The “40 Chevron Shareholders” who are asking for a settlement in the Chevron – Ecuador case are doing so only out of greed; such a deal would make some of them rich, and certainly one of their key associates. Amazon Watch and the Rainforest Action Network have taken to blogs and press releases, calling for a settlement, but acting as agents in lining the pockets of people like New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his backer Kerry Kennedy.
Chevron does not do business in Ecuador, and has not since 1992, when it turned over oil production to Ecuador’s state-run organization called Petroecuador. Chevron says they cleaned up the property according to the standards of the time, and left it to Petroecuador, which has presided over an alarmingly large number of oil spills between 1993 and present day. Meanwhile, an enterprising plaintiff’s lawyer named Stevn Donziger saw an opportunity to, by his own admission, make billions from working to sue Chevron on the fraudulent claim of environmental damage.
Much of the Petroecuador oil spilled – 1,415 oil spills between 2000 and 2008, according to Forbes – adds up to about an accident every other day. Yet, none of Petroecuador’s problems are part of what was a $27 billion lawsuit against Chevron. Moreover, Ecuador itself chased out American Oil Producers like Occidental Petroleum, while doing business with Chinese and Canadian Oil Producers, and even borrowing money from China.
While that was going on, Donziger was working to build a case against Ecuador, one that was based on false environmental reports, fake claims that 30,000 Ecuadorian citizens signed to back their lawsuit (making it a fraudulent class action claim) and work to intimidate and control the Ecuadorian court system. This video expertly documents the many claims against the plaintiffs in the Chevron case:
Finally, earlier this year, and after and episode that had one judge recuse himself from the case, Ecuador Judge Nicholas Zambrano awarded Ecuador $18 Billion, then was forced to step down for reasons having to do with another case. But Ecuador’s efforts to collect the money have been blocked by U.S. Judge Judge Lewis Kaplan, who openly believes that the plaintiff’s case is fraudulent.
Steven Donziger Gets Hedge Fund Backer; Kerry Kennedy Gets Deal For Money If Chevron Pays
But all of that, and more, has not stopped Donziger and his people from gaining investors in his lawsuit. That’s right: investors. In November of 2010, Burford Capital, a division of The Burford Group in New York City, put $4 million into the effort to sue Chevron, and with an option to invest as much as $15 million, and with an eye toward getting part of the anticipated billions from an Ecuador decision. One of the people who stood to benefit from that decision, and worked as a public relations representative, was Kerry Kennedy. Ms. Kerry Kennedy is also listed as a major supporter of New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.
According to The New York Post, Kerry Kennedy, the ex-wife of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy, was “secretly hired as a public-relations consultant” and was given a 0.25 percent stock share — said to be worth as much as $40 million — if the $18 billion judgment handed down by an Ecuadorean judge is ultimately upheld and Chevron pays out.
The Daily Mail reports that Kennedy asked Thomas DiNapoli to step in and threaten to pull The State Of New York’s $780 million stake in Chevron unless Chevron paid some part of Ecuador’s fraudulently created court judgement. In other words, Kennedy has been using DiNapoli and The State Of New York to make sure she gets her cut of the Chevron money.
Thomas DiNapoli Said Use Public Office To Help Private Friends
In a letter as part of a FOIL from Gibson Dunn Lawyer Randy Mastro, directly to Thomas DiNapoli, Mastro wrote:
“This documentary evidence shows that you and your predecessor have issued public statements and taken official actions, purportedly as a result of your off1ce’s own independent assessment, that were in fact coordinated with these same plaintiffs’ lawyers and consultants who have been orchestrating this scheme to extort a settlement from Chevron. This documentary evidence further demonstrates that these same plaintiffs’ lawyers and consultants have made monetary contributions to your campaign…For example, in an email
produced pursuant to a court-authorized subpoena, Steven Donziger, the lead U.S. lawyer for the group suing Chevron in Ecuador wrote, “We are delivering a bunch of checks to DeNapo1i [sic] today,” but “I am worried this might not be a great idea.” He then instructed an associate: “Take checks to his office and deliver them personally. Call me beforehand and I’ll tell u how to play it.” The next day, Donziger included in a list of completed tasks: “DiNapo1i contributions are on the counter.” You have since supported shareholder letters
and made public statements parroting the plaintiffs’ position, even after their fraudulent scheme was publicly exposed and excoriated by federal judges around the country.”
Amazon Watch’s Mitch Anderson A Player, Too
Mastro’s document also notes donations from Donziger, lobbyist Ben Barnes and his wife, and Washington Lawyer James Sharp in 2009. It also notes the involvement of Mitch Anderson, Amazon Watch’s public relations representative and paid designated blogger for SFGate.com, the website of The San Francisco Chronicle. Anderson has written primarily about this issue on SFGate.com, which gives him a platform to try and steer public opinion in a way that can make his operatives, if not himself, rich.
“Approximately two weeks later, on April 18, 2010, Amazon Watch’s Mitchell Anderson (“Anderson”) emailed Donziger, attaching the latest version of the investor statement and stating, “Let me know Whether or not you are planning on asking Barnes to call DiNapo1i at NY State re: the investor statement? As I told you, Doherty told me that DiNapo1i will sign the attached investor statement if he knows, for some reason, that Barnes supports it.”
“Doherty” is Pat Doherty, an employer with the NY Comptroller’s Office. The “latest version of the investor statement” is a call from DiNapo1i for Chevron to settle the case and pay Ecuador, which by now means pay Donziger, who pays Kennedy and others – perhaps Mitch. This blogger now wonders if Mitch Anderson and other Amazon Watch operatives are also in line to make millions, or hundreds of thousands, from the Ecuador case?
As I dig more into this, it’s clear that the people suing Chevron, and speaking and writing against it in the Ecuador case are certainly working for a big pay day off a fraudulent case against a firm just because it’s an American Oil Company, and not because of any real concern for Ecuador’s least fortunate people.