Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona
Friday, June 21, 2013
When You Can’t Trust the Judges in Town, What do You do?
AZ Bar disciplinary judge O’Neil untouchable vs. Michigan judge gets thrown in prison for similar crooked short sale
Too bad she wasn’t the state disciplinary judge, or she wouldn’t have gone to prison.
by Mark Dixon
Recently, it was reported that Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway pleaded guilty to bank fraud (mortgage short-sale fraud). Hathaway lied to her bank about her ability to make payments on her home in order to facilitate a short sale. Just prior to the short sale, she tapped more than $350,000 in cash to purchase two different homes that were then put in the names of her stepchildren. Then to hide the additional assets, she quit-claimed her Florida home to a family member. She did this in an effort to hide more than a million dollars in assets. The United States Attorney’s office filed court documents to seize the Florida home in partial relief from the fraud.
Contrast this with the situation involving Arizona State Bar disciplinary judge William J. O’Neil. While a Pinal County Superior Court Judge, he arranged for his mother-in-law’s home to be purchased via a short sale by his good friend Bryan Brenfleck, who then transferred a 50% interest to Judge O’Neil and his wife, Tammy. Judge O’Neil’s mother-in-law lived in the home throughout all of the transactions and continues to reside there to this day.
This saga of deceit and corruption began with the death of Judge O’Neil’s father-in-law. After his death, O’Neil’s mother-in-law racked up significant debt which led, in August of 2006, to the refinancing of her home with National City Mortgage, a subsidiary of PNC Mortgage, for $204,000. On November 27, 2006, National City Mortgage recorded an “Assignment of Deed of Trust,” transferring their interest to Christopher R. Perry. It appears Perry held or holds the loan on Judge O’Neil’s mother-in-law’s house. The loan for $204,000 was never released according to documents recorded with Pinal County.
You can get away with anything if you’re the judge over all the attorneys in the state.
In January 2007, the same home was financed again by National City Mortgage, a subsidiary of PNC Mortgage, with Christopher R. Perry as trustee for $203,950. A short sale was orchestrated selling the home to Judge O’Neil’s good friend and business partner, Bryan Brenfleck, on January 14, 2010 for $72,000. On August 29, 2011 Bryan Brenfleck transferred a 50% interest in the home back to Judge O’Neil and his wife, Tammy. That makes for a gain of $337,950.00 for a home that was originally worth just over $80,000, as suggested by a mortgage taken out in the mid 90′s. Considering how the rest of us have seen a severe dip in our home prices, not a gain, the deal reeks to high heaven.
Christopher R. Perry once was a prominent foreclosure attorney working closely with National City Mortgage, a subsidiary of PNC Mortgage. On February 16, 2011, while driving drunk, he ran down an elderly couple with his car, stopped and saw the woman dying, returned to his car, and fled the scene. The woman died of her injuries and Perry was indicted by a grand jury with the following:
1) ARS 28-1381A1 DUI (M1) Liquor/Drugs/Vapors/Combo 2) ARS 28-661 (F3) Hit and Run W/Death/Injury
3) ARS 13-1102 (F4) Negligent Homicide
4) ARS 13-1204 (F3) Aggravated Assault
5) ARS 28-661 (F3) Hit and Run W/Death/Injury
The case resulted with Mr. Perry entering a plea agreement and being sentenced to only a year and a half in prison. He served just slightly over a year and has since been released. We can thank Maricopa County Superior Court Presiding Criminal Commissioner Steven P. Lynch and the Maricopa County Attorney for ignoring the sentencing guidelines which in this case should have required a minimum of 7 ½ years for such crimes. Just recently, Kevin Millard received a 10 ½ year sentence from Pima County Superior Courtfor the same crimes.
Perry’s punishment from the Arizona Supreme Court, thru it’s Presiding Disciplinary Judge William J. O’Neil and the Arizona State Bar was even lighter.
Judge O’Neil, in an effort to appear to be following the rules, suspended Perry’s law license on March 10, 2011 which is represented in press releases and public information on the State Bar website. What is secreted and not made public, March 11, 2011, Judge O’Neil issued an Order of Stay of the same suspension, then on March 18, 2011 O’Neil issued an Order of Partial and Temporary Relief from Interim Suspension. The outcome is that Christopher R Perry had his law license suspended for less than 24 hours and in fact continued to practice law the entire time he was incarcerated with the Arizona Department of Corrections. This is evidenced in over 1,600 documents recorded in Maricopa and Pinal Counties, almost all of which Perry is representing PNC Mortgage, parent company to National City Mortgage. It appears Perry was allowed to continue to practice law up until his disbarment and retroactive suspension on April 3, 2013. Ongoing review of documents show that he even used an abbreviated form of his name as an alias, Chris Perry. This is a common practice it seems. Judge William O’Neil’s name, as listed in connection with Brian Brenfleck, is Bill O’Neal. This is just a small sample of the outrageous conduct practiced and accepted by the Arizona State Bar and the Arizona Judiciary.
PNC Mortgage is the parent company of both National City Bank and National City Mortgage. National City Mortgage provided financing for O’Neil’s mortgage fraud. Christopher R. Perry is listed as an attorney at/with National City Mortgage. PNC Mortgage and Christopher R. Perry provided Judge William J. O’Neil very lucrative deals, seemingly in exchange for judicial deference in mortgage cases and leniency in Perry’s disciplinary matter.
A few interesting “coincidences” or not?
A judicial complaint was filed against Judge O’Neil regarding the short sale and other significant violations, yet he was cleared without any explanation. The first screening officer was Hon. Michael O Miller from Pima County Superior Court, he recused himself. Soon thereafter, he was appointed to the Court of Appeals. The second screening officer was a public member, Ms. Colleen Concannon, appointed by the Governor to the Commission on Judicial Conduct . At that time, she was owner of the financially distressed Manning House in Tucson. Although Ms. Concannon did not sign the Order clearing O’Neil, she was integrally involved. It appears she was assisted in staying the foreclosure sale of the Manning House. It is reported that a buyer was suddenly was found. Were there any state funds involved?
Moreover, a complaint was made to the Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding Judge O’Neil’s failure to disclose that Robert Gallo, who sat with him as the public member on at least five disciplinary panels, was his close friend, neighbor, and business partner. The Commission first stated they did not review that complaint because it was not filed properly, that is why it wasn’t addressed. Once the complaint was brought to the attention of the Commission again, as well as the Disciplinary division of the Bar, the Commission claimed it was examined and found lacking but still hasn’t issued a formal finding. The Bar, claiming deference to the Commission, refuses to investigate at all. The evidence is clear and irrefutable that Mr. Gallo served on the panels with Judge O’Neil, neither disclosed their relationship. Clearly, this influenced Gallo’s decisions on those trials. In one of the 5 panel’s findings it even represented Gallo as a Public Member from Maricopa County, yet he lived right next door to O’Neil in Pinal County. How many additional disciplinary panels were stacked with bias members controlled by O’Neil.
There is one more situation that is exceedingly relevant. It was announced in January 2013 that a complaint was filed against Mr. Richard Wintory, Pinal County’s new Chief Criminal Deputy, replacing Richard Platt who is now Vice President of the Board of Governors of the Bar Association. Now, five months later, after being informed of the illegal acts by O’Neil and others, the State Bar has announced that Mr. Wintory is under investigation. It is no coincidence that Chief Criminal Deputy Mr. Wintory would have been the one to prosecute O’Neil and others. Another Arizona County Attorney is now is facing the wrath of the State Bar for trying to do his job and attempting to stop judicial corruption.
Every attempt made in Arizona to expose this has been thwarted by local and state officials. The Arizona Supreme Court, thru Article 6 of the Arizona Constitution, has administrative supervision over all the courts of the state. Regardless of how many commissions, inferior courts, or organizations to which the Supreme Court wishes to delegate its authority, the final responsibility rests with the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice.
Arizona Supreme Court Chief Staff Attorney Ellen Crowley was made aware of these matters and tried to deflect all responsibility to the Commission on Judicial Conduct by saying “the Commission is a separate constitutional entity, as set forth in the Arizona Constitution, Art. 6.1.” Although the Commission on Judicial Conduct was established by Article 6.1 of the Arizona Constitution the Supreme Court can and has the original responsibility to, on its own motion, assume jurisdiction and clean up its own mess.
When Ms. Crowley’s efforts to deflect the Supreme Courts responsibility failed, attempts were made to delete emails, send failure receipt notices and block senders from the courts public email system to create plausible deniability and knowledge of the wrongdoing, documents and correspondence. Once made aware of the failure of these efforts, she finally sent a reply to the correspondence. If the Supreme Court is not aware of these issues it is only because its own staff is conspiring to keep these issues in the dark.
The problem is that O’Neil holds vast power over attorneys and judges. He is the Supreme Court’s Presiding Disciplinary Judge and with that comes the power to intimidate attorneys and even the judiciary. The State Bar who’s power and authority is delegated to it by the Arizona Supreme Court uses O’Neil as their attack dog apparently with the blessing of the Supreme Court while the Supreme Court ignores his unethical and even illegal behavior. In return, the State Bar and judiciary protect O’Neil, blocking all efforts to expose his wrong doing, not hold him accountable. O’Neil protects those who perform unethical deeds for him, like Perry. Had Perry been held accountable for his past alleged DUI’s and not protected by the Judiciary and others would a woman have died. All those who protected Perry in exchange for the favors he provided are just as guilty of murder as Perry.
So where is the Federal Government? An investigation H-12-0133 has been opened by the Office of Inspector General Federal Housing Authority. The truth will come out sooner or later.
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