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Diane Harkey is a victim. You can see her stipulate to that effect repeatedly throughout her history in office. We’ve taken some time to eviscerate that canard as it is clear there is siginifcant doubt that her narrative about her personal life is accurate.
She has been so set on proving that narrative that she sued Senator Mark Wyland for libel/slander over his assertions her self-funding of her campaigns was due to her husband’s shady and dishonest businesses. This lawsuit punctuated the ensuing campaign for her next office, BOE in 2014. With evidence that I am not sure Mark Wyland took the time to find, I believe that Mark Wyland was mostly right and could have proven his assertions – far beyond the threshold of libel. Enter the left-leaning but entertaining Orange Juice Blog:
According to Diane Harkey’s complaint, filed Aug. 26 in Orange County Superior Court, Wyland incorrectly portrayed the circumstances of the case by telling members of the Tri-City Tea Party, “Unfortunately there has been a lawsuit brought by a lot of investors of modest means against her and her husband for defrauding them…. There was a decision that those investors were defrauded and there is a judgment.”
Harkey, whose lawsuit was first reported by the political website San Diego Rostra, says Wyland’s statement was incorrect on several fronts. She was, at the time Wyland spoke, no longer a defendant in most of the claims against her husband. She also contested Wyland’s description of the investors as having “modest means”; she stated in her complaint that many of the investors have a net worth greater than $1 million.
So, you got that? Diane sued Mark for $10 million because he said “a lot of the investors” were “of modest means,” whereas she contends SOME of the victims were actually rich. WEAK TEA, Diane. Sure, some of them were rich, but I’ve met a few of them now who are having to live on their social security, who have had to sell their homes, who have had to move in with their children, some have died waiting to see their money returned. Diane’s other quibbles with Mark’s statement are equally inconsequential.
Just where did the money come from?
Perhaps this is why Wyland beat Harkey so bad in court that she lost an Anti-SLAPP, which is extremely rare. I also believe that if Mark Wyland had the evidence I now have, that the Circuit Court of Appeals would have never tossed the Anti-SLAPP (see that here from late 2015). With the spectre of paying Mark Wyland’s legal bills removed, Harkey dropped her libel/slander lawsuit against Wyland. At the time of that suit, I had seen Diane Harkey’s name on at least 4 cases in the Orange County Superior Court system. It was about the same for Dan Harkey.
There was discussion of the Harkeys’ many luxury cars – a Rolls Royce, a Mercedes, a couple Porsches, a Bentley, a Jaguar – and how a couple with all that could be too bankrupt to pay their elderly victim/creditors. Mention was also made of the Harkeys’ $15 million jet plane, which is now sold – Diane had claimed to have never flown in it, but subpoenaed flight records showed her using it for frequent flights to Sacramento and back.
Did I use the phrase “knee-deep” earlier? Diane’s whole career was started and bankrolled by money from her hubby’s crooked dealings, since she came out of the blue onto the Dana Point City Council in 2004. It looks with all the Harkeys’ foot-dragging that many more of the elderly investors are going to be dying before they see any of their money back. And this morning I get a typical depressed message from Mr. Sipolski, the now-impoverished polio survivor who invested with Point Center:
Once again I face a miserable and meager Christmas because Dan Harkey, (husband of Assemblywoman Diane) even though he was convicted of Financial Elder Abuse and ordered to pay millions in restitution, has declared bankruptcy.
I doubt if I will ever see a cent of the jury award.
Once again I cannot afford anything this Christmas since the Harkeys have all my money.
And you can see, the “bankrupt” Harkeys are once again having their annual extravaganza next Tuesday…
(The blog continues on about a late 2013 fundraiser for Diane Harkey – who was still married to Dan Harkey at the time, much more on that coming soon)
I do find it amazing that Diane Harkey was able to transition from Assembly to the Board of Equalization with the spectre of lawsuits and her husband’s dirty businesses in the background. (Dan Harkey lost a massive lawsuit twice in court, therefore I have made the conclusion his business was dirty) I am also amazed that her political opponents were not able to make the assertions stick that Diane benefitted from Dan’s businesses. In 2018, Mike Levin buried Diane Harkey on this issue with just half a deck.
Tort reform advocates “disappointed” by litigation
Harkey’s multi-million dollar claim for emotional suffering has “disappointed” advocates for tort reform.
“Assemblymember Diane Harkey has been a strong ally in the fight against lawsuit abuse,” said Tom Scott, executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. “We are disappointed that she felt this dispute needed to be settled through litigation, and we hope for a speedy resolution that avoids using scarce resources from our state’s already overburdened courts.”
That statement put CALA on the same side as their mortal foes, the consumer attorneys (often called “trial lawyers”). Brian S. Kabateck, president of the Consumer Attorneys of California, offered a strong rebuke of Harkey’s lawsuit and accused the lawmaker of having a hypocritical stance on legal reform.
“Some people dislike the legal system until they need it,” Kabatech told CalWatchDog.com. “Diane Harkey’s recent propulsion from so-called ‘tort reform advocate’ to major litigant, filing a lawsuit some would term facially frivolous, highlights the hypocrisy in her position.”
It appears from my research that Diane Harkey is well-versed in using the legal system to control outcomes and get what she wants. It is also clear that her lawsuit against Mark Wyland earned her a blizzard of criticism.
Messy intra-party feuds
In his long history of Republican political activism, [Steve] Frank can only recall one instance in which a CRP delegate has been rebuked for filing a lawsuit against a fellow party member. The provision was originally drafted to address a feud between rival young Republican clubs.
“It was messy and made the party look bad,” Frank said of the dispute. “The intent [of the provision] was to stop those suits from going public, and instead try to handle disputes internally.”
Already, the consumer attorneys have seized on the lawsuit to impugn the entire tort reform movement. The movement is a favorite talking point for Republican candidates.
“Using her office to routinely slam lawyers who represent truly injured and powerless victims, all the while planning to file her own lawsuit, makes a mockery of the entire tort reform movement,” Kabateck said.
Diane Harkey is also memorialized in the Ripoff Report forever: see it here. Kabateck and others should have checked the Orange County Superior Court’s website, there is a ton of stuff there.
In late 2014, while preparing to enter her next office (the BOE), the humiliation of a wage garnishment hung over her head, we will pick up there as our Diane Harkey Series Continues on our way to the BOE trainwreck of the mid 2010’s.
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