Transcripts Of John Steele's Phone Calls To Alan Cooper

from the what-lawyer-leaves-voicemails-like-this? dept

One of the big surprise revelations at the infamous Prenda hearing on Monday was that John Steele had been calling Alan Cooper and leaving voicemails for him of a threatening nature. If you haven’t been following all of this, Alan Cooper was Prenda lawyer John Steele’s caretaker for some homes he owned in Minnesota. Some of the many shell companies that Prenda law was “representing” (and which it almost certainly set up itself for itself) supposedly had an “Alan Cooper” as a representative who “signed” all of the legal documents. At some point, caretaker Cooper learned of this and worried that Steele was illegally using his identity — leading to his notifying a few judges overseeing Prenda cases of this fact. It eventually resulted in Cooper suing Steele. Steele and Prenda (separately) along with Prenda’s only official partner, Paul Duffy, then all sued Cooper for defamation. Oh, and at no point has anyone associated with Prenda done or said anything to suggest that there is a real Alan Cooper who is not the caretaker, but who signed those documents. Steele, at one point, insisted he was real, but declined to provide any more info because (he claimed) of those lawsuits from Alan Cooper. Of course, that makes no sense. If there really was an Alan Cooper associated with AF Holdings and Ingenuity 13, the fastest way to win the lawsuit with caretaker Alan Cooper would be to have the other Alan Cooper show up. But that’s difficult if he doesn’t exist.

Anyway, in the court hearing on Monday, Cooper played a bunch of voicemails from Steele, which Steele had left recently, which do not look good for Steele. Here’s what Ken White wrote about the calls in the post he did for us:

The most dramatic part of Cooper’s testimony — and perhaps the most dramatic moment in the hearing — came when Cooper described what happened when his lawyer Paul Godfread notified Prenda Law that he was suing for the misappropriation of his identity. Within minutes, he said, John Steele began to call him. Steele called many times, and over the course of weeks sent texts and left several voice mail messages. Mr. Pietz played the messages for the court.

In each message, Steele began by telling Cooper that Steele understands that Cooper’s lawyer is only representing Cooper in Cooper’s lawsuit, not in Steele’s and Prenda’s and Duffy’s lawsuits against Cooper. It’s evident that Steele was saying that in an attempt to justify why he would be directly calling a represented party, which lawyers are prohibited from doing by the disciplinary rules of every jurisdiction. In the calls, Steele talked with escalating intensity about how Cooper was now facing lawsuits, that Cooper needed to call Steele to talk about being deposed and responding to discovery, how things were going to “get ugly” now, and how things were now “complicated.” On hearing the voice messages, I thought there was only one reasonable interpretation: John Steele was trying to menace and intimidate Alan Cooper to get him to back off from talking about John Steele’s use of his name. By the end of the calls, there was a stunned silence in the courtroom, and I suspected that many spectators were sharing with me a deep sympathy for Mr. Cooper and an abiding sense of revulsion for John Steele.

And… yesterday the transcripts of those voicemails was added to the docket as an exhibit by Morgan Pietz, one of the lawyers fighting against Prenda. The transcripts really are about as incredible as White described — and really suggest attempted intimidation (poorly done, mind you). You would think that a lawyer would know better than to so clearly threaten someone via a recorded message. A couple snippets:

From second voicemail:

It’s like if you refuse to, you know, return my calls or — or engage in mandatory conference, then I’m going to have to be forced to ask the judge to, you know, force you to do things and it just gets ugly from there.

So if you do decide to get an attorney in either of those matters or in the other cases which we’re filing against you in the upcoming weeks, please let them — have them give me a call. This number’s fine. Otherwise, I expect to hear from you shortly.

From third voicemail

Alan, this is John Steele again.

You have not responded or contacted me regarding litigation you’re involved in. I know you’ve been served with a third lawsuit. And there are more coming. Don’t worry about that.

Well, obviously, if I don’t hear from you, I’m going to start filing for certain default motions and start getting relief that way.

I can assure you that just ignoring legal matters, it’s not going to go away. I can guarantee you, I’m not going away.

So I highly recommend you at least, you know, follow the rules…. otherwise your life is going to get really complicated.

It’s just classic bullying talk. Incredible.

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Companies: prenda law

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Comments on “Transcripts Of John Steele's Phone Calls To Alan Cooper”

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Bob Dowling (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Oh, it will be used as an example, all right.

Trouble is, if they aren’t slapped down very hard indeed then it will be used as an example of ?look how much you can misbehave and still get away with it?.

I still have visions of the judge passing a case to the DOJ who drop the ball, or referring them to their respective Bar Associations who deliver only mild slaps on the wrists.

What can the judge do entirely by himself?

anonymouse says:

Re: Re: Re:

I suspect that the judge in this case is being very careful about what he doe regarding Steele. If anything he is the type of person to look for any tiny little loophole or transgression by the judge and use it to claim he cannot do anything regarding the case and should recuse himself.

I honestly think the judge will be requesting a lot of help regarding this, not for the fact that he does not know what he is doing but because they will cover his back.
In the end Steele is going to lose his license, that’s a given i think, it is whether the judge moves for criminal charges that will determine the real future for Steele.

Anonymous Coward says:

the fastest way to win the lawsuit with caretaker Alan Cooper would be to have the other Alan Cooper show up

maybe, maybe not. I’m not sure how a court would rule on “sorry, we meant THIS Alan Cooper”- they could take the view that Prenda should have clarified which Alan Cooper they meant earlier.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I would think Steele has something on the real Alan Cooper. It is what he is suggesting in the calls. Getting fired is not enough to work as a deterrrent, so I think Steele has knowledge about illegal activity by Alan Cooper. The problem is that Alan Cooper would rather take his punishment than give in to the blackmail.

It seems the hole for Steele is getting close to the center of the earth now. Everything around him is burning.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

The Old Comedy.

I first had this sensation back in, I think it must have been, 1973, watching the Watergate conspirators testify on television. You would have thought they would have known better. John Dean’s law degree was from Georgetown University, Chuck Colson’s law degree was from George Washington University, and Jeb Stuart Magruder’s MBA was from the University of Chicago. I learned then that the votaries of power are such ridiculous little men, incredibly ignorant for all their academic titles. The impression was confirmed by Oliver North and Scooter Libby. John Steele has merely taken it down to the carnival sideshow level. Someone, I forget who, said that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as comedy, and the third time as slapstick farce. I’m not particularly surprised that the current performance should resemble the Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, and Foghorn Leghorn cartoons I watched when I was a kid.

Baldaur Regis (profile) says:

The level of ineptitude...

…shown by these guys is just appalling. Here they are, running a modestly successful and…not precisely illegal…extortion racket, and Steele uses the name of his caretaker on legal documents? Has he never heard of using a phone book and picking a name at random?
A person can choose to commit a crime, or not. It behooves the intelligent lawbreaker to at least study up on their methods – extortion is not really a learn-as-you-go career choice.

These palookas are going to do the perp walk for this caper.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: The level of ineptitude...

That’s the thing that surprises me the most in all of this. Why pick a name from someone you know? Why not just pick some random name. Go to the phone book, find one first name, find someone other last name and then done. These guys are already playing the shell game. Surely this is basic shell game 101 type stuff right?

Ken (user link) says:

Relevant To Your Interests

In evaluating the intent behind the emails and the veracity of Mr. Steele’s factual claims consider this:

Mr. Cooper was not, in fact, in default on any of the defamation suits filed against him by Steele, Duffy, and Prenda Law. Those were timely removed to federal court. Once removed to federal court, discovery in each case was governed by the strict rules of federal civil procedure, which prevent an aggressive plaintiff from demanding the defendant’s deposition within two weeks. Even to the extent Steele was contemplating the cases remaining in state court, I would rate it as very highly improbable that any judge would compel a defendant to sit for a deposition within a few weeks of the case being filed — even before an answer was due.

The urgency is clearly manufactured — part of the attempt to intimidate.

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