The Untouchables Group

Welcome. We are citizens dedicated to ending the tyranny of corruption in American politics. To join call 609-921-0253 or send an e-mail to cyberesquire@aol.com. To contribute: send a check to "The Untouchables Group, 66 Witherspoon Street, Suite 414, Princeton, NJ 08542" To pay by credit or debit card, go to paypal.com, click "send money" and send funds to cyberesquire@aol.com.

Name:

The New York Times calls Carl Mayer: "A populist crusader and ... a maverick lawyer." New York Times, October 15, 2004.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

LETTER TO A CORPORATE SCROOGE

Mr. Nicholas DeBelleville Katzenbach
Chairman, MCI Corporation
33 Greenhouse Drive
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Phone: 609-924-8536


Dear Mr. Katzenbach:

On behalf of thousands of aggrieved MCI customers, I dropped by your home in Princeton, New Jersey today – Christmas Eve – to bestow upon your company an award of ignominious distinction.

In your capacity as the Chairman of the Board of MCI, I am presenting you with America’s First Annual “Bah, Humbug” Corporate Scrooge Award.

As a consumer advocate, I know a Scrooge when I see a Scrooge. And MCI’s attitude towards its customers and shareholders is succinctly encapsulated by the oft-quoted words of Ebenezer Scrooge: “Bah, Humbug.”

You may think I am tendering the award retroactively for MCI’s role in perpetrating an $11 billion accounting fraud: the largest financial fraud and bankruptcy in U.S. history, costing investors billions and devastating retirees and communities. But the award is not for that.

The First Annual “Bah, Humbug” Corporate Scrooge Award is for MCI’s relentless drive since you joined the Board in 2002 to over-bill, double-bill, fraudulently bill and provide some of the worst customer service in the United States, while simultaneously shipping American jobs overseas.

Dickens remarkable prose, penned over 100 year ago, could apply to your corporation today: “[H]e was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire…” Substitute MCI for Scrooge and you have a perfectly accurate description of MCI customer service, in my opinion.

On behalf of aggrieved phone customers, workers and suppliers I present you with MCI’s award: a lump of coal in a stocking and a copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Although your customers consider it unlikely, perhaps you will heed the lessons of Dickens’s parable and persuade your Scrooge corporation to redeem itself by retaining jobs in America and engaging in lawful, ethical business practices.

I know first-hand how MCI corporation fleeces consumers.

I signed up for MCI phone service in November, 2003. I selected your “Neighborhood Complete” plan which was advertised as a “revolution” in phone service and offered an all-inclusive rate of $49.99 per month for all local, state and national long distance calls.

Your company’s first month’s bill clocked in at $253.11. By March, MCI was billing me $482.79 per month and, for an entire year, my bill averaged well over $120 per month.

I tried to correct this problem with dozens of calls to your “customer service” department.

I talked to MCI employees in the Philippines, Argentina, Canada and Mexico. All of the calls had a wait time of no less than one-half hour and none of the employees could fix the problem. They were well-trained, however, to say that they could not identify their supervisors for “security reasons” and refused to give the phone number for your executive offices.

I cancelled my service in January 2005. Astoundingly, MCI kept billing me and continues to bill me until this day for services I do not use.

Having no other recourse, I sued your company in New York State Civil Court.

Your lawyers failed to appear and I was awarded a default judgment in the amount of $2,893. (Mayer v. MCI, SCM 15189-05, Civil Court of the City of New York, Small Claims/Commercial Part, August 1, 2005)

When your lawyers missed the Judge’s calendar call, the bailiff smiled knowingly at the judge and the judge smiled knowingly back at the bailiff. On the way out of the courtroom, I asked the bailiff why the exchange of knowing nods. His answer: MCI is sued several times a week in just one small claims court in New York City and they never bother to send a lawyer to defend.

Now I know why.

Despite the fact that I have a legal judgment, your company has still not paid the judgment. I will shortly send out New York City Marshals to attach MCI’s bank account for failure to pay a legal judgment.

MCI apparently routinely engages in illicit conduct without the slightest worry that the costs of getting caught would outweigh the benefits of continuing the conduct.

The recently released (December 14, 2005) national Corporate Reputation Survey by Harris Interactive Polling revealed that Americans still consider MCI one of the least trustworthy and most unethical corporations in America today.

On May 31, 2005, the California Board of Public Utilities launched an investigation into massive fraudulent billing practices by MCI. The investigation was triggered because MCI continues to violate a California cease and desist order of March 2004 that directed the company to stop billing customers for services they never ordered, a practice known as “cramming.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosed that in the first half of 2003 (the last year figures were available) MCI was the subject of more billing complaints than any other long distance carrier. Astoundingly, in 2003, billing complaints filed with the FTC against MCI rose 310% to over 8,000 per year – double the rate of any other carrier.

MCI settled a lawsuit in 2002 for $8 million after being sued by the California Attorney General for defrauding thousands of consumers by “cramming” (unauthorized bills) and “slamming” (unauthorized service). (Of course, $8 million is chump change for a company set to pull down $20 billion this year.)

Please enlighten me, Mr. Katzenbach. Are you aware of the serial illegal practices of your corporation since you joined the Board in 2002, and therefore are complicit, or has this transpired without your knowledge?

Here is what you assured MCI shareholders and customers in a public letter of September 21, 2004 after you were chosen Chairman:

“Since joining MCI’s Board of Directors in July, 2002, I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand the company’s absolute commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethics…it is a community marked by integrity, transparency and accountability…I am proud to serve a company so profoundly dedicated to serving its shareholders, customers, employees and the public-at-large with both innovation and integrity.”

The lawsuits and regulatory actions against your company do not begin to convey the utter contempt with which MCI treats its customers.

For that, you need only go to any of the consumer websites that field corporate customer complaints. Try sites like www.mythreecents.com or www.consumeraffairs.com or www.ripoffreport.com and read the hundreds of letters from people who have been ripped-off, pushed around, defrauded and otherwise victimized by your company.

How many hundreds of meritorious small claims lawsuits have been brought against MCI?

How many thousands of ripped-off MCI customers just give up and take it?

How many hours of consumers’ one irreplaceable commodity – their time -- has your company willfully taken, knowing that the law provides no remedy?

How many of your 20 million customers – the second largest group of phone customers in the United States -- have taken time away from work – as single-mothers or working families -- only to have your company cancel the appointment or been placed on hold for hours?

How many millions of dollars has your company stolen from Americans by falsely billing or fraudulently billing?

How many lives have you affected by shipping over 14,000 American jobs overseas?

We will never know the answers to those questions. But you do know the following:

You know that the lap-dog Attorneys’ General of the fifty states will never make your company pay meaningful penalties.

You know that the Congress and state legislatures that MCI slathers with campaign contributions will never stop MCI’s deceptive practices.

You know that the various state and federal regulatory agencies are toothless tigers.

It is not the common practice to deliver a petition for redress to the private home of a Corporate Chairman, but you leave consumers no choice. Your company makes it virtually impossible to reach supervisors or your executive officers who might help and that is undoubtedly by design.

You have no expectation of privacy as your number and address are listed in the phone book and on the web as a matter of public record.

Our group will urge other consumers to write and call you directly until your company complies with the laws of the United States of America.

In so doing, we will set a higher standard than MCI. We will urge people to call you after 9am or before 5pm. We will urge aggrieved customers to be polite and send polite complaints to your home address. We are specifically advocating that customers and other contact you in a lawful manner.

May I suggest you use your considerable talents to restore your own reputation for trust and honesty and to instill those values in the company you lead.

Not since the Great Depression and the end of the Gilded Era have the citizens of the United States held the CEO’s of major corporations in such disrepute.

Over 90% of the public, according to a recent New York Times poll, believes that corporations have too much power in Washington. 74% of the public does not trust Big Business.

It is because of the illicit and illegal behavior of companies like yours that people hold Big Business in such contempt.

It is time for you and your fellow Corporate Chieftains to take some individual responsibility for this state of affairs.

Corporate leaders and their purchased think tanks are only too quick to demand that the least prosperous members of society assume individual responsibility for their condition, while CEO’s shirk responsibility for their own misdeeds.

We, therefore, today squarely place before you the question of whether you will accept personal responsibility for the ongoing misdeeds of your corporation.

I look forward to your answer and to a meeting at your convenience.


Sincerely,



Carl J. Mayer, Esq.

Friday, December 23, 2005

LETTER TO A CORPORATE SCROOGE

December 24, 2005


Mr. Nicholas DeBelleville Katzenbach
Chairman, MCI Corporation
33 Greenhouse Drive
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
Phone: 609-924-8536


Dear Mr. Katzenbach:

On behalf of thousands of aggrieved MCI customers, I dropped by your home in Princeton, New Jersey today – Christmas Eve – to bestow upon your company an award of ignominious distinction.

In your capacity as the Chairman of the Board of MCI, I am presenting you with America’s First Annual “Bah, Humbug” Corporate Scrooge Award.

As a consumer advocate, I know a Scrooge when I see a Scrooge. And MCI’s attitude towards its customers and shareholders is succinctly encapsulated by the oft-quoted words of Ebenezer Scrooge: “Bah, Humbug.”

You may think I am tendering the award retroactively for MCI’s role in perpetrating an $11 billion accounting fraud: the largest financial fraud and bankruptcy in U.S. history, costing investors billions and devastating retirees and communities. But the award is not for that.

The First Annual “Bah, Humbug” Corporate Scrooge Award is for MCI’s relentless drive since you joined the Board in 2002 to over-bill, double-bill, fraudulently bill and provide some of the worst customer service in the United States, while simultaneously shipping American jobs overseas.

Dickens remarkable prose, penned over 100 year ago, could apply to your corporation today: “[H]e was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire…” Substitute MCI for Scrooge and you have a perfectly accurate description of MCI customer service, in my opinion.

On behalf of aggrieved phone customers, workers and suppliers I present you with MCI’s award: a lump of coal in a stocking and a copy of Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. Although your customers consider it unlikely, perhaps you will heed the lessons of Dickens’s parable and persuade your Scrooge corporation to redeem itself by retaining jobs in America and engaging in lawful, ethical business practices.

I know first-hand how MCI corporation fleeces consumers.

I signed up for MCI phone service in November, 2003. I selected your “Neighborhood Complete” plan which was advertised as a “revolution” in phone service and offered an all-inclusive rate of $49.99 per month for all local, state and national long distance calls.

Your company’s first month’s bill clocked in at $253.11. By March, MCI was billing me $482.79 per month and, for an entire year, my bill averaged well over $120 per month.

I tried to correct this problem with dozens of calls to your “customer service” department.

I talked to MCI employees in the Philippines, Argentina, Canada and Mexico. All of the calls had a wait time of no less than one-half hour and none of the employees could fix the problem. They were well-trained, however, to say that they could not identify their supervisors for “security reasons” and refused to give the phone number for your executive offices.

I cancelled my service in January 2005. Astoundingly, MCI kept billing me and continues to bill me until this day for services I do not use.

Having no other recourse, I sued your company in New York State Civil Court.

Your lawyers failed to appear and I was awarded a default judgment in the amount of $2,893. (Mayer v. MCI, SCM 15189-05, Civil Court of the City of New York, Small Claims/Commercial Part, August 1, 2005)

When your lawyers missed the Judge’s calendar call, the bailiff smiled knowingly at the judge and the judge smiled knowingly back at the bailiff. On the way out of the courtroom, I asked the bailiff why the exchange of knowing nods. His answer: MCI is sued several times a week in just one small claims court in New York City and they never bother to send a lawyer to defend.

Now I know why.

Despite the fact that I have a legal judgment, your company has still not paid the judgment. I will shortly send out New York City Marshals to attach MCI’s bank account for failure to pay a legal judgment.

MCI apparently routinely engages in illicit conduct without the slightest worry that the costs of getting caught would outweigh the benefits of continuing the conduct.

The recently released (December 14, 2005) national Corporate Reputation Survey by Harris Interactive Polling revealed that Americans still consider MCI one of the least trustworthy and most unethical corporations in America today.

On May 31, 2005, the California Board of Public Utilities launched an investigation into massive fraudulent billing practices by MCI. The investigation was triggered because MCI continues to violate a California cease and desist order of March 2004 that directed the company to stop billing customers for services they never ordered, a practice known as “cramming.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) disclosed that in the first half of 2003 (the last year figures were available) MCI was the subject of more billing complaints than any other long distance carrier. Astoundingly, in 2003, billing complaints filed with the FTC against MCI rose 310% to over 8,000 per year – double the rate of any other carrier.

MCI settled a lawsuit in 2002 for $8 million after being sued by the California Attorney General for defrauding thousands of consumers by “cramming” (unauthorized bills) and “slamming” (unauthorized service). (Of course, $8 million is chump change for a company set to pull down $20 billion this year.)

Please enlighten me, Mr. Katzenbach. Are you aware of the serial illegal practices of your corporation since you joined the Board in 2002, and therefore are complicit, or has this transpired without your knowledge?

Here is what you assured MCI shareholders and customers in a public letter of September 21, 2004 after you were chosen Chairman:

“Since joining MCI’s Board of Directors in July, 2002, I’ve had the opportunity to witness firsthand the company’s absolute commitment to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethics…it is a community marked by integrity, transparency and accountability…I am proud to serve a company so profoundly dedicated to serving its shareholders, customers, employees and the public-at-large with both innovation and integrity.”

The lawsuits and regulatory actions against your company do not begin to convey the utter contempt with which MCI treats its customers.

For that, you need only go to any of the consumer websites that field corporate customer complaints. Try sites like www.mythreecents.com or www.consumeraffairs.com or www.ripoffreport.com and read the hundreds of letters from people who have been ripped-off, pushed around, defrauded and otherwise victimized by your company.

How many hundreds of meritorious small claims lawsuits have been brought against MCI?

How many thousands of ripped-off MCI customers just give up and take it?

How many hours of consumers’ one irreplaceable commodity – their time -- has your company willfully taken, knowing that the law provides no remedy?

How many of your 20 million customers – the second largest group of phone customers in the United States -- have taken time away from work – as single-mothers or working families -- only to have your company cancel the appointment or been placed on hold for hours?

How many millions of dollars has your company stolen from Americans by falsely billing or fraudulently billing?

How many lives have you affected by shipping over 14,000 American jobs overseas?

We will never know the answers to those questions. But you do know the following:

You know that the lap-dog Attorneys’ General of the fifty states will never make your company pay meaningful penalties.

You know that the Congress and state legislatures that MCI slathers with campaign contributions will never stop MCI’s deceptive practices.

You know that the various state and federal regulatory agencies are toothless tigers.

It is not the common practice to deliver a petition for redress to the private home of a Corporate Chairman, but you leave consumers no choice. Your company makes it virtually impossible to reach supervisors or your executive officers who might help and that is undoubtedly by design.

You have no expectation of privacy as your number and address are listed in the phone book and on the web as a matter of public record.

Our group will urge other consumers to write and call you directly until your company complies with the laws of the United States of America.

In so doing, we will set a higher standard than MCI. We will urge people to call you after 9am or before 5pm. We will urge aggrieved customers to be polite and send polite complaints to your home address. We are specifically advocating that customers and other contact you in a lawful manner.

May I suggest you use your considerable talents to restore your own reputation for trust and honesty and to instill those values in the company you lead.

Not since the Great Depression and the end of the Gilded Era have the citizens of the United States held the CEO’s of major corporations in such disrepute.

Over 90% of the public, according to a recent New York Times poll, believes that corporations have too much power in Washington. 74% of the public does not trust Big Business.

It is because of the illicit and illegal behavior of companies like yours that people hold Big Business in such contempt.

It is time for you and your fellow Corporate Chieftains to take some individual responsibility for this state of affairs.

Corporate leaders and their purchased think tanks are only too quick to demand that the least prosperous members of society assume individual responsibility for their condition, while CEO’s shirk responsibility for their own misdeeds.

We, therefore, today squarely place before you the question of whether you will accept personal responsibility for the ongoing misdeeds of your corporation.

I look forward to your answer and to a meeting at your convenience.


Sincerely,



Carl J. Mayer, Esq.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

MCI GIVEN 2005 SCROOGE AWARD FOR TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE

PRESS ADVISORY

Embargoed Until:
Saturday, December 24, 2005 2:30 pm CONTACT: Carl Mayer
609-921-0253 (office)
609-462-7979 (cell)

CONSUMER ADVOCATE GIVES SCROOGE AWARD TO MCI
PRESENTS TO MCI CHIEF OUTSIDE HIS PRINCETON HOME
WILL PUBLISH CHAIR’S HOME PHONE AND ADDRESS ON WEB
LETTER ASKS AG TO STOP MCI-VERIZON MERGER

WHAT: Press Conference

WHERE: 33 Greenhouse Drive, Princeton Township, New Jersey
(On the public right-of-way in front of the home of Nicholas Katzenbach, Chairman of MCI corporation, the nation’s second largest provider of phone service.)

WHEN: Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 2:30 pm.

WHO: Carl Mayer with EBENEZER SCROOGE AND TINY TIM.

Carl Mayer, an attorney and consumer advocate, will hold a press conference on the public right-of-way outside of the Princeton, NJ home of MCI Chairman Nicholas Katzenbach. Mayer will present to Katzenbach the First Annual Bah Humbug Corporate Scrooge Award. The award is on behalf of The Untouchables Group, a public interest firm founded by Mayer.

“’Bah, Humbug’ is what MCI says to its customers while giving them the worst consumer phone service in the nation,” said Mayer. “This award underscores that MCI is still a recidivist, law-breaking corporation.”

In a new tactic, Mayer will place Katzenbach’s listed phone and address on the World Wide Web and encourage consumers to lawfully write and call Katzenbach to fix MCI’s broken and illegal customer service.

Mayer will release a letter asking the New Jersey Attorney General to stop the merger of MCI and Verizon.

Biography: Carl J. Mayer runs the Mayer Law Group and the Untouchables Group. He served as an elected member of the town council in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of two books: Public Domain, Private Dominion and Shakedown. Mayer was profiled on the CBS news show Sixty Minutes for fighting corporate corruption. His writings have appeared in the New York Times and other national publications.


Directions:

From Philadelphia: I-95 north to Princeton Pike North exit. After about 10 miles, you will pass the Princeton Battlefield on the right: Greenhouse Drive is the first left before the top of the hill.

From NY: Take NJ Turnpike to exit 9. Take Route One south for about ½ hour to Alexander Road West exit. This dead ends at Mercer. Take a left and the first right after Olden Lane is Greenhouse.



PHOTO OPPORTUNITY OF EBENEZER “MCI” SCROOGE AND TINY TIM READING ACTUAL MCI CONSUMER COMPLAINTS.


###

States That Allow Citizens To Present Evidence Of Crimes To Grand Jury.

Some states allow citizens to contact grand juries by statute, but leave it to the discretion of the judge to allow the citizen to appear before the grand jury. . See, e.g., Colo. Rev. Stat. § 16-5-204(4)(l) ("Any person may approach the prosecuting attorney or the grand jury and request . . . to appear before a grand jury. . . . The court may permit the person to testify or appear before the grand jury, if the court finds that such testimony or appearance would serve the interests of justice."); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 1256 ("Evidence relating to offenses cognizable by the court may be offered to the grand jury by the Attorney General, the district attorney, the assistant district attorney and, at the discretion of the presiding justice, by such other persons as said presiding justice may permit."); Neb. Rev. Stat. § 29-1410.01 ("Any person may approach the prosecuting attorney or the grand jury and request . . . to appear before a grand jury. . . . The court may permit the person to testify or appear before the grand jury if the court finds that such testimony or appearance would serve the interests of justice."); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A-626(d) ("Any person not called as a witness who desires to testify before the grand jury concerning a criminal matter . . . must apply to the district attorney or to a superior court judge. The judge or the district attorney in his discretion may call the witness to appear before the grand jury.")Other state statutes explicitly allow citizens to present evidence of crimes to a grand jury. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-12-104(a) ("Any person having knowledge or proof of the commission of a public offense triable or indictable in the county may testify before the grand jury."); Tex. Crim. Proc. Code Ann. § 20.09 ("The grand jury shall inquire into all offenses liable to indictment of which any member may have knowledge, or of which they shall be informed by the attorney representing the State, or any other credible person.").West Virginia is unique because a citizen's right to approach a grand jury and present evidence of an offense is a constitutional right. State ex rel. Miller v. Smith, 285 S.E. 2d 500 (W. Va. 1981); W. Va. Const. art. III, 17 states "the courts of this State shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him, in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law; and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay." The Supreme Court of West Virginia stated the following in justifying this right:To fulfill its functions of protecting individual citizens and providing them with a forum for bringing complaints within the criminal justice system, the grand jury must be open to the public for the independent presentation of evidence before it. [Thus], ... any person may go to the grand jury to present a complaint to it. Id. at 504-05.Other states permit citizens to contact grand juries by operation of common law. See, e.g., King v. Second Nat'l Bank & Trust Co., 234 Ala. 106, 173 So. 498, 499 (Ala. 1937) ("Public policy demands that the citizen, without hazard to himself, may freely bring before the grand jury the fact that a crime has been committed, request an investigation, and furnish such information as he has in aid of the investigation. In this the citizen is not a prosecutor."); In re Lester, 77 Ga. 143, 1886 WL 1476, at 3 (Ga. 1886) (holding that "any citizen" can prosecute offenses or "give information of the fact to the grand jury"); State v. Stewart, 45 La. Ann. 1164, 14 So. 143, 145 (La. 1893) ("The leading state witness went without summons or request before the grand jury, and gave his own version of the case against defendant, and instituted this prosecution. The witness had the undoubted right to go before the grand jury voluntarily, and disclose his knowledge of the case."); In re Petition of Thomas, 434 A.2d 503, 507 (Me. 1981) (explaining limited codification of common law right of grand jury access); Piracci v. State, 207 Md. 499, 115 A.2d 262, 268 (Md. 1955) ("Any citizen who claims to have knowledge tending to show the commission of crimes has a right to ask permission to appear before the grand jury ….the citizen should first exhaust his remedy before the magistrate and State's Attorney . . . ." (citing Brack v. Wells, 184 Md. 86, 40 A.2d 319, 321-24 (Md. 1944))); Hott v. Yarborough, 112 Tex. 179, 245 S.W. 676 (Tex. Comm'n App. 1922) ("It is unquestionably the right, if not, in fact, the duty, of every one who has knowledge of the commission of a criminal offense . . . to call to the attention of the grand jury the facts within his knowledge . . . ."); State ex rel. Miller v. Smith, 168 W. Va. 745, 285 S.E.2d 500, 504-05 (W. Va. 1981) ("By application to the circuit judge, whose duty is to insure access to the grand jury, any person may go to the grand jury to present a complaint to it. This principle of approachability lies in the foundation of the very concept of a grand jury."); cf. State ex rel. Wild v. Otis, 257 N.W.2d 361, 364 (Minn. 1977) ("While a citizen does not have a right to appear before the grand jury, he is free to attempt to get the grand jury to take action, and under [Minnesota court rules], the grand jury can permit an aggrieve citizen to appear as a witness for this purpose."), cert. denied sub nom. Wild v. Otis, 434 U.S. 1003, 98 S. Ct. 707, 54 L. Ed. 2d 746 (1978).

Untouchables Write U.S. Attorney

August 8, 2005Attorney General Alberto R. GonzalesU.S. Department of JusticeOffice of the Attorney General950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NWWashington, D.C. 20530-0001Phone: 202-353-1555

Dear Mr. Attorney General:

We write as attorneys, elected officials, former elected officials, law professors and former prosecutors to ask that you take specific and critical measures to investigate and prosecute wide-spread criminal political corruption in the State of New Jersey. We need not recount the massive violations of federal law that have already occurred in New Jersey. The efforts by lobbyists and contractors to bribe politicians at all levels of New Jersey government in return for government favors -- in violation of several federal statutes -- have been the subject of numerous investigative series in virtually every publication in the state as well as in national media outlets like the New York Times, Sixty Minutes and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Academic political scientists of national repute routinely opine that New Jersey is the most politically corrupt state in the nation.The U.S. Attorney for New Jersey openly admits that when he attends meetings with U.S. Attorneys from around the country, that he is approached by his fellow prosecutors who express disbelief and outrage by what they read occurring in New Jersey. Dozens of low-level New Jersey officials and lobbyists have gone to jail. Most incredibly, as detailed below, a United States District Court Judge, sua sponte, after the conviction of executives of the New Jersey-based Commerce bank in a federal trial in Philadelphia, exhorted federal prosecutors to pursue Commerce Bank and other lobbyists for federal racketeering violations.Extraordinary corruption requires extraordinary measures. Despite low-level convictions, pay-to-play business-as-usual is still the order of the day in New Jersey. Many of the same actors involved in illegal schemes still participate in New Jersey governance. Only your office can provide the resources and tools needed to end criminal political corruption in New Jersey.Therefore, we ask that you take the following measures:1.Appoint an Outside Prosecutor to investigate possible criminal political corruption in the state of New Jersey in violation of federal law.Since the lapse of the Independent Counsel statute, the Attorney General still retains the right to appoint an Outside Prosecutor or Special Counsel under Justice Department guidelines.2. Impanel a Special Grand Jury that will sit and hear evidence regarding a broad pattern of possible criminal conduct in New Jersey politics in violation of the federal Hobbs Act 18 U.S.C. § 1951 and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) (18 USCS §§ 1961 et seq.)As provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3331(a) “the district court must also impanel a special grand jury when the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General, or a designated Assistant Attorney General certifies in writing to the chief judge of the district that in his/her judgment, a special grand jury is necessary ‘because of criminal activity in the district.’"The Special Grand Jury has a duty under 18 U.S.C. § 3332(a) "to inquire into offenses against the criminal laws of the United States alleged to have been committed within that district."There is important precedent for a special grand jury in New Jersey. In the late 1960s a special grand jury was impaneled by Essex County prosecutor Joseph Lordi to investigate allegations of corruption in Newark; working with the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, the criminal activities of Newark Mayor Hugh Adonezio’s ring were ended.We are not the first to suggest broad prosecutions for racketeering involving those businesses and politicians that make private deals at the public expense. In May of this year, two Commerce Bank executives were convicted of conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and honest services wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346 and honest services mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1346 for their roles in bribing public officials in the City of Philadelphia in return for City contracts.After the jury rendered its verdict, on May 9, 2005, U.S. District Judge Michael M. Baylson suggested, sua sponte, that the U.S. Attorneys office bring a RICO case against Commerce Bank and the many other bankers, lawyers and public officials that defraud the public by selling government contracts to the highest bidder. This so called “pay to play” system of criminal corruption is, in fact, more endemic throughout the State of New Jersey than it is in Philadelphia. The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in response to Judge Baylson’s suggestion, claimed that a lack of resources would be an obstacle to a RICO case against Commerce Bank and other institutions engaged in plying politicians with bribes. These comments echo those of the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, who told the Newark Star Ledger on January 12, 2003: "I'm sure if I had another FBI squad, I'd have even more cases; so many of these people [New Jersey politicians taking bribes] are just so stupid."The Justice Department ought to make a commitment to end racketeering in New Jersey by taking the steps requested in this letter. We recognize that we, like Judge Baylson, are making serious charges. But we and other whistleblowers have provided crucial information that has allowed the U.S. Attorney in New Jersey to prosecute dozens of local elected officials and lobbyists. It is time to take the advice of whistleblowers and broaden these prosecutions and devote the public resources necessary to stop, once and for all time, these manifest abuses of the public trust.3.Take the position that federal Grand Juries may, on their own initiative, and independent of federal prosecutors, deliver indictments and hear testimony from whistleblowers possessing evidence of criminal political corruption. This practice, know as “presentment” was prevalent throughout much of the nation’s history and is specifically protected under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The literal meaning and language of the Constitution must be respected and the Justice Department should encourage citizen “presentment” around the country as an important supplementary mechanism for fighting corruption.We are submitting to you today evidence of RICO and Hobbs Act violations by Commerce Bank and South Jersey “Boss” George Norcross; the same information is being transmitted to U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler and to the sitting federal Grand Jury in Trenton, New Jersey. In essence, this evidence suggests that Nocross and Commerce Bank sought to bribe and extort the Mayor of Palmyra, New Jersey in a scheme to remove the Town Attorney of Palmyra and appoint another attorney for the financial benefit of Norcross and Commerce Bank. See Exhibit A and Exhibit B.4. Instruct the U.S. Attorneys for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Southern District of New York to join the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey in his investigation of political corruption in New Jersey and take over the investigation of persons that might pose a conflict for the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. While the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, Chris Christie, has done an admirable job of prosecuting lower-level elected officials, we have direct and indirect evidence that some of the most influential politicians and corporations in New Jersey may have committed federal crimes and U.S. Attorney Christie may have conflicts regarding some of these actors.Our immediate concern is that the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey admitted, after widespread reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Newark Star Ledger in 2003, that he had a private lunch with George Norcross in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2003. The lunch occurred while Mr. Christie was said to be exploring a run for Governor of the State; Mr. Norcross himself has bragged in conversations recorded on tape by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, that his support is critical for anyone seeking statewide office in New Jersey. Furthermore, in 2003, companies affiliated with George Norcross were under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the FBI.Mr. Christie has made no secret of his intense involvement in partisan politics. He was listed as a Pioneer in the Bush campaign of 2000: one of only 241 Pioneers in the country that raised over $100,000 for the President. As late as June of 2003, Mr. Christie, while serving as U.S. Attorney, contributed to the 2004 Bush re-election campaign .Since Mr. Christie became U.S. Attorney, Mr. Christie’s brother has undergone scrutiny because he has contributed over $400,000 to various New Jersey state GOP coffers; in comparison, he gave less than $12,000 prior to the time that his brother applied to become U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. Many of these state and county organizations also receive contributions from Commerce Bank.While we suggest nothing untoward involving U.S. Attorney Christie or his brother, even the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest would be avoided if the Attorney General were to appoint an Outside Prosecutor and if the U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York and Eastern District of Pennsylvania would be charged with broadening the investigation of criminal political corruption in New Jersey.5. Commit to a policy of no more deals for those who violate federal law in the process of committing criminal political corruption in New Jersey.6. Bring in for questioning the dozen so-called “bosses” that all major media outlets, judges, prosecutors and the public now recognize control the daily machinery of New Jersey politics. The contention that these men have no knowledge of the criminal activity that so many have been prosecuted for over the last ten years strains credulity. One of those “bosses” is George Norcross. The notion that a quid pro quo is commonplace in political transactions in New Jersey is now received wisdom. Consider New Jersey lobbyist Alan Marcus’ recent description of political business in this state, as told to New York magazine: “In New Jersey, you contribute money not for access but results. Anybody who doesn’t admit that is lying.” Numerous convicted politicians and business contributors in this state have made similar admissions in entering pleas in New Jersey. A quid pro quo is the essence of bribery, Hobbs Act and RICO crimes and these admissions should play a prominent role in investigations and convictions.Now is not the time to stop at individual low-level convictions. Only by taking the measures outlined in this letter, can those who are running by all accounts the most criminally corrupt political system in the country be brought to justice.We hereby request a meeting with you to discuss these issues.


Sincerely,

Hon. Carl J. Mayer, Esq., Former Committeeman, Princeton Township

Hon. John Gural, Mayor, Palmyra Borough

Ted Rosenberg, Esq., Solicitor, Palmyra Borough


cc:Patrick L. MeehanU.S. AttorneyEastern District of Pennsylvania615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250.Philadelphia, PA 19106-4476.David KelleyU.S. AttorneySouthern District of New York1 St. Andrews PlazaNew York City, NY 10007Christopher ChristieUnited States Attorney, District of New Jersey970 Broad Street, 7th FloorNewark, NJ 07102Honorable Stanley R.CheslerUnited States Courthouse402 E. State St.Trenton, NJ 08608

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

MCI GETS CORPORATE SCROOGE AWARD

PRESS ADVISORY

Embargoed Until:
Saturday, December 24, 2005 2:30 pm CONTACT: Carl Mayer
609-921-0253 (office)
609-462-7979 (cell)

CONSUMER ADVOCATE GIVES SCROOGE AWARD TO MCI
PRESENTS TO MCI CHIEF OUTSIDE HIS PRINCETON HOME
WILL PUBLISH CHAIR’S HOME PHONE AND ADDRESS ON WEB
LETTER ASKS AG TO STOP MCI-VERIZON MERGER

WHAT: Press Conference
WHERE: 33 Greenhouse Drive, Princeton Township, New Jersey
(On the public right-of-way in front of the home of Nicholas Katzenbach, Chairman of MCI corporation, the nation’s second largest provider of phone service.)
WHEN: Saturday, December 24, 2005 at 2:30 pm.
WHO: Carl Mayer with EBENEEZER SCROOGE AND TINY TIM.

Carl Mayer, an attorney and consumer advocate, will hold a press conference on the public right-of-way outside of the Princeton, NJ home of MCI Chairman Nicholas Katzenbach. Mayer will present to Katzenbach the First Annual Bah Humbug Corporate Scrooge Award. The award is on behalf of The Untouchables Group, a public interest firm founded by Mayer.

“’Bah, Humbug’ is what MCI says to its customers while giving them the worst consumer phone service in the nation,” said Mayer. “This award underscores that MCI is still a recidivist, law-breaking corporation.”

In a new tactic, Mayer will place Katzenbach’s listed phone and address on the World Wide Web and encourage consumers to politely write and call Katzenbach to fix MCI’s broken and illegal customer service.

Mayer will release a letter asking the New Jersey Attorney General to stop the merger of MCI and Verizon.

Biography: Carl J. Mayer runs the Mayer Law Group and the Untouchables Group. He served as an elected member of the town council in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the author of two books: Public Domain, Private Dominion and Shakedown. Mayer was profiled on the CBS news show Sixty Minutes for fighting corporate corruption. His writings have appeared in the New York Times and other national publications.


Directions:

From Philadelphia: I-95 north to Princeton Pike North exit. After about 10 miles, you will pass the Princeton Battlefield on the right: Greenhouse lane is the first left before the top of the hill.

From NY: Take NJ Turnpike to exit 9. Take Route One south for about ½ hour to Alexander Road West exit. This dead ends at Mercer. Take a left and the first right after Olden Lane is Greenhouse.



PHOTO OPPORTUNITY OF EBENEEZER “MCI” SCROOGE AND TINY TIM
READING ACTUAL MCI CONSUMER COMPLAINTS.


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