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Denis O’Brien and his defamation lawsuit in California


Denis O’Brien and his defamation lawsuit in California

April 2, 2013 by namawinelake

[The originating lawsuit is here, the respondent’s answer is here, and this is what the American’s call a “report” for the court which is supposed to assist the court with managing the case and focuses on the issues involved]

There doesn’t appear to have been much reporting in the old media in Ireland about a defamation case initiated last November 2012 by controversial businessman, Denis O’Brien and his telecoms company Digicel, in a Californian district court. The Sunday Times did cover the case in a report in early December 2012 – not available without subscription – but the general absence of reporting is remarkable given the fascinating detail that has so far emerged in court filings.

The case was initiated last November 2012 in California by Denis and his telecoms company, Digicel.  Denis and his company are claiming that an individual named Donald MacAllister has made a series of falsehoods in written statements and Denis’s lawsuit says “the purpose and effect of this pattern of misconduct is to (a) expose Denis O’Brien to hatred, contempt, ridicule and disgrace, (b) threaten that unless Mr. O’Brien pays Mr. MacAllister millions of dollars, Mr. MacAllister  will continue to attempt to wrongfully connect him to criminal conduct and/or expose him to disgrace or contempt, and ( c) interfere with the prospective economic advantage to be gained by Mr. O’Brien and his company, Digicel”. For his part, Donald is denying the central allegations, and is saying that Denis owes him money from an investment a decade ago of €100,000 in Digicel.

Denis is represented by Neal Potischman of Californian law firm Davis Polk and Wardwell and Donald is presently representing himself.

There are a number of aspects to the case, but one of the main accusations is that Donald has contacted people with allegedly false  information about two matters (1) the Moriarty Tribunal – the tribunal set up by the Irish government in 1997 to investigate the finances of former Taoiseach Charlie Haughey and telecoms minister, Michael Lowry, and which reported its findings in March 2011 – and (2) the decision by the Supreme Court in October 2012 which allows unsuccessful bidders, including Declan Ganley’s Cellstar, for the 1996 mobile phone licence to be allowed present their case to the High Court where they are alleging wrongdoing in the award of the phone licence to Denis. By the way, the latest from justice minister, Alan Shatter, on the Garda investigation following publication of the Moriarty report was included in a response to a parliamentary question on 12thMarch 2013, when Minister Shatter stated “the Report of the Moriarty Tribunal has been examined by the Garda authorities and the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions has now been sought by them, with a view to determining whether or not a full Garda investigation should now be commenced.”

Donald is accused by Denis in the Californian lawsuit of sending emails containing falsehoods to an array of Irish, American, Jamaican and Burmese politicians and media including Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin, Fianna Fail senator Diarmuid Wilson, #vinb himself Vincent Browne and Burmese Opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

There was supposed to have been a case management hearing last week in California which would schedule a date for the full hearing, but we are still awaiting confirmation of the order from that. We do know that both sides believe the matter will required a 2-3 day hearing, and that Donald is looking for a jury hearing.

Donald MacAllister

He’s a first cousin of Denis O’Brien, his mother Maureen was the sister of Denis O’Brien’s father, Denis Senior. Donald’s father, from whom his mother was divorced, was an American physician, Dr Niall MacAllister. It is claimed in the lawsuit that Donald is now a resident of Orange County, California. Then Amazon website where his self-published e-book about the death of his mother is available, says of Donald: “Despite the extraordinary challenges Donald MacAllister faced as a orphaned child, foster youth and homeless young adult, he founded and directed the non-profit organization America Works for Kids, which became the United States leading employment-readiness training organization for foster youth. Over the course of 15 years he achieved a record over 10,000 trained foster youth. In addition to his two Congressional recognitions and testimonies, he also received personal commendations from U.S Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former Chairman of the U.S Securities Commission Christopher Cox. MacAllister’s goal is to help as many foster youth as possible avoid the plight he faced.”

The 1972 car crash

The 9-year old Donald was travelling by car , a Hillman Hunter owned by Denis O’Brien senior, in Foxrock, south county Dublin on 31st August, 1972 with his mother Maureen driving and brother Niall in the back seat when they collided with a Daimler driven by the then 36-year old Michael Smurfit, now one of Ireland’s richest men. In 2011, Donald wrote an ebook about the crash; the book is available from Amazon here. In his reply to the present lawsuit in California, Donald writes that a report – commissioned by Donald from an outfit called Crash Team Inc, and which apparently had input from a “Mr Finn, the former Head of Ireland’s Forensic Crash Investigation Unit” – said “it is our opinion that Maureen O’Brien (MacAllister) was not speeding, and was not initially on the wrong side of the road. Her motion to the incorrect side was an attempt to avoid the oncoming Daimler which was in her lane when she first detected it. We have concluded this fatal accident occurred as a result of Michael Smurfit speeding, and driving on the incorrect side of center”.  There is no corroboration of the claim made by Donald in his answer, and Michael Smurfit has been exonerated by Gardai of fault in the tragedy, though Donald is now saying that he has been discussing a fresh inquiry with Gardai. Sunday Times reporting in 2011 suggests that Michael Smurfit didn’t know until 2011 that the woman killed in the 1972 car crash was Denis O’Brien’s aunt.

Denis O’Brien and Michael Smurfit (pictured together here)

Donald claims in his reply to the lawsuit, that, in 2009, Denis O’Brien told Donald that Michael Smurfit had financed the first of Denis O’Brien’s forty radio stations.

Denis O’Brien and the Clinton Foundation

Denis’s lawsuit remains silent on a statement by Donald that Denis is the largest contributor to President Bill Clinton’s Foundation; the lawsuit states

“In a 1 November 2012 email, sent to Mr O’Brien and apparently copying, on information and belief an Irish government minister and an Irish Senator, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, a U.S. State Department employee, and members of the Irish and American media, Mr. MacAllister stated: “I will now prepare to send a letter to the US Congress, the US  Senate and the US President informing them the largest contributor to the Clinton Foundation who is now on trial for Criminal Bribery and Corruption before Irelands [sic] Supreme Court has apparently asked US Secretary of State Clinton to NOT report to Myanmar Law Enforcement and Authorities that the largest contributor to her husbands [sic] Foundation is apparently attempting to apply for a Telecom License in Myanmar while on trial for Criminal Bribery and Corruption before Irelands [sic] Supreme Court.” This statement is false.  Mr. O’Brien is not and has never been on trial facing a criminal charge, much less a criminal charge being heard by the Supreme Court of Ireland.”

The Clinton Foundation lists contributors to the Foundation and lists just five contributors who’ve donated more than USD 25m and they are “Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fred Eychaner, Frank Giustra, Chief Executive Officer, The Radcliffe Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation and UNITAID. There is a “Denis J O’Brien” who contributed between USD1-5m, and Digicel’s Denis’s second name is “John” but that donation, although significant, wouldn’t be enough to qualify Denis as the “largest contributor” to the Clinton Foundation.

Digicel and Burma

The lawsuit states

“Digicel has an existing prospective relationship with the country of Burma. Digicel has presented a technical and commercial assessment for the process of expanding Burma’s existing telecom network to the Burmese government, and is now preparing to engage in a tender process for a mobile telecom license. Digicel has already made substantial investments to further its expected business  relations with the country of Burma, including providing multi-year sponsorships to Burmese sports organizations, and is prepared to make an initial investment of in excess of [US] $1 billion to improve Burma’s telecom infrastructure. These efforts have resulted in brand awareness within Burma. Digicel is well-positioned as a competitive candidate for a telecom license. There is a significant probability of future economic benefit from a business relationship between Digicel and Burma because the potential mobile telecom market in Burma is extremely large. Burma has 60 million residents, less than two percent of whom are reported to currently have access to mobile phone and Internet services. Neighboring countries have usage rates varying from 57 to 100 percent, suggesting that a telecom license in Burma could result in Digicel’s acquiring tens of millions of new customers and potentially doubling the size of its worldwide customer base”

Posted in Irish economy, Politics | 1 Comment »

via NAMA Wine Lake | Click the green link above for latest news and over 2,400 related articles. NAMA – National Asset Management Agency – part of Ireland’s response to its banking crisis and property bubble.

via Denis O’Brien and his defamation lawsuit in California.

Donald Trump the failure 2


Trump Mortgage

dek

In April 2006, Trump announced that, after years in the real estate business, he was launching a mortgage company. He held a glitzy press conference at which his son Donald Jr. predicted that Trump Mortgage would soon be the nation’s No. 1 home-loan lender. Trump told CNBC, “Who knows more about financing than me?” Apparently, plenty. Within a year and a half, Trump Mortgage had closed shop. The would-be lending powerhouse was done in by timing (the housing market cratered in 2007) and ironically enough, given Trump’s Apprentice TV show, poor hiring. The executive Trump selected to run his loan company, E.J. Ridings, claimed to have been a top executive at a prestigious investment bank. In reality, Ridings’ highest role on Wall Street was as a registered broker, a position he held for a mere six days.

via Trump Mortgage – Top 10 Donald Trump Failures – TIME.

via Trump Mortgage – Top 10 Donald Trump Failures – TIME.

Barbara Walters to Trump: ‘Donald, you’re making a fool of yourself … Stop it’


Barbara Walters had a message for Donald Trump on “The View” Thursday, a day after the real estate mogul made his widely-mocked offer to donate $5 million to charity if President Obama agreed to release his college and passport applications.

“You and I have known each other for many years,” Walters said in a message to Trump. “And you know that I am your friend, and I think you are a brilliant businessman, and you are great on television, and you have a fascinating personality. Donald, you’re making a fool of yourself. You’re not hurting Obama. You’re hurting Donald, and that hurts me because you’re a decent man. Stop it. Get off it, Donald.”

Trump was apparently watching, and fired off a series of Twitter messages to Walters in response.

“Barbara, unfortunately you’ve missed the entire point of my announcement,” Trump wrote. “You just don’t get it!”

“[Walters] will apologize to me just like she did when I was right about @Rosie,” Trump continued. “Besides, I get great ratings on The View.”

He added: “Why did you choose me as one of the 10 Most Fascinating People of the Year last season (and more than once?)”

[Related: Obama zings Trump with Kenya joke on Leno]

There is at least one television personality supporting Trump: Ann Coulter, herself the target of some public scorn after she referred to President Obama as “the retard” during Monday’s presidential debate.

“Our side needs Donald Trump,” Coulter said on Fox News Wednesday.

“Thanks Ann,” Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, a reporter for the Guardian newspaper called Trump’s offices asking to see the “Celebrity Apprentice” star’s own college and passport application records, but was rebuffed.

“I think what you’re doing is you’re, whether you’re trying to be funny, intentionally or not, actually it’s a stupid request on your behalf,” Michael Cohen, Trump Organization executive vice president and special counsel to Trump, told the Guardian reporter. “It’s trying to poke fun at the fact that the president of the United States is the least transparent president that we’ve ever had. He may be the least transparent politician we’ve ever come across.”

via Barbara Walters to Trump: ‘Donald, you’re making a fool of yourself … Stop it’ | The Lookout – Yahoo! News.

via Barbara Walters to Trump: ‘Donald, you’re making a fool of yourself … Stop it’ | The Lookout – Yahoo! News.

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