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Just days before a scheduled October 19 civil trial was set to begin, Steven Ingersoll and his former criminal defense firm, Detroit-based Clark Hill PLC, reached a confidential, out-of-court settlement to the action initiated by Clark Hill on September 21, 2015 in Bay County Circuit Court.
Crandall co-chairs the Clark Hill White Collar Criminal Defense and Internal Investigations Practice Group.
Although the terms of the mutual release and settlement agreement were sealed by the court (unless someone leaks it to me...hey, Marty!), the case file I examined yesterday did contain a few gems.
Here's the first sparkler: Steven Ingersoll assertion that during the last week of December 2014, Martin Crandall threatened to withdraw as Ingersoll's attorney unless he paid his legal bill. (Go figure!)
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Yes, that's right. (A payment register included by Clark Hill with its original September 21, 2015 complaint revealed Ingersoll indeed made two payments to Clark Hill on December 26, 2014 from his Wildfire Credit Union account: $50,056,82 and $34,319.98: $84,376.80. I'm not a math major, but that looks pretty close to $86,000!)
And it gets better: In a February 2016 “request for admissions” filed by Clark Hill, Ingersoll bitched that the law firm abused its “position of trust” by putting him over a proverbial barrel with Crandall's threat to withdraw as his criminal defense representative.
Yeah, Ingersoll's quite the drama queen! If someone would know all about abuse of trust, it would be Steve.
Ingersoll petulantly griped in the February 2016 filing about Diana Crandall squeezing more money out of him by increasing “the vig” on the $86,000 loan, with a “suggested remedy being my wife’s personal guaranty along with mortgages against our family home and 900 5th Street, the site of our only remaining business, the Webster House Bed and Breakfast, a business my wife runs”.
Could it be that Ingersoll was so cheesed by Diana Crandall's suggestion because he'd already promised a security in those properties to his other lawyer, Jan Geht?
You remember, don't you, the infamous $250,000 “future advance mortgage” line of credit?
Geht, a member of Steven Ingersoll's legal defense team, provided his client with access to a $250,000 line of credit secured by seven of Ingersoll's most desirable Bay City properties just days before the start of Ingersoll's federal fraud trial — with Geht's representative officially registering the “future advance mortgage” with the Bay County Register of Deeds on February 10, 2015 as Ingersoll's jury was being selected.
The incestuous whirlygig included co-defendant Roy Bradley's daughter, Kristy Wyson, as the notary public selected to witness and verify Steven Ingersoll's signature.
But let's get back to the “vig”, a term that most people outside of New York and New Jersey have likely never heard.
Ten years in New York City, baby, so let me translate — vigorish, or simply the vig, also known as juice, under-juice, the cut or the take, is the amount charged by a bookmaker, or bookie, for taking a bet from a gambler. It also means the interest on a shark's loan.
I've even used the term in a post on this blog: JOB CLUB: Cleaning Toilets and Developing Character. The June 9, 2014 story was inspired by the Grand Traverse Academy's Job Club, featured in a Lake Superior State University Charter Schools newsletter. The GTA job club was portrayed as part of the Traverse City charter school's “character education” program.
And the irony that the Academy's Job Club was part of the its “character education” effort was not lost on Miss Fortune.
Legendary basketball coach John Wooden once said that a true test of a man's character is what he does when no one is watching.
Maybe, but what about how you behave when everyone is looking?
Who cares how you operate in private, when the result of letting your ethical guard down in public can be much more damaging.
Miss Fortune saw the story of knowing right from wrong when you're alone is less important than clouded judgement in the company of friends who do not speak up to the wrong they knew they were doing (and you know who you are!).
I recommended that the Grand Traverse Academy take its real “real world” experience and develop additional character education programs for its students, including one I called “Loan Shark Math”. Trust me, it's funny! You should read it.
Do you think it's possible Steven Ingersoll learned to tawk like a “Goodfellas” gangster by reading my blog?
And why was he even worried about money? Although Mark Noss repeatedly denied it, the money tap had been gushing at least $12,500 a month to Ingersoll since April 2014.
Buried within the documents filed in the case was Ingersoll's admission that he had passed on a plea deal, in part because Crandall had low-balled the cost of going to trial and blew smoke up Ingersoll's ass about his eventual acquittal.
“In March 2014, just prior to indictment, my wife, Jan Geht, Martin Crandall and I deliberated over accepting a plea deal the government had proffered. The lawyers estimated $300,000 would be the likely total cost of defense if we went to trial, much of which would be for forensic accounting fees.”
In his February 19, 2016 affidavit, Ingersoll went on to claim that the $300,000 figure and “Crandall’s optimistic outlook of the case were factors” in his decision to reject plea deal offers and go to trial.
On Monday, October 24, I'll be back with so much more, including exclusive forensic accounting details, liquor bottles under the bed, and the true role of Mark Noss in Steven Ingersoll's criminal defense.
Just keep repeating: Dick Cummins!