Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Otter Drops Att'y Fee Claim Against Stoffa, Conklin

WFMZ-TV69 reporter Bold Koldcrow did a hatchet piece on me back in March, questioning whether I am a criminal. I could have told him I'm no good. Everybody knows that. I'm a bottom-feeding blogger, and that alone must violate at least 20 different statutes, as well as Bethlehem's new Civil Rights law.

How did I break the law this time? Eckert Seamans, the law firm hired to help Northampton County sell Gracedale, was secretly behind my lawsuit challenging the number of valid signatures for a referendum on Gracedale's sale. We were all part of a vast conspiracy. Union lawyer Larry Otter blabbed he was reporting me to the DA, AG, FBI, IRS, DEA, ATF and League of Women Voters.

He wanted a grand jury investigation, too.

This was just like Bonusgate, damn it!

In April, I was on WFMZ's most wanted list again. Once again, the Otter swam up and accused us all of acting criminally and wanted an investigation by the DA, AG, etc.

The newspapers joined in the fun, too. All told, there are about 7 stories in the local papers, WFMZ and even Patch. I write for Patch as a columnist from time to time, so they already know I'm a crook. Come to think of it, so do the newspapers. Online readers had their pitchforks and torches out, ready to string me up.

But Otter had no interest in vigilante justice. What he was really wanted was money. And the unions wanted to the Sell-Gracedale crowd in the days leading up to a vote.

Now Otter's motions for attorney fees had already been denied twice, but he filed a new one in April, demanding a gazillion dollars. Then in early May, he amended that motion to add Executive John Stoffa and Director of Administration John Conklin as targets. Accused of personal misconduct, they both had to retain private counsel.

It took practically no time at all for Stoffa and Conklin's lawyers to file preliminary objections to Otter's frivolous demand for money. Judge Baratta scheduled an argument, but guess what? Otter decided to get around that with a second amended motion for attorney fees.

The preliminary objections were simply renewed, and argument was scheduled again for this Friday.

The Otter has blinked.

In a letter to Judge Baratta on Monday, Otter now claims his motion against Stoffa and Conklin is a "bit premature" and he is withdrawing his "Second Amended Motion for Surcharge."

So much for Bonusgate.

Now don't you worry. He's still pursuing his claim against me for the "unauthorized practice of law." Apparently, while Eckert Seamans was secretly representing me, I was super secretly representing the County.

Otter tells the judge he's available for a hearing in August or September.

Funny thing. I filed preliminary objections, too, and am ready to go this Friday.

I got Otter's letter on Tuesday, but found out about it on Monday, the date it was sent. That's another interesting story. I was speaking to Barron von Footinmouth's Solicitor, Tim Brennan, about subpoenaing records I had sought from the Controller under the RTKL.

Brennan blurted out, "Well, Otter dropped the case today."

"How do you know that?"

Awkward silence.

It's very obvious that these guys are all acting hand in hand and the Controller has allowed his office to be politicized.


Anonymous said...

I read this twice and still don't understand what the legal issues are about...but it sounds very corrupt and dirty.

Bernie O'Hare said...


If you're having difficulty, it's bc Otter was not very clear.

Anonymous said...

How can you find fault with Mr. Barron. he was just doing his job.

Anonymous said...

If Mo Doltycow had any journalistic chops, he wouldn't be toiling in obscurity for a cable access program in the country's 1,112th largest market. He looks more dead than Cathy Crane.

brenda said...

Are Stoffa and Conklin part of the suit at all now? Or was it just the attorney fee portion of the suit that was dropped?

Funny timing...just when the giant gracedale hand will be showing up for more cash, he reconsiders

Anonymous said...

The otter has returned to the Lehigh Valley Zoo to hatch another aimless legal plot. No surprise that Teletubby Barren is one of the conspirators. Instead of doing his job auditing the counties programs and books he is engaged in political shenanigans. Those who defend Barren are just his blind minions. "He was just doing his job." What the hell is his job? It surely isn't to conspire in a legal matter against those he opposes for political reasons.

Lawrence M. Otter, Esquire said...

Get with the program and report the FACTS.
I have withdrawn the motion for a surcharge without prejudice. We will see everyone later this year on that item.
The motion for attorney fees and costs is still pending and you should have received a letter from Judge Baratta noting the hearing date of August 18
Also there is a motion for injunctive relief against you, Angle, Stoffa and Conklin. You may have missed the nuances in that motion.
You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

By the way, I have subpoenaed Mr. Barron as my witness in this matter and I would appreciate if you cease and desist harrasing witnesses related to this matter.
I assume your usual harrasment of the public will continue unabated.
Are we "clear".
Larry Otter

Bernie O'Hare said...

No we are not, not at all.

You have filed a total of 5 frivolous motions for att'y fees in this matter. One of them was denied without a hearing or response.

Once you reach the point where you are filing "second amended motions," maybe it's time for ou to step back and ask yourself whether you are screwing it up.

The simple reality is that you have dropped your claim against Stoffa and Conklin, the one that you visited WMFZ about three times, the one that you screamed the DA and AG should investigate. You can bray all you want about refiling in the next 20 or 30 years, but the reality is you have dropped the matter you thought was so important and criminal.

I filed preliminary objections to your goofy motions against me, and a hearing is on for THIS Friday. I intend to be there until I receive instructions from Judge Baratta informing me otherwise.

As for an August 18 hearing, I have no notice of that at all. I will attend the hearing to which I have received notice, and the first matter is my preliminary objections to your motion, to which you have filed no brief.

As for the Controller, he is not "your" witness. He is an elected official who reprsents everyone. I have every right to subpoena records from him.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Are Stoffa and Conklin part of the suit at all now? Or was it just the attorney fee portion of the suit that was dropped?"

They were not part o the suit to begin with, and I have no idea whether they are part of the suit now. Otter seems to think they are, and I have apparently missed the nuances of his finely honed legal mind.

Anonymous said...

Here is a translation of this article for 1:05

Frivolous lawsuits are those filed by a party or attorney who is aware they are without merit, because of a lack of supporting legal argument or factual basis for the claims. Frivolous lawsuits waste time, money, and judicial resources, and fines and/or santions may be imposed upon a party or their attorney for filing such a claim.

Frivolous lawsuits may be filed for purposes of harassment or coercion, such as to coerce the defendant into paying more or accepting less money than is rightfully due. They may be filed due to lack of due diligence by an attorney in investigating a client's claim, or other reasons. Generally, the defendant must win the lawsuit before seeking a remedy for the frivolous claim.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Otter came on here himself to harass you. What did you do to annoy him besides what YOU think is best for the county? Which is what every active citizen should do. He seems like one of the lawyer "stereotypes" (we all know they are many), that is the kind that uses his "lawerly powers" to harass people that have annoyed him. The most amusing thing is that he has to remind you that you no longer practice law, but then rip into you for "not understanding" his newest letter and the "Second Amended Motion." Even working with legalese everyday I have issues deciphering what he's trying to get least the salient LEGAL points. He tends to seem to use his filings to say whatever he wants and when it becomes clear that the judge is going to SEE that it's nothing but baloney, he quickly "amends" or "withdraws" the motion to "further consider it." I couldn't believe when I came on here and saw you got a response from the Otter himself on your blog. Who'd think he would deign to bring himself down to our level. Probably just wanted to get his name out in front of even MORE people. And was he considering what people who are COMMENTING on your blog are saying as harassment? Of "his witness?" As you pointed out the "witness" in question is a public official. Since when are we not allowed to harass public officials? At least with our words, I mean, assuming you use the broad definition of harass as in "anything that bugs them," in this case "the truth." Okay I'm done but man I don't know how you deal with all this. The Otter riled ME up with his post and MY only involvement is as a citizen of the county.

-The Anonymous D (Kinda like Tenacious D, but less tenacious and more anonymous)

Anonymous said...

Otter has a reputation as a joke and an embarrassment, but the real story that Baratta would humor him. Obviously there is something nefarious and dirty going on in the background between them. It wouldn't surprise me.

brenda said...


I think Otter is addicted to your blog.

Too bad I'm digging up trenches on Friday, or I'd go to the hearing to see this joke of a lawyer for myself

Anonymous said...

Put da otter in me belly! I want the otter in me belly! In me belly now!

Anonymous said...

otter's a scumbag.

Anonymous said...

Bernie, you forget one thing
you are a disbarred lawyer.
Now you are a want a be
stop acting like a jerk.

Anonymous said...

How can someone dictate that you cannot talk to an elected official. If Baron wants to be protected in a cocoon he should resign.

Frankly Bernie, I wonder, wasn't Mr. Barron's use of his position to threaten that company official a violation of the ethics code for elected officials? Was he reported for this violation?

He should have been!

Anonymous said...

OK who is the fool here. How many cases LOST and then the kicker was the May 17th vote. If you did not start all this nonsense to begin with, these things would have never cost the county all the money and time wasted that it did. Look in the mirror Mr. O'Hare and say real loud...... LOOOOZZZER!

Sick and tired of the shenanigans in Northampton County

Anonymous said...

Baron Von footinmouth is a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 4:47-
Did you just imply that without Bernie none of this "waste of taxpayer dollars" would have gone on. Are you unaware of the preliminary objections filed by John Stoffa? Well it seems he would have pursued it with or without Bernie happening to feel the same way on the issue. If anything the executive decided to take only what he thought was the strongest case in, leaving various other challenges up to concerned citizens, knowing that enough people cared that someone would do something.
And to Anonymous 11:25 - are you implying that when you're disbarred they magically take away your knowledge of the law? Because if Mr. O'Hare wants to use the knowledge he gained while still an attorney to act on HIS OWN behalf than that doesn't make him a wannabe. It makes him a concerned citizen using the skills at their disposal to try to make some change. To be honest it sounds a little like 11:25 might be Otter coming back to poke fun since his comment was NOT as intelligent (sorry that's not an insult I just mean that legally it wasn't much, seemed to focus more on overblown allegations than the law) as he seemed to think it was. Though assuming it turns out he did make all the things up he puts forth in his new Second Amended Motion etc etc it seems bordering on libel to me. But I never claimed to be a lawyer either.

Anonymous D

Anonymous said...

I don't know all the circumstances and don't want to be rude. Realized my word choice may have been bad. "Disbarred" is a very strong term with a particular meaning. Lets just say when you lose and/or give up your license to practice law you're not surrendering ur knowledge of the law.