Skip to comments.Federal Judge Puts Internet Pioneer in Civil Lockdown
Posted on 02/18/2012 8:30:32 AM PST by Justice21
Note: Judge appointed by President Clinton
When Jeff Baron came to Washington this month, he was wearing a borrowed suit.
Once upon a time, the Internet pioneer -- who taught himself computer programming and created innovative software to register domain names -- lived the good life in a Dallas suburb.
His company, Ondova, was a cash cow, pulling in $1.5 million in profit each month.
It all started unraveling when Baron, now 44, hired some high-powered Texas attorneys to help manage his holdings, and he was approached by a potential business partner who promised to turn Ondova into the next Google.
Baron admits he was naive and failed to perform due diligence as his lawyers set up an "elaborate" network of businesses offshore and his erstwhile partner turned out to be a convicted felon who sold porn online.
After a lengthy series of legal battles, Ondova was eventually forced into bankruptcy. But it wasn't until Baron found himself in the Dallas courtroom of U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson that his real nightmare began.
At a June 19, 2009, hearing in his civil case, Judge Furgeson warned Baron that "failure to comply" with a previous court order to renew Ondova's domain names would be considered "contempt, punishable by lots of dollars, punishable by possible jail, death. ... You are a fool, a fool, a fool to screw with a federal judge, and if you don't understand that, I can make you understand it. I have the force of the Navy, Army, Marines and Navy (sic) behind me."
A shaken Baron agreed to give up half of his Internet assets to "buy peace." In 2010, he signed a Global Settlement Agreement for all outstanding claims against him. "There were 1,500 filings. I complied with the settlement agreement 100 percent," he told The Washington Examiner.
On Nov. 14, 2010, three days after Baron "mildly" objected to what he characterized as inflated legal bills, Judge Furgeson made good on his threat, issuing an ex parte order that placed all of Baron's business and personal assets, including his $1.2 million individual retirement account and a $60 million juvenile diabetes trust fund -- and incredibly, Baron himself -- into receivership. Baron's former attorney, Peter Vogel, was given "exclusive control over any and all Receivership Parties, which term shall include Jeffrey Baron."
A Dec. 2, 2010, email to Baron by Barry Golden, Vogel's attorney, clarified exactly what this meant: "you are expressly prohibited from retaining any legal counsel ... you are expressly prohibited from disbursing any Receiver Funds provided to you by the Receiver for anything other than the following daily-living expenses for yourself only: local transportation, meals, home utilities, medical care and medicine."
According to LawInjustice.com, there are no other reported cases in American history in which a person has been placed in receivership. Baron, as well as his home, car, personal bank accounts and even his clothes, remain under Vogel's total control.
He can be jailed for contempt if he removes anything from the Northern District of Texas, including the shirt on his back. To seek help from Congress, "I literally borrowed clothes to come to D.C.", he told us.
On Jan. 31, Dallas attorney Gary Schepps filed an emergency motion in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in an unsuccessful attempt to stop Furgeson's order to "immediately liquidate $60 million in assets for $0.02 cents on the dollar in pre-arranged secret sales" for two of Baron's companies, neither of which "was the party to any claim in the District court."
A former multimillionaire doesn't get much sympathy nowadays. But if Jeff Baron can be held in this weird form of civil lockdown even though he's never been charged with any crime and never had any judgments against him, what are you going to do when they come for you?
Barbara F. Hollingsworth is The Examiner's local opinion editor
Note: This judge was appointed by President Clinton
Note2: There is also an article on this story by the law.com lawyer journal, basically defending the judges actions by claiming that Baron "defrauded" lawyers and didn't pay them. But, when you look at the court documents, Baron already had paid something like $ 5 million to lawyers.
“you are expressly prohibited from retaining any legal counsel”
Oh ya, THAT is in the Constitution........
He hasn’t been charged with ANYTHING, yet this illegal penalty is for “defrauding legal council”?
Seems it was “legal council” that defrauded him and got him in the jam in the first place.
Sounds like the judge is in on it.
There is way more to this story than meets the eye. Baron was prohibited from hiring legal counsel because he hired one attorney after another and when they’d done a bunch of work on his case, he’d fire them and refuse to pay them. That’s called theft of services.
Throughout the nation, judges ranging from local traffic judges to Federal Judges have become petty tyrants doing just about anything they want. The only check on them are other judges.
Fortunately not all are corrupt but it sure seems like they are at times.
So can you find a lawyer to sue them?
How do pea-for-brains judges see over the bench with their collective heads permanently stuck up their arrrces ????
Where's Shakespeare when we need him ( "....The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers...." )
Does America really need 70 percent of the world's lawyers? REALLY !!!!!
The lawyers didn’t get retainers? Other than contingency cases, the ones I knew would get, i.e., $10K retainer that they ‘work down’ till it’s almost used up, then have the retainer ‘refreshed.’ So they are never out their fees.
In a case like this, of course, the numbers would/should be considerably higher, but why did they do all that work without payment up front?
Apparently it was enough for someone to want to steal it under cover of authoritah.
If you read the court documents, you’ll see that “not paying lawyers” was a fabricated ruse to “justify” what the lawyers/judge did to this man. He actually paid these laywers, in full, over $5 million. There was no defrauding of lawyers here. It was a scheme by a group of lawyers to unlawfully take away this man’s civil rights and property.
The lawyers all got retainers, and heaps and heaps of additional money (over $ 5 million). After they were paid in full, over $5 million, they created a scheme to take away the rest of this man’s money, claiming that they were not paid. If you read the court documents, you’ll see that the lawyers fabricated this scheme in coordination with the judge. Once the man was prohibited from hiring a lawyer to defend himself, he was repeatedly raped (figuratively).
Apparently a law degree isn’t the ticket to ride it once was. Turns out some newly minted lawyers can’t get jobs. Maybe they should have taken burger flipping 101 as an elective.
Look, I’m not defending either side. I’m saying there is way more to the story than the author chose to include.
I have a first cousin who hung out his shingle in my home town many years ago. I recall mentioning to him that the town seemed to be over run with lawyers but he said there was plenty of business.
He turned out to be right as he became wealthy.
Tom Hagen: A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns.
I didn’t even know Al Gore was in prison.
What you say may well be true, but that raises both potential ethical and criminal questions about the lawyers and the judge.
If one were to assuming the local bar is corrupt, at least to the extent that any disciplinary committee(s) and these lawyers might all be cronies, that leaves the judge culpable elsewhere.
In the case of a federal judge, what you are alleging happened here (conspiracy, fraud, and God knows what else) would constitute extremely serious charges. Federal judges are subject to investigation beyond the local area, and are subject to impeachment by the Congress. See Alcee Hastings. (the judge could be impeached, convicted, then elected to Congress! Is this a great country, or what?)
Let me be very clear I am NOT advocating this!
But with that being said It’s incidences like this that will eventually lead to Lawyers, Judges and Politicians being terminated with ‘extreme prejudice’ from their positions.
Mind you, I believe that Shakespeare mentioned something very similar in one of his plays.
I’ve read about this case before. Sometimes there are two sides to a story. Other times, like in this case, there is a real victim on one side and perpetrators on the other.
If you read the court files on http://LawInjustice.com or Lawlessamerica, you’ll see a number of lawyers that crafted a scheme against this Internet entrepreneur. It’s not just one judge who perpetrated this grand theft. Also involved are Daniel Sherman of Yaquinto and Sherman Law Firm, Peter S. Vogel of Gardere Law Firm, bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan, and James Eckels General Counsel of CI Host (a company with an infamous reputation in its own right)