Alan Cooper Sues John Steele, Prenda Law And The Shell Companies He Supposedly 'Runs'

from the other-shoe-drops dept

Well, well. It was really only a matter of time, but the Alan Cooper saga has moved into its next phase. If you don’t recall, this story all starts with John Steele, who had been a divorce lawyer until he discovered copyright trolling, and suddenly went absolutely crazy filing copyright trolling lawsuits with the sole purpose of trying to scare people into paying up (of which he got a huge cut) rather than actually taking people through the judicial process. As a bunch of his lawsuits start flopping (even as enough uninformed people coughed up lots of money to Steele), he began shifting strategies. He claimed to have shut down his law firm, only to pop up again in Florida with Prenda Law doing the same thing (and ran into some troubles for not being licensed to practice law there). Late last year, it appeared that Steele hit on a new strategy of using shell companies to try a whole bunch of tricks and loopholes for getting around the reason his cases kept getting thrown out. There were suspicions that the shell companies, going by names like AF Holdings, Ingenuity 13 and Guava, were nothing more than Steele and/or his partners, but there was little evidence at the time. That’s quickly changing.

Back in December, a guy named Alan Cooper, who had been hired by Steele to be the caretaker of some of Steele’s property in Minnesota, intervened in a few AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13 cases to point out that it had come to his attention that both companies were claiming that a guy named Alan Cooper was managing those companies, and he had reasons to believe that Steele had simply used his name. While a few courts ignored the letters, some judges have started asking questions, and no one associated with Prenda seems to want to answer the simple question: which Alan Cooper runs those companies?

Apparently Prenda’s silence on the matter has been enough for caretaker Cooper (and his lawyer) and they’ve now sued Prenda, John Steele, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, directly claiming that Steele is in charge of all of those and forged Cooper’s signature. In fact, in the exhibits, Cooper presents the caretaking agreement he did sign with Steele, and then suggests that documents showing a signature for Alan Cooper regarding AF Holdings or Ingenuity 13 are really attempts to forge the same signature in that caretaking document. Cooper is charging Steele and Prenda with invasion of privacy (via appropriation), deceptive trade practices and civil conspiracy, as well as arguing that the corporate veil should be pierced for all three companies, as they’re nothing more than shells for Steele to hide behind.

Of course, if this keeps up, Steele may be facing a lot worse than civil charges. Forging someone’s name and lying to the court aren’t things that tend to go over well in criminal cases.



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Companies: af holdings, ingenuity 13, prenda, prenda law

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Comments on “Alan Cooper Sues John Steele, Prenda Law And The Shell Companies He Supposedly 'Runs'”

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31 Comments
sophisticatedjanedoe says:

There is one Alan Cooper’s ghost wandering in the Twitterworld.

My favorite recent tweets:

Shall I rejoice my inevitable fate? (To learn I have been fabricated.) The goodness in it: finally I can be exorcised from my fabricator.

To the real MN #AlanCooper: I commend you. Stick it to the beast. Put me out of my misery.

Soon #BrettGibbs, you gonna cough up that hairball and set me free. #AFHoldings #Ingenuity13 ( or u could #rat ).

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Just an idea, but if the companies are bogus, but the people running them aren’t, wouldn’t any fines by necessity have to be levied against the ones running said bogus companies?

A nice ultimatum of ‘pay the fines and/or have your properties seized to pay off the fines or go to jail’ might get them to cough up the cash.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Except they have more than enough resources to flee the reach of the court now.
While they try to sort out who is doing what, they can take off. On the outside we all know Steele is writing a majority of Pretenda’s papers… but the courts still believe he isn’t working with them and is just a fan of copyright troll cases in obscure courtrooms in Florida.

I’ve seen so much Pretenda paperwork and I’ve yet to see AF Films listed in any of Coopers paperwork. Another shell or more shoddy work by Pretenda. Entering into the court record the transfer of rights to a nonexistant shell would be naughty. Having screwed up the name of your shell company is naughty…

Lets hope the veil goes buhbye and everything is seized before a shredding party.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The US courts most likely wont, though if the US courts (or others) can prove that a false instrument was used to create the accounts and corporations than the specific foreign jurisdictions can initiate action and freeze any and all assets themselves.

Lucrative for the governments involved, bad for the organisation owners, humorous for the rest of us.

Matthew Cline (profile) says:

If Cooper is wrong...

For the sake of the argument, let’s say that Alan Cooper the caretaker is wrong, and there is a different Alan Cooper managing the companies. What negative consequences could the caretaker suffer? IANAL, but my understanding is that the caretaker couldn’t be sued for defamation or anything like that, since lawsuit filings are privileged. Is that wrong, and he could be sued for [whatever]? Could he be made to pay lawyer’s fees for Prenda, John Steele, AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13? Anything else?

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: If Cooper is wrong...

If he were wrong, then the real Alan Cooper would be produced very quickly by the defendants along with a motion to dismiss with prejudice.

Maybe possible counterclaims, but probably motion to collect costs of defending this nonsense (if it were actually nonsense, which I highly doubt).

The court would expect that. The quickest way to knock this out is to simply produce the real Alan Cooper and show the caretaker is mistaken.

This is like if SCO had any evidence of copyright infringement by IBM, it would have produced it’s evidence right away so it could collect damages.

It will be amusing to see what distractions, diversions and contortions that Steele et all will go through to try to deflect this lawsuit. Yes, we have an Alan Cooper, we really, really do. His signature just happens to be really similar to the caretaker. But out Alan Cooper is not available right now. He’s, um, out of the country on business.

This is going to be interesting because the quickest defense would be to simply produce the Alan Cooper that is not the caretaker.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: If Cooper is wrong...

This is going to be interesting because the quickest defense would be to simply produce the Alan Cooper that is not the caretaker.

I actually have to wonder if that’s the real reason behind the lawsuit(s), to either flush out the mysterious ‘Alan Cooper’, or cause Steele and co. to panic, run around and try and make even more excuses to try and get out of doing so.

When you think about it, either say Prenda is pretty screwed here. If they don’t cough up an Alan Cooper, they are all personally going to be sued.

If they do cough up an Alan Cooper, and prove without a shadow of a doubt he is, and always has been the CEO of these companies, then he’s also going to be personally responsible for the crap that’s been pulled in his name, and there will almost certainly be some hard questions as to why he’s only now stepping forward, given all the song and dance that’s been going on to avoid him having to do so.

Lurker Keith says:

Re: If Cooper is wrong...

It’s a bit late for Prenda to claim the caretaker has no standing to sue, & so the caretaker probably can’t face any penalties. A JUDGE has already asked for proof that the caretaker isn’t Prenda’s Alan Cooper, & has yet to be given any (instead, he got a cracked smoke & mirrors campaign, which he’s not buying).

Since the question has been dodged, rather than answered, that alone should be grounds to sue to straighten it out. Pretenda had their chance to avoid a trial, by producing the other Alan when a JUDGE asked, but they chose to keep playing their shell games instead.

alanbleiweiss (profile) says:

DB Coopers Son

Maybe there’s a perfect explanation. Maybe John Steele is really DB Cooper’s son Alan Cooper. And maybe, since his dad disappeared all those years ago after jumping out of an airplane, and got away with lots of cash, DB drilled it into young Alan that he could never, ever, ever, let anyone know his real identity.

Except at one point, young Alan, having gotten his start in law as a result of investments from his father’s cash, and spent so many years under the false identity of John Steele, began to crack under pressure. But rather than let the world know his real birth name, decided to pay a tribute to it, and his infamous dad, by listing Alan Cooper on paper.

At this point, it’s at least a possibility in this already movie-worthy case…

πŸ™‚

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