Colorado Firm Disavows Work on Behalf of Plaintiff in $19 Billion ‘Shakedown’ Lawsuit in Ecuador

Officials with Boulder, Colo.-based Stratus Consulting Inc. announced Thursday they had been misled by Steven Donziger, the lead attorney in the $19 billion “rainforest shakedown” lawsuit against Chevron.  The text of their stunning news release appears below:

CRUDE_Outtakes

Steven Donziger

Stratus Consulting Inc. announced today that Chevron has dismissed with prejudice the fraud and racketeering claims against Stratus and two of its employees that were initiated by Chevron Corp. on February 1, 2011 in the U.S. District Court of New York. Stratus is pleased that these claims have been fully and finally resolved.

Chevron Logo

Click to read Chevron’s News Release 4-12-2013.

Chevron’s lawsuit alleged racketeering and fraud claims against Steven Donziger, the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, Stratus, and others relating to the long-running environmental trial against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador. That trial resulted in an approximately $19 billion judgment against Chevron. Prior to the judgment, Stratus had been retained by Donziger, on behalf of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs, to serve as an environmental consultant. Stratus’s environmental consulting work for Donziger was used in a report submitted to the Ecuadorian court by the supposedly “independent” court expert Richard Cabrera as part of a process that Stratus has learned was tainted by Donziger and the Lago Agrio plaintiffs representatives’ “behind the scenes activities.”

Cabrera-Moncayo Photo“Stratus believes that the damages assessment in the Cabrera Report and the entire Cabrera process were fatally tainted and are not reliable. Stratus disavows the Cabrera Report, has agreed to cooperate fully and to provide testimony about the Ecuador litigation.”

“Stratus deeply regrets its involvement in the Ecuador litigation. We are delighted to have this matter behind us.”

Thursday’s news came almost 27 months after I published an exclusive story about Stratus Consulting’s role in the lawsuit and, in so doing, scooped The New York Times by 100 days.  Am I alone in thinking this news should serve as the proverbial “nail in the coffin” of the corruption-filled lawsuit against Chevron that began almost 20 years ago?  No.  The folks at BusinessWeek seem to have reached the same conclusion.

FYI:  I’ve written and published nearly 60 pieces related to this lawsuit since April 22, 2009.  Hopefully, this will be one of the last pieces I have to write.

UPDATE 4/12/2013 at 10:24 a.m. Central:  Chevron issued a news release this morning in which Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general counsel, said, “We are pleased that Stratus came forward to reveal the truth.  We call on others with knowledge of the fraud tainting the trial in Ecuador to come forward and do the right thing.”  Read the rest of the news release here.

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Bob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August and THE CLAPPER MEMO. To learn more about either book or to place an order, click on the graphic above.

Ecuadoran Judge Admits Being Bribed in Chevron Shakedown

It seems as if big developments in the case of “Chevron v. the Rainforest Scam Artists” are occurring every nine months.  Today is no exception.

Nine months after my last report, Chevron Continues Fighting Fraudulent Ecuador Lawsuit, I received news that a former Ecuadorian judge has acknowledged his direct involvement in orchestrating a fraudulent judgment against Chevron Corporation in the environmental trial against the company in Lago Agrio, Ecuador.  Not your ordinary legal judgment, this one was set to cost the San Ramon, Calif.-based oil giant $18 billion if allowed to proceed.

Here’s the “nuts and bolts” of today’s news:

In a sworn declaration filed today in New York federal court, Alberto Guerra, who presided over the case when it was first filed in 2003, reveals that he was paid thousands of dollars by the plaintiffs’ lawyers and a subsequent judge, Nicholas Zambrano, for illegally ghostwriting judicial orders issued by Zambrano and steering the case in the plaintiffs’ favor.  Guerra, who is no longer a judge, attests that the plaintiffs’ lawyers were permitted to draft the $18 billion judgment in their own favor after they promised to pay Zambrano a $500,000 bribe out of the judgment’s enforcement proceeds, and that Guerra then reviewed the plaintiffs’ lawyers draft for Zambrano before the judge issued it as his own.

Simply because he’s been in the news a lot lately for his idiotic position on gun ownership in the United States, I decided to revisit more than three-dozen posts I’ve published on this topic since April 22, 2009, and focus your attention on several in which I highlighted Gov. Mario Cuomo’s (D-N.Y.) ties to this ugly litigation.  Dating back to his days as the Empire State’s attorney general, they appear below:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)

Chevron Seeks Docs From Cuomo Administration – Chevron submitted to the office of the New York State Comptroller a request under New York’s Freedom of Information Law for documents regarding connections between the Comptroller’s office and plaintiffs’ representatives in the long-running lawsuit involving the oil giant in Ecuador.

Amazon Defense Coalition PR Hack Once Worked for New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo – Yes, thanks to the capabilities of a well-known search engine, I was able to pinpoint the reason which then-New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo might be so interested in helping the Amazon Defense Coalition in its lawsuit against Chevron Corporation.

NY AG Cuomo Tries to ‘FOIL’ Blogger’s Efforts – In a May 28 Freedom of Information Law (a.k.a., “FOIL”) request filed with Cuomo’s office, I asked for “copies of all paper and electronic correspondence between Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and any and all representatives of the Amazon Defense Coalition with whom he communicated during the past 12 months.” Seven days later, I received a reply from Amy C. Karp, an assistant counsel in Cuomo’s office.  Karp informed me that “the Office of the Attorney General has conducted a diligent search and does not possess any records” of contact with representatives of ADC, the over-the-top-zealous group behind a $27 billion class-action lawsuit filed against the nation’s second-largest oil company 16 years ago.

NY Freedom of Information Law Put to Test – Barely three weeks after New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, sent an inflammatory and provocative letter to Chevron Corporation’s David J. O’Reilly, I sent a communication of my own. To Cuomo’s office.  That’s right, I decided to put the State of New York’s Freedom of Information Law (a.k.a., “FOIL”) to the test.

To read more about this latest development in the Chevron lawsuit in Ecuador, click here.

To read my coverage of the lawsuit against Chevron, click here.

"Three Days In August" Promotional PhotoBob McCarty is the author of Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice, a nonfiction book that’s available in paperback and ebook via most online booksellers, including Amazon.com. His second book, The CLAPPER MEMO, is coming soon was released May 2013.

Chevron Continues Fighting Fraudulent Ecuador Lawsuit

Nine months after I reported that the shakedown in the rain forest was nearing an end and more than a year after I scooped The New York Times with my report about Colorado-based Stratus Consulting‘s involvement in the fraudulent lawsuit being waged against Chevron Corporation in Ecuador, it appears the plaintiffs in the case have resorted to desperation in an effort to drag the case closer toward its 20th year of litigation.

Chevron issued the following statement Wednesday in response to media reports that the plaintiffs’ lawyers are seeking to have an Ecuadoran court’s fraudulent $18 billion judgment against the company recognized and enforced in Canada:

“The Ecuador judgment is a product of bribery, fraud, and it is illegitimate.  The company does not believe that the Ecuador judgment is enforceable in any court that observes the rule of law.

“If the plaintiffs’ lawyers believed in the integrity of their judgment, they would be seeking enforcement in the United States – where Chevron Corporation resides.  In the U.S., however, the plaintiffs’ lawyers would be confronted by the fact that seven federal courts have already made findings under the crime/fraud doctrine about this scheme.

“Chevron will vigorously defend against any enforcement action.  Chevron will also continue to pursue relief against Ecuador in our pending arbitration and against the plaintiffs’ representatives in our RICO action pending in New York.”

The recently-released video below, from Chevron, offers a fair overview of the case.

If you’ve enjoyed the nearly six dozen posts I’ve published about the Chevron lawsuit in Ecuador since April 2009, you’ll want to pick up a copy of my first nonfiction book, “Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.” and get ready for my second book, “The CLAPPER MEMO,” due out this fall.

Video Sums Up ‘Fraudulent Case Against Chevron’

Almost one year ago, I published an exclusive post about how I had scooped The New York Times by 100 days with news about a Colorado company’s involvement in a mega-lawsuit related to Chevron Oil Company’s operations in Ecuador.  Though one of more than 50 posts I’ve written and published about the legal battle since April 2009, that post stands as one of only six pieces I’ve written during the past 12 months.

Now that my first book has been published and I have a bit more time available, I feel compelled to bring my readers up to speed about what has transpired in this case during the past six months.  The easiest way to do that is by sharing the video, The Fraudulent Case Against Chevron in Ecuador- An Introduction to Aguinda v. Chevron, above.

After watching this video, please share it with anyone you think might get a kick out of seeing trial lawyers apparently caught with their hands in the proverbial “cookie jar.”

Be sure to check out Bob McCarty’s new book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

Wishing for a ‘One-Handed Economist’

President Harry Truman once wished for a “one-handed economist,” because he tired of hearing advisors giving him answers that were framed as “on the one hand, this” and “on the other hand, that.”  We are seeing something like that right now in a White House fretting over the prospect of rising energy and food prices negatively impacting President Barack Obama’s re-election bid.

President Harry S. Truman

On the one hand, President Obama has been aggressively critical of the nation’s oil and natural gas industry, demanding increased regulation and higher taxes on companies.

On the other hand, the president takes credit for the increase in natural gas and oil production in the country and says he’s doing all he can to increase output.

On the one hand, the nation requires an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy — as we heard the president say in his State of the Union remarks — which generally includes finding the best ways to maximize the benefits of using our own oil, natural gas and coal.

On the other hand, Obama blocked construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that would move oil from the burgeoning fields in Canada and North to U.S. refineries, Obama reversed President George W. Bush’s decisions to open Alaska and offshore areas for energy exploration and production, and Obama pushes cap-and-trade policies that discourage exploration for and use of abundant domestic energy resources.

Let’s be honest. The Obama Administration has failed us by turning energy companies into political piñatas and encouraging everyone to beat on them.

On the one hand, then-Senator Obama excoriated President Bush for promoting more drilling and he advocated imposing punitive taxes on oil companies.

On the other hand, he boasts — as if he had anything to do with it — that U.S. oil industry output these days is at an all-time high.  In reality, today’s domestic oil production is 20 percent higher than in 2008 because private companies shunned federal bailouts and risked their own capital to drill and pump, primarily on state and private lands.

On the one hand, President Obama takes credit for natural gas production increasing dramatically.

On the other, he ignores the fact that it was private companies — not government policymakers — who risked shareholders’ capitol to create tens of thousands of jobs while developing new gas reserves using the latest high-tech hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling technologies.  Talk about being “shovel-ready” projects!

Look around!  Our growing population requires ever-increasing amounts of energy to support everyday living in this world full of “iffy” situations:

If we want factories to rev up output, we must make plenty of affordable sources of energy available;

If we want lower taxes, we need an economy that grows with vigor; and

If we want to pursue pathways toward affordable, sustainable “green energy,” we must keep the existing economic engine running strong so that we don’t find our “vehicles of commerce” idling on the side of the road for lack of fuel.

“Tanks” — as in “gas tanks” — in advance for voting wisely in 2012.

Shameless plug:  Be sure to check out my book, Three Days In August: A U.S. Army Special Forces Soldier’s Fight For Military Justice.

U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Have Bad Week

I hope it’s merely a fluke that two incidents occurred within 24 hours of each other at nuclear power plants near two major U.S. cities.

On Tuesday, news (see video above) surfaced about a nuclear power plant near Chicago losing power.  Less than 24 hours later, news surfaced about a nuclear power plant near San Diego shutting down after a radiation leak.

If another event happens in the near future, I’d have to borrow a phrase from a several-years-old Mazda television commercial where a young boy proclaims, “Something’s up.”

Top News Stories of 2011 Covered Here

A number of stories qualify as “top news” during 2011, and Bob McCarty Writes was on top of most of them.

THE ‘ARAB SPRING’

On Jan. 26, I blew it when I published a post speculating about anti-government protests in the Middle East were signs of the Tea Party Movement going global.   Then, during the next five days, I questioned whether or not President Barack Obama should have the same internet “kill Switch” that was used to silence opposition in Egypt and followed that up by wondering if President Obama’s post-presidential ambitions stretched to Egypt.

On Feb. 2, I shared a David Donar video in which the online cartoonist likened protests on the streets of Cairo to shoes being tossed at Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Two weeks later, I focused attention on how President Obama was continuing his anti-Israel push via the United Nations.

Finally, I wrapped up my Middle East coverage by sharing how the turmoil in Libya brought back memories from my Air Force days.

DISASTER IN JAPAN

After reporting March 11 that a mega-quake had struck off the coast of Japan, I offered a same-day report about the federally-funded International Tsunami Information Center’s web site failing on the day of big quake.

During the days that followed, I shared details about Japan being on edge following an explosion at the Fukushima Nuclear Plant and highlighted news about U.S.S. Ronald Reagan aviators risking everything to help the  Japanese.

OSAMA BIN LADEN’S DEATH

During the 10 days that followed my initial post about Osama Bin Laden’s death, I shared a half-dozen more posts, ranging from one that highlighted Donald Trump’s call for President Barack Obama to “Show Us The Body” to one asking the question,  “Does Osama Bin Laden’s death matter?”

In addition, I revisited a filmmaker’s claim that he had found OBL and I went inside the minds of Obama administration officials.

Finally, I wondered out loud about the interrogation techniques used to provided actionable intelligence on Osama Bin Laden and highlighted Paul R. Hollrah’s questions surrounding the killing of Bin Laden.

‘OCCUPY WALL STREET’

For the most part, I’ve avoided giving the so-called “Occupy Wall Street” movement any attention.  During the days leading up to Veterans Day, I made an exception when I used photos from the National Archives to note how some occupations are more worthwhile than others.