THE REAL STORY BEHIND "SUGAR RAY" LEONARD, BJORN REBNEY, THE FBI & A DEAD DOG!
SUIT CLAIMED FBI USED FOR INTIMIDATION!
With a champion boxer, dead lap dog and alleged FBI misconduct, Seth Ersoff should pitch his story to a studio if it doesnt fly in L.A. Superior Court.
GLIMPSE OF BJORN & RAY VIA COURT RECORDS!
After wallowing in a slush pile of court delays for several years, a suit by Ersoff, a Los Angeles talent manager, is suddenly a hot property for reporters because it exposes a bit of Hollywoods considerable underbelly and the much-publicized case of celebrity private eye Anthony Pellicano. The detective, whos currently under indictment on federal wiretapping charges, doesn’t factor directly into Ersoffs case although Ersoff said last week that the lawyer opposing him in litigation did threaten to sic Pellicano on him.
Ersoffs thoroughly engaging narrative would be as implausible as an episode of “The OC” if one of his adversaries in litigation and former partner Bjorn Rebney didnt back the most absurd aspect: That FBI agents raided Ersoffs house at the behest of a lawyer who wanted to scare some sense into Ersoff.
The story began with a piece of civil litigation involving Ersoff, Rebney and their client, Sugar Ray Leonard.
Leonard, it seems, had a troublesome affair with a woman that came to an abrupt end in 1999 Ã_ and seemed about to generate embarrassing litigation for the boxer, who was trying to rehabilitate his image.
Ersoff and Rebney hired a well-known entertainment lawyer, Michael Plonsker, to help deal with the situation. But, Ersoff said, it didnt take long before he was at odds with Plonsker, Rebney and Leonard. According to Ersoff, they wanted to take an extremely aggressive stance against Leonard’s erstwhile mistress.
The disagreement soon devolved into a full-fledged legal dispute pitting Ersoff against his ex-partner, former client, and Plonsker, then a partner at the L.A. law firm Lavely & Singer.
Plonsker, now a partner with Alschuler Grossman of Stein & Kahan, wouldnt comment on the case last week beyond saying that he’s never hired Anthony Pellicano.
But Ersoff had lots to say, starting with why his story is just now getting out, more than five years after it took place. “It was so crazy that I never really said anything,” he said.
The short version (and trust us, this is the short edition): Ersoff says that after his dispute with Rebney went into high gear, Plonsker embarked on an intimidation campaign that left Ersoff scared, and his wife’s dog dead.
Rebney, Ersoffs adversary in the case wouldnt comment when reached Thursday, but in a court declaration he doesnt disagree with Ersoff’s most serious allegation.
In a conversation about how to deal with Ersoff, Rebney said in a sworn statement, “Plonsker said, my friends at the FBI could set up a sting operation against Seth, have him implicate himself and that should shut him up. Ray Leonard said words to the effect, Plonsker put me in touch with a Special Agent Davidson from the FBI.” Davidson eventually listened in on a conversation between Rebney and Ersoff.
“I was on the phone for about 1 hour 15 minutes, Seth never said anything incriminating. I spoke with Davidson shortly thereafter. Davidson told me what Seth said wasnt good enough for our federal prosecutor to act on,” Rebney said.
The FBI agents still paid a visit to Ersoff, though. And Leonard was right about him being scared. “They scared the life out of my young children and woke me up,” he said. “They accused me of committing a crime. I said, Arrest me,” Ersoff said. But they didnt. “They said were not here to arrest [you]. They were here on a warning mission.” Reached last week, Agent Jim Davidson said hes familiar with the suit, but had no comment.
The case, of course, grows more convoluted, and Ersoff said hes convinced that the dogs death Ã_ by way of a metal spike driven through its head the day after Ersoff sued Rebney, Plonsker and the Alschuler firm Ã_ wasnt coincidental. A judge eventually dismissed the firm from the case, but that decision is on appeal. In the meantime, Ersoff said, hes watching the Pellicano case closely.
“Fortunately, the guy got arrested, and I didnt go away,” he said.
This article was dated March 26, 2006 at www.Law.com at “Cal Law, Californias Legal News Source.” Parties have reportedly settled. Here is the link http://www.law.com/jsp/ca/PubArticleCA.jsp?id=1143466746266
Mr. Sheck writes for The Recorder, a San Francisco based legal newspaper. He can be reached at email@example.com