Due diligence in the Biden family lawsuitBy Bill Allison Sep 02 2008 2:37 a.m.
In a comment to this post pointing to some resources for getting acquainted with the Republican vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, I noted this Washington Post story on a lawsuit involving Robert Hunter Biden, the son of the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, James Biden, the Senator's brother, and plaintiff Anthony Lotito, who is the former business partner of the two non-elected Bidens in a deal that didn't work out. Both sides charge one another with cheating; hence the lawsuit. It turns out the New York State Supreme Court (where the case is filed) puts most of its documents online (here's the home page for searching).
The documents themselves indicate that the case has little to do with Sen. Biden -- whatever the truth of the allegations and counter-allegations, it appears that at most he asked his brother to call Lotito to see if he could help find something for his son to do other than being a registered lobbyist -- in the original complaint, it says that Biden's brother James was the source of this information.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I came across in the documents is the Bidens' claim that they never would have entered the deal -- which involved buying some hedge funds in a partnership with Lotito that was called LBB Holdings USA Inc. -- if they were aware of Lotito's background and the background of the corporate counsel Lotito hired for the venture -- one John Fasciana. At the time that Lotito and the two Bidens hired Fasciana, he was awaiting sentencing on a 2005 fraud conviction. All I had to do to find those two DOJ press releases was to google John Fasciana -- didn't the Bidens do any due diligence in this $21 million deal? Apparently not:
Had we known of Fasciana's conviction and prior criminal conduct, we would not have retained Fasciana for any purpose. We also would not have formed LBB, and would not have engaged in any further business dealings with Lotito.
Are all Washington lobbyists with law degrees so trusting? Are they all such simple, naive folk that they don't check out the people they're doing business with?
In any case, here are a few of the court documents, in case anyone wants to take a look:
Original summons & complaint filed on behalf of Anthony Lotito;
Answer and Counterclaim of Hunter Biden, James Biden, et al;
Affadavit of James R. Biden;
Affadavit of R. Hunter Biden.
These more or less spell out the claims and counterclaims.
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