Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jim Couri's life of crime, fraud and misconduct is well documented in published court decisions, newspaper articles, and affidavits signed by his brother and mother.

1959, Circa - Jim Couri weds and promptly drops out of Duke University after three months. Shortly thereafter Couri matriculated at Columbia University but again dropped out after three months. So ended Jim's college career. 

Late 1960s and 1970s - Couri's mother Katby T. Couri writes: "When working for Ernst & Co., [Jim Couri] forged his father's name, sold over $30,000 in bonds and subsequently lost the money in the stock market." "While [Jim] was in his thirties he began to gamble heavily and mix with the wrong crowd. [His parents] received many calls relating to his gambling and were often told how he cheated friends and relatives."

1975 - Jim Couri involved in massive stock fraud scheme.

1978 - 
In a feature-length article, Barron's Magazine reports Jim Couri, age 39, was at the center of a massive stock fraud scheme that shut down the trading of Conrac Corp. stock on the New York Stock Exchange for over a month.

1979-1980 - Undaunted, Jim Couri commits bank fraud, bribery and deceit. A federal investigation "revealed that Couri had engaged in extensive fraud and deceit during 1979 and 1980, as the owner of Plazagal [Int'l Corp.]," an auction art gallery. "That fraud included alterations of the gallery's financial records to improve apparent profitability and inventory levels, in order to maintain existing credit and secure additional loans from [a bank]; the direction by Couri to Plazagal's employees to deceive consignors of the gallery with respect to the sales of their goods and the payment of money due them; the destruction by Couri of an employee's daily business diary which reflected unfavorably on Couri; and the issurance by Couri of worthless checks." "...Couri ... during the course of his examination admitting, inter alia, to the bribing of an officer of [the bank]." 1981 WL 1662, Fed. Sec. L. Rep. P 98,244, S.D.N.Y., July 23, 1981 (NO. S80 CR. 493-CSH)


1980, Circa - Jim Couri's auction art gallery Plazagal International Corp. files for bankruptcy. 33 B.R. 47 (Bankr. S.D. N.Y. 1983.)


1981 - Jim Couri is sentenced in federal court in New York on three felony pleas involving securities fraud (Conrac Corp.) and bank fraud (Plazagal) as detailed in two different informations.

1981 - Jim Couri consents to a lifetime ban from securities law violations.

1981 - Jim Couri's treating psychiatrist says he "suffers from panic of a neurotic identity crisis" resulting in "clouded ... judgment, blunted ... intelligence" and "misguided" "energies."

1981, Sept. 11 - According to the docket sheet in Jim Couri's three 1980 felony pleas, upon the plea to manipulative trading in security on the National Securities Exchange, Couri was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence (of one year), probation for three (3) years and fined $10,000. Upon Couri's pleas to two additional felonies, Couri received a suspended sentenced of one year in jail and fined $5,000 on count one. On count two, Couri was fined an additional $5,000. In addition, Couri was ordered to cooperate with the creditors committee of the Plazagal International Organization (Couri was the president of Plazagal when it filed for bankruptcy), ordered to undertake psychiatric treatment, and, during the first year, perform eight hours per week of Community Service.

1984 - In 1984, while he was on probation, Couri convinced an individual to loan him $71,000 which he did not return. He also convinced the same individual to allow him to manage his company’s pension accounts. As a result of Couri’s conduct, the pension fund lost more than $700,000.  See, Federated Graphics Companies, Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, T.C. Memo. 1992-347 (1992). In discussing Couri’s background, the tax court noted that: Couri had been convicted of (1) submitting false statements to a Federally insured bank and (2) manipulation of securities trading. Couri was on probation with regard to these convictions when [the taxpayer] first met him.

1986 - Federal Court Judge Charles S. Haight, Jr. says Jim Couri has a checkered past.

1986, Circa - Jim Couri marries for the fourth time.

1987 - Jim Couri's mother, in a witnessed, notarized, videotape affidavit, describes her son Jim, age 48, as "a liar, cheat and ruthless person ... who has no morals and has maintained his lifestyle by cheating others. When people that he gets involved with find out about him they are willing to lose money just to get away from him. My son is not normal and needs psychiatric help."

1992, Circa - Jim Couri becomes embroiled in protracted litigation involving his rental of an apartment at the Westchester County Country Club.

1992, Sept. 2 - "No individual should be permitted, as James [Couri] has done in this case, to use and abuse the Courts by pro se commencement of litigation reasserting claims repeatedly released or adjudicated,
and, in the context of those proceedings, to make vicious, defamatory and false statements against an almost
limitless number of persons and entities. I, my wife, our child, and my business and professional associates must be spared this relentless annoyance and expense." Written by Jim's brother John Couri in a sworn affidavit filed in United States District Court Southern District of New York, 92 Civ. 2991 (CLB).

1996, Circa - Couri, age 57, is evicted from the Carlton House owing unpaid rent of $55,000. Enters into written agreement to pay $5,000 per month for 11 months but defaults on first payment. Judgment entered against Jim Couri for $55,000.

1998 - Couri rents an apartment within George Pavia's brownstone located off of Central Park.

1996-2007 Couri Files Hundreds of Lawsuits in New York County Supreme Court Alone.

2002, Dec. 4 - Criminal Court Judge Gerald Harris upholds the legal sufficiency of criminal harassment charges against Jim Couri in which Couri is alleged to have sent hundreds of harassing faxes, made repeated early morning nuisance telephone calls, and threatened to make [and in fact made] George Pavia's life a "living Hell." 

2002 - Litigation is commenced to evict Jim Couri from a rental apartment within the Pavia Family brownstone.

2005, Aug. 15 - It appears Couri feigned a heart attack at the end of jury selection in the Pavia vs. Couri litigation. The result was a mistrial and further delay. Notably, Justice Madden reported in her decision of August 26, 2005, at page 6, that Couri's personal cardiologist "Dr. Weintraub stated on the record that in his opinion, it was unlikely that Couri had a heart attack, and that while Couri was admitted to the hospital overnight, he was being discharged in about one hour, and that Couri should be able to continue with the trial within 24 to 48 hours. Dr. Weintraub stated there was less than a 10% and probably less than 5% chance that Couri's (subjective) complaints of chest pain were cardiac."

2005, Dec. 12 - Harold Beeler, J.S.C. finds Jim Couri in contempt of court for violating the terms of the parties' February 17, 2005 mutual restraining order and directs Couri to pay $5,000 and attorney's fees. Further, Judge Beeler orders that Couri is not to commence any further lawsuits, complaints, proceedings or motions in any court or administrative body against defendants John Siebert or his attorney Joseph M. Burke, Esq. (New York County, Supreme Court, Index No. 107240/04.)

2006, June - Jim Couri, age 67, files court documents claiming that he has $400,000 in debts and only $5,000 in assets. Jim's wife Marlene Couri also files a sworn affidavit stating she has no assets. Together, they claim they cannot pay rent to the Pavias.

2006, Dec. 10 - The New York Times reports: "In a 2003 letter to Michelle A. Maratto, one of Mr. Pavia’s lawyers, Mr. Couri accused Ms. Maratto, who was converting to Judaism, of “crazy, abhorrent, shakedown behavior” and went on to tell her that “you are not worthy to become part of the Orthodox Jewish faith. You belong in jail.”


2007, Feb. - Ken Gomez appears as trial counsel for the Pavia Family.


2007, Apr. 7 - Jim Couri's daughter posts a video of Jim Couri dancing to his heart's content, while in court, he claims to be very ill. View the video HERE. Notably, the video was recorded inside Jim  Couri's $1.6 million home in Rancho Mirage, California. Wait a minute, didn't Couri say he only had $5,000 in assets?

2007, May 9 -  Jury Renders Unanimous Verdict Finding James C. Couri to be a nuisance and rules in favor of the Pavia Family.


2007, May - Supreme Court Justice Joan A. Madden determines Jim Couri made repeatedly false accusations against the people and institutions involved in his litigation.

2007 - Jim Couri drafts letter to the New York State Committee on Judicial Conduct claiming Judge Madden's conduct was "not unlike Doctor Mengele's at Auschwitz."

2007 - Jim Couri's in forma pauperis motion to the Appellate Division, First Department, claiming  he was without funds to pursue the normal costs of an appeal in the Pavia case, is denied.

2007, July - Jim Couri is evicted from the apartment he rented from George Pavia by the New York City Marshall's Office.

2008, Feb. 28 - Appellate court finds Couri's refusal to comply with four court orders to make tax records available was calculated to impede the examination of John Siebert's claims alleging Couri defrauded Siebert out of $8 million dollars.

 2008, Feb. 28 - Appellate court finds Couri's conduct, in refusing to provide tax authorizations to John Siebert's attorney, to be "dilatory, evasive, obstructive and ultimately contumacious" there being the absence of any semblance of an excuse for his noncompliance. 

2009, Feb. - New York State Supreme Court Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam enforces the restraining orders served by Kenneth V. Gomez upon two different insurance companies and the payment of more than $165,000 from Couri's medical malpractice settlement to satisfy judgments for unpaid rent held by George Pavia (2007) and The Carlton House (1996).

2008, Mar. 11 - Justice Joan A. Madden "admonishes Couri that if he commences any further actions without first seeking permission from this court, or seeks permission to commence actions which are substantially similar to the proceeding and actions considered on this motion, or otherwise frivolous, he will be sanctioned."

2009, June - Jim Couri launches Scamraiders.com claiming to be the victim of all manner of fraud and court corruption.

2009, Aug. - A California notary public signs affidavit accusing Jim Couri of forging her signature 33 times.

2009, Aug. 29 - Appellate Division, First Department, denies Jim Couri's application to enlarge his time to perfect his appeal beyond the nine months allowed by statute. 

2009, On or about Oct. 1 - An investigator for the United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York, calls Jim Couri on his cell phone and determines (by cell tower triangulation) that he is in New York despite the fact that Couri had  for over a year claimed he was medically incapable of traveling to New York from California and proceed with the Siebert litigation --- where it is alleged he defrauded Siebert out of more than eight million dollars.

2009, Oct. 26 - The Honorable Leslie S. Lowenstein, acting as a Special Referee, in the Couri v. Siebert litigation, recommends Justice Michael D. Stallman impose a $4,500 sanction upon Jim Couri for contumacious and frivolous behavior.

2009, Nov. 11 - Jim Couri's forgery of the signature of a California notary 33 times raises serious credibility questions about Couri's medical claims.

2009, Nov. 11 - Justice Stallman Orders Couri to Submit to a Medical Examination to Verify His Health Claims

2009, Nov. - Five months after the launch of Scamraiders, Kenneth  V. Gomez, Esq. launches this blog to defend his reputation and expose Jim Couri for what he is.

2009, Nov. 22 - Kenneth Gomez posts, It Was Shocking to Realize that Virtually Everything Couri Said of Significance Was Not True.

2009, Dec. 7 - Kenneth Gomez asks, "Why is Couri not in jail?"

2009, Dec. - Jim Couri refuses to comply with a court order directing him to provide medical authorizations that would allow the examination of his medical records and his claim that he is too sick to travel from California to New York to participate in discovery and trial in an $8M fraud case. 

2009, Dec. 31 - Jim Couri's motion seeking reargument of decision finding his conduct contumacious is denied.

2009, Dec. 31 - Supreme Court Justice Michael D. Stallman has serious doubts about Jim Couri's credibility.

2010, Jan. 4 - Kenneth Gomez posts, The Irony of Scamraiders.

2010, Feb. 5 - Reporter John Eligon of the New York Times publishes, A Serial Plaintiff and His Loyal Opposition.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

In a new low, Couri Writes to a Federal Judge to Claim that his Daughter Alex Couri Suffers from Mental Illness and Substance Abuse.


One of Jim Couri's most often used tactics is to defame his accusers. Typically, Couri accuses his adversaries of child-sex abuse, cavorting with prostitutes, tax evasion (30 million dollars or more), and all other manner of criminal conduct, including the bribing of judges, just to name a few. 

Couri then repeats the allegations because they are ignored. Historically, one of Couri's favorite activities was to fax defamatory letters to law enforcement agencies, professional associations,  public authorities, employers, and public news outlets in the hope that one of the allegations would gain traction. Inevitably, Couri's allegations are revealed as the calculated blathering of a very evil soul. 

The fact that no one listened to Couri's allegations, compelled him to create the thinly-veiled websites known as Scamraiders.com and ScamInc.com with which he spews noxious venom in an attempt to deter his legitimate creditors. 

Recently, Jim Couri wrote a letter to Federal District Court Judge Frank Maas, claiming that his daughter Alex "suffers from mental illness, is a chronic substance abuser, and a neurotically troubled individual," and thus, Alex is not competent to sue Couri's former lawyer, Jon Paul Robbins, Esq., for breach of fiduciary duty while serving as trustee of the Alex Couri Trust.  I have never met Alex Couri, but based upon Couri's pattern of false accusations, I am confident that Alex does not suffer from mental illness, does not suffer from substance abuse, and is not a neurotically-troubled individual. 

As "proof" that Alex is mentally ill, Jim referred to what he claimed to be a letter to a commercial airline that states Alex requires an emotional-support dog during flight. Even if the letter, and psychiatrist's note attached thereto, are authentic (I have learned to doubt the authenticity of every "Couri" document), it does not establish mental illness, substance abuse, nor neurotic behavior, let alone that his daughter is mentally incompetent, as Jim claims. 

Of course, Judge Frank Maas, summarily denied Couri's request to participate in a May 30, 2012 court conference. Naturally, Jim wished to participate because his daughter alleges that he and Robbins conspired to fleece the Alex Couri Trust of not less than $250,000. The language of Alex's formal complaint makes it clear that Jim was not sued as a defendant because he is without financial assets. 

The title of this blog post suggests that Couri's attack upon his daughter resulted in a new low for Couri but the truth is Couri has made similar defamatory attacks against other family members, including his brother John Couri, and his deceased-mother, Katby T. Couri. Therefore, Couri's attack upon his only child is not a new low for Jim, for attacking is what Couri does, and not only his family members, but anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. 


Click HERE for a copy of Couri's May 8, 2012 letter to Judge Maas. 



Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Couri's Daughter, Alex Couri, states her father, Jim Couri, Confessed to Pillaging Approximately $250,000 from the Alex Couri Trust with the Assistance of Jon Paul Robbins, Esq.


"Alex [Couri] was kept in the dark about the misconduct by Robbins with respect to the Trust, as Robbins and McLaughlin & Stern intended.  The 1989 Trust terminated by its terms in November 2010. At that time, James [Couri] believed he was likely to be dying shortly due to a diagnosis of Stage IV Melanoma. He confessed to Alex what he and Robbins had done, and told Alex to seek the facts from Robbins and to try to obtain redress from him. James currently has very limited assets and no ability to remedy his part of the wrongdoing, even if he wished to do so." This quote is from Paragraph 106 of the complaint, Lydia Couri vs. Jon Paul Robbins, et al. To read a copy of the complaint filed in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, by Jim's daughter, Alex Couri, click HERE.

The $250,000 Federal Court Complaint Filed by Alex Couri Confirms the Moral Bankruptcy of Her Father James Couri.

"At the time, Alex [Couri] was 11 years old and living with her father [Jim Couri], a twice convicted felon (securities fraud and bank fraud), who had repeatedly engaged in other frauds, had deceived, lied to and stolen money from business associates and his own family. That behavior was the cause of James' disinheritance by his family, which in essence was at the core of Alex's suit." To read the 38 page federal court complaint by Alex Couri against her father's lawyer Jon Paul Robbins, Esq. (and Jim Couri) click HERE.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lydia Couri, the daughter of Jim Couri, sues claiming her father stole $250,000 that was held in trust for her benefit.

Read Lydia Couri's March 12, 2012 federal court complaint and the theft allegations lodged against her father, James C. Couri, and his lawyer, Jon Paul Robbins, Esq., by clicking HERE.

Friday, May 20, 2011

James C. Couri - Makes Baseless Attacks on the Integrity of Any Individual or Institution in his Disputes

"Couri's conduct in this litigation and his conduct underlying the nuisance, his failure to comply with court orders, his repetitive litigation tactics, and his commencement after the verdict of another action against the Pavias and the Department of Buildings involving the issues litigated herein demonstrates a fundamental disrespect for the legal process, and a willingness to make baseless attacks on the integrity of any individual or institution in his disputes."  Honorable Joan A. Madden, Justice Supreme Court, State of New York, New York County, June 25, 2007, George Pavia and Antonia Pavia vs. James Couri, et al, Index No. 124625/02.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Psychological Projection.

Psychological projection or projection bias is a psychological defense mechanism where a person unconsciously denies his or her own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to the outside world, such as to other people. An example of this behavior might be blaming another for self failure. The mind may avoid the discomfort of consciously admitting personal faults by keeping those feelings unconscious, and by redirecting libidinal satisfaction by attaching, or "projecting," those same faults onto another person or object.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Irony of Scamraiders

In his latest post, thrice-convicted felon and prolific pro se litigant James Couri offers up a seemingly honorable rationale for starting Scamraiders.  Yet, a quick search of the public records paints quite a different and disturbing picture.  In essence, Mr. Couri has deceptively created Scamraiders as a ruse to deflect from his current legal woes in New York.  He claims to have established Scamraiders "to try my best to help people by sharing my experiences and ‘messes’ via print and video, in order that anyone who wanted, could learn for free, what at times cost me a fortune in money, pain and suffering." Yet, it is likely Mr. Couri has not helped a single person.  His whole life appears to revolve around helping himself by scamming others. Hence, the irony of Scamraiders. I challenge Mr. Couri to produce the name(s) of any actual persons or organizations and to describe the "help" he provided. Of course, there aren't any.  As a former Assistant District Attorney who has practiced law for nearly 30 years, I felt it was my civic duty to expose Mr. Couri for what he truly is - a clever, but most nefarious operator who has made a fortune ripping off others.  Please beware.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New York Needs To Enact Legislation To Curb Vexatious Pro Se Litigants.


California, Florida, Texas, Hawaii, and Ohio have all adopted statutes to curb vexatious litigation. All five states have procedures by which litigants can be declared vexatious. All have a range of remedies: a vexatious litigant may be required to post a bond for the defendant’s costs and fees before an action can be commenced, or a judge 


can make a pre-filing order under which the litigant is restrained from filing any further actions unless and until leave is given by a judge. And in each case, failure to abide by the statute is punishable by contempt of court. 






“Vexatious conduct” means conduct of a party in a civil action that satisfies any of the following: (a) The conduct obviously serves merely to harass or maliciously injure another party to the civil action. (b) The conduct is not warranted under existing law and cannot be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. (c) The conduct is imposed solely for delay. See, Vexatious Pro Se Civil Litigants in the Massachusetts Courts by J. Caleb Donaldson, Harvard University, Harvard Law School, 2006.




Friday, August 20, 2010

In the 1980s an English psychiatrist used the term, “litigious paranoia,” to describe a medical condition in which a person obsessively engages in persistent, unnecessary litigation.

"I am quite satisfied that the claimant, sadly, has become obsessive about his treatment in May 1994 [an alleged unlawful eviction from his accommodations at the Brompton Hotel in London] to the point where all reason and proportionality have deserted him. . . . The allegations he has chosen to make against responsible professionals in this case, allegations, which in some cases, are wild, scurrilous and outrageous demonstrates to me that the claimant can no longer be relied upon to behave in a reasonable and responsible manner in deciding whether to litigate or not." Litigious Paranoia: Confronting And Controlling Abusive Litigation In The United States, The United Kingdom, And Australia. International Review of Business Research Papers, Vol. 5 No. 1 January 2009 Pp. 11-27.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

No third party or government agency has contacted me let alone found merit in Couri's allegations of bribery, extortion, perjury, suppression of evidence, violation of professional disciplinary rules, forgery, Medicare fraud, and tax evasion.

Couri's allegations against me are completely false and are part of a larger smokescreen to avoid justice. Read what the New York Times had to say about it by clicking HERE.

Friday, July 23, 2010

George M. Pavia, Esq. retained my services to act as trial counsel in a lawsuit against James Cyril Couri.

In February 2007, George M. Pavia hired me to represent him and his wife, Antonia Pavia, in a four-and-a-half year old civil lawsuit that was about to be heard by a jury in the New York State Supreme Court, New York County. The Pavias brought suit against thrice-convicted felon, two-time college dropout, prolific pro se litigant James C. Couri and his fourth wife, Marlene Couri. The lawsuit's purpose was to evict Mr. and Mrs. Couri  from one of the four rental apartments within the Pavia Family brownstone located on East 73rd Street off of 5th Avenue. Mr. Couri was the only tenant named in the lease. As was his practice in hundreds of lawsuits, Couri represented himself without a lawyer, acting pro seMrs. Couri was represented by Couri's longtime attorney Jon Paul Robbins, Esq. of McLaughlin & Stern, LLP. The basis for the eviction was Mr. Couri's unrelenting, unjustified, and vicious campaign of written and verbal attacks upon the Pavias and a tenant in the building (the allegations are similar in nature to the false and vicious attacks against me).


Prior to my involvement, Mr. Couri was successful in a separate administrative proceeding against the Pavias to have the Division of Housing and Community Renewal declare Couri's rental apartment was in fact subject to the New York City rent stabilization laws. Notably, DHCR found Mr. Paiva overcharged Mr. Couri for rent at the rate of Thirty-Five Dollars ($35) a month. This money was refunded to Mr. Couri. Significantly, DHCR held Mr. Pavia's belief that the apartment was not rent stabilized was in good faith, there being sufficient reason for his belief. Furthermore, none of the three other rental tenants in the building joined Mr. Couri's DHCR application, believing the amount charged for rent was fair and the Pavias were proper landlords. 


Significantly, in the years leading up to Couri's tenancy at the Pavia residence, Couri had been involved in litigation or significant disputes involving many if not all of his landlords, including The Helmsley Carlton House, The Westchester County Country Club, the New York Athletic Club, the Olympic Towers, and a private home in California. 


In May 2007, after a 12-day jury trial, a unanimous jury rendered a verdict in favor of the Pavias and against Couri. Specifically, the jury found Couri to be a legal nuisance. Further, the jury dismissed ALL of Couri's claims against the Pavias, finding none of Couri's claims had merit. In turn, the presiding judge, the Hon. Joan A. Madden, J.S.C., signed an order directing the New York City Sheriff to evict Mr. and Mrs. Couri from the Pavia apartment. Later, Judge Madden wrote, "Couri's conduct in this litigation and his conduct underlying the nuisance, his failure to comply with court orders, his repetitive litigation tactics, and his commencement after the verdict of another action against the Pavias and the Department of Buildings involving the issues litigated herein demonstrates a fundamental disrespect for the legal process, and a willingness to make baseless attacks on the integrity of any individual or institution in his disputes." Couri did not pursue an appeal of the jury's verdict or the order of  the Hon. Karen S. Smith, J.S.C. that dismissed his subsequent action against the Pavias. 


In 2008, according to the order of the Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, J.S.C., as confirmed by the Hon. Judith J. Gische, J.S.C., I recovered approximately $165,000 from two insurance companies indebted to Couri. The $165,000 represented judgments for rent owed to the Pavias and for rent owed to Couri's former landlord, The Helmsley Carlton House.


Mr. Couri, upset by his eviction from a rent stabilized apartment and the loss of $165,000 from a settlement in his personal injury action, continued his campaign of harassment, lies, and half-truths against me, all under the guise of a social networking website known as Scamraiders.com, a blog at http://jimcourinetwork.blogspot.com/, on Youtube.com (search term "Scamraiders"), on Scamsos.com and on Twitter. No third party or government agency has contacted me let alone found credence in  Couri's allegations of bribery, extortion, perjury, suppression of evidence, violation of professional disciplinary rules, forgery, Medicare fraud, and tax evasion. Ironically, Couri's claims I have not "denied" the allegations. Apparently, he has not read this blog. Notably, Couri's claims against me are similar if not exactly the same as the claims Couri made against a number of his other attorney adversaries over the years. The problem here is not any conduct on my part, rather, it is Couri's inability to hold himself accountable for his conduct.


To render himself judgment proof, Couri has for years denuded himself of assets. Thus he feels free to not pay his bills and attack the legitimate reputations of his adversaries. Sadly, one of Couri's victims is his brother John Couri who is a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Syracuse University and a goodwill philanthropist. But Couri does not play favorites. His victims include many judges, individuals, businesses, and their legal representatives, just about anyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. But do not take my word for it. Read the lucid and heartfelt video-affidavit of his own mother, Katby T. Couri. In her affidavit, in no uncertain terms, Couri's mother declares it is her intent that James Couri, then 48 years old, receive nothing from her estate or the trust established by her late husband and Couri's father. Couri's mother wrote about her son James: "I am sorry to say my son James is a liar, cheat and ruthless person who only thinks about himself. He has no morals and has maintained a lifestyle by cheating others. When people that he gets involved with find out about him they are willing to lose money just to get away from him. My son is not normal and needs psychiatric help."      
Further, Couri mother's video-affidavit states Couri had a gambling problem, hung out with the wrong type of people, went from one get-rich-quick scheme to the next; forged his father's signature, stole $30,000, and lost it in the stock market. Couri claims his mother was sick and died three months after signing the affidavit. The truth is Couri's mother was strong and lucid and passed away, not three months, but three years after she signed the affidavit. Further, any claims of manipulation were refuted by the video record. I have found that James Couri will say or do just about anything to avoid justice.


Published in this blog are decisions of both state and federal judges who have witnessed firsthand Couri's conduct. Read the details about Couri's three felony convictions, the feature length article in Baron's Magazine about Couri's participation in a huge criminal stock fraud enterprise involving Conrac, an electronics company, traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Couri is subject to a lifetime ban from securities law violations. In addition, Couri's attorney admitted that Couri bribed a bank officer, defrauded clients and ran his art galley into bankruptcy. Couri's attorney admitted Couri forged a power-of-attorney. Couri himself admits that he forged land records and another power-of-attorney. Undaunted, according to a tax court decision, while on probation for his felony convictions, Couri met a man from whom he borrowed $71,000 and never paid him back. Also, he managed the same man's pension fund and lost more than $700,000.

It is ironic that Couri claims the court system is shot through with corruption while it was Couri who filed over 100 lawsuits as a pro se litigant in New York County alone. He had no complaints while he abused the court system and his adversaries. When his old tricks no longer worked and a jury held him accountable in the Pavia case, he began to preach.

In 2009, Couri was caught redhanded forging the signature and stamp of a California notary public on 33 different affidavits that he filed in the New York Supreme courts and in the Appellate Division, First Department. These 2009 forgeries were part of a larger scheme to convince his adversary Dr. John Siebert and the presiding judge that Couri was in California and not in New York. Currently, Couri hides in California, having failed to comply with four court orders to sign authorizations to make his personal and corporate tax records available (to show Couri defrauded Siebert). Also, Couri has not complied with a November 2009 court order to make his medical records available (to show he is healthy and able to travel to New York to stand trial).

Ironically, Couri claims that he is dying from melanoma skin cancer and is currently undergoing treatment, yet, he refuses to sign medical authorizations. All the while, he has the stamina to author Scamraiders.com, a number of other web portals, and to prepare and file numerous, voluminous and repetitive motions in the New York State Supreme Court. All of this is a scam to avoid a trial where it is expected Dr. John Siebert will prove Couri defrauded him out of $8.2 million dollars.

Couri claims he has turned over a new leaf and is attempting to portray himself as a victim and educator of those who may be vulnerable to scams. That could not be further from the truth.

[Note: I am a former Colorado Deputy District Attorney and a former Assistant District Attorney in New York City. I am not compensated for writing this blog. I write this blog because people need to know the truth about James Cyril Couri. George M. Pavia, Esq. is a graduate of Columbia University Law School and managing partner of Pavia & Harcourt, LLP, the law firm in which United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonya Sotomayer worked for six years before being nominated to the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, by President George H. W. Bush.] 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jim Couri: A Nuisance of the First Order.

At trial, in support of their claims for nuisance, the Pavias presented evidence of conduct directed at the Pavias and at a tenant who leased the apartment above the Couris. This evidence indicated that sometime during 2000, the Pavias' relationship with the Couris deteriorated, and that Couri began a course of conduct which resulted in the commencement of this action seeking ejectment.

The Pavias testified that Couri made repeated and numerous telephone calls to them of a harassing nature, frequently as early as 6:00 AM, made repeated and groundless complaints regarding the Apartment, and engaged in conduct which interfered with their quiet enjoyment of their home. Most significantly, the Pavias presented evidence that Couri, in connection with their landlord tenant dispute, faxed approximately 200 hundred letters in which he described George Pavia in demeaning and derogatory language, accusing him, without substantiation, of illegal and unauthorized acts and threatened to, and did, complain to agencies and/or investigative bodies about the unsubstantiated allegations. Couri faxed letters to George Pavia, who is an attorney, at his law firm, as well as letters to the New York Times, The New York Law Journal, the Disciplinary Committee of the Appellate Division, First Department, the State Inspector General, and the Internal Revenue Service.

Introduced at trial was evidence of similar conduct by Couri directed to the tenant in the apartment immediately above Couri. Couri made numerous telephone calls to the tenant to complain of activities in the apartment. Couri faxed 40-50 letters to the tenant's places of work containing unsubstantiated allegations and derogatory language. [Footnote: Couri sent harassing letters to the tenant's lawyers, and made unsubstantiated complaints about the tenant's lawyers to the First Department disciplinary committee.]

Additionally, Couri faxed a similar type of letter containing derogatory and demeaning language and unsubstantiated allegations about George Pavia's wife, Antonia Pavia, to a well-known New York hospital where Couri mistakenly believed she was employed.

The Pavias argued not only were the number and content of the communications outrageous, but that by sending the faxes to George Pavia's law firm and to the tenant's places of business, Couri intended to harass, threaten and intimidate the Pavias and the tenant to accede to Couri's demands regarding his complaints about his tenancy.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On February 28, 2008, in an action unrelated to the Pavia litigation, a unanimous appellate court found Couri's refusal to comply with four court orders to make personal and corporate tax returns available was calculated to impede an examination of a claim that Couri defrauded Dr. John Siebert out of $8 million dollars.

Incredibly, in the same case, Couri sued Siebert for $24,000,000. Of course, if Couri's $24M claim had merit, Couri would have provided the tax authorizations without court order, let alone four court orders. Couri's refusal to sign one-page tax authorizations demonstrates he was more concerned with being found to have defrauded Siebert than pursuing his (bogus) $24M claim. Eventually, Couri's conduct caught up with him. On February 28, 2008 the Appellate Division, First Department unanimously dismissed Couri's $24M claim. Notably, Couri did not appeal the decision.

Specifically, the Hon. Peter Tom, the Hon. David B. Saxe, the Hon. David Friedman, and the Hon. Milton L. Williams, wrote: "[Couri]'s conduct in [the Siebert] litigation has been 'dilatory, evasive, obstructive and ultimately contumacious' [case citation omitted] and, in the absence of any semblance of an excuse for his noncompliance with [Siebert's] legitimate discovery demands, warrants striking his pleading (NY CPLR 3126 [3])."

"The courts are not obliged to indulge the excesses of a pro se litigant at the expense of decorum, judicial economy and fairness to opposing parties. Proceeding pro se is not a license to ignore court orders, engage in dilatory and obstructive conduct or malign officers of the court."

"We find the medical excuse plaintiff proffered for his behavior to be uncompelling. The extent to which he was incapacitated by treatment for a malignant melanoma is not discernible from the record. In any event, it does not excuse his failure to perform the ministerial act of signing tax waivers at a time he was obviously capable of preparing lengthy communications to the Special Referee. Nor is there any suggestion that plaintiff was financially incapable of retaining counsel to assist him. Rather, it is apparent that his obstuctive conduct was calculated to impede examination of the merits of defendants' counterclaims alleging that plaintiff defrauded them out of millions of dollars, an inquiry that plaintiff would be understandably eager to avoid  [case citations referring to Couri's pleas to three felony counts contained in two informations. One guilty plea was to a violation of a federal securities law regulation that prohibits the manipulation of the price of securities (aka "share price manipulation") and, the two other guilty pleas were for making false financial statements to a federally-insured bank involving an art gallery that Couri controlled.]"

"[Couri] pro se has engaged in frivolous, defamatory and prejudicial conduct that includes multiple actions against Dr. Siebert and his counsel [Joseph M. Burke, Esq.], ex parte communications with the court and the Special Referee, voluminous and unnecessary motion practice, unresponsive papers disparaging the Special Referee, defendants, their attorney and their accountant, and invidious attacks on Dr. Siebert's professional standing by way of communications with his colleagues and other third parties."

EDITOR'S NOTES:

By citing to Couri's three 1981 felony pleas involving fraud, the Court indicated that the  felony convictions remain very much relevant today, Couri's claims to the contrary notwithstanding. The complete decision of the Appellate Division, First Department, is available by CLICKING HERE.

The court index number for the Couri v. Siebert is 107240/2004. Notably, since 2004, Couri has harassed Siebert by suing him a total of 13 times. To view the 13 cases, go to www.e-law.com, type "Couri" in the plaintiff search box, and "Siebert" in the defendant search box, then press "Enter." The 13 cases will appear. The details of a particular case are available by clicking on the case names. The E-Law.com service is free.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

James Cyril Couri's Mother's Sworn, Notarized, Witnessed, Video-Affidavit: Mother Knows Best.

"After a visit from James in early January 1987, I decided that I wanted to do everything in my power to make sure that my son, James, does not receive anything from my estate. I authorize my attorney, Robert G. Kurzman, Esq., of Kurzman, Midler & Corbin, to make this video tape public if James tries to attack my Will or challenge the validity of the Trust created by my late husband, ALEER J. COURI, on December 30, 1976.

James has been a disappointment to both myself and my husband from his childhood. When he was in the fifth grade the principal at Poly Prep in Brooklyn suggested that we obtain psychiatric help for him. We unfortunately did not take his advice. At an early stage in his life, he developed a tendency to cheat his friends and constantly tell lies. When he was in his teens, he would find ways to convince his elderly grandmother to give him money without our knowledge. My husband and I would constantly find money missing from our wallets and when confronted, he would always deny that he did it. As a child he stole from his brother's piggy bank and took his stamp album and sold it.

He kept getting into one problem after another. As parents we unfortunately ignored the real problem with him and protected him from one trouble to another. When working for Ernst & Co. he forged his father's name, sold over $30,000 in bonds and subsequently lost the money in the stock market. Again, we did nothing and protected him. The problem with his girlfriends and three wives are just too numerous to mention. He could never stay with a normal job and would always try one "get rich quick scheme" after another. He was always broke and constantly asking us for more money. While in his thirties, he began to gamble heavily and mix with the wrong crowd. We received many calls relating to his gambling and were often told how he cheated friends and relatives. He broke our hearts. All the lectures and fights did absolutely nothing. When we lived in New York City, James was being sued by a decorator that he cheated and came begging for $5,000. My husband would not give it to him but I did. He gave me a check and told me to fill in the date and deposit at a later date. Before depositing the check, my husband called the bank to see if the check was good, and learned that James had given us a check on an account that was closed. When we asked him for the money he said, 'Why don't you sue me.' We never got the money back.

When my husband started a duty free business at Kennedy Airport, he hoped that his two sons could work together. This was a big mistake as [his brother] was doing the work and James was causing problems. When money was missing from the Company safe, James was the only one who refused to take a lie detector test. My husband then decided that it was a big mistake having James work at the company. During a meeting with James in January 1987, he told me that he felt he was not treated fairly with the company. After thinking back as to what happened and asking [his brother] some questions, the facts are that James decided to sell part of his stock and give up the voting rights on the balance of his stock to my husband. My husband knew that James would never amount to anything and thought that this would be the best solution. Following this, James made our lives so miserable with his hounding and fights and with his need for money that my husband made arrangements to have James bought out completely. In order to make sure that James would never bother our son John, my husband, of sound mind set up a Trust and put his company stock into it. I must repeat that from this time on my husband and I did not want James to ever have any JDF stock. James told me that after I die he intends to challenge the Trust that my husband created and make all types of trouble for his brother John. I want to state that my husband knew what he was doing, did it of his own free will, and did not want James to be involved with the company. My husband was in complete control of his mind until the day that he died.

James was never a good son. Two weeks before my husband died, he told John to take care of me because he knew that James only cared for himself and would not do anything for me. James would only come around when he needed something. After my husband passed away James offered to pay for my husband's coffin. I was touched by this gesture only to find that he backed down from his commitment. In 1986, he was in need of money and behind on his [country] club bill, so he begged me for help. On two occassions, I paid $2,000.00 toward his club bill. Months later when I told him I needed money, all I would hear from his was that he did not have it even though he had money to vacation in California and Arizona and refurnish his apartment.

I am sorry to say my son James is a liar, cheat and ruthless person who only thinks about himself. He has no morals and has maintained a lifestyle by cheating others. When people that he gets involved with find out about him they are willing to lose money just to get away from him. My son is not normal and needs psychiatric help.

As a result of the way James has treated me throughout his life, I do not want him to receive anything from my estate.

Signed, Katby T. Couri"

Signature of Notary Public
Signature of Three Witnesses

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

His Health Hoax History

Jim Couri holds up the LA Times to "prove" he is in the hospital.

          For nearly 30 years, Couri has claimed poor health to avoid justice. In 1981, for example, Couri used poor health to avoid jail time for his felony convictions.   Couri's lawyers argued,

"[Couri’s] [p]oor health alone may not suffice to make incarceration inappropriate [for his three felony pleas]. But in a case such as this, where other factors also point toward probation as appropriate sentence, the delicacy of a defendant's health and the possible complications of damage to that health that incarceration could impose are part of the total picture."

          More recently, on August 15, 2005, Mr. Couri's personal cardiologist said he was 90 to 95% certain that Couri did not have a heart attack at the end of jury selection in the Pavia v. Couri litigation. Couri's alleged heart attack resulted in a mistrial, the disbanding of the jury, and a delay in the proceedings.

          In late 2006 and early 2007, when the Pavia v. Couri jury trial was ready to resume, Couri claimed he was too sick to stand trial, but refused to provide medical authorizations or to make his doctors available to the court by telephone.  He finally produced medical authorizations but subsequently instructed his doctors to withhold the medical records from the Clerk of Court.  In May 2007, Couri finally and fully participated in a three-week jury trial without incident, and lost hands down. (Couri's wife Marlene was represented during the jury trial by Couri's long time lawyer, Jon Paul Robbins, Esq.)

          On February 28, 2008, New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, in a separate and unrelated legal proceeding, dismissed Couri's $24 million claim against John Siebert as a sanction for not complying with four (4) court orders directing Couri to provide tax authorizations so that Dr. Siebert's counsel could determine whether Couri properly accounted for the $8M paid to Couri and corporations owned or controlled by Couri. At the time, the Appellate Court noted in its decision that Couri’s malignant melanoma was not supported by the medical documents before the court.

"We find the medical excuse plaintiff proffered for his behavior to be uncompelling. The extent to which he was incapacitated by treatment for a malignant melanoma is not discernible from the record."

          Most recently, Couri has claimed to be too sick to travel from California to New York to participate in discovery let alone stand trial in an $8M fraud case against him. On November 11, 2009, Justice Michael D. Stallman ordered Couri to provide medical authorizations within 45 days and to appear for a medical examination in California to verify his medical claims.

          Despite the court order, Couri refused to produce the medical authorizations. Couri's contumacious behavior caused John Siebert's attorney to move to strike Couri's defense and to enter judgment against him for $8M. The motion is pending.

          Today, Mr. Couri continues to claim that he is terminally ill, yet he finds the time in 2010 to file ten or more voluminous and repetitive court motions and to rapaciously post and tweet heinous rants against the courts, lawyers and anyone else he claims to have wronged him.  He also claims to be publishing a book.  Good trick for someone allegedly dying of cancer.    

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New York Times

2010, Feb. 5 - Reporter John Eligon of the New York Times publishes, A Serial Plaintiff and His Loyal Opposition.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jim Couri Admits to Being in the Center of a Huge Stock Fraud Scheme that Shut Down Trading on the Big Board of the New York Stock Exchange for Over a Month.

As earlier reported in this blog, Jim Couri pled guilty to a felony in violation of the federal securities laws "by entering a [securities] order with the purpose of creating a false and misleading appearance with respect to the market for stock in Conrac Corp." Couri also entered into a lifetime band from securities law violations. Below is the story of Jim Couri's direct involvement in a massive criminal stock fraud as reported in Barron's Financial Magazine.

Barron’s National Business & Weekly Financial Magazine

July 10, 1978

No Smoking Gun
Justice Drags in the 1975 Conrac Stock Scandal

By Steven S. Andreder

Thursday, December 18, 1975. Trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the stock of Conrac Corp., a manufacturer of electronic instrumentation, is suspended. Reason: a cascade of sale orders swamping available bids.  Trading halts on the Big Board are scarcely uncommon.  But typically they last a few hours, perhaps a day.  Conrac, though, fails to show on the tape again that session or the next.  Not until January 25, 1976 -- more than a month after the suspension – do these shares again changed hands.  And not before the Securities & Exchange Commission moves in, charging in a civil suit that the stock of Conrac has been the target of the manipulative scheme masterminded by confessed embezzler and ex-convict Edward M. Gilbert. 

           And, going on two years and six months after the fact, the headlines yellowed beyond legibility, nothing was happened.  Although the SEC and its civil complaint listed 18 defendants, besides Gilbert, including a New York Stock Exchange specialist and an heir to the fortune of the late Charles Revson, founder of Revlon, none has been brought before the bar.  “We’re completely in the dark as to what, if anything, is going on,” says an official at Conrac Corp., which the SEC from the start has held entirely blameless in the manipulation.  A spokesman for the New York Stock Exchange echoes bemusedly, “We turned over what we had to be SEC early on, and we haven't heard anything about it in some time.” 

           Yet rigging a Big Board listed stock scarcely falls into the one-of-those-things category.  That a specialist has been alleged to have been involved goes to the heart of the exchange auction market system itself long under attack. And since the SEC held up trading on the shares during a stretch, which encompassed an explosive burst upward in the stock market, the action may have cost innocent Conrad shareholders sizable gains. Meanwhile, of course, the alleged manipulators have been free to go about their business. Too, if the SEC's aversion of the Conrac caper is reasonably accurate, the conspiracy included Swiss banks and a plan to use phony commodity straddles to achieve tax deductions.

The Feds at Work

          The SEC insists that it still plans to pursue injunctive relief through civil proceedings.  However, Barron's has learned that a federal grand jury has been probing the case.  In the circumstances, the parallel investigations had stymied the SEC.  One defendant has thus far won a protective order against testifying before the Commission's staff.  Others, asserting their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, have refused to answer any questions. 

           As is their custom, officials at the SEC's New York office declined comment.  An appointment to interview regional administrator William D. Moran was canceled.  The staff attorney who did most of the initial spade work on the case over a year ago left the Commission for private practice.  The SEC lawyer supervising the case said he had only peripheral knowledge at this point of any details.  U. S. Attorney Robert B. Fisk, Jr. would only acknowledge that an investigation by his office is underway.  None of the defendants or their attorneys would talk.  They either failed to return phone calls or refused to discuss the case.

           Nonetheless, conversations with others and access to court records, which contain extensive affidavits by an SEC attorney and at least two defendants, along with recent depositions taken by the SEC of other witnesses, provide considerable insight into what happened.  Baron’s also obtained hundreds of pages of testimony by key defendants before the SEC during at the investigatory phase of the case, which they swore to, before they took the “Fifth.”

           According to officials of Conrac, about the only thing the SEC would indicate to them early on about its investigation into the activity in the Company's shares was that they would be surprised to learn the identity of one individual involved.  Who, of course, turned out to be Edward M. Gilbert -- once described as “the last Gatsby.” Gilbert, now 54, likes both high living and highrolling, but fell afoul of the law back in 1962, when he fled to Brazil after helping himself to 2 million of cash of E. L. Bruce Co. to cover personal stock trading accounts.

           Gilbert had gained control of Bruce in a proxy contest; he then went after Celotex Corp., urging both family and friends to buy the stock.  His grand design collapsed along with the stock market that year, and eventually he took off for Rio.  Although a US Court of Appeals ruled only last year in a tax matter that it didn't think he had stolen the money, Gilbert in 1966 did plead guilty to grand larceny and securities violations and wound up spending 25 months in jail.

           Nor has that been Gilbert's only brush with the law.  In 1975, in another case, he signed a consent order, without admitting or denying the allegations of a complaint, agreeing to permanent injunction enjoining him from various security law reporting violations of the SEC.

           Undaunted, according to the SEC complaint, Gilbert and certain other defendants sometime around Oct. 1, 1974, “ embarked upon a scheme to manipulate the price of Conrac Stock.” It charges him and other defendants with a series of purchases and sales of Conrac stock to create “an illusion of widespread and bona fide buying interest in Conrac,” and claims they “dominated and controlled the trading in Conrac causing the price of the stock to reach arbitrarily inflated levels.”

           Of the original 19 defendants, two -- Greenell Corp and Homestead Properties -- in June ‘76 signed consent orders.  Among the others are three Gilbert-controlled trusts and two broker-dealer entities in which he has interests, two Swiss banks and a Z├╝rich-based corporation and its principal, Theodore Arnold.

           Others charged in the SEC action include Ludwig J. Cserhat, Judson L. Streicher, John C. Revson and James C. COURI.  Born 43 years ago in Budapest, Hungary, Cserhat was a stockbroker and executive vice president of at Heine, Fishbein & Co. Inc., at the time the complaint was filed.  He currently is a Vice President at a successor firm, Herzog, Hein, G. Gould. Streicher, age 55, is a principal and the specialist firm of J. Streicher & Co. Revson, 35, has worked for his father's cosmetic company in various capacities since 1965, when he started as a buyer.  He is now a Vice President.

           COURI, 39, quit college [specifically, after only a few months at each, he dropped out of both Duke and Columbia] back in the mid 50s for Wall Street, where he was successively a clerk, over-the-counter trader and registered representative.  In 1962, he left the street to enter private business.  COURI's father was head of customs under the Eisenhower administration, and, according to COURI, conceive the notion of duty-free shops.  Nicely in keeping with tradition, then, is that among his assorted business ventures COURI was involved in duty-free shops at Kennedy Airport.  For a spell, he also held partnership interests with John Revson dealing in “investments.” Both lost heavily.  As a result of that relationship, for several months COURI was employed by Revlon.

Talkative Witness

           In the main, the SEC's case is built around extensive, detailed interviews with COURI; these spanned two full days in over 400 pages of sworn testimony.  However, when the SEC went to court to attempt to obtain a preliminary injunction against the defendants, COURI refused to testify, forcing the agency to withdraw its motion.

           Gilbert had told the SEC that he had bought Conrac as early as 1974, along with such other securities as Milgo Electronics and Polaroid.  He testified that he knew none of the officers or directors of Conrac, nor of Rixson-Firemark, a company with which Conrac was then planning a merger.  His knowledge of Conrac, claimed Gilbert, went back many years to when the Company was known as Giannini Controls.

           According to Gilbert's attorney, Peter Fleming Jr., his client as of March 1975 owned 20,000 shares of Conrac.  However, through a nexus of companies and individuals, to whom Gilbert lent money, trading in the stock and volume began to emerge.  By May of that year, says the SEC, the so-called “Gilbert group,” which included the trust, various corporate entities, some individuals and Bank de L’Union of Switzerland, had accumulated via 25 accounts at two brokerage firms, some 75,000 shares of Conrac.  During the period of accumulation, then SEC attorney Stephen J. Glusband notes in his affidavit, the price of Conrac rose from roughly $9 to$20 a share.  By July of the group’s holding, the SEC alleges, stood at 106,300 shares.

           At that point, neither COURI nor Revson had yet come on the scene. In fact, Revson only met Gilbert once some years before while on a transatlantic crossing with his mother when he, Revson, was 9 or 10 years old.  However, in early 1975 COURI became acquainted with Gilbert through the latter’s daughter.  After a series of meetings, during which COURI testified he received glowing reports from Gilbert about the company and its earnings, COURI bought some Milgo stock.

           COURI's friendship with Gilbert continued to ripen.  Gilbert told COURI about a pending deal he had to lend to Artists Entertainment Complex, headed by Martin Bregman.  Artist had the rights to the movie Dog Day Afternoon and represented the star, Al Pacino. Gilbert says COURI, was to lend Artist $250,000 in 50,000 monthly payments, in return, he was to get stock plus options.  Apart from recommending Artists’ stock to an acquaintance, who bought 10,000 shares, COURI claims he did nothing with Artists, though he did meet certain of its principals.

           In the summer of 1975, Gilbert left for Spain and during his absence, COURI says, he received a phone call from a Gilbert associate, Lester Kerschner (also named a defendant in the Conrac case).  Kerschner, according to COURI, said he was calling for Gilbert.  He explained that a $50,000 payment was due in a few days to Artists Entertainment and could he, COURI, lend Gilbert the money.  The request, according to COURI, came as a surprise.  “I was very much taken back by that because, really, I wasn't that close to Gilbert.”

           Nonetheless, after a transatlantic conversation with Gilbert, COURI says, he arranged with a third party to advance the funds to Gilbert, which were paid back at about month’s time.  By way of compensation, Gilbert offered COURI participation in his Artist deal.  COURI turned it down.  It was then, COURI recollects, that Gilbert offered him “an arrangement on Conrac."  

90-Day Option

           More specifically, COURI was to purchase 3,000 shares of Conrac.  In return, Gilbert would give him a 90-day option to purchase 1,000 shares of Conrac at 19 (the price at which the stock was then trading) and a cash payment of $3,000.  COURI agreed.  In 1974, according to the SEC, average daily trading in Conrac was around 2,000 shares.  On the day COURI placed an order for the 3,000 shares, a Gilbert-related corporation, Municipal Street Sign Co., Inc., sold a like amount and another entity disposed of 400 shares, while two other individuals named as defendants -- Kerschner and Robert Dudley -- sold 200 and 100 shares, respectively.

           In his affidavit, SEC lawyer Glusband charges: “In connection with this purchase and nearly all other transactions executed subsequently by COURI for his own accounts and those of Revson, Gilbert directed COURI as to when to purchase or sell Conrac shares, what amounts to purchase or sell the shares for, and the price at which the transaction should be affected” (emphasis in original).

           Gilbert, according to the Glusband affidavit, offered to loan COURI $30,000 in early October 1977, if he would purchase an additional 3,000 shares of Conrac.  COURI bought 2,000 shares at prices of between 18 3/4 and 20 on October 3 and 1,000 shares on October 6, when the stock closed at 20.  Gilbert, as the SEC attorney reconstructs the deal, subsequently guaranteed COURI that he would help him in purchases of Conrac and there would be a bid, for whatever shares COURI needed to sell.  Gilbert purportedly told COURI that he controlled 200,000 shares of Conrac (of a total 1.3 million outstanding). Gilbert also said, according to COURI, that he was worth 15 million to 20 million.  In Gilbert’s SEC testimony, he remarks, of COURI “I never told them exactly how many shares I owned.  I always lied a little bit.”

           Enter John Revson.  In a telephone conversation related to their past partnerships COURI tells the cosmetics heir that he is buying Conrac.  Revson, Glusband says, told COURI to purchase for his account 5,000 shares of Conrac and COURI does just that after opening a brokerage account for Revson and obtaining from him power of attorney to buy and sell stock. COURI reported his conversation to Gilbert, so the affidavit relates, and the two met to “plan the purchases for Revson.” Revson, subsequently bought another 10,000 shares.  “Every single order, whether I was physically in Eddy's office, or other places” COURI insists, “ was done in complete knowledge before the fact by Eddie.”

           Eventually, Revson insisted he meet with Gilbert.  The meeting took place one morning in Gilbert's Fifth Avenue office, where – Surprise! Surprise! -- Revson was treated to a bullish report by Gilbert on prospects for Conrac.  Predicted Gilbert:  “I think it is going to be the stock of the year.”

           At one point, says COURI, Gilbert pressed Revson.  How many Conrac shares he could be “comfortable with”?  Revson parried the question but indicated he was soon to get his inheritance.  Then, according to COURI's testimony, the conversation went this way:

           “Gilbert: ‘Let me try another way, John.  Supposing I were to guarantee you against loss,’ he says:  ‘How many shares would you be comfortable with?’"
           “Revson: ‘On that basis, you know, I probably would arrange to buy quite a bit.'"
           “'Well, how many?’”
           Remembers COURI: “I think John said something like 60,000 shares. Maybe he said more.”
           Gilbert then, according to COURI, proceeded to guaranty Revson against loss, adding, “I can assure you you are going to make a load of money.”

Guaranteed Against Loss

           In his affidavit, Revson claims he asked COURI to handle the buying of the Conrac shares because he was “fully occupied with my duties at Revlon,” plus the fact that “I was really a novice in buying stocks.”  Revson says that four or five after the Oct. 23 morning meeting with Gilbert, at which he agreed to purchase 12,000 to 13,000 shares of Conrac (in addition to 18,500 he already owned), Gilbert in a telephone conversation asked him to buy more stock if he had the money and repeated that Gilbert would guarantee him against loss.

           “Based upon the fact of his guarantee,” says Revson, “and the fact that the rising price of Conrac shares appeared to confirm the wisdom of Conrac as a good investment, I decided to purchase an additional 15,000 shares of Conrac to bring my holdings to 45,000 shares and I asked COURI to place the orders on my behalf.”

           Revson also declares, “It is important for the court to know that I was the victim and the target, and not a perpetrator, of the manipulation which the SEC alleges.” And he adds: “As a result of the defendant’s [sic] activities complained of by the SEC, I have sustained an actual monetary loss of at least $680,000, and potentially could sustain at even larger loss….”

           According to the SEC, in October 1975, the “Gilbert group” and what it calls the “COURI-Revson subgroup” accounted for purchases of 126,950 shares.  Approximately 58.4% of the total volume in the stock.  The following month they accounted for purchases of at least 202,000 shares, or 61% of overall turnover.  At the end of November, the SEC alleges, Revson and COURI had amassed over hundred 18,000 shares of Conrac, while the Gilbert group had cut their holdings by over 42,000 shares, to approximately 79,000 shares.  In December, their share of the trading volume in Conrac was 64.8%

           Those numbers, moreover, do not begin to suggest the dimensions of the alleged manipulation. From his office, COURI declares in his sworn testimony, Gilbert not only orchestrated sales and purchases of Conrac stock, but also indicated which brokers were to meet on the floor of the exchange to effect transactions in the stock. COURI for a while used space in Gilbert’s office. “I would say to the kid at Paine, Webber, for example buy 6,000, 8,000 an to meet E.F. Hutton, … or meet this one or that one because Gilbert would say that is who he is selling [through], so the block would be done and it would converge at the post.”

           At one point in November, Gilbert had to sell 6,000 shares of Conrac.  But to prevent those shares from “hitting the street,” Glusband relates, Gilbert got Revson's permission to buy 8,500 shares for his account.  Gilbert again assured Revson there was no risk and that Revson, says the affidavit, would get a 10-day extension of time to make payment for the block. As it turned out, 3,000 shares of the stock Revson bought came from a 6,000-share block being sold by COURI.

           A day or so later, Gerd Enterprises Corp., a Gilbert related entity, sold 1,000 shares of Conrac at 30 1/4.  The purchaser of those shares was COURI.  The Glusband affidavit charges “both the buy and sell orders were either placed by Gilbert were placed at his direction and represented the highest price reached by Conrac during 1975.”

           The scheme alleged by the SEC appears to have come apart for several reasons.  Gilbert, says COURI, had to sell or swap some stock.  Also, COURI grew over extended: at mid-December, he needed $380,000 to meet his purchase commitments.  By late November, he had accumulated about 36,000 shares, and, according to the SEC, had told Gilbert he must sell about 25,000 of them.  Gilbert, swears COURI, told him he could not accommodate him because Gilbert had been told by Ludwig Cserhat that “the SEC is sniffing around.”

           According to the documents, Gilbert then urged COURI to induce Revson to buy the shares for which COURI would put up the money on the settlement date.  Revson agreed.  Gilbert instructed COURI to place orders for the purchase of 800 shares for Revson's account in order to boost the price of Conrac to around 29 before the block traded.  In a series of moves, COURI, it’s related, buying on behalf of Revson's account, managed to lift the price to 28 ¾.

Matched Orders

           The SEC then states:  “When the price for Conrac reached 28 3/4, COURI instructed his account executives at L.  T. [Securities, Inc.] to cross at the firm 6,400 shares of Conrac, between his account and Revson’s account at 28 7/8.  He then told his account executive that Bache & Co. would be the seller of 17,000 shares on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange at $28 7/8.  Bache, acting for COURI, sold the 17,800 shares to Revson.  This entire series of transactions was directed by Gilbert.

           COURI then went to Gilbert for help in raising funds to make good on his promise to Revson to finance the transaction.  Gilbert, according to Glusband, said he couldn't help him, but instead provided him with a promissory note for $375,000, signed by one of Gilbert's corporate enterprises.  Gilbert advised COURI to take the note to be discounted at Morgan Guarantee, where both COURI and Revson maintained accounts.  The bank, however, turned them down.  Revson, in his affidavit, says he wound up paying for the stock and then was compelled to sell 29,000 shares on the open market.  Loss: approximately $150,000.

           At various times, COURI was urged by Gilbert, he recalls, to interest others in purchasing Conrac.  However, short of funds, COURI found himself in very deep water.  One brokerage firm began to sell out some of his margin holdings.  That prompted an infuriated COURI -- who then held 120,000 shares of which all but 20,000 shares had not been paid for -- to order that his entire block of several thousand shares be dumped at the market.  COURI thus precipitated the trading halt in Conrac.

           Conceivably, COURI spreads himself too thin because of a side play in the shares of Western Co. of North America, a Texas-based supplier of products and services to the oil and gas industry.  This particular episode, the SEC contends, goes back to a dinner on November 3, 1975, by Gilbert, Ludwig Cserhat and Judson Streicher.

           Cserhat was one of Gilbert stockbrokers; he had a direct line to Gilbert from his office at Heine Fishbein.  In 1975, Cserhat generated about $200,000 in commission income, of which, he has testified, around 75% came from Gilbert or related accounts.  At one point, Cserhat handled transactions for COURI and Revson as well.  He was also a broker for Banque De L’Union, which had two accounts at Heine Fishbein.  In 1975 it leased 50 trades took place in the stock of Conrac in one of the accounts of the Swiss bank, involving the purchase and sale of over 32,000 shares, with a value of over $706,915.  For the other account, 5,500 shares were bought at a cost of $107,135.  Banque De L’Union was introduced to Heine Fishbein by Gilbert (as was another account of the Swiss bank at Bear Stearns), says the SEC.

Three Partners

           Streicher at the time was the New York Stock Exchange specialist in Western Co.  Gilbert, Cserhat and Striecher, moreover, were investors in a corporation owning two hotels in Aspen, Colorado.  In early September 1975, Cserhat visited the corporate headquarters of Western, after being introduced to the Company’s president, H.  E.  Childs, for a $2,500 monthly fee to be paid to Heine Fishbein.  After three or four months, however, the agreement was canceled.

           It's the SEC's contention, based largely on the information of COURI, who says he got it from Gilbert, that at a dinner meeting in early November the following took place.  Streicher and Cserhat told Gilbert that if he took a big position in the Western, Streicher would by some Conrac shares and so too would Western's pension fund.

           On November 4, 1975, an 8,000 share block in Conrac crossed on the New York Stock Exchange tape.  COURI says that Gilbert told him that the block was bought by Streicher and that he Gilbert had been the seller.  The SEC says that Streicher did by 8,000 shares on that day, plus another 2, 000 shares. “The seller is of the shares to Streicher,” Glusband charges, “were ‘Gilbert group’ accounts, Municipal and Dudley.”

           That same day, the SEC alleges the "Gilbert group" accounts purchased 25,200 shares of Western, or over 60% of the sessions total volume in Western.  On Nov. 5, the Commission adds, Streicher and an associate each purchase 2,000 shares of Conrac.  The 4,000 shares were sold by Bank De L’Union and a Gilbert trust through Cserhat at Heine Fishbein.

           Revson relates that at a meeting with Gilbert and COURI, he was told about Western. Gilbert, states Revson, “said he thought it was good stock because there was a large short position in that stock, and if the stock rose a few points, the ‘shorts’ would have to start covering and the price of the stock would increase further and that he was going to buy a large block of Western.”

           Revson says he was urged to buy 25,000 shares of Western, and he agreed.  To pay for the stock, arrangements were made for him to sell 4,000 shares of Revlon (which he had inherited) at 75 through Hein Fishbein, “where I would get the price I wanted, and I could take advantage of the favorable commission rate Gilbert enjoyed.”  Revson says COURI ended up buying 24,000 shares of Western for him which Revson subsequently sold at a $50,000 loss.

           Between Nov. 5 and Nov. 11, 1975, there were four trading dates.  In that stretch, the SEC says, the Gilbert group and COURI-Revson subgroup purchased 90,600 shares of Western, including a 20,000 share cross between Gilbert and the Bank De L’Union, handled by Cserhat.  During that span, moreover, the stock ran up from 13 1/2 to 16. COURI quotes Gilbert as saying that Streicher had said that if “we break it (Western) out above 16 1/2, it is going to 19.” Streicher has denied making any such statement.  Western Company officials confirm that Cserhat did try to interest their pension fund in buying Conrac.  However, after studying material the brokers sent they discarded the idea.  Meanwhile Gilbert, Glusband alleges, told COURI that he and Revson must purchase approximately 40,000 shares of Conrac from him.  So that he, Gilbert, could bridge himself.” That was in late November, and shortly thereafter COURI's money began to run out.

           Contacted by telephone, Cserhat declined an interview.  I'm just an outside broker, who was dragged in,” he insists.”  It leaves a bad taste, I'd rather not talk about it.”  Streicher, in a 17 page affidavit refuting the SEC affidavit in detail, states: “I unequivocally denied ever discussing negotiating or agreeing to purchase, or in fact, purchasing, any Conrac shares pursuant to any arrangement or understanding with any of the defendants in this action.  I further denied ever instructing or devising any of the defendants with respect to purchasing Western shares for any purpose, much less in order to inflate their market price.” Streicher's attorney, Steven S. Steinberg, of Reavis & McGrath, refused comment, nor would he allow his client to answer questions.

           Shortly after Thanksgiving in 1975, which both Cserhat and Gilbert spent in Aspen, COURI relates that he was told by Gilbert that a Swiss bank or friend would be arriving soon to purchase 150,000 shares of Conrac.  The Swiss, identified as Theodore Arnold, advised him that he could not buy the shares.  Instead, according to COURI, Arnold proposed that Gilbert, Revson and COURI sell their Conrac shares from their margin accounts, and that they would be purchased on their behalf via a special omnibus account Arnold's firm, Axioma A.G., would open at a brokerage office in Chicago.

           Towards that end, says COURI, Gilbert gave Arnold 25,000 in cash to open the account.  As part of this scheme, according to COURI, Arnold would furnish confirmation of losses from fictitious purchasers of straddles in precious metals.  This would create the appearance of a legitimate basis for issuing checks to Axioma, which actually would use the money to buy Conrac.  The bogus commodity buy and sell orders could be used for US tax losses.  The plan, however, never was put into effect.

           Rich in detail, the SEC's case versus Gilbert et al., nonetheless, has slowed to a crawl.  Thus far, five individuals noticed for deposition -- Gilbert, Revson, Kerschner, Dudley and one E. Herring Chandor --- have refused to testify, an SEC official says, COURI similarly pleaded the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination when he was to be deposed by Gilbert's attorney, Peter Fleming.

Criminal Investigation

           One obvious reason for the lack of movement by the SEC, is that the Justice Department has been pursuing possible criminal aspects of the alleged manipulation.  In fact, Streicher has sought -- and won from a federal magistrate -- a protective order staying discovery proceedings against him by the SEC until parallel criminal proceedings are ended.  His contention: were he forced to invoke the Fifth Amendment before the SEC, an adverse inference could be drawn in a civil action which could ultimately lead to a permanent injunction and possibly the end of his professional career.

           The SEC has appealed the decision to the federal judge handling its action, and he has yet to hand down a decision.  Attorneys familiar with the case say that whichever way the ruling goes, it probably will wind up in the U.S. Court of Appeals, thereby assuring further delay.

           In moving for the protective order, Streicher's attorney disclosed that he had been notified that Streicher is a target of the U.S. Attorney's ongoing criminal investigation and that he may be indicted on criminal charges for his role in the alleged stock manipulation.  Among the records subpoenaed by the grand jury, Barron’s has learned, are checks and deposit slips of the account of Streicher and Dorothy B. Streicher at the Chemical Bank dating back to July 1994.  Meanwhile, Streicher is still doing business at the same old post.

           And John Revson is still at Revlon.  Cserhat is still a member in good standing of the New York Stock Exchange firm, buying and selling securities for customers.

           As for Edward Gilbert, mum’s the word.  Through his attorney he authorized the following statement: “Mr. Gilbert has denied the allegations contained in the SEC's complaint.  No further comment is appropriate since the matter is still before the Court.”

END