By K. R, Claviger
You have to love Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis.
Just when the defense attorneys thought they had pulled the wool over his eyes with regard to the Legal Defense Trust Fund that is paying their exorbitant fees, the judge has another “drop the mic” moment.
The most recent one came in the form of another sua sponte order in which he announced that he still has concerns about two scenarios that could arise if the Trust’s corpus – i.e., the sum of money set aside to pay the legal fees of Keith Raniere, Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, Lauren Salzman, and Kathy Russell – is exhausted before the pending litigation is complete.
First, the judge noted the possibility that the Beneficiaries of the Trust (Raniere, Mack, the Salzmans and Russell) may lose “…the ability to retain their current counsel while this litigation is ongoing”.
Second, he noted that the Beneficiaries’ defense strategies could influence the decisions by the Contributor(s) to the Trust regarding whether to replenish the Trust’s corpus – which, as he correctly noted, may raise potential conflicts for defendants’ counsel that defendants need to understand.
Finally, Judge Garaufis also noted that the choices of potential witnesses (who may also be Beneficiaries) may also influence whether the original Contributors to the Trust will decide to contribute more funds.
So, in order to decide these matters, here’s what Judge Garaufis has ordered the defense attorneys to provide to him on or before Monday, January 14th:
• The remaining corpus of the Trust as of the January 9, 2019; – [i.e. How much money is left]
• Whether, in the Trustee’s view, the remaining corpus of the Trust will be sufficient to cover all the legal fees and expenses associated with the representation of the beneficiaries for the duration of this litigation (Not a chance!);
• Additional details regarding the fee arrangement set forth in the Trustee’s counsel’s May 18, 2018 letter to Marc Agnifilo, which Agnifilo submitted to the court ex parte and under seal on December 11, 2018;
• The amount of money that each Contributor has contributed to the Trust as of January 9, 2019; and
• The nature and extent of the relationships, if any, between each of the Contributors and the Beneficiaries. [it is important to note that there is more than one donor to the trust. We don’t know who they are other than Clare Bronfman.]
Cutting through all the legal mumbo-jumbo, Judge Garaufis is raising appropriate questions about the Legal Defense Trust Fund that the defense attorneys are going to have trouble dodging.
Will the judge pull the plug on this arrangement that has more built-in conflicts-of-interest than the number of lies in Keith Raniere’s resume?
If he does – which would seem to be the prudent thing to do in this situation – then “Winter Is Coming” for Raniere, Mack, the Salzmans and Russell.
Viva Executive Success!