Friday, October 31, 2008
SCANDAL (Part 2)... UNMASKING A CON ARTIST: Connie Scott & CALA
Lots of people trusted Connie Scott, when they heard she was appointed Executive Director of Bay Area Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (or “CALA” for short) about ten years ago. The media courted her as if she was a valid activist and unbiased person attempting to address the problems associated with lawsuit abuse. She claimed that lawsuit was “out of control.” Many professionals (some relatively honest doctors and businessmen) and even a few civil rights activists embraced her initially and vouched for her despite her lack of credentials and experience. Over the last decade (no one took the time to look into her past) most believed she was legitimate, above board, and uncorrupt.
But the plastic facade that Ms. Scott had managed would be too good to be true. “Canned” lies would be undraped. And what was hidden in the core group of CALA (Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse), which had been camouflaged by Connie Scott for ten years – would be made bare all thanks to The American Legacy Foundation and others scholarly research. The latter research groups conducted objective research into the real aim of the organization led by Connie Scott (and others) known as CALA, for short. The researchers would conclude after exhaustive investigations (visit http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Citizens_Against_Lawsuit_Abuse): “Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse groups (or CALAs) are ‘grassroots’ groups created by industries and businesses to give the appearance of a groundswell of public desire to alter the legal system to make it harder to bring lawsuits for injuries and illnesses caused by hazardous products. A primary funder of CALAs, and tort reform has been cigarette maker Philip Morris.”
CALA (and many other chapter were now emerging throughout the country) had been certified as a non-profit with the Internal Revenue Service. Ms. Scott recently told a local newspaper located in Robstown – The Nueces County Record*Star—that her role in CALA for the last ten years had been “community service.” But her statement would be determined later to be further from the truth.
Ms. Connie – who is now a Republican Candidate for State Representative (trying to unseat incumbent Abel Herrero) -- had been blatantly disingenuous. Non-profit groups (such as CALA – operating under the IRS “non-profit” status system are prohibited from serving as political instruments and are proscribed from channelling monies to political candidates and partisan organizations). El Defenzor would demonstrate embedded inclinations that mirrored into the financial contributions Ms. Scott had channelled to tort-reform candidates and the Republican party.
To illustrate this point, records in Nueces County provided by the Federal Election Commission avowed (which can be found at www.city-data.com and at www.city-data.com/elec2/elec-ROBSTOWN-TX.html) that Ms. Scott had made disingenuous and misleading statements to the press in reference to her non-profit and non-partisan role. A few examples from the citation provided above www.city-data.com are shared below (especially contributions channeled to Senator John Cornyn that is a major voice for the Tort Reform movement and who is currently facing a popular Democrat Rich Noriega who has hinted at the corporate woes trying to manipulate the political process).
Please review the records below provided by the Federal Election Commission that mirror Ms. Scott’s partisan proclivities:
CONNIE SCOTT (H & S Construction/Construction), (Zip code: 78380) $250 to REPUBLICAN PARTY OF TEXAS on 01/23/08
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $600 to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 05/31/07
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $60] to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 05/31/07
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $800 to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 05/31/07
CONNIE SCOTT (Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse/Exec), (Zip code: 78380) $2000 to ALAMO PAC on 02/08/08
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $1700 to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 08/31/06
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $1800 to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 08/31/06
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $170] to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 08/31/06
CONNIE SCOTT (CITIZENS AGAINST LAWSUIT ABUSE/EXEC), (Zip code: 78380) $2000 to TEXANS FOR SENATOR JOHN CORNYN INC on 11/04/05
Shocking? This (in retrospect) seems but a small glimpse at a more alarming plot.
It would be unveiled later – after an exhaustive inquiry into the birth of CALA -- the messy details of the underhanded deals. CALAS (and their bankrollers) have just been unmasked in a new report by the Center for Justice & Democracy and Public Citizen. The report explains how CALAs funnelled money from big business — giants like Philip Morris, Dow Chemical, Exxon, General Electric, Aetna, Geico and Nationwide — to support covert agendas.
Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) that has been operating as a non-profit organization for all these years yet now due to objective data know it is functioning more as a Political Action Committee. This organization (according to a book entitled CLOSING THE COURTROOM DOORS) claim the CALA movement began as an anti-Mexican movement in the Rio Grande valley.
The first CALA organization emerged after two Mexican undocumented were calculatedly burned in a field by South Texas vigilantes in the late 1980s. This event is well documented in the book entitled CLOSING THE COURTROOM DOOR by author Stephanie Mencimer (an investigative reporter for the Washington Post and staff writer for Legal times). She writes “As they (the two Mexicans) attempted to cross the field, employees of the Rio Grande Valley Sugar Growers Mill purportedly saw the men and lit the field on fire. Both men were horribly burned. Two Weeks later, one died. The ensuing lawsuit revealed a history of similar incidents … The Sugar Growers Cooperative settled the suit for $8 million” (page 40).
After that the employers of the Sugarcane company linked with other anti-immigrant and anti-minority groups to fuel a movement that was set into action that was initially known as “LAWSUIT ABUSE BY MEXICANS.”
After the award cited earlier given by a court to the victims of Mexican families, two other workers (would join together) and file yet another suit against the Sugarcane Coop. They had been wrongly fired from their jobs merely for applying for Workmen Compensation. According to the noted author Mencimer, the Sugarcane Coop “had a reputation for being tight-fisted with injured workers and their families.” The two workers were awarded $2.5 million by a court.
Many ranchers and vigilante activists began to argue that the Mexican-American population was growing in numbers and threatened their profitable social status quo. They added that now Mexicans and Mexican Americans who felt oppressed could turn to the courthouse to seek retribution. The courts had become receptive to this rung of people in that many of the judges were now Hispanics.
Millions of dollars were raised and placed in a financial “war chest” that would be used to conduct a socio-psychological war via the modern advertisement market. Some media specialists have called the mentioned a means of modern social control. As a specialist for Marketing Company stated “In this modern world no longer are guns permitted to dominate a people: instead the powerful and mighty turn to the next best thing … mind control via the media. A constant battle exists to keep the masses dispirited and demoralized when contemplating a challenge against the powerful.”
With the mega-bucks (a large portion coming from Tobacco Companies that are attempting to create a new generation of young addicts in the region) the anti-Mexican movement was then both organized and fueled and re-imaged by Corporate America. They hired a political and marketing consultant, Jon Opelt, to make it seem that it was both a legitimate movement and organization when it fact it was not.
Opelt would conjure up the concept of CALA in the Valley of South Texas. Civil Rights Leader Ortiz would explain: “The marketing deception of Satan was born in South Texas. A movement of with the venomous sting of the Ku Klux Klan had been redress: not in a hoot, but sold to the public as a legitimate grassroots citizens’ organization.”
Later it would be sparked by the Scotts (referring to the husband and wife team: Mike and Connie Scott) in Nueces County. Civil Rights Leader Ortiz said: “I don’t think they should be known as Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse but for what they are – CON ARTIST (TARGETING) LATINO AMERICANS. Hey it seems like I’m taunting but let’s get real. Any organization that sets off with anti-Mexican fervor is not likely to change it’s collective aim. It is like being so naive to believe that someone that is against abortion will spontaneously come to a sudden enlightenment and begin join a pro-Abortion movement. The odds for that to happen are faint.”
Connie Scott is now running for State Representative against a popular incumbent State Representative Abel Herrero. Three months ago Ms. Scott told the Texas Weekly (see Volume 25, Issue 29, 21 July 2008): “Instead of getting into agendas and things I want to work on, I believe that, if elected, I should work on any issue that affects the people of Nueces County."
Was she being disingenuous? Will she stop advocating for the colossal corporate agenda that has bankrolled her operation in the past? “It is a no brainer,” said Ortiz, Civil Rights Coordinator for American GI Forum and a chapter of LULAC.
Civil Rights leader Ortiz detailed: “The CALA organization in fact was stared by an ex-CEO of American, Energy and Power (then CPL) (that is, Gonzalo Sandoval) in Weslaco, Texas. It has also been discovered that mega-dollar corporations such as tobacco companies such as Phillip Morris and CPL (now American, Energy and Power) and even foreign corporations are channeling dollars to this fake organization – CALA -- to pretend it is a citizens’ group pushing for the legal system to be improved when in fact it is promoting corporate agendas that disarm the working class and the poor and especially minorities from seeking justice in a courtroom. In short, the organization is assisting to keep those in the lower echelons of society disenfranchised, in my opinion.”
Ms. Scott has been the mouthpiece for this sham organization (known as CALA) for ten years – an organization that her husband (Mike Scott – founder of H&S Construction) as a governing board member. This group, it has been criticized, has also been courting state Texas Supreme Court judges and politicians to shield corporate giants and wealthy professionals.
How both many residents and media persons befriended by Connie Scott believed her “canned” lies?
Civil Rights Activist Joe Ortiz explained: “Human beings are social animals, and our first instinct is to trust others. Con men and women, of course, have long known this - their skill consists largely of playing on this weakness, and turning it to their advantage.” He added: “Trust is the baseline. Trustworthiness is the very first thing that we decide about a person, and once we've decided, we do all kinds of elaborate gymnastics to believe in people."
Ortiz concluded: “Connie Scott had functioned as a Con artist for Corporate interest. In my estimation she has done it through deception. Con artists (on the street) lie, cheat and fool people into thinking they've can make or be spared a great deal of money, when they're the ones who'll be making money. If that doesn't work, they'll take advantage of our weaknesses -- loneliness, insecurity, poor health or simple ignorance.”
What does the average con artist look like?
Despite what you may think, he isn't always a shady-looking character. A con artist is an expert at looking however he needs to look. If the con involves banking or investments, the con artist will wear a snappy suit. If it involves home improvement scams, he'll show up wearing well-worn work clothes. If it involves clandestinely working for Corporate entities, it will create a frong group or organization -- hey this is what CALA is all about… A big CON.”.
¬[Final note: howstuffworks.com details what con artist means: “¬You might think you can spot a con artist because he's someone you instinctively ‘don't trust.’ But the term con artist is short for confidence artist -- they gain your confidence just long enough to get their hands on … They can be very charming. A good con artist can even make you believe he is really an old friend you haven't seen in years … Con artists do share certain characteristics, however. Even the best con can only go on for so long before people start getting suspicious. For that reason, con artists tend to move frequently – hey or even run for political office … It would be impossible to catalogue every con, because con artists are inventive. While many cons are simply variations on ones that are hundreds of years old, new technologies and laws give con artists the opportunity to create original scams. Many cons tend to fall into a few general categories, however: street cons, business cons, Internet cons, loan cons and home improvement cons.”]