Former L.A. Port Authority President, Wife Sued for Fraud
SANTA BARBARA, Calif., July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Former Los Angeles Port Authority President and former Santa Barbara Police Commissioner Ira Distenfield and his wife, Linda, once a deputy to Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, were sued today in Santa Barbara Superior Court for civil fraud and false representation. The lawsuit, which seeks more than $200,000 in damages, alleges the Distenfields sold the same We The People legal document preparation franchise to two different people in the San Francisco Bay Area. The suit also claims false representation of the Marin County We The People franchise's profitability. Ira Distenfield is currently the national director of franchise development for PRstores, which provide marketing services to local businesses. The lawsuit was filed by attorney John L. Fallat, president of New Millennium Corporation (NMC) in San Rafael, California for "double selling the San Francisco East Bay territory of We The People, which stretches from Emeryville north to Crockett." We the People legal centers provide assistance to the general public in preparation of simple legal documents such as living trusts and wills without use of lawyers. "It turns out the Distenfields sold the same East Bay franchise territory to another person which makes it worthless to NMC," explained Fallat, noting the Marin store he purchased from the Distenfields in 2004 is doing poorly, "despite their promises and profitability projections they supplied." "There is simply no excuse for selling the same territory twice," he said. "This is the kind of conduct low-life common criminals engage in. The Distenfields never even offered to refund the purchase price." Last year, the Distenfields sold We The People to Dollar Financial Corporation for $14 million. A few months later, Dollar Financial filed a civil complaint for fraud against the Distenfields in Pennsylvania State Court based upon alleged false representations, according to Fallat. The Distenfield's Santa Barbara neighbor Jane Lodas has filed her own civil complaint for fraud in the sale of the Santa Barbara We The People store and related investments in the company, Fallat said. Although Fallat cautions against buying a We The People franchise, based on what he calls "Dollar Financial's failure to step up and accept responsibility for franchisee problems," he says he continues to believe in the concept of assisting people with the preparation of legal documents without a lawyer.
SOURCE John Fallat
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