EDITORIAL: Larry Friedman, Drop The Lawsuit

UPDATED 6:33 P.M. EST (U.S.A.) Dallas attorney Larry Friedman represents the ASD Members Business Association (ASDMBA) Trust. Friedman has sued Florida resident Jack Arons for slander and libel, asserting that Arons — a self-styled truth-seeker whom Friedman describes as a “felon” and a “vigilante” and an Internet “menace” — has told untruths and slimed him online.

The filing of a lawsuit against Arons strikes us as a severe remedy and a warning to others not to ask too many uncomfortable questions. It’s hard not to see things that way when a person purporting to be Bob Guenther, the de facto head of the Trust, appears to be acting as Friedman’s publicist and bouncer — and using Friedman’s law shingle as a weapon.

Friedman assesses the harm from Arons’ alleged slime at $50,000. He filed a 12-page lawsuit, but swore only to a single paragraph in the document in a verification on the final page. Regardless, Friedman walked away with a temporary restraining order designed to mute Arons.

Critics at the ASD-Biz forum say the document reads like a broad bid to chill legitimate  discussion about ASDMBA. Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, some ASDMBA members said they filed complaints against Friedman with the Texas Bar and the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.  The members want to know how ASDMBA is spending money it collected.

And they want to know why no ASDMBA litigation has been filed to date, whether ASDMBA even can gain standing in a forfeiture case against the alleged proceeds of a criminal enterprise, and why the Trust says it still owes Friedman money. The kinds of questions ASDMBA members say they want answered certainly are reasonable.

Friedman’s client is the ASDMBA Trust, not the individual members who provided funding and comprise the association. The original plan was for Friedman to communicate with members through the Trust, which effectively is under the control of Bob Guenther, who identified himself a Friedman client in matters that did not pertain to ASDMBA. Guenther introduced Friedman to the members in a conference call when the Trust was being formed last summer.

The trouble with Friedman’s claim that the Trust is the proper information gateway, according to members, is that Guenther doesn’t answer questions and has released only a broad accounting of how ASDMBA spends its money. These members say the accounting is far too vague. They also complain about verbal bullying from Guenther, who has cited a longtime friendship with Friedman.

It’s all well and good that Friedman’s client is the Trust. Friedman, in effect, is saying members should turn to Guenther for answers, and that very well could be proper if Friedman has an attorney-client relationship with the Trust. But when members can’t get the answers they seek from the Trust or become the subject of a passive-aggressive rant or verbal threat from Guenther, where do they turn?

Some of them say they turned to the Texas Bar and Abbott.  The lawsuit against Arons followed — and was announced by a person who purported to be Guenther in two separate threads at the ASD-Biz forum.

One of the posts announced the announcement, pointing viewers to a separate thread that contained the actual announcement. The poster purporting to be Guenther was the first person to post links to the lawsuit documents, before any information appeared on the Dallas court site and before Arons was served.

How the lawsuit information was disseminated creates the appearance that Guenther is working as Friedman’s flack and bouncer. Even at the very moment this post is being written, a person purporting to be Guenther is over at the ASD-Biz forum threatening to extend Friedman’s long arm from Dallas and sue other people. The claim is that no one can say they haven’t been warned about Friedman’s ability to file libel lawsuits.

The implication is that Guenther himself wants to spread the chill. In a juvenile insult, Arons was referred to as “Rookie.” The message was rookies get sued and eaten for lunch by the professionals, so don’t ask too many questions.

Still, however, there has been no transparent accounting from the complaining members’ point of view. A lack of transparent accounting certainly isn’t consistent with professionalism — and was one of the reasons ASDMBA members said they turned to the Texas Bar and Abbott to address their concerns.

Members want to know why ASDMBA, for example, appears to have spent thousands of dollars on what was vaguely described as contract services and Internet expenses. It is possible to purchase web hosting for a site that would accommodate ASDMBA’s needs for $24 a year, not thousands of dollars.

People know that. They also know that vague accounting sometimes is a signature of abuse.  Their concerns are not silly. They could be addressed in minutes by Bob Guenther and the Trust.

And yet the concerns aren’t being addressed, according to members. Meanwhile, Jack Arons is being called a “Rookie”  and getting sued, and a poster purporting to be Guenther is announcing the lawsuit with great fanfare and opining that 80% of men are “internet pussies who couldn’t work their way out of a wet paper bag.”

Yes, really.

“Jack Arons Sued, Served and Shut Up, Finally…” reads the over-the-top headline, in the thread that announces Friedman’s legal handiwork.

There were reports this morning that Arons’ Internet connection was taken down as a result of documents faxed to his ISP.

Friedman’s quickest route to restore a reputation he claims was damaged is not to sue Jack Arons; it is to insist that Guenther and the Trust be straightforward in their dealings with members who contributed money and, if they’re not, to fire the Trust as a client.

As things stand now, the person purporting to be Guenther appears to be staining Friedman’s reputation by acting as a bouncer against people who might be inclined to file complaints with the Texas Bar and Abbott. What’s more, the temporary restraining order is so broad that it appears to restrain people sympathetic to Arons even from contacting Friedman to let him know what’s going on at the forum.

Appearances matter. It looks like the person purporting to be Guenther is doing Friedman’s bidding for him and seeking to insulate himself from criticism and legitimate questioning by dangling Friedman’s shingle as a weapon. At a minimum, this situation creates the appearance of impropriety. It looks like thuggery.

The poster purporting to be Guenther shows virtually no restraint. The ASD case has never been about politics, but Guenther — who seems not to possess a thimble full of PR savvy — routinely cites his conservative credentials in forum threads about ASD or ASDMBA. It’s as though he can’t even conceive that ASD and ASDMBA have Democrats and liberals in their membership ranks and that politics has no place in this particular business discussion.

ASDMBA members weren’t asked about their political leanings when they joined. They were told that the association was going to litigate in their interests. They didn’t join to be told they weren’t conservative enough or Republican enough to be taken seriously. And they certainly didn’t join to be made the subjects of juvenile ridicule by Guenther and threats that they, too, will get sued if they don’t play the game by rules he defines.

On the ASDMBA website, Guenther is directing bluster at William Cowden, the federal prosecutor handling the ASD case. Guenther had made a big show of emailing questions to Cowden, who is under no obligation at all to provide Guenther any answers. The ASD case is an active, ongoing investigation. Cowden wouldn’t discuss the government’s prosecutorial plans during an active investigation even if Congress were to subpoena him. He’s certainly not going to jump through Guenther’s hoops.

Larry Friedman should drop the lawsuit against Jack Arons. At the same time, he should stop Guenther from using his attorney’s shingle as a weapon. Little wonder that attorneys are made the subject of jokes and outright ridicule when this kind of thing is happening in full public view.

ASDMBA should provide a full, itemized, transparent accounting. Bob Guenther should end any involvement with ASDMBA and rid himself of the notion that people are too stupid or too afraid to hold him accountable.

About the Author

18 Responses to “EDITORIAL: Larry Friedman, Drop The Lawsuit”

  1. Thank you Patrick for an excellent article and the truth as it should have been told long ago.

      (Quote)

  2. This is wonderful, Patrick. You keep topping yourself — and please keep it up.

      (Quote)

  3. “It looks like thuggery”.

    IT IS thuggery, Patrick.

    and you are 100% correct, if Friedman & Feiger had had any interest in their professional reputation, they would have terminated their relationship with the ASDMBA “Trustee” and self style indian chief, Robert L Guenther a very long time ago

    Please note – the sum that Jack is being sued for, corresponds with the sum that the ASDMBA allegedly owe F & F. And Larry Friedman is trying to tell us that the reputation of Friedman & Feiger is only worth 50,000 bucks?

      (Quote)

  4. alasycia: And Larry Friedman is trying to tell us that the reputation of Friedman & Feiger is only worth 50,000 bucks?

    Give it time, Jenny, give it time,

    a couple of more weeks of this B/S, and a $50,000 reputation will be something to aspire to.

    And here I was thinking the tales of Texas being a lawless place occupied by blowhards, bullies and outlaws was the stuff of bad TV series and B grade movies,

    BOY, was I wrong.

      (Quote)

  5. Great Editorial Patrick but some of your statements simply are not correct. Guenther is not “using Friedman’s law shingle as a weapon.” Clearly Friedman filed and signed the lawsuit himself, no doubt with with consultation, encouragement and approval of Bob G.

    It is a lawsuit Friedman cannot ultimately ‘win’ or ever collect any damages from if pursued. It is a lawsuit that if pursued in the proper venue would eventually open up Discovery and a Counter law suit that would be far more damaging and embarrassing to Larry Friedman and F&F by compelling the real facts in the case now enter an official Court Record.

    Jack Arons is 100% noncollectable if Friedman should ever prevail with a damage award and in the meantime….the crafty old Geezer will cause Larry Friedman and his firm to devote untold hours of billable time they would otherwise use to be billing clients. The Courts bend over backwards and really give the upper hand to the pro se Defendant being sued by a lawyer.

    The Old Geezer is like the spider in that spider and fly story and he now has Larry snared in HIS web. The Lawsuit is a two way street for interrogatories, discovery and all sorts of fun things and I am sure pro se Defendant with. like the song says, ‘with a little help from his friends’ can surface the real facts and evidence that needs to be publicly exposed. NO PATRICK, LARRY FRIEDMAN SHOULD NOT DROP THIS LAWSUIT.

    Why did Friedman sue Jack in the first place? Complaints are now flowing into the Texas Bar Association and Attorney General Greg Abbot’s Office….THAT IS WHY….and these are the people who can sanction and even disbar Larry. This lawsuit against Jack is a defensive act out of desperation by Friedman to silence Jack and all other critics encouraging people to file complaints or those victims thinking about filing a complaint!! THIS IS WHAT FRIEDMAN IS AFRAID OF, THIS IS WHAT CAN TAKE HIM DOWN AND PUT HIS NAME IN THE NEWSPAPER.

    This lawsuit can and will be the focal point that can rally hundreds of more complaints to the Bar and AG. Right now there are only a few dozen complaints but the Old Geezer and his supporters are armed with the ASDBMA financial contributor’s list, a list of the victims scammed by Bob G and Larry who may shortly join the movement to demand answers and accounting.

    The Texas Bar Association not a Class Action Lawsuit in a Court is the PROPER VENUE to do this. Larry Friedman was ACTIVELY INVOLVED with the solicitation of legal fees for this association. He did so publicly on several National Conference calls saying he would be representing the members. Legal fees in the form of contributions were even sent to and cashed by his office. It will be very easy to prove to the Bar that a client-attorney relationship exists between Friedman and the contributing members because Friedman said so in his own recorded words when he and Guenther were beating the bushes for money. This so called ‘Trust’ is a sham and has been completely abandoned as any sort of ‘member protection’ as a ‘Trust”. If Friedman claims he was at all times representing “the Trust” he now has a problem as be was the largest financial beneficiary of the Trust and the so called “Trust’ being turned into a Sham where Bob G could move money into his and his family’s pockets. It was Larry’s public statements in helping Guenther to solicit legal fees and money for the ASDBMA that assured the contributing participants they were indeed being represented by Larry and F&F.

    Right now there are only 35 complaints filed with the Texas Bar Association, it can easily and quickly hit several hundred. I can just see the ‘story’ in the Dallas Morning Star…..”Local Attorney has 300 complaints filed with the Texas Bar Assn”…..The Bar Assn has to operate in the ‘sunshine’ and their proceedings become public after being reviewed and adjudicated by the Bar Association.

    Patrick, we should NOT encourage Lawyer Larry to drop this lawsuit. Not only does F&F have a Fool for a client, ole Geezer Jack has them ‘snared in a web’. Let all of the ASDBMA victims now rise up and file with the Texas Bar and Greg Abbots’s Office. This was theft by deception by Larry and Bob, not only was there never any legal representation that was meaningful, there been no accounting from the law firm of the use of the retainers.

    More importantly, there was never any possibility for Friedman or any attorney to ever bring this group into “Standing” in the matter in the Federal Court and he should have known it. He used the possibility of it happening, which was bad and inaccurate legal advice a best, a theft of money under false pretenses at worst. Larry Friedman needs to be held accountable. Bob Guenther is a con man now trying to raise ‘investor’ money for this MMOGUL deal. He may or may not have assets to repay the ASDMBA but Larry Friedman does. The money was raised for the purpose of supporting an attorney and legal action and F&F now have the responsibility to account for client money.

    Let the Bar Association have all the Facts, all documents and tapes. They judge the actions and ethics of their members. I am sure they will give the matter fair and impartial ‘Peer Review” and come to the right decision. Friedman may simply have started this lawsuit to be able to argue to the Bar Association that the matter is ‘in litigation’ because the Bar will normally not take action if a person complains to the Bar and is also in litigation with the Lawyer…..but it is a red herring here….Jack was never a contributing member of funds nor a client.

    Jack IS guilty of being a very effective Blogger, Crime Stopper and Scam buster and we need more people like Jack in the world to help expose and put people like Andy, Phil Piccolo, Damon Westmoreland, and the other notorious Internet Con Artists out of Business…..along with their crooked lawyers.

    God Bless Jack, and let’s all get behind him and do what we can to help. In this case, if you sent money to Bob and Larry, file your COMPLAINT WITH THE TEXAS BAR ASSOCIATION.

      (Quote)

  6. Wayne,

    When I read Patrick’s editorial my initial reaction was identical to your. But then I recalled that Jack said Friedman has powerful friends in the Texas judiciary. It seems to be true, Exhibit A being the bogus TRO petition in which only 6 sentences were made under oath. Although the entire petition was a pack of lies, to even come close to providing “clearly stated facts” that prove Jack was on the verge of causing “immediate and irreparable” harm to Friedman, the entire petition would have to be read. If the Judge considered the entire petition knowing only one paragraph was a sworn statement, and not only issued the TRO without service to Jack but allowed the entire petition to be filed on the record, then we know that Jack is facing a powerful enemy who doesn’t seem to be required to follow the rules.

    We can say all we want to about what the law says and be totally correct, but what if Friedman isn’t required to follow the ;aw? If Friedman deliberately mislead the Judge, and she didn’t know the entire petition wasn’t under oath, and if Friedman is promptly disciplined by the Bar and the Court, Jack’s chances of prevailing are significantly increased. As much as I would love to see Larry and Bob exposed for who they really are what they’ve really done, unless Jack himself supports allowing the lawsuit to proceed (and let’s us all know,) then I have to support Patrick’s POV. It isn’t as satisfying but I’m not the one being sued.

      (Quote)

  7. I am neither for or against the dropping of the Lawsuit. I would hope though that the prior statement by Larry in a news article from 2001 that he had clout with the Judicial System was nothing more than his ego. Unfortunately, what he said about having clout seems to be somewhat true since the Judge felt that he did not have to follow the letter of the Law and even allowed him to violate the very laws of The Lawless State of Texas.

    Whatever the outcome is we all know that what FF has done has caused him more harm than good. Everything that I have said or done is not against any Laws for the State of Florida nor for any State that I have posted in. Ning is located in California, Scam.com is in New Jersey and this Blog is also in California.

    If we are to believe FF everything that has been posted on the internet has been done in the State of Texas. We all know that it is a large State but I never knew it covered the whole Internet. The Internet really has no boundaries (State Lines) and I am sure that when going from one site to the next I have never seen a POP UP that said “Welcome to the Great State of Texas”

    Our legal system was never started, nor was it made so that Lawyers with clout could openly step on the Constitutional Rights to Free Speech.

    After further thought I do believe that WE should go forward with Larry’s suit since it is apparent that he not only wants to keep me quiet but every person that posts on the Internet and it is clearly stated in his TRO and Lawsuit. He is asking the court to silence the internet.

    This Lawsuit right or wrong needs to be heard if for no other reason than to get the answers to the very questions that have been asked and not answered by either Larry or Bob. I will never apologize for stating the facts or posting the Truth. Larry has allowed Bob to be his mouth piece and has approved of his rants, threats and intimidation’s. FF has taken no actions against Bob who has for all purposes proved my case for me.

    I will leave it up to those ASDMBA members (investors per Larry) and those with like same thoughts and actions (per Larry) to decide by popular vote (Bob yours does not count) whether we should continue the fight.

    What do ye say?

      (Quote)

  8. Jack has issued a statement on the ASD-BIZ forum stating his willingness to go forward in this legal entanglement (spider web)..I encourage all who want this abuse from BG and LF stopped to please go to the biz forum under DROP THE LAW SUIT thread and endorse Jacks decision. As we all WELL know, Jack will need all the encouragement and support he can get..it is truly a David and Goliath situation.

      (Quote)

  9. Jack,

    Don’t forget that the section of the petition that stated the “acts” all occurred in Texas was not part of the sworn statement. He has yet to make a sworn statement that the proper jurisdiction is Texas, probably because he knows it would be perjury.

    There’s a outstanding ACLU/First Amendment attorney in Tallahassee, Robert Rivas, who would hate what Friedman is doing. I think you should give him a call — what could it hurt? He was formerly the attorney for the Palm Beach Post and loathes any attempt to stifle free speech. Many of his cases are of the David and Goliath variety — Google him and you’ll see what I mean.
    Bio: Robert Rivas practices in the following areas of law: Commercial Trial and Appellate Litigation; Media Law; First Amendment Law; Government Ethics Law; Public Records Law Admitted: 1991, Florida; 1997, U.S. Supreme Court. / Robert Rivas is a First Amendment and media lawyer with the Tallahassee office of Sachs & Sax, which is based in Palm Beach County. In his life before law school, he was a reporter for the Miami Herald and the deputy metro editor of The Palm Beach Post.

    I think I saw the article you’re talking about. It too involved a fraudulently obtained TRO Friedman obtained from a judge not familiar with the Internet, but that’s not the most interesting angle in the article, which is a doozy. How can you damage his reputation using emails and blog posts written in Florida, and posted in a small forum, when in Dallas he’s already been written up in “D” magazine, as follows.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3862/is_200104/ai_n8949954/pg_5?tag=content;col1

      (Quote)

  10. I probably cannot afford him but I will give him a call tomorrow.

      (Quote)

  11. Set up a paypal address for a legal defense fund Jack, and I’ll contribute.

      (Quote)

  12. Gregg I appreciate the offer but do you not think that Larry and his buddy Bob would use that as a weapon especially when it was a legal defense fund that started this whole mess.

      (Quote)

  13. Jack,

    I dont see how there is any illegality if people want to gift you money of their own volition. We’ve trusted Andy Bowdoin, we have trusted Bob Guenther and Larry Friedman – so maybe it will be third time lucky! lol

      (Quote)

  14. I guess my ethics are standing in the way as I do not want to put myself in the same sinking boat as F & F or their buddy Bob. Since, I do not want to give them any fuel for the fire how about if some one else sets it up and if people want to help then they can and when (if) I find a lawyer that will take this case then the money can go directly to him/her?

    The economy sucks and people are struggling as it is and I do not want to make their burden any harder.

    Besides, Friday is the 13th and that is my lucky number.

      (Quote)

  15. Setting up an account for donations would almost certainly be a target. I’ve seen it happen before in a similar situation. Judging by some of the tactics used in the article found by Marci, someone would almost certainly engineer a situation to have the account closed. Similar to the way someone tried to terminate Jacks internet account.

    Jack, if you need another recommendation for a lawyer, just say so.

      (Quote)

  16. I will take all recommendations as the one Marci suggested has yet to get back to me and has not even responded to my email.

      (Quote)

  17. Jack,

    If I were in this position, my first call would be to Ray Beckerman out New York. He’s been active in defending people against the RIAA lawsuits and has thing about bullies. He’s also active in the Electronic Freedom Foundation which provides pro bono attorney’s to defend against situations similar to yours. It wouldn’t hurt to give both of their offices a call. You might get someone willing to take a look.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Beckerman

    Interestingly, Friedman was sanctioned in Texas for making false statements in an affidavit and fined him $18,000 according to the article posted by Marci.

      (Quote)

Leave a Reply