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Back to Dorothy Brizill main page, Guam SLAPP suit

Dorothy Brizill 
E-mail to media outlets in Guam
August 1, 2006




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Subject: Slots gambling promoters, the Marati press release, and the Deitsch-Perez E-mail
From: Dorothy Brizill <dorothy@dcwatch.com
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2006 15:58:09 -0400
To: janderson@k57.com, msilva@k57.com, sabrina@kuam.com, clynt@kuam.com, mvariety@vzpacifica.net, pacvoice@ite.net, parroyo@k57.net, rgibson@k57.net
CC: "Jackie A. Marati" <jamarati@bankofguam.com>, William O'Field <wofield@dcboee.org>, Lori Montgomery <montgomeryl@washpost.com>, Matt Cella <mcella@washingtontimes.com>

I am Dorothy Brizill, the Executive Director of DCWatch, a good government organization focused on the local government in Washington, DC. My organization opposed the gambling initiatives that were proposed in Washington, DC, in 2004 and 2006. These initiatives were totally financed by companies that were owned or controlled by Shawn Scott, Rob Newell, and John Baldwin, who are the backers of the gambling initiative that is currently proposed in Guam.

Jackie Marati has shared with me an E-mail sent to Guam press outlets dated July 31, 2006, by Deborah Deitsch-Perez, an attorney for Scott, Newell, Baldwin, and their companies. Ms. Deitsch-Perez also represented these interests in their initiative efforts in Washington, DC, so I am very familiar with her tactics. 

Ms. Deitsch-Perez's E-mail is filled with half-truths and misrepresentations, and is very deceptive. Her threat to sue Ms. Marati and media outlets, simply for exposing the backgrounds of her clients, is an effort to intimidate an opponent of her clients in the midst of a political campaign and to prevent the public from learning the truth about her clients, who are attempting to promote slot machine gambling in Guam. 

In Washington, DC, any member of an initiative committee that proposes an initiative must be a registered voter in the District of Columbia. In 2004, Scott, Newell, Baldwin, and companies owned and controlled by them hired three residents of the District of Columbia as their agents to be the members of the initiative committee. The members of the initiative committee did not work independently, but on behalf of and in the interest of Scott, Newell, and Baldwin. All the expenses of the committee were paid by companies owned and controlled by Scott, Newell, and Baldwin.

That initiative committee was fined twice by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics for violations of election laws. The first fine was for $100,000, and that fine was paid by the initiative committee from funds provided by a company owned and controlled by Scott, Newell, and Baldwin (see http://www.dcwatch.com/election/init18ww.htm). The second fine was for $622,820, and the initiative committee has not yet paid it; instead, it has appealed the fine in DC Superior Court. Ms. Deitsch-Perez is technically correct that the DC Board of Elections and Ethics did not assess that fine for "signature buying"; instead, it found that:

The Board's examination into the circumstances surrounding the Initiative Measure No. 68 petition circulation process revealed significant and pervasive irregularities and improprieties of a magnitude never previously experienced in this jurisdiction. The illegal activities compromised, and made a mockery of, the integrity of the electoral process that the Board is charged with protecting. Accordingly, a fine in the amount of $622,880 is wholly justified. [http://www.dcwatch.com/election/init18ggg.htm

Citizens challenged the petitions filed by the initiative committee. The Board of Elections and Ethics held a nine-day hearing on those petitions and heard the testimony of many witnesses who were involved in the petition circulation process. In the end, the Board rejected the petitions because of pervasive fraud. In its order rejecting the petitions, it wrote:

The flaws in the process, which bore on the validity of the signatures collected, were significant when considered individually, and monumental when considered collectively. They served to turn the law of the District of Columbia designed to ensure the integrity of the circulation process on its head. These flaws included: 1) the use of so-called "assistants" who were non-residents of the District of Columbia, but who actually performed the petition circulating responsibilities statutorily prescribed for D.C. residents; 2) the falsification of the circulator's affidavit by D.C. residents at the urging of some of the non-residents brought into the District of Columbia to "assist" with the petition drive; 3) forged signatures of both signatories and circulators; 4) official training of circulators by non-residents who were uninformed about the District's election laws and Initiative Measure No. 68 itself, and who promoted a sales pitch that mischaracterized the substance of the initiative; 5) false advertising of the initiative to induce signing that was conveyed both orally in communications between circulators and potential signers, and visually through the wearing of T-shirts that conveyed the false information; 6) the haphazard and uncoordinated recruitment of D.C. residents by non-resident circulators to act as purported witnesses to their signature gathering efforts—a practice that undoubtedly contributed to the unreliability of the circulator's affidavits and the Board's inability to subpoena several witnesses; and 7) an overall lack of oversight of the activities in the field by managers who appeared far removed from the details of the collection effort. [http://www.dcwatch.com/election/init18o.htm

Again, this pervasive pattern of fraud, forgery, and violations of elections laws was found to be the responsibility of an initiative committee all of whose members were paid agents of Scott, Newell, Baldwin, and their companies, and all of whose activities were paid for by Scott, Newell, Baldwin, and their companies. While Ms. Deitsch-Perez correctly claims that Scott, Newell, and Baldwin were not individually named or fined by the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics, the committee that was their hired agent was.

Ms. Deitsch-Perez's characterization of the Board's decision is completely false. The Board's decision was appealed by the initiative committee and upheld by the DC Court of Appeals, which praised it in its opinion: We affirm the Board's thoroughly documented and carefully explained decision, substantially for the reasons stated in its supplemental opinion attached hereto. [http://www.dcwatch.com/election/init18kk.htm]

The Court of Appeals further listed some of the violations of election law that were engaged in by the initiative committee:

The Board's manifold findings of circulator impropriety, which are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole, Pendleton v. District of Columbia Bd. of Elections & Ethics, 449 A.2d 301, 307 (D.C. 1982), include the following:

  • Of the seventy-nine Stars and Stripes circulators the Board was able to identify from documents provided by the Citizens Committee, twelve appeared at the hearing in response to subpoena by the Board. Eight of these testified to having falsely signed circulator affidavits, and two refused to testify on grounds of self-incrimination. Those who testified identified three other circulators by name who had engaged in similar false signings. The Citizens Committee, by contrast, called no Stars and Stripes circulators to testify.
  • Besides implicating themselves and naming other wrongdoers, the witnesses "implicated . . . a much larger group of unnamed wrongdoers." In particular, Mike Jones, a "mid-level/supervisory affiliate of the Stars and Stripes organization," had engaged in the "well-known common practice" of having D.C. residents sign the affidavits of non-resident circulators. ("The out-of-towners," as one resident witness testified, would "go out all day and get signatures; but they didn't have [any]body to sign it. And so I made a couple of extra dollars by just signing . . . their papers.") Other non-resident circulators likewise claimed not "to worry about D.C. residents being there [to witness petition signatures] . . . [T]hey had D.C. residents all lined up to sign off on the signature[ petitions] after they turned them in."
  • Regarding some fifty-four petition sheets, the documents themselves showed that the signatures or printed names on the circulator affidavits had been crossed out and another signature or name substituted. "Indeed, the names of twenty-three different circulators appear as the replacements for the crossed-out signatures or names on the altered petition sheets."
  • Witnesses testified to forgery of their signatures on affidavits. One witness said that of the twenty petition sheets attributed to him, he circulated only two; and another said he had circulated none of the forty petition sheets attributed to him. In addition, the Board "gave some credence" to reports of a "signing party" at the Red Roof Inn where names and addresses were allegedly copied from the telephone books onto petition sheets.
  • Eight circulators who could not be subpoenaed had listed addresses on the affidavits that were non-existent or related to premises that were abandoned.

On the basis of this evidence, the Board found "a pervasive pattern of fraud, forgeries, and other improprieties that permeated the petition circulation process" operated by Stars and Stripes, in that witnesses had testified "not to individual acts of wrongdoing in an otherwise lawfully functioning system, but to an operation in which false signings were an established practice." In determining the proper remedy for this practice, the Board also considered the failure of the Citizens Committee to produce contrary evidence.

Ms. Deitsch-Perez commonly engages in a shell game with regard to Shawn Scott, Rob Newell, John Baldwin, and their many companies. These three individuals have been partners, in various combinations, in more than 160 companies. Whenever Mr. Scott, Mr. Newell, or Mr. Baldwin has been associated with any wrongdoing, Ms. Deitsch-Perez has denied the association by saying that it wasn't that individual, it was one of those numerous shell companies. Ms. Deitsch-Perez denies that Mr. Baldwin was involved in the Washington, DC, effort in any way, but Mr. Baldwin is the primary source of financing for Mr. Scott and Mr. Newell, so this denial is disingenuous and misleading. When Ms. Deitsch-Perez first appeared in Washington, DC, she denied that she was representing Shawn Scott or Rob Newell or Bridge Capital -- because for that particular representation she was being paid by another one of these 160 or so different corporations. The truth is that the three members of this group are all interconnected in all of their deals, and they commonly disguise and deny their connections by using these shell corporations.

If you have any questions about what happened in Washington, DC, please don't hesitate to E-mail me or to call me at dorothy@dcwatch.com, 202-234-6982. If you have any questions about the findings of the DC Board of Elections and Ethics, you can contact its press representative, William O'Field, at wofield@boee.org, 202-727-2511. If you have any questions about the backgrounds of Scott, Newell, and Baldwin, please search the archives of The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com) and The Washington Times (http://www.washtimes.com) for 2004. And if you have any questions about the factual basis for these newspaper stories, or any doubt about whether any of these stories has been "corrected" or retracted in any way, please contact the reporters who wrote them, Lori Montgomery at The Washington Post, montgomeryl@washpost.com, 202-334-6822, and Matt Cella at The Washington Times, mcella@washtimes.com, 202-636-4895.

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