disclose nearby bodies of water adjoining the property. Kentucky also sets specific sanctions against licensed real estate agents who do not disclose these things, including revoking licenses and levying fines of up to $1,000. LOUISIANA — GRADE: A As a state that has seen some of the worst flooding disasters in recent memory, Louisiana’s disclosures are extensive. The state’s mandatory disclosure form includes any past “flooding, water intrusion, accumulation or drainage problem” as well as its nature and frequency. This information must be provided for every structure on the property, and explicitly includes the time period before the seller owned the property. Flood designations and hazard zones must be disclosed, and the seller must also provide the source and date for these designations—FEMA flood maps, surveys or other third-party oversight. Whether the property is in a wetland, or even has a pending wetland designation, must also be included in the form. Apart from floods, sellers must also disclose “property damage, including, but not limited to, fire, wind, hail, lightning,” that occurred both before and during the seller’s ownership of the property. MAINE — GRADE: F Maine has no mandatory disclosure form, and state statute simply states that that sellers “shall disclose in a timely manner to a prospective buyer all material defects pertaining to the physical condition of the property of which the seller agent knew or, acting in a reasonable manner, should have known” without mentioning floods. Seller’s agents are “not obligated to discover latent defects in the property,” and cannot be held liable if they pass on false information that was provided by a client. The 1999 court case Kezer v. Mark Stimson Assocs. held that sellers and their agents could not be held liable for failing to disclose neighborhood environmental hazards that had not significantly affected the property in question. MARYLAND — GRADE: D While Maryland does have a mandatory disclosure form, the only flood-related item asks if the property is located in a “flood zone, conservation area, wetland area, [or] Chesapeake Bay critical area.” The form also asks for the disclosure of “material defects,” though whether that applies to flooding or flood damage is not explicit. MASSACHUSETTS — GRADE: F State statute requires that a seller “disclose known material defects in real property” but provides no other guidance on floods and no mandatory form. In 2008, the Massachusetts Supreme Court case Grossman v. Pouy saw a seller leave blank sections on a voluntary disclosure form related to roof and other structural deficiencies when the roof needed to be immediately replaced and walls were filled with mold and rodents. The court in this case found that failure to disclose serious defects that rose to the level of fraud could render sellers liable. MICHIGAN — GRADE: C Michigan does have mandatory disclosures, including for flood insurance, drainage or grading issues, and any “major damage to the property from fire, wind, floods or landslides.” Interestingly, the state explicitly allows counties or towns to add their own additional forms or disclosures, meaning some areas have potentially more stringent flood disclosure requirements for sellers or their agents. MINNESOTA — GRADE: D Though Minnesota does not have a mandatory disclosure form, state statute requires that a licensed real estate agent “disclose to a prospective purchaser all material facts of which the licensee is aware, which could adversely and significantly affect an ordinary purchaser’s use or enjoyment of the property, or any intended use of the property of which the licensee is aware.” According to NAR, this would include flooding or flood damage. Ghost hunters, however, will be disappointed to learn that Minnesota explicitly exempts sellers from disclosing if there was any “perceived paranormal activity” on the property. MISSISSIPPI — GRADE: A Boasting one of the most comprehensive mandatory flood disclosure laws alongside Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, Mississippi requires sellers to detail, including dates and descriptions, of “damage to any portion of the physical structure resulting from fire, windstorm, hail, tornados, hurricane or any other natural disaster.” Additionally, the form asks for any “malfunction or defects” with windows or other infrastructure related to leaking. Flood plan hazard designations, including the FEMA map number must be disclosed, as well as current flood insurance and the price of the current premium. If the property has experienced standing water in the yard for more than 48 yards after a rain, that must also be disclosed. Sellers must also detail any water damage regardless of source or reason, as well as steps taken to remedy those issues. MISSOURI — GRADE: F There are no mandatory flood disclosures or required forms in Missouri. Though licensed real estate agents must “disclose to any customer all adverse material facts actually known or that should have been known by the licensee,” they also “owe no duty to conduct an independent inspection or discover any adverse material facts for the benefit of the customer.” In Keefhaver v. Kimbrell—a 2001 court case in which a buyer accused a seller of understating flood risk and basement leaks—the court ruled in favor of the buyer, even though she had only spent 30 minutes on the property before making an offer and waived her right to an inspection. The buyer was entitled to rely on the seller’s representations, the court ruled, due to their superior knowledge of facts that were “latent and…not easily ascertainable.” MONTANA — GRADE: F Though there are no mandatory forms or disclosures required of sellers, Montana state statute dictates that sellers must disclose “adverse material facts,” and defines those as “a fact that should be recognized by a broker or salesperson as being of enough significance as to affect a person’s decision to enter into a contract to buy or sell real property.” At the same time, a licensed real estate agent must “ascertain all pertinent facts concerning each property in any transaction…so that the licensee may fulfill the obligation to avoid error, exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment of pertinent facts.” A 2015 court ruling in Rutterud v. Gilbraith stated that that a real estate agent could not be held liable for failing to investigate a mold problem caused by known flooding under that law. NEBRASKA — GRADE: C State law requires sellers to provide a written statement that “substantially” follows the format of a standard disclosure form, which includes whether the property is in a flood hazard zone, a “floodway,” or if there are any “flooding, drainage or grading problems.” The law also requires disclosure of “adverse material facts,” which NAR states would likely include other flood or natural disaster related issues. NEVADA — GRADE: C Nevada requires a mandatory disclosure form for sellers that includes “previous or current moisture conditions and/or water damage,” along with “drainage, flooding, water seepage or high-water table.” Sellers must also disclose floodplain designations, along with “earth stability” and other landslide or earthquake-related issues. NEW HAMPSHIRE — GRADE: F The “Live Free or Die” state unsurprisingly has minimal requirements for seller disclosures around flooding. Real estate agents must disclose “material physical, regulatory, mechanical or on-site environmental condition[s] affecting the subject property of which the licensee has actual knowledge,” but the law explicitly states that it “shall not create an affirmative obligation on the part of the licensee to investigate material defects.” Snierson v. Scruton, a 2000 court Supreme Court Case, ruled that a seller who used a voluntary disclosure form could still be held liable for fraud and negligent misrepresentation over septic tank leaching, even though that form “expressly warned that it did not constitute a warranty and was not a substitute for a buyer’s inspection.” The buyer still had to prove, however, that the seller demonstrated “conscious indifference to [the] truth with the intention to cause another to rely upon it.” NEW JERSEY — GRADE: F New Jersey’s code requires licensed real estate agents to provide a disclosure form that includes whether the property has flood or drainage problems or is located in a flood hazard. Agents are also specifically empowered to add or request more disclosures when appropriate, and are exempted from liability if they made a “reasonable and diligent inquiry” to discover if information given to them by a seller was false. There is no requirement that unlicensed sellers provide this disclosure. The 1974 court case Weintraub v. Krobatsch held a seller and their agent responsible for not disclosing a cockroach infestation, which the FEMA panel posited could also apply to non-disclosure of flooding. NEW MEXICO — GRADE: F New Mexico requires licensed agents and brokers to disclose “any adverse material facts actually known by the associate broker or qualifying broker about the property or the transaction,” but makes no mention of flood or disasters and has no mandatory forms. A 1984 court ruling in Gouveia v. Citicorp Person-to-Person Fin. Ctr., Inc. determined a broker could be held liable in a case where a property was listed as “All Top Shape” despite the fact that parts of the home had no foundation, could not be heated and had other major structural deficiencies. In this case, the broker had not even interacted directly with the buyer, but had simply provided a description of the property to an MLS. NEW YORK — GRADE: F New York’s mandatory flood disclosure law has an odd loophole: the penalty for not including the disclosure form is a paltry $500 credit due at closing. Both NAR and FEMA found that many attorneys have advised home sellers to simply pay this penalty rather than disclose potentially deal-sinking information about standing water on the property, historic flooding issues or floodplain designations. A bill currently stalled in the state legislature would repeal the $500 penalty system and add significant new flood disclosure requirements. Simply paying the penalty, however, does not exempt a seller or agent from being held liable for “active concealment of a defect,” according to the 2018 court case Pesce v. Leimsider, in which a seller allegedly concealed water damage during a sale and inspection. Another court case in 2005 (Gabberty v Pisarz) in which a seller withheld information about chronic basement flooding ruled that a buyer can be awarded damages when there is a “willful failure” to disclose these things. NORTH CAROLINA — GRADE: D North Carolina does have a mandatory disclosure form that asks narrowly if the property is “subject to a flood hazard or…located in a federally-designated flood hazard area.” It also asks about water seepage or standing water in the basement, but does not require any disclosures related to flood damage or historic flooding. NORTH DAKOTA — GRADE: C State statute in North Dakota requires significant disclosures around flooding, including whether it was ever damaged by a flood, has drainage issues or is in a flood zone. It also asks whether the property has been “damaged by fire, smoke, wind, floods, hail, snow, frozen pipes or broken water line…condensation or ice buildup,” and requires explanations for those issues. A 1985 court case (Holcomb v. Zinke) also explicitly exempted certain real estate transactions from the “buyer beware” doctrine of common law, ruling that “passive concealment” by a seller could constitute fraud. OHIO — GRADE: C A mandatory Ohio disclosure form asks if there are previous or current water leaks, rain gutter issues, water accumulation, moisture, or other material damage related to flooding or any other water intrusion. Fire or smoke damage is also included, and any mitigation or repairs over the last five years to address these things must also be divulged. It also requires disclosure of historic flooding, as well as if the property is in a designated floodplain or Lake Erie Coastal Erosion Zone. OKLAHOMA — GRADE: A Any seller who has occupied a property in Oklahoma must fill out a mandatory disclosure form and must disclose a variety of specific flood zone designations, flood insurance, historic flooding and interior leakage or drainage issues. They must also disclose “major fire, tornado, hail, earthquake or wind damage.” An additional stipulation requires licensed real estate agents to disclose property defects they know of that are not stated on the seller’s disclosure form, and they can be disciplined by the state if they fail to do so. OREGON — GRADE: C Oregon has a mandatory form that must be proactively delivered to each person that makes an offer on a property. That disclosure includes whether there has been “material damage to the property or any of the structure from fire, wind, floods, beach movements, earthquake, expansive soils or landslides.” There are also questions as to floodplain designation or “geologic hazard zone.” There is no requirement to disclose flood insurance mandates, though the form does advise buyers that any floodplain designation could result in the need for insurance. PENNSYLVANIA — GRADE: C A mandatory form in Pennsylvania asks sellers about leaky roofs, basement leakage or dampness or repairs to mitigate those issues. It also requires floodplain disclosure, as well as past or present flooding issues affecting the property generally. RHODE ISLAND — GRADE: D Rhode Island mandates certain disclosures without providing a form. Among the required information is the vague directive that sellers include “Basement (Seepage, Leaks, Cracks, etc.)” along with “Flood Plain (Flood Insurance)” and  “Fire,” without further defining what any of this means. Location of nearby wetlands, or if the property is on wetlands, must also be disclosed. . A 2003 court ruling in Stebbins v. Wells, involving undisclosed severe erosion on a coastal property, stated that sellers and their agents could be held liable for “passive concealment” in some circumstances and explicitly pushed back against the “buyer beware” doctrine. SOUTH CAROLINA — GRADE: C South Carolina’s mandatory disclosure form includes specific statutory language requiring sellers to report flood problems, flood hazards or designations, all FEMA claims and the dates they were filed, as well as current flood insurance. Fire, smoke or other water “problems” must be divulged as well. It also requires a real estate agent to disclose known “adverse facts” about the property even if the seller omitted them. South Carolina also explicitly allows waiving all these disclosure requirements as long as both parties agree to do so in writing. Certain time-sharing and vacation home plans are also exempt from disclosure. SOUTH DAKOTA — GRADE: C South Dakota has a mandatory disclosure form laid out in state statute that includes “water penetration” issues, standing water on the property, roof leaks and any water damage that was repaired or not repaired. Sellers must also disclose previous flood insurance claims made on the property. TENNESSEE — GRADE: B Tennessee offers a disclosure form that is technically not mandatory, but state statute warns that any real estate transaction must include all items and provisions laid out in that form. Those items and provisions include “flooding, drainage, or grading problems,” flood insurance requirements, and property damage from fire, earthquakes, floods or landslides, as well as if that damage has been repaired. Sellers must also disclose any recent surveys conducted of the property, which could include information about flooding or flood risk. TEXAS — GRADE: A A state that has seen more than its share of flooding and disasters, Texas’s disclosure laws require comprehensive declarations regarding flooding and other adverse natural events. Water damage, fire damage, flooding from a “controlled or emergency release” of a reservoir, or from natural flood event, and six specific floodplain designations must all be disclosed by law. Sellers must also divulge current flood insurance and past flood insurance claims. Additionally, the law explicitly allows a buyer to terminate a contract if the seller does not provide the mandatory disclosures when entering into a purchase agreement. UTAH — GRADE: F With no flood or mandatory disclosure rules, Utah only generally asks real estate agents to divulge “known material facts” regarding “a defect in the property.” A 2002 court case involving a real estate agent who was selling property owned by her husband found that the agent and her brokerage were liable for failing to disclose “chocolate pudding-like” mud that made the land untenable for development. VERMONT — GRADE: F There are no mandatory flood disclosure forms or requirements in Vermont. A state statute regarding “unprofessional conduct” by licensed real estate agents allows the state to discipline those who fail “to fully disclose…all material facts within the licensee’s knowledge concerning the property being sold.” A 1998 court case (Carter v. Gugliuzzi) held a seller’s brokerage responsible for failing to disclose regular dangerous wind on a property, even though the broker was only aware of this fact because he happened to live in the area. VIRGINIA — GRADE: F The FEMA panel excoriated Virginia’s flood disclosure laws as “the opposite of buyer friendly.” While the state does have a mandatory disclosure form, that form explicitly exonerates the seller from disclosing flood-related items and warns the buyer to “exercise whatever due diligence they deem necessary” to learn about flood risks, flooding or flood designations on the property. An update to the relevant statute scheduled to go into effect in 2022 will “make available” a flood information sheet to buyers that speaks generally about flooding and insurance requirements under federal law. In the 2015 court case Devine v. Buki, a seller was held liable for fraudulently lying about leaks and water damage in the foundation of a 200-year-old house, with a judge rescinding the sale and awarding the buyer $100,000 in attorney’s fees. WASHINGTON — GRADE: C Washington’s disclosure rules are applied differently to “improved” residential real estate—properties that have a structure or structures on them—and “unimproved” properties that do not. For both types of properties, sellers must disclose flooding events, material damage from “floods, beach movements, earthquake, expansive soils or landslides” and “shorelines, wetlands, floodplains or critical areas” on the property. “Improved” properties must also include basement flooding events, while “unimproved” properties must specifically disclose federal floodplain designations. WEST VIRGINIA — GRADE: F West Virginia does not even have a state law that generally governs real estate disclosures—though at least two have been introduced by the legislature since 1996. Thacker v. Tyree, a 1982 court case provided some precedent that “defects or conditions which substantially affect the value or habitability of the property” must be disclosed by a seller, and another court case (Darrisaw v. Old Colony Realty Co.) in 1997 applied that doctrine in part to a home with an undivulged “high water problem.” That ruling added that a misrepresentation like this must be proven a “substantial factor in inducing the purchaser to buy the property” in order to hold the seller liable. WISCONSIN — GRADE: D Wisconsin has two mandatory disclosure forms: one for vacant land containing no buildings, and one for property with dwelling units. The form dealing with inhabited structures only asks if the property is in a floodplain, wetland or shoreland zoning area, along with a specific question about basement defects which “may include items such as flooding.” The vacant land disclosure form includes the same floodplain disclosures, but additionally asks if the property has suffered “material damage from fire, wind, flood, earthquake, expansive soil, erosion or landslide,” or if there is “water diversion, water intrusion or other irritants emanating from neighboring property.” WYOMING —GRADE: F With no mandatory form or flood disclosures, licensed real estate agents must still disclose “adverse material facts actually known by the licensee” to buyers, including “material defects in the property and any environmental hazards.” In the 2006 court case Reed v. Cloninger the court stated that buyers could pursue legal claims against real estate agents “for misrepresenting the condition of the property, provided they knew or reasonably should have known of the defect.” Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post Flood and Disaster Disclosures: Law, Precedent and Grades for All 50 States appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 21st, 2021

Top stories this AM: Read the letter Evergrande"s chairman sent to 125,000 employees; American Samoa records its first COVID-19 case

In the letter, the chairman of beleaguered Chinese real-estate giant Evergrande said the company would soon "walk out of the darkness." Good morning and welcome to your weekday morning roundup of the top stories you need to know.For more daily and weekly briefings, sign up for our newsletters here.What's going on today:Read the letter the chairman of Evergrande sent to 125,000 employees. In the letter, Xu Jiayin, the chairman of beleaguered Chinese real-estate giant Evergrande, encouraged employees to unite in the face of adversity and said the company would soon "walk out of the darkness." The Shenzhen-headquartered company has more than $305 billion in liabilities - more than any other company in the world.Justin Trudeau is projected to keep his seat. Canadian networks CTV and CBC have projected that Trudeau's Liberal Party will win to form a minority government in the country's 44th general election. Results are still being tallied.American Samoa records its first COVID-19 case. The US territory in the Pacific had recorded zero COVID-19 case throughout the entire pandemic. That changed on September 16, when a traveler flew into the island from Hawaii and tested positive during quarantine. Gabby Petito's mom says she was "concerned" by the last text she got from her daughter. A search warrant signed by a Florida judge shows Petito's mom, Nichole Schmidt, was concerned about the last text she received from Petito. The text referred to Petito's grandfather by his first name, but Schmidt told authorities Petito never called him by his first name.Harvey Weinstein can't see or walk, his lawyer says. On Monday, disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to grand jury indictments of sexual assault and battery. When asked about Weinstein's health, attorney Mark Werksman said Weinstein "can't walk and he can't see," in reference to Weinstein needing a wheelchair and eye surgery. That's all for now - see you next week.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham dismissed Rudy Giuliani"s election-fraud arguments as the work of a third-grader, book says

Though Graham had shown himself receptive to Trump's voter fraud claims, he was reportedly unimpressed when presented with a dossier of evidence. Sen. Lindsey Graham with President Donald Trump at the White House in January 2019. Alex Wong/Getty Images Lindsey Graham was reportedly unimpressed with Rudy Giuliani's voter-fraud arguments. He described them as "third grade", according to a new book, 'Peril', by Woodward and Costa. Graham ultimately voted to certify Joe Biden's victory over Trump on January 6. See more stories on Insider's business page. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina described Rudy Giuliani's arguments that the 2020 election had been tainted by mass fraud as suitable for the "third grade," according to extracts of the new Bob Woodward book "Peril."The anecdote was published by The Washington Post the latest in a string of explosive revelations from "Peril." The book, which Woodward co-wrote with Robert Costa, describes the chaotic end of the Trump administration.According to the extract Graham, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, met Giuliani in the White House on January 2 to see what evidence they had assembled to advance their baseless claims of fraud.At the meeting, Giuliani discussed the election fraud evidence which he claimed could secure Trump a second term. The meeting was reportedly convened in the West Wing office of Mark Meadows, Donald Trump's chief of staff. Per the extract, a data official working for Giuliani said that the level of support shown for Joe Biden in some areas was unrealistic. Graham, though, was reportedly unimpressed. "Give me some names," Graham reportedly said. "You need to put it in writing. You need to show me the evidence."Several days later Giuliani's team are said to have sent dossiers of evidence to Graham's office, which the senator passed to Lee Holmes, the top attorney on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Graham chairs. Holmes thought the evidence was unpersuasive, and was unable to even establish that some of the source material even existed. "Holmes found the sloppiness, the overbearing tone of certainty, and the inconsistencies disqualifying," the authors write, according to the Post. The memos, he determined, "added up to nothing."Privately, Graham's assessment was withering, according to the authors, saying the arguments were suitable for the "third grade."Graham was among the Republican members of Congress who'd been receptive to Trump's voter fraud claims.He even contacted Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in November to discuss blocking the certification of some postal votes. But ultimately Graham voted to certify Biden's election January 6, in a vote that was disrupted by the Capitol riot, when Trump supporters attacked Congress. "Count me out. Enough is enough. I've tried to be helpful," said Graham on the Senate floor, distancing himself from the campaign to overturn the election. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 21st, 2021

NY attorney general"s office opens criminal tax investigation into Trump Organization CFO: CNN

The news comes one day after the New York attorney general's office said its investigation into the Trump Org.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMay 19th, 2021