BY ANGELA KAMBARIAN
As the most tumultuous presidential campaign in U.S. history ended, a series of new and highly bizarre allegations recently came to light, potentially implicating the Republican President-elect Donald J. Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Jr.
While the enormous $250 million tax evasion lawsuit names Mr. Trump and his children as material witnesses rather than defendants, the focus of the case is a man named Felix Sater, the principal of the Bayrock Group and Trump’s former senior advisor and long-term business partner on numerous Trump Tower projects worldwide.
The recent allegations in this “Bayrock” tax scam case is a continuation of a series of charges filed by same litigants over the course of six years in multiple courts.
A series of allegations were put forth by attorneys Frederick Oberlander and Richard Lerner, dragging their former client Jody Kriss into the recently unsealed tax scam case and casting a shadow over numerous individuals, political figures, major law and real estate firms, and even the U.S government. Mr. Kriss served as a CFO & Head of Finance at the Bayrock Group for nearly a decade. Oberlander and Richard Lerner have twice been criminally referred by federal judges for their misconduct in the cases involving Mr. Sater and his company.
As the strange legal scenario continued to unfold, Jody Kriss decided to distance himself from his legal representatives and fired both attorneys, prompting Oberlander and Lerner to retaliate with a lawsuit, putting their client at the center of this action.
They started the new lawsuit by issuing a misleading press release incorrectly stating that the New York Attorney General had greenlighted the $250 million tax fraud prosecution of Trump projects. Per court filings and the NY Attorney General himself, the NYAG’s office absolutely did not greenlight, endorse or authorize the bringing of this case.
Given the unprecedented media coverage of President-elect Trump, Oberlander and Lerner are now ready to jump on the “Trump bandwagon” and draw attention to the case by potentially adding him as a defendant. They maintain that new details have emerged about Mr. Trump’s collaboration with Bayrock Group, which may require his inclusion.
Lerner’s and Oberlander’s latest action is a continuing sequel in an aggressive multi-year litigation campaign targeting dozens of prominent New York real estate professionals and seeking over a billion dollars in damages. Over the course of six years, the attorneys have been pursuing this matter with unprecedented fervor, oftentimes resorting to questionable tactics and blatantly defying court orders, which landed them in hot water.
The attorneys furnished a secret and stolen cooperation agreement of a federal cooperator to the attorney of the Persico Mafia family that the cooperator was providing evidence against. The latest in a continuing series of frivolous lawsuits is a qui tam action that has raised some eyebrows in legal circles and provoked scathing criticism from numerous judges.
Qui tam lawsuit is a civil case providing rewards for whistle blowers who prove instrumental in recovering funds for the government. The qui tam lawsuit is expected to be dismissed promptly as have most of their previous lawsuits.
“As previously determined by numerous federal judges, the allegations in this “Bayrock” tax fraud complaint are based on privileged and confidential documents that were stolen from Bayrock. These very allegations have been ordered stricken and inadmissible. Over the last six years they have repeatedly failed in lawsuit after lawsuit to sustain a case on these allegations. All of them have been tossed out of court. This manufactured qui tam case will meet the same fate as all the others and will definitely be dismissed,” says Robert S. Wolf, a New York-based attorney representing Mr. Sater.
What lies behind Lerner’s and Oberlander’s motivation to wage an ongoing war against Bayrock Group? Evidence suggests that their actions were a potential legal extortion campaign and a possible desire to undermine the political process, as well as the obvious intent to attract media attention by constantly filing lawsuits against powerful individuals, thereby forcing heavy legal costs on all.
A criminal investigation into their smear campaign and tactics is currently underway by the US Attorney’s office, Northern District, NY is underway.
The attempted legal shakedown of Bayrock & Sater initially got underway in 2010, by a string of law suits led by Jody Kriss and attorneys that were subsequently dismissed. Eager to reap enormous financial gains, the plaintiffs would stop at nothing to achieve their ambitions, even if it meant defying court orders and resorting to legal extortion. Threatening to reveal confidential information about Sater’s ongoing collaboration with the government on matters of national security,
Oberlander and Lerner were hard at work mounting claim after claim against Sater & Bayrock and a host of some of the most prestigious law firms and real estate firms in New York, demanding a multi-million dollar settlement.
Lauded by Attorney General Loretta Lynch for his extraordinary cooperation with the government on matters of national security, Mr. Sater remained a target of unwarranted and unprecedented smear campaign orchestrated by Kriss, Oberlander and Lerner. Felix Sater states “The tactics used to damage my reputation in an attempt to extort millions of dollars from so many individuals are unacceptable and deeply troubling.
The continuing, repeated baseless lawsuits are clearly nothing more than an extortion.