Monday, February 22, 2010

Honest and Honorable v. Andy Thomas

My near-obsession with the constitutional crisis and legal chaos in Maricopa County notwithstanding (to use a lawyer word and syntactical locution I try to avoid), I'm neither particularly knowledgeable nor particularly interested in Arizona politics. But sometimes you hear about a race or a candidate that cries out for attention.

Here's the deal. We know that Sheriff Joe's lapdog Andy Thomas has been planning to run for Arizona Attorney General. Ho hum. Thomas is truly dangerous, and probably more than just Joe's poodle, but really, who cares much about the attorney general of a distant state unless there's an obvious national hook (Martha Coakley, anyone)? And if we don't care about the AG, how worked up are we likely to be about the election? And the primary?

But as Matt Brown points out, this one could be worth watching.

Some background.

You know that old adage that any man who has himself for a lawyer has a fool for a client? Let's talk for a bit about Tajudeen Oladiran. He's a lawyer in Chandler, a suburb it looks like from a map, of Phoenix. In July of last year, Taj, as it appears he is known, filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and his wife Charlotte Oladiran complaining about predatory lending practices and charging civil racketeering activity by Suntrust Morgtage, Inc., Suntrust Banks, Inc., and various individuals and entities (many unidentified by name, which is perfectly legal) associated with them.

Way too boring for me to wade through all the legal papers (access to which I have to actually buy at 8 cents a page, which adds up if you do enough work in federal court, but that's for another day) to give you any of the details about the case. I don't care. Unless you do that sort of legal work (or have a case against one of the Sunforest entities), you probably don't either.

Except that there's this (courtesy of Above the Law). I keep it in folder on my computer labeled "Motions to Savor" where I store legal documents that are brought to my attention and tell truths one doesn't often enough hear in the courts. It's captioned this way, which in the hands of a lesser author might be all you'd want to read:
But Taj isn't a lesser author, and I'm going to reprint the whole body of the motion here (I am omitting the footnote) so you don't have actually to follow the link to enjoy it.
This motion is filed by Plaintiffs’ counsel, Tajudeen O. Oladiran, Esq. (“Mr. Oladiran” or “Taj”), pursuant to the law of, what goes around comes around. Judge Bolton, I just read your Order and I am very disappointed in the fact that a brainless coward like you is a federal judge.

I accused Suntrust Bank of racketeering etc, and many good lawyers in town told me the bank’s executives would never be deposed, and that the case would go nowhere. I stupidly stuck to the notion that everyone is equal under the law etc. Boy was I wrong. The bank cancelled depositions set by the court, cancelled a hearing set by the court, and walked away without as much as a scratch.

My thanks go out to Larry Folks and Kathleen Weber who both warned me that I would lose (I should have listened to them).

I apologize to all my clients. I know, I’m sorry does not repair the mess I made but, that’s all I’ve got.

To my family, words can’t express my apologies; please remember me kindly.

Finally, to Susan Bolton, we shall meet again you know where.
In the original, there's a smiley at the end of the last line, but I can't figure out how to get Blogger to reproduce it.

It all sounds like a valedictory, and when I first saw it, back in October, I made inquiry to ensure that Mr. Oladiran was still among the living. He is. (And so is his lawsuit, by the way, though with a different judge presiding, Judge Bolton having recused herself shortly after the motion was filed.) It also sounds like the sort of thing that gets lawyer's sanctioned for ethical violations, though there's no public evidence that Oladiran faces any such charges.

In fact (and of course there's a reason I've been telling you about this today), it seems he's running in the Republican primary for Arizona Attorney General. Against, one assumes, Andy Thomas.

Oh, and there's another candidate, too. Last Thursday, Tom Horne, Arizona's Superintendent of Schools announced his candidacy. According to the Arizona Republic,
In his announcement Thursday, Horne sought to distinguish himself from Thomas, saying the state's business climate would suffer if an "out-of-control prosecutor" became the highest-ranking law-enforcement officer in the state.

Asked whether he was referring to Thomas, Horne said only, "I'm trying to be subtle."
Of course, Thomas got his own dig right back.

In return, Thomas' camp criticized Horne's fundraising practices, noting that last year Horne retreated from a pledge to have quarterly lunches with donors who gave the maximum amount to his campaign.

A bill under consideration in the Legislature would make it a crime for elected officials to solicit contributions in exchange for access to the official.

"It's always an inauspicious start for an attorney-general campaign when you're the subject of legislation at the state Capitol for your audacious, transparent and arguably corrupt fundraising practices," said Jason Rose, a Thomas spokesman.

Like I say, I'm no expert on Arizona politics, but this primary could be fun to watch.

And if Oladiran should win? Maybe an AG who'd push for honest and honorable courts.

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