February 13th, 2019
An update from the Tezos community regarding the status of the lawsuits against the Tezos Foundation and DLS
The announcement to the medium article outlining the case standings and details was published on 10:52 AM – 13 Feb 2019
The full medium article can be found here:
The post has been copied and pasted below for your reading:
A “Class” Act — Trolls vs Tezos
We the members of the Tezos community have been (passively) following the status of the lawsuits against the Tezos Foundation and DLS for a while. When catching up with the case last week, we noticed some very strange filings to the court as well as a Reuters article about lead plaintiff Arman Anvari. The filing and articles cited death threats against Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman and a host of racist, anti-semitic, and homophobic comments online by lead plaintiff Arman Anvari.
This led us to look deeper into the case and its plaintiffs.
Below are our findings about six plaintiffs and 1 attorney involved in the Tezos case. Given the depth of what we discovered by this effort, we also intend to investigate the remaining plaintiffs in detail.
Based on these findings, we have also decided to organize a new Amicus Brief against the lawsuits on behalf of the Tezos community. We encourage anyone who opposes these lawsuits to join the upcoming Amicus Brief and help fight these fraudulent suits. To do so, sign up for our newsletter at https://tezos.substack.com/ and we will send you an email with details on how you can join and help fight for Tezos.
THE REAL STORY BEHIND THE ONGOING LAWSUIT
After raising a record breaking $232 million in its 2017 fundraiser, Tezos was hit by legal action in October 2017 by several contributors attempting to form a class action lawsuit against the Tezos Foundation and Dynamic Ledger Solutions. We believe this litigation is without merit and clearly unreasonable given the decentralized nature of Tezos.
This effort, if successful, would almost exclusively benefit the plaintiffs’ lawyers, who may stand to earn ~30% of any settlement or damagesdecided by the court as per the very long, usually multi-year, typical class action process in the United States. In some class action cases, nearly the entire “damages” goes to plaintiffs’ attorneys’ so-called “contingency fee”.
Worse still, the case does nothing to protect anyone in the actual Tezos community, nor do the lawsuits even attempt to reflect actual concerns of the Tezos community. Based on our research, it appears that the plaintiffs’ attorneys are inventing their own case by harming the project’s reputation and suppressing the price of the Tezos’ native XTZ token for their own enrichment (which, again, would amount to ~30% of any settlement or damages). This is perhaps the reason why some of the plaintiff’s lawyers are actively paying to advertise this in order to try and find anyonewho will stand in as a plaintiff. You can see a recent example of that here:
Why are they spending money to advertise this? Because they stand to make money either way from any type of settlement if they can convince a plaintiff to just stand in on behalf (and against the greater will) of the Tezos community.
It should not be a surprise then that they are resorting to selecting stand-in plaintiffs who could never reasonably represent the global Tezos community. Among the highlights:
- Lead plaintiff, Arman Anvari, has made what appear to be death threats against Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman and has a pattern of other strange remarks all across the internet.
- Two other proposed plaintiffs (Andrew Baker and Ryan Coffey) appear to have been close friends of their attorney (Taylor Copeland) for years prior, and their attorney (a Patrick Bateman aficionado) Taylor Copeland launched his law practice with a lawsuit against Tezos. How these pre-existing relationships tie into their choice to participate in the Tezos lawsuit remains unclear.
- Not to be outdone, the Australian entity called “Trigon Trading” is attempting to replace Arman Anvari as lead plaintiff. Trigon turns out to be controlled by the Salerno family and its litigation firm, Salerno Law a subsidiary whose parent company is linked to Salerno patriarch and embattled Australian cult leader, James Gino Salerno, who, among other things, is on trial for sexual abuse of a 13 year old girl.
The ultimate victim of this lawsuit is the global Tezos community — these lawsuits have tarnished the reputations of honest developers, bakers, academic researchers, and token holders located all around the world.
A SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH
Tezos successfully launched its betanet on June 30th, 2018 with little issue; soon thereafter, after several months as a beta network, Tezos mainnet was launched on September 17th, 2018.
Delivery of a live, well-functioning network stands in direct opposition to most projects in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.
The Tezos mainnet has functioned well for nearly 5 months. Over 80% of activated tokens are actively baking on a network supported by ~460 bakers in 33 different countries. And there are Tezos developer teams on 5 different continents.
There is an engaged global academic community working on Tezos projects, including efforts at Yonsei University in South Korea, the Inria in France, and Cornell University in the United States.
Tezos is not only a real live network, it is a true success story of decentralization.
NOT YOUR “TYPICAL” LAWSUIT
Despite all of this success, the ongoing lawsuit continues to propagate the message that what is actually a very healthy project is somehow in peril or harms its users. It is well-known that the larger Tezos community opposes ongoing litigation and any claims of establishing a class on behalf of itself, which is occurring without any consideration for the true majority voice of Tezos contributors.
The current litigation is still attempting to form a class by claiming that its plaintiffs, and especially its lead plaintiff, Arman Anvari (who also happens to be a lawyer) is “typical” of the prospective class of Tezos contributors and that he meets the test of typicality.
As early as May 24th, 2018, the larger Tezos community chose to fight the ongoing litigation by preparing an Amicus Brief to demonstrate that the majority of Tezos contributors did not feel harmed or misled by the Tezos fundraiser.
The community-led initiative also included a petition to show that a counter-class could easily be formed against the ongoing litigation. The petition quickly garnered over 1,200 signatures, showing large opposition to this attempt by a few unrepresentative plaintiffs to falsely present themselves on behalf of the majority of Tezos contributors. Despite multiple real demonstrations of the lawsuit’s illegitimacy detailed below, litigation is ongoing.
PLAINTIFF #1: ARMAN ANVARI
The lead plaintiff in the Tezos lawsuit, Arman Anvari, is a lawyer himself having graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004 and then University of Michigan Law School in 2009 and holding a license to practice law in Texas and Illinois. Given his knowledge of the law it is easy to assume that he is a stand-up citizen worth representing the Tezos class for the better of the community, however, this could not be farther from the truth.
To determine whether this plaintiff has any semblance of the typical Tezos contributor, we decided to do an in-depth investigation based on public information regarding the plaintiff. Let’s find out what types of people the plaintiffs’ attorneys have selected to represent the Tezos community:
We can see in court documents publicly available that Mr. Anvari made a contribution of 250 Ethereum on July 8th, 2017 (source: https://icorating.com/news/2018-8-judge-refuses-to-dismiss-class-action-lawsuit-against-tezos-ico-founders/). Using Etherscan.io, we are able to scan all transactions to verify if there is one on that date for the amount of 250 ETH towards the Tezos fundraiser. And in fact, we can easily find only one transaction for the value of 250 ETH on July 8th, indicating that it belongs to Mr. Anvari:
The ETH wallet associated with this transaction is 0x89C8154Be5bd7899B15D93D47FAF10877D36327e — the transaction above proves conclusively this is Mr. Anvari’s ETH wallet.
Searching for “0x89C8154Be5bd7899B15D93D47FAF10877D36327e” on google brings up several interesting results on a website called AutoAdmit.com by a user with the pseudonymous handle of “.,.,.,,,.,,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.“
AutoAdmit brands itself as “The most prestigious law school discussion board in the world.” — here’s what the press had to say about it:
“AutoAdmit bills itself as “the most prestigious law school admissions discussion board in the world”…. “[P]restigious” isn’t the word for AutoAdmit. “Infamous” is more accurate. “Slimy” may be even better.”
“many potential employers of law school graduates routinely check Google for information on a candidate. Thanks to AutoAdmit, what they will find will sometimes be racist, sexist or obscene gossip.” source: https://blogs.harvard.edu/guorui/2007/04/07/a-recent-story-about-us-elite-law-schools-autoadmit-controversy/
Potential employers of law school graduates know to check AutoAdmit in a background check to determine if a candidate is suitable or not; it’s only fair that we do the same with Mr. Anvari as lead plaintiff.
Searching for “.,.,.,,,.,,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.“ brings up a very long history of disturbing messages, hardly representative of an ethical, law abiding or moral human being. This is unsurprising for a case in which no real plaintiff can be found and which exists solely for the purposes of enriching the plaintiffs’ attorneys.
Please keep in mind as you look at some of Mr. Anvari’s posts that this is the lawyer acting as the lead plaintiff and leading the charge in the drawn out litigation against Tezos for over 1 year.
Also keep in mind that the court selected Mr Anvari as lead plaintiff under the following:
DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP
Let’s review the post history of user “.,.,.,,,.,,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.,.,,.,.,.,.“. In this collection of posts you can see Mr. Arman Anvari making death threats to Tezos co-founder Kathleen Breitman as well as using slurs to disparage the founders of Tezos and death threats to the former President of the Tezos Foundation. This is the lead plaintiff in the case against Tezos.
As Mr. Anvari was learning about the Tezos fundraiser these are the things he posted on AutoAdmit, including an expletive/slur-laced post about the terms and conditions of the fundraiser:
This collection of posts proves that Mr. Anvari, the lawyer suing Tezos, was in fact aware of the Terms & Conditions of the Tezos fundraiser, and relished in the opportunity to “break laws.” In his last post on March 30th, 2017 he also says:
“Just stfu and buy some and 10x ur money and like it faggot” — Arman Anvari
This comment proves that not only did he read the T&Cs and believed himself to be “breaking laws” he also anticipated generating a 10x return due to his contribution to Tezos.
Mr. Anvari repeatedly made comments alluding to him reading the necessary T&Cs and simply ignoring them or looking forward to “breaking laws”. Here you see another example relating to the BAT project where he clearly indicates reading the necessary T&Cs yet choosing to ignore them and advising others to do the same:
This belief in 10x profits is something that Mr. Anvari constantly promoted even while he was in active litigation against Tezos. For example, on December 5th, 2017 he comments:
“Optimistic that this time next year I’ll be at 8 figures…” — Arman Anvari — 12/5/17
And on July 3rd, 2018 he also comments:
“If you don’t hold for at least four years you’re a massive faggot” — Arman Anvari — 7/3/18
For a practicing lawyer in Illinois and Texas, Mr. Anvari exhibits very poor judgement and a pattern of unethical behavior online. Here are his thoughts on paying taxes relating to profits from crypto as well as his thoughts on the US government (whose laws he so casually mis-appropriates):
“not bad at all. dont pay taxes on any of that shit. fuck uncle sam” — Arman Anvari — 4/15/17
Continuing this pattern of disrespect for the law he also shares his thoughts on class action suits against Uber, which is ironic given his own pursuit of one against Tezos and his willingness to be represented in such a suit by the plaintiffs’ attorneys. In fact, he openly admits that class actions of this sort are not about representing the interests of plaintiffs, but rather they are naked, profit-making opportunities for class action lawyers.
The case that Mr. Anvari is lead plaintiff for claims that Tezos was sold as an unregistered security, however, his comments on the SEC and security classification of crypto projects such as ETH reveal that he truly does not even remotely believe cryptocurrencies to be securities:
This comment was posted on May 4th, 2018, well into his litigation against Tezos on the same topic. In many of his older posts, we find him using extremely vile, disparaging, hateful, bigoted and racist language:
We were shocked to learn that not only is Mr. Anvari’s lawsuit against Tezos ongoing, but that he was selected as the lead plaintiff representing the Tezos community which is so vehemently opposed to the lawsuits he helped create. While Mr. Anvari may have contributed to the Tezos project, that contribution seems to have been solely made with pretenses of pursuing legal action in order to benefit or profit.
While in the legal sense he may qualify as a “typical” member of a class of users that have contributed to the Tezos fundraiser, his statements about the legal system, fellow lawyers as well as a large swath of the population due to their beliefs, creed, sexual orientation, or ethnicity is not only reprehensible, it is appalling for anyone especially a practicing lawyer. And we haven’t even gotten to the death threats.
THE PLOT THICKENS
Itseems that Mr. Anvari’s actions also show that his reservations for the Tezos fundraiser project were not legitimate. During active litigation he actually attempted to purchase additional Tezos tokens from individuals on reddit. Since that exchange he has attempted to cover his tracks and delete the relevant messages on Reddit, however, he was not able to totally erase his tracks. Read below to see how Mr. Anvari sought to buy additional Tezos:
On Oct 23, 2017 he posted on reddit under username “airspeakers” (www.reddit.com/u/airspeakers) looking to buy directly from users. It is unclear whether the transaction took place, however in the comments we see him posting his email address as firstname.lastname@example.org. For someone who is leading a lawsuit which directly harms the value of the Tezos token, why would he seek to purchase additional Tezos?
Soon after he deleted his account in order to erase his tracks:
Mr. Anvari also expressed a number of opinions in his Twitter page (@danieldaycrypto) which indicate the cynical nature of the lawsuits against Tezos.
Arman Anvari = @DanielDayCrypto:
As in the case of AutoAdmit, Mr. Anvari’s twitter pseudonym DanielDayCrypto twitter account can be linked via his fundraiser ETH wallet.
Here is a tweet which shows that @DanielDayCrypto has a CryptoBridge account with username “GS455”:
Searching for “GS455” we see that a user with the handle GS455 posted this image on EtherDelta:
When you look at the transactions posted you can see they are connected with Mr. Anvari’s ETH wallet:
So what kinds of things does Mr. Anvari publish under this other pseudonym account? Here he is explaining on Twitter to then New York State Attorney General Schneiderman his view that cryptocurrency holders do not need protection by regulators:
In response to a Bryce Weiner tweet, here he states the view that even if an entity avoids criminal liability, that “won’t stop a bunch of scumbag plaintiffs firms from pursuing you”. Notably, this is after he had already joined the case:
After reading this extensive list of posts from Mr. Anvari, it should be clear that he is not able to represent the majority of the Tezos Community, nor is he able to act in their best interests. As you will see below, the reason Mr. Anvari was selected as lead plaintiff is because all the other plaintiffs are equally inept at representing the Tezos Community and are clearly acting in their selfish interests rather than the true Tezos class.
PLAINTIFFS #2 & #3: ANDREW BAKER, RYAN COFFEY & THE JAMES TAYLOR-COPELAND CONNECTION
Then there is the case of plaintiffs Andrew Baker and Ryan Coffey, and their attorney friend, James (Quinn) Taylor-Copeland.
PLAINTIFFS’ ATTORNEY: JAMES TAYLOR-COPELAND
James Taylor-Copeland started his practice in August 2017 with what seems to be an intention to litigate against blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.
As in the case of Mr. Anvari, we based our investigation into Mr. Copeland on his public shared information, starting with his Instagram account (where he goes by “James Quinn”). We were fascinated to learn that Mr. Copeland’s law firm is a bit more like a fraternity, not a serious law practice.
Like with Mr. Anvari, Mr. Copeland’s case against Tezos is based on stand-in plaintiffs who do not represent the larger Tezos community. He appears to have taken it even further, using his own close friends as his stand-in plaintiffs (as detailed in the following sections).
Here we see Andrew Baker, plaintiff in the case, proposing to his then girlfriend to marry him. The photo was taken by James Taylor-Copeland, which shows you just how close the lawyer and the plaintiff are in their case against Tezos.
It is unclear how serious of a lawyer Mr. Copeland intends to become. In this photo we see him hanging out with Max Braverman, who is also close friend of Andrew Baker. Max Braverman is also a Tezos contributor who used the twitter account @Styzz_Sandusky (now since deleted).
This is a close-knit group of friends. To prove this, you can see that both James Taylor-Copeland and Max Braverman were both groomsman at Andrew Baker & Caroline Roberts’ wedding — https://www.theknot.com/us/caroline-roberts-and-drew-baker-oct-2018
There is even a group photo of James Taylor-Copeland and his friends/clients Andrew Baker, Caroline Baker & Max Braverman hanging out at a UFC fight in 2016 before their lawsuit against Tezos:
The individuals depicted are the ones attempting to form a class against Tezos. The photographs above are from nearly 1 year before the Tezos lawsuits. As in the case of Arman Anvari, it appears that the absence of real Tezos community members has led to the selection of “stand-in” plaintiffs who are far from being any representative of the Tezos community.
Here he is once again hanging with his close friend and future client Andrew Baker at halloween. Note that James Taylor-Copeland regularly hangs out with these individuals and likes to use the tag #saturdayisfortheboys.
Mr. Copeland also seems infatuated with Patrick Bateman and regularly dresses up like him for Halloween. Mr. Copeland, a Patrick Bateman aficionado, doing his best impression:
It seems James Taylor-Copeland also vacations with his friends regularly. Here you can see him again with his client and plaintiff Andrew Baker in 2016:
Here you can see Mr. Taylor-Copeland once again using the #saturdayisfortheboys hashtag.
Why does this matter? Because when we do a reverse “whois” domain search for “James Taylor-Copeland”, this is what we are presented with:
Around the same time that James Taylor-Copeland” regularly uses the hashtag #saturdayisfortheboys, he also bought several hashtags as domains since he liked them so much:
Domains such as:
Along with these domains, James Taylor-Copeland actually created a clothing company to sell swimwear and t-shirts to capitalize on memes. The clothing company is called Booty is Life, LLC and the Instagram account is BootyTheBoysLike: https://www.instagram.com/bootytheboyslike/. He also took the time to create Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr accounts for this new business venture: https://twitter.com/bootyboyslikehttps://bootytheboyslike.tumblr.com/https://www.facebook.com/bootytheboyslike/
There is even a Shopify page where he sells his own t-shirts and underwear: https://booty-the-boys-like.myshopify.com/collections/the-booty-the-babes-like
And he even went as far as actually creating and registering the company in Las Vegas, NV: https://www.nvsos.gov/sosentitysearch/CorpDetails.aspx?lx8nvq=BQQOgWVj2Zi9OsWveGQAww%253d%253d&nt7=0 — this is what he does with his spare time.
It should come as no surprise that all plaintiffs also follow that page. You can see James Taylor-Copeland, Caroline Baker (Andrew Baker’s wife), and even Ryan Coffey (if you scroll in the followers list) following it. You can see on the page James Taylor-Copeland seeks to quickly capitalize on the Harambe meme by making a shirt to sell and profit:
It’s easy to assume that because he is a lawyer that he is experienced and has the best intentions in mind. However, you can see that he started his practice in late 2017, just before he started his first lawsuit (against Tezos):
Taylor Copeland markets his new law firm as “protecting your rights”, but appears to have only represented his own friends in the Tezos lawsuit, as detailed at length below.
PLAINTIFF #2: ANDREW BAKER
Indeed, Andrew Baker, his wife Caroline Baker, and James Taylor-Copeland have known each other for quite some time, spending time in Las Vegas as well as taking vacations together long before Mr. Copeland created his legal practice. You can see Mr. Baker hanging out with James Taylor-Copeland on numerous occasions before he opened his practice and after.
James Taylor-Copeland is in fact so close to Andrew Baker that he was the one who Andrew asked to capture photos of him proposing to Caroline Roberts (Baker) in Barcelona:
As detailed at Caroline and Andrew Baker’s wedding registry site, Mr. Copeland served as a groomsman in their October 2018 wedding:
Andrew Baker’s Twitter account is AndrewBaker23: https://twitter.com/BakerAndrew23. Andrew appears the least oblivious of the bunch, ensuring he deleted or protected all of his social media accounts before the lawsuit. Also of interest is that all the plaintiffs have now since deleted their Facebook accounts. See below:
Mr. Andrew Baker is allowing his friend James Taylor-Copeland to represent him in litigation against Tezos and is working together with his small group of close friends to attempt to form a faux “class” of Tezos contributors in order to push a settlement or payout which his friend stands to take home 30% of at the end of the day. This is shameless collusion.
PLAINTIFF #3: RYAN COFFEY
Who is Ryan Coffey? An individual who, for a span of several months in 2018, was suing Ripple before eventually dropping out of the case.
Like in the case of Tezos, Mr. Coffey was represented by none other than James Taylor-Copeland: https://www.reddit.com/r/CryptoCurrency/comments/8h5ar3/this_is_why_ryan_coffys_lawsuit_against_ripple_is/
Ryan Coffey goes by GwizCrypto on twitter: www.twitter.com/gwizcrypto
On Instagram he goes by rcoff.sd: https://www.instagram.com/rcoff.sd/
On Riot, he is a member of the Tezos main room using the handle rcoffey and rcoff.sd.
ALL TOGETHER NOW!
Below is a photo depicting Mr. Coffey, Mr. Baker, and Mr. Copeland smiling together in San Diego more than a year before Mr. Copeland created his law firm and they all decided to sue Tezos:
It remains unclear what happened between this photograph and the Tezos lawsuits to cause Mr. Baker and Mr. Coffey to join the case with Mr. Copeland as their attorney.
Did Mr. Baker and Mr. Coffey mention their involvement in Tezos to Mr. Copeland, inspiring him to launch his new law firm?
How it came to be remains unclear but the connection between all these plaintiffs and their lawyer is nothing short of disturbing.
PLAINTIFF #4: ANDREW OKUSKO
Then there is the case of plaintiff Andrew Okusko, who has detailed his thoughts about Tezos directly on Cryptocompare.com (quotes below): https://www.cryptocompare.com/profile/andrewokusko/
In his posts, Okusko details his belief that Tezos is a community-led project and explains that he has joined the lawsuit so he could “hedge his bet”, not because he was somehow harmed by the project.
“@marchas and a few others here are great community resources, very helpful and knowledgeable. Thank you to all the positive people who make this forum worth reading. Community is what will differentiate tezos from other projects” — Andrew Okusko
Andrew Okusko says he has gone through the KYC process and claimed his tokens:
“The verification process is straightforward though irritating. In order to become verified they will require public key hash, both sides of state/ national I’d, contribution email address. It’s pretty simple, I did it and got verified. I waited a few days and got my contribution activation code.” — Andrew Okusko
Mr. Okusko states his lack of concern regarding the Tezos launch timeline:
“Ethereum was proposed in 2013. There was then a crowdsale/ ico between July and August of 2014. Ethereum was later released July 30th 2015. It took one year for distribution; I hope we don’t have to wait that long but until the 1 years threshold is passed I don’t believe we should be alarmed or start to worry!” — Andrew Okusko
Here Mr. Okusko states his reason for joining the lawsuit, namely that he hoped to “hedge his bet” in case the tokens were not released, not because he experienced damages:
“Akvolabean there is a class action in fact there are a few if you join the action you can hedge your bet. Tokens get released you win. If tokens are not released you win. Until then choose the side of optimism all the negativity is going to drive you and the whole community crazy!” — Andrew Okusko
Here Mr. Okusko states he is into Tezos for the long haul and believes the real value of Tezos will take some time and “will be found when the community is built and established”:
“The real value in tezos will not be realized at launch. The real value will be found when the community is built and established. When the cutting edge tech clearly differentiates this coin from its competition that’s when I will consider selling. Until then let’s build community discard and ignore fud/ negativity etc. Every coin has positive and negative news, all of it is valuable and has weight learning to measure that weight makes us better traders. Special thanks to all those who have contributed it’s been a rocky road!” — Andrew Okusko
He also used the CryptoCompare “agree” feature to like a post about Tezos which states:
“SEC related bs is complete nonsense. The SEC has stated Tezos is in the clear, and policy makers gave thoughts recently about future ICOs.” — Andrew Okusko
PLAINTIFF #5: TRIGON TRADING (Salerno Law and James Gino Salerno)
After discovering the above details about four plaintiffs and 1 lawyer, we imagined that there couldn’t possibly be anything more bizarre than what we had found so far. We were very wrong.
We were surprised to learn that Australian entities, Artiom Frunze and a company, Trigon Trading, could actually be considered eligible to sue a Swiss foundation in an American court and that another law firm, Block and Leviton, is seeking to make Trigon Trading the lead plaintiff in the case.
Who is Trigon Trading exactly?
As detailed in docket filing from mid-2018, Trigon Trading is an OTC cryptocurrency companyregistered to the address of “Salerno Law” and controlled by members of the Salerno family: Emma Salerno, Matteo Salerno, and James Gino Salerno.
Who are the Salernos?
Of the Salernos mentioned above, two are partners at Salerno Law, an Australian firm which specializes in litigation/lawsuits. That’s right, the potential new lead plaintiff, Trigon Trading, represents the interests of yet more lawyers. Once again, we appear to find the case being predicated on stand-in plaintiffs (most who are lawyers themselves), not members of the Tezos community.
More mysteriously, how likely is it that, given the Salernos’ legal training, that they would not have read or understood the terms and conditions of the Tezos fundraiser? That is hard to believe…
But there’s yet another strange twist…
Trigon Trading’s parent company, SALERNO CONSORTIUM PTY LTD, is linked to an older “James Gino Salerno”.
It turns out the elder Mr. Salerno (let’s call him the Salerno patriarch), is the 71 year old leader of an Australian cult who is on trial for “9 counts of sexual assault of a 13 year old girl” in Adelaide, Australia in 2015.
According to accounts in the media, Mr. Salerno’s ironically named cult, “Ideal Human Environment” (IHE), is said to involve young girls of 13 years old serving as Mr. Salerno’s personal assistants:
“This included caring for his hands and feet by these manicures and pedicures, running him a bath, towel drying him afterwards, brushing his hair, doing his laundry and also by giving him hand and leg massages”
The 30 person cult is alleged to be forced to call Mr. Salerno “Taipan”. As detailed by Vice, IHE also performed a number of social experiments:
“These includes once giving a chronic gambler $100,000 so the group could witness and understand addiction. Then, only a few years ago, they bought three luxury cars to experiment with luxury car use on the Gold Coast. Among their “findings” was that their $300K Ferrari was popular with men, the $700K Rolls-Royce became the car of choice for older women, and that a $100K Hummer was favoured by no one.”
In another case, Prosecutors alleged Salerno and the IHE group had “strict ranking system where members of the group were classed according to their ‘emotional quotient.’
In another case, Mr. Salerno is said to have convinced members of the cult that he was an “omnipotent god” and “made them dress in all white garb; and that he insisted they salute him like Russell Crowe’s character from Gladiator.”
The group is also said to have utilized aggressive corporal punishments between children:
“A higher-ranked child would complain of disobedience on the part of a lower-ranked child who did not follow one of his or her orders and the lower-ranked child would then be administered punishment,” he said. The court heard punishment included being struck on the head with a metre-long stick that had a large wooden knot on the end.”
Mr. Salerno’s organization has also been scrutinized and punished by the Australian government, which required IHE to pay $3.5 million in unpaid taxes.
A recent motion by Block and Leviton asked to replace Arman Anvari with Trigon Trading as the lead plaintiff, using the justification that Trigon gave the second largest contribution of the proposed plaintiffs.
We ask, what similarities does Mr. Salerno and Salerno Law have with the larger Tezos community and why would any reasonable court appoint them to represent us?
PLAINTIFF #6: ARTIOM FRUNZE & THE ADELAIDE CONNECTION
Asdescribed above, James Gino Salerno’s cult was based out of a mansion in Adelaide, Australia.
Also from Australia, it turns out, is would-be lead plaintiff Artiom Frunze, who is attempting, along with Trigon Trading, to replace Arman Anvari as the lead plaintiff according to recent filings.
Less is known about Mr. Frunze than the other plaintiffs and how Mr. Anvari’s attorney, Hung Ta, was able to find this gentleman from Australia remains unclear.
REMAINING PLAINTIFFS (“GGCC GROUP”)
It should be no surprise that given the questionable basis of the above plaintiffs we feel it is best to also investigate the two remaining plaintiffs: Ron Puma & Brian Beeman (who comprise the “GGCC group”). Investigation is ongoing, and we welcome any information that can shed light on these plaintiffs who are attempting to represent the greater Tezos Class. If you know anything, please leave a comment below or email us at email@example.com.
We’d like to think that most people are upstanding citizens who would pursue a lawsuit based on genuine grievances and logical claims. But it is also important to acknowledge that there are a few individuals whose sole priority is their own direct benefit over the wider interests of the Tezos community.
Many, many members of the Tezos community have, on repeated occasion, denounced the ongoing litigation. We find it an affront to the community that lawyers are using stand-in plaintiffs, such as Mr. Anvari, Mr. Baker, Mr. Coffey, their attorney Mr. Taylor-Copeland, Mr. Okusko, Artiom Frunze and Mr. Salerno to represent the Tezos community for their own enrichment.
Although it comes as no surprise that they must resort to such stand-in plaintiffs, we will reject any such faux-class attempts which seek to misrepresent the true Tezos community sentiments for the benefit of the few.
We believe the larger Tezos community will reject any claims made by these plaintiffs and implore the court to consider the costs these lawsuits have created for the larger class of Tezos contributors. So far 1,207 of such contributors from all around the world have enthusiastically signed a petition denouncing the ongoing cases, exceeding by two orders of magnitude the small handful of atypical individuals the plaintiffs’ lawyers have selected as stand-in plaintiffs for this case.
A CALL TO ACTION
Because Crypto is still a nascent space, the cryptocurrency world is still experiencing growing pains and has it’s fair share of people attempting to exploit it for their own gain. We conducted this research using publicly available information, open to the world to see. We encourage everyone to truly and diligently research these topics, verify the facts for themselves, and gain a better understanding of the circumstances.
At stake is the future of not only Tezos, but all cryptocurrency projects which these class action suits seek to undermine for the benefit of the few lawyers involved. We call on all those who love the cryptocurrency space to help identify, expose and fight such scams that prey on and ultimately undermine the reputation of the entire industry.
Join our newsletter and be on the look out for upcoming information to join an amicus brief against the lawsuits.
Help us by sharing your thoughts or any information that is pertinent to this case and the other plaintiffs as a comment to this article.
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