Britney Spears, Tom Girardi, and Los Angeles as #126th

VIEW FROM HERE-What do Ms. Spears, the infamous attorney Tom Girardi and Los Angeles’ falling to the nation’s 126th city have in common?

The common denominator is a hideously corrupt judicial system which has preyed upon the public for decades. 

When the nation’s second largest city, which in 2001 was the most desired urban destination, falls down to number 126, something is horribly wrong. So too when multi-millionaire Britney Spears is basically held captive while the courts help themselves to her wealth. As we now know, Tom Girardi, hubby to Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’s star Erika Jayne, stole untold millions from his clients. In each instance and in tens of thousands of other cases, California’s corrupt judicial system was the common factor. We would be seriously remiss if we overlooked the thousands upon thousands of young Black and Brown men who were falsely incarcerated. The Ramparts Scandal never touched the real kingpins, the criminal court judges. 

A thousand pages could not relate all the corruption which has been ruining the lives of Angelenos for decades. Take Justice Paul Turner who would have secret ex parte contacts and then all by himself issue orders to help his buddies. Justice Turner thought himself to be above the law and he had this belief for a good reason – he was above the law. Recently the LA Times briefly touched upon Justice Turner in its article “His Job Was to Police Bad Lawyers.” He Became Tom Girardi’s Broker to LA’s Rich, Powerful by Harriet Ryan, Matt Hamilton. Among other things, Justice Turner participated in deciding who became Sheriff.  

As the LA Times relates, “Turner used his judicial email account to strategize ways to help his preferred candidate, Jim McDonnell.” Remember Jim McConnell was Los Angeles County Sheriff from 2014 until 2018 and before that he was City of Long Beach Chief of Police from 2010 to 2014. Stop and think what was going on in the Sheriff Department. It had its own violent gang and deputies did favors for judges like remodeling kitchens. How did the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department have its own version of the corrupt Ramparts CRASH unit? It had judicial protection. 

How would you like to have your son’s criminal case overseen by Justice Turner who said, “You, me and Bratton know that ‘reform’ means arrest a lot more people but people like [former LA County Supervisor] Zev [Yaroslavsky] think that refers to do-gooder blather?” “Do-gooder blather” is the judicial term for Due Process. So, I guess my source’s story that Justice Turner took a fatally defective warrant and hid it his desk so that the defense attorney could not use it in court was true.  

Everyone is entitled to his opinion about the wisdom of arresting more people. When Justice Turner who pulls the behind-the-scenes strings, actively selects who will be sheriff and lets it be known that he expects more arrests, we will have more police shootings. Now, readers can begin to see the ugliness behinds the headlines: The Guardian, “Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Faces a Reckoning after Another Police Shooting,” July 1, 2010, by Sam Levin. 

As Mr. Levin wrote: “One of America’s most powerful local law enforcement agencies is facing a reckoning after decades of reports of violence and corruption.” A year later, the LA Times is showing what insiders have known for years, the same corrupt judicial system which supports the murder and incarceration of minorities was protecting the corrupt judges in the Probate Conservatorship Courts and allowing Tom Girardi to rip off millions of dollars so that his wife Erika Jayne could prance around the set of RHOBH. 

Do Not Think the Corruption Is about to Stop. 

State Rep. Tom Umberg (D Santa Ana) is getting into the coverup act. The thrust of the LA Times July 13, 2021, article was about the complicity of the State Bar in Tom Girardi’s stealing millions of dollars while being consistently reported to the State Bar which did nothing except to accept more favors from Girardi. The LA Times article omitted Girardi’s sex ranch for friendly judges as it barely touches the fringes of the State Bar corruption. Now State Rep Tom Umberg wants an audit of the State Bar’s “mistakes.” How about a Department of Justice investigation into the State Bar corruption like the one which resulted in the Consent Decree against the LAPD? 

When predators are in control, people have to be either willing to be shot dead like Attorney Dexter Jacobson, thrown in jail like Richard Fine, or framed and disbarred by a kangaroo State Bar court like Richard MacNaughton (aka Rick Abrams) in order to risk speaking out. The State Bar operates similar to the Probate Conservatorship court. In conservatorship, a conservatee is forced into a mediation where she is fleeced of her property and forbidden to say anything, while in the State Bar, they frame attorneys and then use the case of Joseph Collins Case (16-O-10339) to exclude the attorney’s putting on evidence of his innocence. For any attorney who objects to judicial corruption, a State Bar accusation is a conviction. The Supreme Court’s Chief Justice calls this due process. 

How Does the Corrupt Judiciary Harm Angelenos? 

If having family members shot, murdered, and thrown into prison is not enough, how about the financial side? Anyone who has bought a home in Los Angeles in the past decade has been subject to a massive financial fraud. Primarily through the mechanism of Spot Zoning, the city has fraudulently inflated the value of homes. As a result, home buyers must borrow hundreds of thousands of more dollars from Wall Street. A mortgage which should be $500,000.00 can become $1 million. Thousands of Angelenos are paying these exorbitant monthly mortgages, while the city collects vastly inflated property taxes. The same frauds which inflate single family homes prices impact apartment owners who then raise their rents. The absurdly high rents end up in the pockets of Wall Street executives. 

We are now having to shell out billions of dollars to handle the Homeless Crisis which the courts helped bring about – along with the needless deaths of thousands of homeless. In December 2016, Judge Richard Fruin ruled that the city council of Los Angeles’ role in demolishing poor people’s homes (and everything else it did) was “non-justiciable,” e.g., above the law. In the aftermath of Judge Fruin’s ruling, thousands more poor people were made homeless by Garcetti’s Manhattanization Mania. Los Angeles ended up having the worse GINI Coefficient or any metropolitan area, but the courts did not care as long as the money kept rolling in. 

The Worst Is Yet to Come 

As CityWatch has said for years, the excessive densification was not only driving up real estate prices but driving out Family Millions. The more they build in Hollywood, the more people move away. By 2019, Hollywood’s population had decreased to 195,720 from 198,288 in 2010. A city without a new middle class, i.e., Family Millennials, will not survive. That is what our falling to position 126th tells us. Those who know LA best and who want a better life for their families are moving away. This massive corruption will not stop. There will be scads of Rep Umberg’s to whitewash the corruption with phony inquiries and hand wringing but remember Justice Turner’s words -- it is all just do-gooder blather!


(Richard Lee Abrams has been an attorney, a realtor and community relations consultant as well as a CityWatch contributor. The views expressed herein are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch. You may email him at [email protected]). Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times.