Dead Solid Pluperfect

A Hot Buttered Guff™ Production

Arbortext Accounting Fraud #46: The Toad Ride Ends

Chapter Forty-Six

The Toad Ride Ends

 

The day before our Response to Parametric’s Motion was due, we received an email from Palizzi containing a document which he wanted us to sign in return for him allowing Mark Robinson to release to us the material in his files that had so far, in defiance of the Arbitrator’s orders, been withheld.

The document was a legal paper entitled “Stipulated Protective Order.”

Palizzi tried to foist this off as just some ordinary legal horseradish necessary so he could promptly release the suppressed evidence to us. The fact that he waited until the next to last day of our filing deadline to fling his foist was a bit comical. Apparently, he felt that we were so desperate to get this info that we would quickly sign the document and then spend the final day of our filing hastily rewriting our whole Response in light of the new evidence.

Which proved two things. One, he thought we were idiots. Two, he didn’t understand much about the case. Sitting on his desk under his nose was all the evidence of fraud that we had needed for our Response. Of course, he probably wasn’t paying a fly’s attention span to the facts of the case. All he had been hired to do was squash it – whatever the heck the whole thing was about.

His foist impressed Mary and I so much that, after some polite tittering, and a quick skim through, we tossed the paper into a corner. It was only after we had finished our filing, emailed it to Hannah Cook, and returned to our humble abode in the Rhinoceros Palace that we read it.

What a sneaky little boy you are, Mr. Palizzi. Carefully threaded throughout the Order was the all encompassing attempt to place every piece of evidence and all arbitration proceedings – past, present, and future – under a strict Confidential seal. Never to be spoken of or revealed to the public. Had we signed it, you would not now be reading about this case of Accounting Fraud and Audit Cover Up.

The old Smoke Filled Back Room ploy. Parametric sure didn’t want anybody to ever get wind of this case. Even though there was no case, according to them, and they were innocent as lambs. Not to the point they would welcome that the case be heard so they could be resoundingly exonerated, of course.

Judicial courts are indeed alien realms, hell bent on ticky-tacking over precisely worded ambiguities and loop hole options at the utter expense of obvious reality. Parametric knew it owed us money, acted like it owed us money, and was choosing to wiggle out of the debt on a technicality. The Arbitrator knew this from the second Palizzi adopted his dispositive strategy. And we knew it. If there were 600 people in the court room, all 600 would know it, too. Making the entire effort allowed by Humphrey nothing more than a ridiculous and woeful sham. For the sole purpose of allowing a billion dollar corporation to stiff two people out of their rightful earnings. Entertaining the thought of strictly and brutally enforcing one single part of one single clause in the Contract which immensely favored Parametric/Arbortext, while blissfully ignoring the multitude of other clauses in the Contract that Arbortext had systematically, ruthlessly, intentionally, and criminally violated for 84 consecutive months.

Nevertheless, we felt our evidence could not be ignored and the next three weeks crawled by with our hopes at an all time high. Finally, on April 4, 2007, Mary dialed in for the conference call with the Arbitrator which would wrap up the matter of Palizzi’s Motion. Ms. Humphrey had promised to give her ruling two days later.

The phone call lasted nearly three hours.

Mary emerged from the RV at long last, sat down next to me on the swing, and burst into tears.

I waited till she was done. In the past five years, I had gradually become adept at receiving bad news with numb impassivity. A far, far cry from the me that had once so long existed on the brink of raw emotional eruption.

“What happened?” I asked quietly.

“It was horrible. She practically ignored me.”

“What did Palizzi say?”

“He wasn’t there any more. It was someone else. A woman named Kristen Spano. A really snotty lady.”

“That’s weird.”

“She and Humphrey spent practically the whole time talking about Parametric’s side of the case and what was the proper way to rule according to FRCP regulations.”

“What the hell is FRCP?”

“The Federal Rules for Civil Procedures. They govern district and federal court proceedings. They don’t govern arbitration proceedings, though. They shouldn’t even be discussed. Kathryn Humphrey is going to rule against us. I just know it. She postponed giving a ruling now like she promised. She wants us to submit some more briefs.”

“Briefs about what?”

“How she should rule. Can you believe that. She’s asking both of us how she should rule. She also wondered out loud if either side would accept her ruling without appealing it. But the worst part was when I butted in at one point after she and Spanos had been talking for what seemed like forever. I started off with an apology for not being a lawyer. Before I could say what I wanted to say, Humphrey said ,‘That’s all right. We expected that.’”

We? As in her and Spanos? Like they’d been talking to each other before the conference call?”

“You’re getting the picture. It popped out of her mouth really fast.”

So that’s how it was going to be. Five years and every dime in our lives and everything we owned to bring our case before an Arbitrator and the wretched little woman was going to refuse to hear it.

Yecchh.

Mary and I dutifully filed our briefs explaining to Kathryn J. Humphrey, Michigan Lawyer of the year 2006, what an Arbitrator’s job responsibilities were. Duh! We dial into a conference call to get her ruling and she says she doesn’t know what or how to rule. Baloney had now achieved mythical proportions in our lives.

See Exhibit AD and Exhibit AE for our responses to her. We did not mention in them that an Arbitrator was supposed to find an EQUITABLE solution, even if that required bending a few FRCP rules. She knew this was an Arbitration guideline item. Pointing it out might seem insulting, or worse, like we were begging. We preferred to leave the begging to Spano and Parametric.

Then we waited. And waited. And waited. After three phone calls from Hannah Cook requesting the status of Humphrey’s final ruling, the first two of which were ignored or put off, fully three and a half months later, on July 13, 2007, Kathryn J. Humphrey dismissed our case. See Exhibit AF for her ruling. Have puke bowl handy.

She was required under Arbitration rules to deliver a ruling in 30 days or less. Apparently, it wasn’t enough entertainment for her to simply ruin us by sweeping under the rug the blatantly fraudulent actions of two corporations; she felt compelled to torture us also. And thumb her nose at the Arbitration Association’s toothless guidelines and administration.

Regarding the evidence of continuous and long running Fraud which we have painstakingly detailed, Kathryn J. Humphrey ruled that even though this evidence was discovered with her permission and approval (see our Exhibit T), and occurred under her watch and in her “court room,” and was a critical component of the Audit that she referenced as the starting point of the clock she used to torpedo us, it was beyond her scope to consider any of it.

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, MS. HUMPHREY!!!!!!!!! What system of judicial Logic are you employing here? First you allow evidence to be introduced, then you say you can’t look at it. This isn’t an Arbitration Court or an FRCP Court. I believe the correct term is Kangaroo Court.

And oh, by the way, Ms. Humphrey concluded that the email that Arbortext had used as a pretext for all the various royalty calculations over the entire history of the contract was NOT VALID. Meaning Blueberry had not ever been paid properly. And since this was the first time this email issue had ever been officially questioned, it was “timely” and the interpretation of the contract could now be decided by an Arbitrator. That’s you, Kathryn. You can decide what we should have been paid for the past seven years. And most certainly for the past ONE year provided by the contract clause you are using to dismiss the entirety of our arbitration case. A year in which, by your ruling, Parametric has not paid Blueberry proper royalties.

I guess making fair and unbiased rulings is just “outside your scope” Kathryn. The only scope you seem to have developed in your life is protecting rich thieves from any sort of culpability.

July 13 had two “coincidental” items of significance. It turned the page on one more entire year of liability for Arbortext since the contract signing date had been July 12, 2000. And it also coincided with Mark Robinson’s departure from Plante Moran, either voluntarily relinquishing his partnership status – or perhaps involuntarily. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. Right? After a career working for both KPMG and Plante Moran, Robinson now had his own consulting agency. Need some shady audits? He’s your man.

Ray Schiavone had oozed off sideways to become the CEO of Quark and had “quietly” brought along some former Arbortext personnel such as Jim Haggarty and P. G. Bartlett. I’d advise the public to take his company pronouncements with a large grain of salt.

Dave Peralta had moved his “independent auditor” dictionaries and fear of audits across town to NanoBio Corporation in Ann Arbor, where he was now Vice President, COO, and CFO. Nothing like presiding over some wholesale Fraud to provide career opportunities and advancement.

Jimmy “The Crook” Sterken continued his massive assault on malignant phoniness by becoming the Treasurer and Vice President of the Board of Directors of Habitat For Humanity of Huron Valley. He still maintained his title as VP of Engineering at Arbortext, but now had his hands firmly on another set of funds. Might want to keep your eye on the books, Habitat people. Don’t want any funds leaking out the back door into a BMW glove compartment.

The irony of Sterken’s new public image of concern for people’s habitats, while showing none for mine or Mary’s, was not lost upon us. Perhaps he had experienced a spiritual awakening. Even Remorse! Okay, nada on that last thought. Nada on both, actually, since he hadn’t yet bothered to pay us what he owed us and had let three corporations and quite a cast of co-conspirators pay the price of shame and infamy for helping to cover up his criminal behavior rather than rectify his wrong doing and accept responsibility for turning out to be such a louse . What a guy. Go Jimmy! You da man.

The American Arbitration Association. What a hoax. Kathryn J. Humphrey should never be allowed to disgrace this organization again. Get her off the Arbitrator list. Now.  And get some “guidelines” that an Arbitrator can’t simply ignore. And if someone doesn’t get to arbitrate their case, have the decency to refund their money.

And dear sweet Parametric, perhaps you really didn’t know how crooked Arbortext was, and in particular how crooked Jim Sterken was, when you acquired them. If so, I hope this story has enlightened you and motivates you to do the right thing and pay us what you owe us.

As for Mary and myself, we have a new life now – smaller, more humble than the one we had before. But gone are the lawyers, the courts, the corporations, the constant ugliness, and the endless assault on sanity and wallet. The wondrous road of life is once again open and safe to travel. And we still have our swing.

During our long battle with the forces of white collar crime, we received a lot of empathy – but usually with the telltale shake of the head that indicated we were crazy to fight City Hall. They would crush us. And they had. No doubt about it.

Neither one of us, however, regretted our choice. If one’s life wasn’t worth fighting for, then one’s life wasn’t worth much. And neither of us saw our lives as too worthless to bother defending, or too precious to risk the consequences.

“We gave them one heck of a fight, didn’t we?” Mary said, as we sat on the swing one night, feeling the anger and outrage ebb away into the mists of time.

“We certainly did, Ollie,” I said. “We certainly did indeed. And we beat them, too.”

“Get real. They walloped us.”

“They had to cheat, though. It’s not a victory if you cheat.”

“This wasn’t a football game, Steve. We lost our house and all of our money.”

“But we proved they were crooks. Nobody believed us at first. Now they do. All of them.”

“I wish they’d just paid us what they owed us. That’s all we ever asked.”

“What do you think all that spooky Saia stuff meant?”

“Exactly what it was. No more, no less.”

“Trust in my son Jesus?”

“That’s what the message was.”

“I guess we weren’t supposed to prosper and become philanthropists then.”

“I guess not.”

“Rats. I kinda liked that ending.”

“Maybe you’ll like the one that’s ahead even more.”

 

There are eight hundred million stories in the Naked Blog. This has been one of them.

 

THE END

(maybe)

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September 23, 2008 - Posted by | Business, Law, Stories | , , , , , ,

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