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
"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