Willie Gary: Con Artist
And Crook Par Excellence
Attorney Willie E. Gary, based in Stuart, Florida, is a con artist and a crook. He ranks among the worst of what the legal profession has to offer. He is dishonest, immoral and a fraudster. Perhaps earlier in life he was decent and honest. That is no longer the case. Despite the slogan, "Trust The Team At The Willie Gary Law Firm," Gary and some of his colleagues, over the past 20 years, have defrauded numerous clients out of untold millions of dollars and prevented justice for large numbers of victims of racial and gender discrimination and other serious crimes.
On January 30, 2016, Gary, his partners Lorenzo Williams and Sekou Gary showed up in Flint, Michigan trying to drum up business to represent residents affected by the water crisis. As hundreds packed a community gathering at Quinn Chapel AME Church in Flint, a glitzy 4-page brochure promoting Willie Gary was being handed out stating: "Gary earned the reputation as 'The Giant Killer' by taking down some of America's most well-known corporate giants on behalf of his clients."
Four hundred attendees at the event were also handed a hard-hitting leaflet titled "WARNING: PROTECT FLINT FROM FURTHER HARM. KEEP PREDATORS LIKE WILLIE GARY OUT OF TOWN: Attorney Willie Gary Will Promise You Billions, Only to Cheat You Out of Millions!" The leaflet stated: "Countless victims of this predator describe how he has stolen settlement monies, forged documents, withheld evidence to throw cases and accepted expensive gifts from defendants he is suing in order to enrich himself, thus further victimizing those he is supposedly representing." This aspect of Gary's well-documented history has earned him the reputation as "The Client Killer" with a long list of former clients who more aptly describe him as disreputable, unethical and a disgrace to his profession.
Gary Caught Stealing $51.5 Million
From 42 Female Clients in Ford/Visteon Case
In 2005, forty-two female employees, who Gary had represented in sexual harassment cases against Ford Motor Company and Visteon Corporation (an automotive electronics supplier spun off from Ford Motor in 2000), sued Gary after learning that he had entered into a "secret Agreement" with Ford and Visteon and stolen more than $51.5 million of their settlement money.
The Michigan based law firm, Rundell & Nolan, worked with the Gary Law Firm on the Ford/Visteon case. In 2002, Debra Nolan joined the Gary Law Firm where she is now an associate attorney.
Upon leaving the Michigan law firm's office one day, lead plaintiff Patricia Harsen took a file she mistakenly thought was hers. In the file she discovered an accounting spreadsheet that contained information listing monies Gary had received in settlements with various companies. That's when she and the other Ford/Visteon plaintiffs learned Gary had received $51.5 million as partial payment to settle their case that they knew nothing about.
They then sued Willie Gary; his law firm, Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson & Sperando, P.C.; and partners Tricia Hoffler, Robert Parenti and Sekou Gary. Willie Gary settled after the judge ruled against his efforts to dismiss the case and plaintiffs attorneys aggressively pursued discovery. Gary and his co-defendants knew that they could not be deposed under oath because to tell the truth would prove their criminal activity and to commit perjury would likely lead to severe sanctions including heavy fines, disbarment and imprisonment. The spreadsheet and other sensitive documents remain filed under seal.
Charges made against the Gary scam team in the Ford/Visteon employees' complaint echo charges made by many other former Gary clients and include:
- failing to properly represent his clients
- reckless disregard of his clients' rights
- entering into impermissible conflict of interest relationships with defendant companies
- making secret side deals with defendants behind his client's back to enrich himself
- complete lack of disclosure of critical information from his clients
- failing to notify his clients promptly of all settlement offers
- embezzling his clients' funds
- stealing his clients' portion of the settlement
- charging his clients' excessive fees and inflating expenses
In ruling against Willie Gary, the judge stated:
"The Defendants [Willie Gary, Tricia Hoffler, Robert Parenti, Sekou Gary, and Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson & Sperando, P.C.] to this action formerly represented the Plaintiffs in several sexual harassment lawsuits filed against Company A and Company B [Ford & Visteon]. Ultimately, Defendants purportedly settled Plaintiffs' claims for $16 million of which Defendants allegedly took $6 million off the top as a separate fee owed them by Company A and/or Company B and retained 1/3 of the remaining $10 million on contingency. The remaining $6.7 million was divided among the 42 Plaintiffs in a structured settlement to be paid out in annuities over several years. Following the settlement, Plaintiff Harsen discovered, mixed in with other documents, a spreadsheet that references Defendants' $3,309,771.55 contingency fee, Defendants' $6 million fee for programs, and a $51.5 million line item for 'programmatic relief'...the Court is convinced that there is probable cause to believe that a fraud has been attempted or committed..."
The following excerpt from the judge's order granting sanctions against Gary and his law firm while denying sanctions against Ford/Visteon plaintiffs, gives credence to claims by former Gary clients that they have been subjected to threats when charging Gary with criminal conduct:
"Neither Defendants nor Plaintiffs settlement agreements advised Plaintiffs of the $51.5 million payment to Defendants. Moreover, upon inadvertently discovering the spreadsheet, Plaintiff Harsen immediately informed [Gary's colleague] Curt Rundell, who stated that, if Company A, Company B, or Willie Gary knew that Harsen had 'their case-closed files, with all that information, ...[Harsen] could find herself in a body bag.' After Harsen's husband asked Rundell what the $51.5 million was for upon handing Rundell the spreadsheet the following day, Rundell replied that 'the $51.5 million was money Willie [Gary] was to receive from ...[Company B] for programs.' When questioned whether this was legal, Rundell stated that' Willie [Gary] is doing things that no other attorney has thought of doing and, believe me, he has himself covered.'"
Gary and His Colleagues Modus Operandi: Making a Mockery Out of the Judicial System
Willie Gary could write the definitive lawyer's handbook on "How to Cheat and Steal From Your Clients." In his November 3, 2004 order, Judge Borman (U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division) denied the Gary defendants' motion for sanctions against plaintiffs and their counsel but granted sanctions against Gary and his co-defendants. The order describes some of the roadblocks Gary and his lawyers created to delay and avoid accountability for their criminal activity.
On November 23, 2003, attorneys for the 42 women plaintiffs served the Gary Law firm with a request for production of documents under the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. In that request, according to footnote 3 in the judge's order, "Plaintiffs sought, for inspection and photocopying, the production of any documents that are in the possession, custody, or control of Defendants' attorney that: 1) regard Plaintiffs as former clients of Defendants; 2) that evidence any money that Defendants received from Company A or from Company B from 2000 to the present, along with all form 1099s and W-2s that Defendants received from those companies during that time; 3) are agreements, deals, or contracts that Defendants entered into with Company A or any Company-A-affiliated entity and/or with Company B or any Company-B-affiliated entity from 2000 to the present."
Gary never served a written response, which by law he should have done within 30 days. Rather on December 2, 2003, Gary's counsel notified plaintiff's counsel that the requested documents totaling some 50 boxes (this was a lie) would be made available at defendants' offices in Florida for inspection and/or copying at a mutually convenient date and time. Beginning on that same day, plaintiffs' counsel repeatedly asked defendants' counsel to agree on a date only to be repeatedly stonewalled with one lame excuse after another.
Finally, on January 24, 2004, after seven weeks of wrangling whereby Gary lawyers rejected every date that plaintiffs proposed on the grounds that defendants were unavailable, Gary lawyers left a voice message for plaintiffs' counsel that the only time defendants had available was the week end of the Super Bowl, January 30th. Plaintiffs' counsel immediately responded and were told the records would be available for inspection on January 30-31. With the dates confirmed, four plaintiff attorneys from Michigan traveled to Gary's office in Florida where they were met by two representatives of a document copying company they had hired.
Gary's attorney was given a draft, as requested, of Plaintiffs' First Set of Interrogatories which consisted of ten questions and answers. He then left the conference room for eighty minutes to "cogitate" with defendants. Defendants Robert Parenti and Tricia Hoffler returned to the conference room with their defense attorney who made up some cockamamie reasons why they concluded plaintiff attorneys were not acting in good faith and thus would not be permitted to inspect any documents. After Plaintiffs' attorneys pointed out that Gary was violating Michigan law and the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, defendant Tricia Hoffler intervened, calling the meeting to an end and instructing plaintiffs' counsel to leave the office immediately!
Because of their indefensible behavior in refusing inspection of the documents by Plaintiffs' attorneys, the judge ordered the Gary defendants to pay Plaintiffs' attorneys $16,920.16 for fees and reimbursement of expenses.
Gary Deceives and Intimidates Clients So He Can Divide and Conquer and Defraud Them
Footnote 12 in the judge's order, among other things, pointed out that "Defendants Gary, Hoffler, and Sekou Gary of the Gary firm practiced law in Michigan for 7 months without being licensed to do so and without obtaining pro hac vice admittance because they intended to launch a scheme to settle the claims pre-trial...Defendants schemed to pressure Company A and Company B to settle quickly by increasing their potential exposure through the addition of many more plaintiffs, threats of negative media exposure, and the inclusion of allegations of race discrimination; Defendants minimally communicated with Plaintiffs between the time that Plaintiffs hired Rundell & Nolan in the Spring of 2002 and August 2002 when the settlement was announced..."
The footnote also described how the Gary firm sent a demand letter for $86 million on the Plaintiffs' behalf to Company A and Company B and then canceled a scheduled press conference in Detroit, Michigan on May 15, 2002, upon signing, on that same day, a confidentiality agreement with Company A followed by a second confidentiality agreement. Among other things, the confidentiality agreement provided "that the Gary firm would not solicit or accept any new clients who were employees of Company A or Company B for the purpose of pursuing good-faith negotiations and settlement with Company A for the specified period, and that Company A would offer a certain amount of money towards a global settlement (i.e. settle with multiple plaintiffs) of all claims that the Gary firm threatened."
Rundell & Nolan on June 13, 2002 and again on July 17, 2002, sent Plaintiffs mass mailings that mentioned the executed confidentiality agreement for the purpose of pursuing settlement discussions and referenced the inability of Plaintiffs' counsel to meet with or accept any new clients regarding Plaintiffs' claims. However, both mailings failed to disclose Company A's global settlement!
Footnote 12 further states:
In August of 2002, Plaintiffs' counsel summoned each of the Plaintiffs to Rundell & Nolan's office for an urgent meeting, each of which was scheduled in a short interval. During those meetings, at least one meeting of which each Defendant participated in, each Plaintiff learned of only the amount of money that she would receive from the settlement individually, but none learned of the total or collective amount of the settlements to all the Plaintiffs. Defendants informed Plaintiffs that Defendants could not reveal the percentages that their individual awards comprised in relation to the total settlement or what other Plaintiffs were individually offered.
Plaintiffs were cajoled into accepting their offers through a variety of comments, such as A) the deal is contingent upon everyone accepting and, if Plaintiff did not accept, no Plaintiff would receive any money, B) the offer is more than any Plaintiff has ever received for that type of claim, C) if Plaintiff does not accept, Plaintiffs' counsel will withdraw from further representation such that Plaintiff would have to retain another lawyer, D) if Plaintiff chooses to retain other counsel, Plaintiff must pay Plaintiffs' counsel for the work already performed such that, by the time that new counsel is paid for his or her work , no settlement money would remain, E) Plaintiff does not have a good case and would likely lose at trial, F) Every other Plaintiff is happy with her offer such that Plaintiff should be too, G) because of the statute of limitations, this offer is the most that Plaintiff can receive, and H) this offer is the most that Plaintiff will ever receive such that she should 'take it or leave it.'
The following week, Defendants instructed each Plaintiff to return to Rundell & Nolan's office to sign a forty-page Settlement Agreement with Company A. During these "signing" meetings, which lasted approximately fifteen minutes, Defendants never reviewed the agreements with any Plaintiff; Defendants prohibited Plaintiffs from leaving the office with the agreements or from seeking independent counsel's advice.
Upon signing the Settlement Agreements, Plaintiffs only knew of their individual settlement amounts; they did not know that Defendants [Willie Gary; his law firm, Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson & Sperando, P.C.; and partners Tricia Hoffler, Robert Parenti and Sekou Gary] had reached a $16 million global settlement with Company A on July 31, 2004; Defendants had taken $6 million off the top of that settlement; that Defendants had then taken another $3.3 million from the remaining $10 million as their 1/3rd contingency fee before dividing the remainder among Plaintiffs; the Defendants decided among themselves how to divide the remainder between Plaintiffs; and that Defendants had received another $51.5 million as part of that settlement package.
Willie Gary and his co-defendants, like attorneys who defrauded their clients in the diet drug fen-phen case, should have been disbarred and jailed for their criminal behavior in the Ford/Visteon case! In 2009, a federal judge in Kentucky sentenced two disbarred lawyers, William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham, Jr. to 25 and 20 years in prison; ordered them to pay $127 million in restitution to their victims and forfeit $30 million to the federal Government. The two attorneys, according to the Lexington Herald Leader (8/18/09), were convicted of "taking about $94 million from a $200 million fen-phen settlement that should have gone to their former clients..." The lawyers used the stolen riches to finance a lavish life-style which included expensive homes, cars, thoroughbred racehorses and entertainment at the expense of some 440 client-victims.
One victim, W.L. Carter, said, "The two-decade sentence will make any lawyer stop and think before taking money from a client...They have lived the high life at our expense." Carter told the judge that after he was given his settlement check, the attorneys told him that if he told anyone that he had gotten a settlement or the amount of the settlement, he could be fined or possibly go to jail. At the trial, prosecutors charged that "the lawyers directed their staff to tell the clients not to tell anyone about the settlement as a way to cover up the theft."
For more information on the corrupt activities of Willie Gary, his law firm and present and former partners, please visit www.TheClientKiller.org.
Willie Gary Formally Charged With Racketeering,
Fraud and Legal Malpractice 2015-2016
Willie Gary, his law firm and five of his present and former partners, including Lorenzo Williams and Sekou Gary and former partners Maria Sperando (Law Office of Maria P. Sperando in Stuart, Florida), Tricia Hoffler (Partner in Atlanta law firm Edmond, Lindsay & Hoffler) and disgraced former Atlanta Mayor Bill Campbell, were sued in federal court in Georgia for racketeering, fraud, legal malpractice and unjust enrichment in Rowe Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Willie E. Gary et al and could face those same charges in state court. The initial lawsuit was filed on March 13, 2015 in The United States District Court For The Northern District Of Georgia. Maria Sperando chose to represent herself while Gary and the others were represented as a group by outside counsel in filing motions to dismiss the lawsuit.
Kori Searcy, Mr. Gary's public relations director, was quoted in The Stuart News (3/19/15) stating that Mr. Rowe's lawsuit is "an extortion plot..." Plaintiffs immediately responded in a press release: "Since extortion is a state and federal crime, Mr. Gary should call on the police and FBI to arrest Mr. Rowe and everyone working on his case..."
In her filing with the court, the belligerent Ms. Sperando claimed: "The Plaintiffs are making the most horrific allegations against the undersigned that one can make against an attorney--betrayal of one's own client for money...Not content to allow the judicial system to resolve their allegations of misconduct against the Defendants, the Plaintiffs have engaged in the most vile, libelous, slanderous and destructive publicity campaign against the Defendants on the internet and in the media..."
Ms. Sperando added: "Ray Rogers" emailed a letter to the defendants and wrote: 'your outlandish behavior against many of your clients merits your disbarment and imprisonment...You can choose to recognize and correct the errors of the past...or be disgraced, probably face disbarment, heavy fines and restitution, and many years in prison. Simply put, you can opt for justice or public and professional humiliation...It would have been easy enough to say, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do' as the ravings of a lunatic were it not for the fact that Mr. Rogers published this letter on the internet by means of a 'news release' on April 21, 2015. Indeed, he has published numerous 'news releases' on the internet and has sent them via email to an untold number of people — including most particularly some in the legal community — viciously disparaging the Defendants, including the undersigned, and accusing them of 'defrauding clients out of millions of dollars' and 'embezzling clients funds...'"
Events Leading Up to Legal Action Against Willie Gary et al
Racial discrimination against black promoters became so intolerable that a group of them formed the Black Promoters Association in 1996. Leonard Rowe became its president. Entertainment industry leaders, The William Morris Agency and Creative Artists Agency (CAA), made sure that no black promoters ever got a contract to promote any white performers and made it near impossible for black promoters to promote any major black talent.
Frustrated by the industry's refusal to end its racially exclusionary business practices, and finding it difficult to earn a living, a group of black promoters led by Mr. Rowe filed a landmark race discrimination and antitrust lawsuit, Rowe Entertainment, Inc. et al v. The William Morris Agency, Inc. et al (aka "Civil Rights Action") on November 19, 1998, in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Eight booking agencies and twenty-six concert promoters, essentially all the booking agencies and white promoters in the concert business, were being sued.
On June 30, 2000, Plaintiffs received the judge's opinion and order. They had prevailed on all counts against the defendants on the Motion To Dismiss. Realizing more legal help was needed, Mr. Rowe, after seeing a segment on 60 Minutes II about Willie Gary, invited him to join the legal team. Gary assured Rowe and the other Civil Rights Plaintiffs that he would be the primary trial lawyer and that he and the Gary Law Firm would make sure that the case was aggressively litigated at every stage. Gary also agreed to advance $1 million to a disbursement escrow account "at such times and in such amounts as in Gary's judgment shall be necessary and desirable." Gary, however, never advanced any part of that $1 million.
Gary Increases Demand to $3.5 Billion
Shortly after the retainer agreement with Gary was executed on June 20, 2001, the Gary Law Firm issued a press release announcing that the "Giant Killer" was entering the Civil Rights Action on behalf of the Civil Rights Plaintiffs and that Gary had increased the demand for damages from $750 million to $3.5 billion.
As the discovery phase proceeded, more and more irrefutable evidence mounted against the defendants. Two smaller agencies had already decided to settle. Meanwhile, Mr. Rowe received a call from an insider at one of the biggest agencies who flatly stated, "You get their emails and your case will be over!"
After months of wrangling, a judge ruled that Plaintiffs could, following an established protocol, gain access to company emails. The Plaintiffs would have to find a company to extract the emails and would have to pay the costs for the email discovery. Another critical component of the judge's protocol was that the attorneys, for the Plaintiffs who had paid for the emails, would review them first under stringent guidelines under the rules set forth in the protocol established by the court. Eventually Gary and his law firm would be in charge of presenting "smoking gun' evidence and opposing company efforts to dismiss the case in their request for summary judgment.
Defendant Clear Channel had purchased SFX, the conglomerate that essentially owned all of the white concert promoters. By November 2001, damaging admissions were made during depositions of Clear Channel employees and Clear Channel decided they wanted to settle. Gary got the Plaintiffs to agree to settle for less than $10 million. Most of that money ended up in the hands of the attorneys but the Plaintiffs now had the $200,000 needed to hire a company to extract evidence contained in company emails.
The email discovery company issued a report showing the word "nigger" had been found three hundred forty-nine (349) times in the emails of CAA and The William Morris Agency. Hundreds of other racial slurs like "spade," "spook," "coon" and "monkey" were also found.
It became clear to Mr. Rowe years later in his legal saga that the incriminating evidence obtained from the email discovery enabled a corrupt Willie Gary to enrich himself, while throwing his clients and any chance to prevail against racial injustice in the industry under the bus.
The year 2003 was approaching and the discovery phase of the case was coming to a close. Civil Rights Plaintiffs had enough depositions and so much damaging evidence on the remaining defendants that Rowe thought they would be insane to go any further. But he also knew that The William Morris Agency and CAA did not want to tear down the walls of racial segregation in the concert promotion industry and would do almost anything to maintain the status quo and prevent competition.
District Court Judge Robert P. Patterson ordered mediation to take place in early 2003 in an effort to settle the few remaining cases including those involving powerhouses The William Morris Agency and CAA. However, the two biggest agencies remained defiant and made no offer to settle.
Plaintiffs were more determined than ever to secure justice and expunge racial discrimination from the industry and were confident that The William Morris Agency and CAA would fail in their efforts to avoid a jury trial.
Gary Tells Rowe: "Turn Down the $20 Million Offer and Get Out of There Now!"
Unbeknownst to Willie Gary, Mr. Rowe was suddenly asked to return to New York by another law firm involved in the case. There, Mr. Rowe and plaintiff Lee King, head of Lee King Productions, were told, "We want you to sign a letter that we will draft to send to the judge stating that you will accept $20 million to settle the case against all remaining defendants." Mr. Rowe immediately called Willie Gary. He wanted to make sure that any settlement was penalty enough to make The William Morris Agency and CAA end their policies and practices of institutionalized racial discrimination. Gary made it clear to Rowe that what these companies have gotten away with is horrendous and an affront to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. Unless they paid a high price, they would continue business as usual.
Gary said, "Rowe, this is a billion dollar case and we've got the evidence to win. Tell them no and get out of there now!" Thinking that Gary was looking out for Plaintiffs' best interests, he followed his advice and immediately left and flew back to Georgia.
It was now the middle of March 2003. Maria Sperando, a partner in the Gary Law Firm asked Mr. Rowe to come to their office in Florida to assist in compiling the evidence and preparing the opposition to the defendants' summary judgment motion. Lee King joined him.
They compiled over 2,000 contracts showing that white concert promoters had a zero to 10% deposit requirement to secure an act for a concert promotion, while black concert promoters were required to pay a 50% deposit to secure an act they wanted to promote. They also pulled hundreds of contracts showing where white concert promoters were given the opportunity to promote black artists, but found none showing where black concert promoters were ever given the opportunity to promote a white artist. They also found stacks of other damaging evidence showing collusion and conspiracy between the agencies and white promoters. There was also a copy of the full 18-page E-mail Discovery Memorandum itemizing the number of times racial slurs showed up in some of the companies' office correspondence. Some ten boxes of incriminating evidence were compiled to be presented to the court to oppose the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
It took Judge Patterson almost two years to issue his opinion on the summary judgment motion. Despite alluding to an expected jury trial on numerous occasions throughout the litigation, he dismissed the Civil Rights Action against the remaining defendants on January 5, 2005. Shocked by this wrongful and unbelievable decision, Plaintiffs were determined to appeal. However it would have to be done without the assistance of Willie Gary and his law firm.
Gary Tells Rowe: "Federal Judge Patterson Is A Racist So We Can't Win"
To the utter dismay of the Plaintiffs, after Judge Patterson's summary judgment decision was issued, Gary called and said, "Rowe, that judge up there in New York, he's as racist as can be – he throwed everything out." Rowe asked how that could be in light of the E-Discovery Memorandum and the other evidence proving the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' claims. Gary responded, "I don't know what that judge was thinking, he's a racist and there was no way we were going to win no matter what evidence was submitted." Rowe naturally responded that the decision had to be appealed, but Gary said, "Nah, there's no way we're going to win up there against those racists in New York – you'll have to find yourself another lawyer if you want to appeal."
Rowe and the other plaintiffs had no idea of the corrupt activities of Gary and his law firm in making sure the companies would prevail in summary judgment. Their belief in Gary's honesty and hype was shaken to the core with the discovery in 2012-2013 of documents that provided irrefutable evidence that Gary and his firm purposely sabotaged their case. Before then, however, Rowe began what was to become another ugly chapter in his due diligence and struggle to obtain justice for thousands of victims of racial discrimination in the concert promotion industry. In March 2005, he signed a retainer agreement with Clifford Chance, a large international law firm respected for its appellate work.
Clifford Chance partner Keila Ravelo, after meeting with Mr. Rowe in the law firm's New York office, became the lead attorney to handle his appeal. At this time, Rowe still thought Willie Gary was a man of integrity and had no reason to believe otherwise. For that reason, it did not raise a red flag when the retainer agreement with Clifford Chance listed Willie Gary as part of the legal team. Gary supposedly would step in to handle the jury trial. When Ravelo teamed up with Gary in 2005, she and Gary knew there would be no jury trial and no appellate victory.
Rowe and the other Plaintiffs were in total disbelief when the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on December 30, 2005, affirmed Judge Patterson's summary judgment decision. The shock and disbelief continued on October 2, 2006 when the Supreme Court denied the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' appeal by refusing to review the decision of the lower court. It wasn't until 2015 that Rowe learned how Ravelo, while a partner at Clifford Chance and later Hunton & Williams, had defrauded them.
Never to give up in his quest for justice Rowe continued his efforts to expose the corruption that Gary attributed to the loss of the Civil Rights Action. Those actions include sending dozens of letters to elected officials, trying to retain lawyers to investigate what Gary represented had been racist corruption in the New York federal courts, filing ethics complaints against New York lawyers who represented the Civil Rights Plaintiffs, writing and publishing a book in 2010 raising issues of corruption relating to his case and spending four months falsely imprisoned for placing liens on properties of corrupted attorneys in 2014 as a protest to bring public attention to the unfair dismissal of the Civil Rights Action.
2012-2013: Damning Evidence Discovered Showing Gary Defrauded His Clients
Were Gary and his legal team just plain stupid, completely incompetent or crooked?
In 2012-2013, Marcus Washington, a William Morris employee suing the company over overt racial discrimination, while researching courthouse documents, uncovered indisputable evidence of fraud and legal malpractice committed by Willie Gary and his law firm to assure the Civil Rights Action could not survive defendants' demands for Summary Judgment. In so doing, he provided the ammunition proving Gary's fraud and allowing Rowe to indict Gary.
Washington discovered documents that showed Gary completely and knowingly subverted the Civil Rights Action by:
- disobeying a magistrate judge's protocol in the handling of hundreds of racially derogatory emails discovered during the email discovery phase that the Plaintiffs paid $200,000 to obtain
- withholding "smoking gun" evidence and submitting altered and inadmissible documents as evidence contrary to the judge's order
- knowingly not providing adequate evidence to support Plaintiffs' charges
Outraged by Washington's discoveries, Rowe continued his Pro Se legal efforts and decided to place hundreds of millions of dollars in liens against defendants, their law firms and individual attorneys that took part in defrauding him and the other Plaintiffs. When a judge ordered Mr. Rowe to drop the liens, he refused to do so. This led to a complicated series of events that led to Mr. Rowe being falsely arrested and imprisoned for 115 days.
On August 1, 2014, on his 63rd birthday, Leonard Rowe was released from prison. Judge Patterson agreed to free Leonard if he would drop all the liens except those against Willie Gary and his law firm.
Once released from prison, Mr. Rowe began another major chapter in the Civil Rights Plaintiffs struggle for justice. He assembled a team of investigators, public relations experts and attorneys to make his story public and to sue Willie Gary, his law firm and five of his present and former partners.
Judge Totenberg's Ruling Leads to New Complaint
On March 31, 2016, there was an oral hearing on Gary's and Sperando's motions to dismiss Rowe's lawsuit against them. Judge Amy Totenberg made a decision that allowed the Plaintiffs to cross a major hurdle based on Leonard Rowe's extensive due diligence and new compelling evidence Plaintiffs discovered in 2012-2013.
Judge Totenberg dismissed the federal racketeering charge, but left the door open to proceed on that charge in state court and on the other charges in federal court because the statute of limitations tolling requirement had been met. Judge Totenberg concluded: "The alleged facts arguably show, at best, the sloppy mishandling of the case by Defendants or, at worst, that Defendants committed legal malpractice...the Court does not find that Plaintiffs' allegations are inherently frivolous, and the Court will not entertain a motion for sanctions by any of the Defendants..."
On May 9, 2016 plaintiffs filed a new complaint in federal court. The introduction to the complaint states: "This is a civil action for legal malpractice and fraud to recover damages arising from the Gary Lawyers' malpractice representing Rowe and other black concert promoters in a civil action to redress, inter alia, violations of civil rights laws committed by prominent talent/booking agencies and concert promoters controlled by white persons, Rowe Entertainment, Inc., et al. v. The William Morris Agency, Inc., et al... (the 'Civil Rights Action'). The former defendants in the Civil Rights Action included the two largest and most powerful talent/booking agencies in the entertainment industry, The William Morris Agency, Inc. and Creative Artists Agency..."
The new lawsuit, as is customary, should have been handed over to Judge Totenberg who is totally familiar with the case. Instead, due to a "clerk's error," it was assigned to another judge.
Leonard Rowe, in a March 20, 2014 letter to Executive Director John Harkness, let The Florida Bar know what he thinks of Willie Gary: "Attorney Gary has a pattern and practice of defrauding his own clients out of their settlements to enrich himself. I did a little research and discovered that Mr. Gary has engaged in this same type of fraud and behavior on numerous occasions...The question that keeps coming to my mind is why attorney Willie Gary is still allowed to practice law. In my opinion, he should have been disbarred and imprisoned years ago for the destruction of lives he has caused. Attorney Gary, in my opinion, is detrimental to the American public and a disgrace to the legal profession." In a December 6, 2013 letter to Frank Digon, counsel for The Florida Bar, Mr. Rowe detailed how Gary defrauded him and other plaintiffs in his case out of millions of dollars and even charged his clients "$20,000 every time he used his personal airplane for travel" without their consent.
Gary et al Facing Myriad of Serious Legal Charges
The Civil Rights Plaintiffs, in their fraud and legal malpractice lawsuits against Gary et al over their misconduct in the Civil Rights Action, stated:
Over eight months after oral argument, the Gary Lawyers still had not filed their exhibits or a complete set of their opposition papers with the court. On July 20, 2004, Judge Patterson ordered the Gary Lawyers to do so by the following day, July 21, 2004. On July 24, 2004, the Gary Lawyers finally filed a complete set of their opposition papers, including the exhibits that purportedly consisted of admissible evidence in support of the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' claims. On January 5, 2005, Judge Patterson issued a decision granting the motions for summary judgment in their entirety and dismissing the Civil Rights Action with prejudice. In doing so, Judge Patterson also granted the motions to strike the portions of the Gary Lawyers' Rule 56.1 statements that did not comply with court rules. As a result, Judge Patterson did not take into consideration substantial portions of the Rule 56.1 statements and exhibits submitted by the Gary Lawyers... it was incumbent on the Gary Lawyers to submit admissible evidence to support the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' claims in opposition to William Morris-CAA's motions for summary judgment.
Local Rule 56.1 required the Gary Lawyers to submit statements of material facts identifying the admissible evidence supporting the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' claims. As such, the Rule 56.1 statements were the most critical aspect of the papers submitted in opposition to motions for summary judgment. Between late February and October 2003, the Gary Law Firm filed opposing memoranda, affidavits and Rule 56.1 statements that did not comply with applicable court rules and failed to cite admissible evidence in support of the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' claims. Because Judge Patterson did not want to penalize the Civil Rights Plaintiffs for the Gary Law Firm's misconduct, he provided the Gary Law Firm with repeated opportunities to correct their errors by submitting revised documents. On June 3, 2003, for example, Judge Patterson issued orders stating that because the Gary Law Firm had failed to submit proper Rule 56.1 statements, the pending motions for summary judgment would be granted unless the Gary Law Firm filed proper statements within 10 days. Although the Gary Law Firm filed revised statements, those revised statements still did not comply with the applicable rules and still failed to cite the evidence that was admissible. William Morris-CAA and the other remaining defendants moved to strike the revised statements on those grounds.
Gary, in direct violation of the judge's clearly stated protocol, allowed the defendants to view the emails first. To make matters worse Gary, unbelievably, neglected to obtain the racially derogatory emails which constitute the kind of admissible evidence needed to defeat defendants' Motion to Dismiss. Gary, inexcusably, also removed critical pages from the report describing the results of the email investigation!
The following excerpts from the current lawsuit filed on May 9, 2016 charge that:
Gary Lawyers allowed William Morris-CAA to withhold emails containing hundreds of racially derogatory terms even though a memorandum from the e-discovery firm retained by the Gary Lawyers to review William Morris-CAA's emails established that such emails exist (the 'E-Discovery Memorandum'). Although the Gary Lawyers could have obtained the racially derogatory emails simply by directing their e-discovery firm to send the emails to them, they did not do so. On the contrary, the Gary Lawyers allowed the e-discovery firm to send the emails back to William Morris-CAA in violation of the court's e-discovery protocol. When William Morris-CAA filed motions for summary judgment, the Gary Lawyers could not introduce admissible evidence of the racially derogatory emails because they had never obtained the emails...
Inexplicably, rather than obtain the racially derogatory emails, the Gary Lawyers attached an altered version of the E-Discovery Memorandum as an exhibit in opposition to the summary judgment motions, even though that memorandum was inadmissible hearsay. To compound their error, the Gary Lawyers submitted memorandum to the court without any attempt to describe it or otherwise lay a foundation for its admission into evidence. On the contrary, they filed an altered version of the E-Discovery Memorandum that was missing its first and seventeenth pages. The first page contained critical information describing the memorandum, the methodology used to perform the electronic email search, and a summary of the search results. By omitting this critical first page, the Gary Lawyers deprived the presiding judge in the Civil Rights Action of virtually any information about the significance of the search results or the racially derogatory emails.
Discovery in the Civil Rights Action also revealed a plethora of admissible evidence of race discrimination in addition to the racially derogatory emails. For example, documentary evidence and deposition testimony established that William Morris-CAA precluded black promoters from entering into contracts to promote white performers or black performers once they attained celebrity status. William Morris-CAA did so by excluding black promoters from the bidding process and/or by imposing more onerous contract requirements than were imposed on white promoters.
Yet the Gary Lawyers failed to submit that evidence in opposition to the motions for summary judgment in admissible form. The Gary Lawyers also repeatedly failed to comply with court rules in opposing the motions for summary judgment. As a result, on January 5, 2005, the presiding judge in the Civil Rights Action granted William Morris-CAA's motion for summary judgment. On December 30, 2006, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the opinion, and on October 2, 2006, the Supreme Court denied the Civil Rights Plaintiffs' petition for certiorari.
The dismissal of the Civil Rights Action was directly caused by the Gary Lawyer's malpractice, including their malpractice in failing to obtain the racially derogatory emails identified on the E-Discovery Memorandum. But for the Gary Lawyer's inexplicable malpractice, the Civil Rights Action would have resulted in a landmark victory for civil rights in this country. Instead, the loss of the Civil Rights Action emboldened William Morris-CAA and other entertainment companies to continue racially derogatory practices in the music industry as well as the broader entertainment industry as a whole...
In addition, before and after the Civil Rights Action was dismissed, the Gary Lawyers engaged in a fraudulent scheme to conceal their malpractice, which prevented Rowe from discovering their malpractice and fraud for years. In particular, the Gary Lawyers fraudulently represented to Rowe and the other Civil Rights Plaintiffs that the E-Discovery Memorandum was protected by an "attorneys-eyes-only" court order, which precluded the Gary Lawyers from allowing anyone, including the Civil Rights Plaintiffs, to see the E-Discovery Memorandum or the underlying racially derogatory emails. The Gary Lawyers also told the Civil Rights Plaintiffs that because "attorneys-eyes-only" evidence had to be filed with the court under seal, neither the Civil Rights Plaintiffs nor the general public had access to evidence from the court file.
After the Civil Rights Action was dismissed, the Gary Lawyers continued their scheme to conceal their malpractice by falsely representing to the Civil Rights Plaintiffs that the presiding judge's decision dismissing the Civil Rights Action was filled with blatant errors of law and was motivated by either corruption or a deeply-embedded racial bias rather than an objective application of the rules of evidence...
Defendants Willie Gary, Maria Sperando, Sekou Gary, Lorenzo Williams and the Gary Law Firm have until Monday, September 26, 2016 to respond to the new complaint filed on May 9, 2016.
For more information on the corrupt activities of Willie Gary, his law firm and present and former partners, please visit www.TheClientKiller.org.
Extortion and Bribery Willie Gary Style
Gary's fraud upon his clients and the courts involve a deceptive scheme of what many identify as sophisticated extortion and bribery. What is touched upon here is perhaps just the tip of the iceberg.
As described earlier, most of the white concert promoter defendants in Rowe Entertainment, et al. v. The William Morris Agency, et al., had been acquired by Clear Channel Communications, Inc. ("Clear Channel") by early 2002. Shortly thereafter, at Gary's urging, a mediation was conducted with Clear Channel which led to a settlement with Clear Channel in May 2002. Although Rowe thought the settlement was too low, he agreed to it at Gary's urging. Gary said that settling with Clear Channel would provide a "war chest" that would allow Gary and his team to go after the "big fish," William Morris and Creative Artists Agency, for billions.
Shortly after Gary pushed for the early settlement with Clear Channel, Mr. Rowe learned, not from Willie Gary, but from a New York attorney who had spoken with a Clear Channel in-house attorney, that as part of the settlement, Gary negotiated a substantial donation from Clear Channel for the first year of what was to become the annual "Willie Gary Football Classic," a game between historically black colleges that Gary organized beginning in the Fall of 2002. Does this smell like a mutually beneficial extortion/bribe deal?
In November 2002, the Stuart, Florida-based Perfect Putter Company and its owners, represented by Willie Gary, sued Callaway Golf Corporation, one of the world's largest golf equipment manufacturers, saying Callaway was making millions of dollars off a design concept Perfect Putter had created that became the Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball Putter popular with the top golf professionals. In a PRNewswire release, Gary announced that his law firm "will be seeking damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars and maybe a billion dollars." The release pointed out that Callaway had already sold one million Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putters at a suggested retail price of $225 per putter. At the time of the lawsuit, the putter was established as the number one selling putter in the world. To this day, the putter and others based on its design have racked up well over a billion dollars in sales.
In January 2005, a Business Wire news release reported that "The lawsuit...will now be dismissed by the parties with no admission of any wrongdoing...the terms are confidential..." Copies of G Update newsletters dated Summer 2006 and 2007 published by the Gary law firm described Callaway Golf, along with Outback Steakhouse, as the sponsors for Willie Gary events including the Willie Gary Celebrity Golf Classic. It has also been learned that Gary personally received gifts of golf equipment of substantial monetary value. The question has to be asked, "How badly were the small business owners of Perfect Putter ripped off by Gary's scheming and double dealing to enrich himself at the expense of his Perfect Putter clients? The Callaway Case and events surrounding it deserve more investigation especially because of the rewards accrued to Callaway Golf and Willie Gary during the same time period Ford/Visteon employees, Rowe et al and Coca-Cola racial discrimination victims were being victimized by Gary.
Earlier in this article, it was described how Gary in his self-dealing got big "payoffs" from defendants Ford/Visteon that only benefited Gary and the defendants at the expense of his clients,
In 2000-2001, The Coca-Cola Company paid the largest racial discrimination settlement in U.S. history. Out of more than 2000 Plaintiffs, the only Plaintiffs who never received a penny of any kind in settlement monies were the seventeen black women and men (the Coke 17) who opted out of the class action lawsuit and were recruited and represented by Gary, Williams, Parenti, Finney, Lewis, McManus, Watson & Sperando, P.C. and attorneys in the firm, Willie Gary, Tricia Hoffler, Sekou Gary, Maryann Diaz, F. Shields McManus, Jerome Stone and William Campbell. The fact that the Coke 17 never received any settlement funds does not mean that Willie Gary and his firm hadn't received large amounts of Coca-Cola money.
In 2004, former Coca-Cola employee and Gary client Sharron Mangum was deposed by Coca-Cola's King & Spalding attorney Michael Johnston. During the deposition Ms. Mangum was asked three times whether she had received any settlement funds from attorney Willie Gary. Three times she stated that she had not. Mr. Johnston seemed surprised so Ms. Mangum asked Mr. Johnston if he was implying that Mr. Gary had received settlement funds from Coca-Cola. She was told she would have to take that up with Mr. Gary.
Based upon an ongoing investigation into Mr. Gary's proven and alleged fraudulent activities and claims made by former Coca-Cola employees and clients of Mr. Gary, it appears likely that a substantial portion of Coca-Cola settlement funds ended up in Mr. Gary's pockets without the knowledge of his clients. In addition to the $192.5 million listed in the official Coca-Cola racial discrimination settlement, The Coca-Cola Company, according to a published report, stated it would spend additional monies over the next 5 years to promote "business opportunities for preferred minorities and women."
Some of these costs listed outside the official class action settlement included special programs. Included in that category was "$50 million for Miscellaneous Race-Related Activities over 5 years." Upon information and belief and the way Gary has operated in the past, it is believed Gary and his cohorts received millions of dollars from that category.
The types of contributions/sponsorships/gifts/special programs referred to above are commonly viewed as "payoffs or bribes" which do not benefit the plaintiffs Gary is representing but do result in unethical and unlawful benefits to Gary and the defendants he is suing.
On January 30, 2016, in Flint, Michigan, Ray Rogers after waiting in a long line inside Quinn Chapel AME Church packed with hundreds of community residents, stepped up to the microphone to ask a question. Mr. Rogers was there with a number of Flint residents who are family members and friends of former Gary client Leonard Rowe. Along with Rogers, they were peacefully handing out fliers headlined "WARNING: PROTECT FLINT FROM FURTHER HARM. KEEP PREDATORS LIKE WILLIE GARY OUT OF TOWN! Attorney Willie Gary Will Promise You Billions, Only to Cheat You Out of Millions!" At the same time, Gary representatives were handing out glossy literature promoting Willie Gary's legal services and TV Judge Greg Mathis. The event had been advertised in a colorful flier with Willie Gary pictured, arms outstretched standing in front of one of his jet airplanes, alongside a picture of Judge Mathis who was serving as the master of ceremonies. The event was billed as a community forum to help victims of Flint's toxic water crisis "discuss their legal rights, ask questions and get answers." With Willie were partners Lorenzo Williams and Sekou Gary. What was billed as a forum became more a pep rally promoting Gary's legal services. Some 400 attendees got to watch a film touting Willie and his wealth. They also got to hear "the famed" Willie Gary, introduced as a friend of the judge and longtime attorney for Rev. Jesse Jackson, speak. The audience was told that Gary was not there to solicit clients but that if anyone had already signed up with other attorneys, they could instead retain the services of Willie Gary's law firm.
Before the "community forum" began, Judge Mathis informed attendees that they could submit written questions that would be collected, read and answered. He also informed the audience that there would be a time at the end of the forum for attendees to go to a standing microphone to ask questions. One of Leonard's relatives submitted a question. When Judge Mathis picked that question out of a basket and began to read it out loud, he suddenly stopped, blurted out some words, caught his composure and purposely misread the question. When Ray Rogers politely stood up to object to what was happening and ask for the question to be reread, he got shouted down from the podium, sat down and waited for the opportunity to ask the question at the standing microphone.
When it was his turn at the microphone, all Mr. Rogers said was: "The Bible says be wary of wolves in sheep's' clothing. I want to correct Judge Mathis' error and restate the question." Then wham, Mr. Rogers got unceremoniously pushed and shoved away from the mike and escorted out of the church. He then stayed out front greeting everyone to answer any questions they may have and to give them a leaflet in case they hadn't gotten one. The pastor of the church, Rev. Gerald Caldwell, told Mr. Rogers outside the church that "what they did to you and not allowing you to ask a question was unfair."
The question that was so threatening to the "celebrities" on the podium was: "Mr. Gary and Judge Mathis, do you believe it is ethical or even legal for a lawyer to accept money and expensive gifts from the defendants he is suing."
For more information on the corrupt activities of Willie Gary, his law firm and present and former partners, please visit www.TheClientKiller.org.