Defense Counsel Stephan Barber, Defendant Ron Cook
and City Attorney John Russo’s Handling of
the City of Oakland Case File
For eight (8) years CSAA defense counsel Stephan Barber has denied that he had anything to do with the handling, disappearance, transportation, having possession, copying or returning of the City of Oakland case file in the al-Hakim matter from the 1991 backup. He has repeatedly stated that he “never touched the file” and “knew nothing about it”.
On January 28, 2000, defendant Cook advised Plaintiff by letter that CSAA-IIB was canceling the policy alleging fraud by al-Hakim and seeking the return of all benefits paid and refers to information he has from the City of Oakland litigation file that was not provided by al-Hakim. On March 30 , 2000 Cook reiterates those statements of having this information in letters to al-Hakim’s attorney, Michael Michel. On March 30 ,2000 in letter to the umpire of the appraisal panel, Ron Magin, Cook makes the statement of having the entire City of Oakland Litigation file in the backup matter against al-Hakim but will only produce part of the information as needed.(See letters under Exhibit D, in Documents Box) Cook follows that statement with producing the City of Oakland files during the appraisal hearing(See appraisal transcripts from Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim Appraisal Hearing V.2 4/6/00 page 74L14-17 under Exhibit D, in Documents Box), the appraisal panel admits the file and photos into evidence(See appraisal transcripts from Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim Appraisal Hearing V.5 4/11/00 page 205L13-24 under Exhibit D, in Documents Box) and throughout the appraisal hearing questions al-Hakim, and his experts Robert Gils and Chris Kirschenheuter on the documents.
During the recent CSAA trial Ron Cook admitted on the witness stand that he received the City file from Barber before October 1999. Barber then admitted during the next break that “he got the file from the City Attorney” and “arranged to have it copied by AKON Copying Service” and that he had said file until June 2000. It was not stolen, misplaced, nor had he absconded with it, “it was given to him by the Oakland City Attorneys office!!!”
al-Hakim and his attorneys Michael Michel and Jeff Fackler, had attempted at least six times to obtain copies of the City litigation file from November 1999 to June of 2000 and was told by the City Attorney’s Office, specifically, Jannie Wong and Anita Hong that the file was “missing” and “was last requested by Ron Cook”.(See appraisal transcripts from Abdul-Jalil al-Hakim Appraisal Hearing V.4 4/10/00 page 169L6-9 and V.6 4/12/00 page 106L12-21 under Exhibit E, in Documents Box)
City Attorney Gave Files To Barber
Finally, after six months, in June 2000, Anita Hong called to notify Mr. Michel that the file had been returned and was available for viewing. At that time Mr. Michel was told that the file had been returned by CSAA’s attorney. (See Michel letter dated July 5, 2005 under Exhibit E, in Documents Box) al-Hakim called Ms. Hong and was told the file was back and available for viewing, and when asked who returned the file, she responded “it was returned by Steve Barber of Ropers Majeski”.
Barber’s admission now corroborates the story that was told to al-Hakim and his attorneys Mike Michel and Jeff Fackler in July 2000 by Oakland City Attorney’s Janie Wong and Anita Hong. However, since 1999 Janie Wong, Anita Hong and Russo have always mainitained that the files were missing and were last requested for viewing by defendant Ron Cook is also perjurious and deceitful. We now know that the December 1, 2005 written statement by Oakland City Attorney John Russo about Anita Hong leaving the case files at the office counter and no one coming to review them is willfully and intentionally perjurious, deceitful and fraudulent.
As a protective measure for his co-defendants, Tigar had ruled that Barber would have to answer al-Hakim’s charges of spoliation of evidence and subornation of perjurious testimony stemming from his handling of the City file if there was more than one case file. Tigar then ordered that there was no evidence that there was more than one file despite the fact that there was testimony and therein evidence that there was only one file and there was no testimony or evidence to suggest that there was more than one! If there was more than one case file copy, why would the City not give Barber a copy and keep the original file? If there was more than one copy, why would the City give Barber ALL the copies, original and otherwise, and not keep a copy for themselves or the public? Why did the City give the complete original file to Barber? Why didn’t the Oakland City Attorneys Office notify the Court in 2003 when defense counsels William Jemmott and Todd Jones subpoenaed the files and Judge David Lee ordered them into the case as evidence that the files had been in the custody of defendants CSAA and Barber for nine (9) months? Why didn’t defense counsels William Jemmott and Todd Jones notify the Court in 2003 that the City files had been in the custody of the defendants CSAA for 9 months before they asked the court to subpoena the files into the case as evidence? Why didn’t defense counsel Barber notify the Court in 2003 that the City files had been in his and the custody of the defendants CSAA for 9 months before they asked the court to subpoena the files into the case as evidence? How did Jemmott and Jones get copies of the files? There is no record of them getting any copies from the Oakland City Attorney. The defendants had Pat Smith notes allegedly written at the time the events occurred in 1991, allegedly made contemporaneously, yet these notes from Ron Cook’s files with two bates stamp numbers 001323 and 000002 were discovered on April 2, 2008 during trial subject to
subpoena clearly address conversations with City Attorneys Randy Hall, Elizabeth Allen, Eliada Perez, Janie Wong and Jane Williams in August 1999- SIX YEARS AFTER Pat Smith was fired by the City of Oakland. The notes address the same hand written notes of Pat Smith as those previously alleged to be that of Pat Smith in 1991, Senior Investigator with Oakland City Attorney Office for over 4 years, whom had over 17 years of experience as an investigator. At the Rescue trial while being examined by Rescue defense counsel William Jemmott under oath she stated she “required her notes to respond to questions” and stated she “created those notes at or near the time of the event as part of her claims file” (Trial transcript Page 619, Line 4-6 attached hereto in pertinent part as Exhibit M, in Documents Box) As part of CSAA’s defense and appraisal strategy, in 2000 Ron Cook introduced the two pages of notes allegedly to be those of Pat Smith allegedly taken from the city files as evidence of the lower portion of al-Hakim’s home being flooded with sewage in 1991, it smelled bad and there was a terrific stench, there was feces behind a refrigerator and in the hot tub, the backup was never cleaned up by the City, and al-Hakim did not having insurance. At all times, CSAA and Cook alleged those two were the only pages of notes in the City file from Pat Smith when ALL notes were demanded and those two pages were the only ones produced and bates stamped subject to the many requests for production and subpoenas. Now 10 years later Cook and Barber come forward with additional documents that were subject and responsive to the requests for production and subpoena but were never provided to al-Hakim.
This is irrefutable evidence that Pat Smith’s alleged notes could not possibly have been created at the time the alleged events occurred and this alleged evidence was clearly contrived and constructed in fraud and deceit and planted in the City file long after 1991! It is further proof that the entire City case file was purged and re-contsructed to accommodate the defendants litigation strategy in both this and the underlying Rescue Rooter case. In pre-trial conference al-Hakim presented to Tigar a separate statement of page after page of evidence and testimony taken from the Rescue trial that depicted critical missing photos and documents, partial documents, tampered and spoiled documents, intentionally false testimony, conflicting testimony, and admissions of perjury stemming from the City of Oakland file. Tigar ignored this evidence, deemed it irrelevant, and merely acted as deputy defense counsel and facilitator in his obvious efforts to protect his prior legal counsel Barber, by declaring that there was no proof that the City file the defendants had was the only file, despite the fact that there was testimony and evidence from five sources that plainly established that there was only one file. Since these notes were documents allegedly from the City file that originated prior to 1993, they were not privileged by Cook nor CSAA, they were repeatedly subpoenaed and responsive to all request for production yet never produced by either until al-Hakim served his trial subpoenas on both and the one page was found in one of Cook’s 12 boxes he brought to court. Cook then removed the boxes of file without telling anyone before al-Hakim could go through them. Why were these critical documents withheld by the defendants in both trials or was the last document created after the 2003 trial? Who at the City Attorney’s office and with the defendants in both cases knew of these documents? The City has always maintained there was only one case file, it was missing while in the hands of the defendants, they did not know who had the file, how they got the file, and that it was returned by Barber in July 2000. The City Attorney Randy Hall further maintained the case file was destroyed in 2006.