These two lawsuits follow an earlier lawsuit which had also alleged that CAIR’s fraudulent conduct amounted to racketeering, a federal RICO crime. In that case, the court dismissed the RICO counts concluding that CAIR’s conduct as alleged was fraudulent but not a technical violation of RICO. The plaintiffs in that case have appealed and are awaiting the Circuit Court’s briefing schedule.
The two new federal civil complaints were filed in the federal district court for the District of Columbia on January 6, 2010, and served on January 13, 2010.
Both lawsuits arise out of the same facts. The lawsuits allege that Morris Days, the “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” at the now defunct CAIR MD/VA chapter in Herndon, Virginia, was in fact not an attorney and that he failed to provide legal services for clients who came to CAIR for legal representation. CAIR knew of this fraud and purposefully conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all.
While attorney David Yerushalmi represents the five plaintiffs in these two lawsuits, three of whom are Muslim Americans, the complaints allege that according to CAIR internal documents, there were hundreds of victims of the CAIR fraud scheme.
According to the complaints, CAIR knew or should have known that Days was not a lawyer when it hired him. But, like many criminal organizations, things got worse when CAIR officials were confronted with clear evidence of Days' fraudulent conduct. Rather than come clean and attempt to rectify past wrongs, CAIR conspired with Days to conceal and further the fraud.
To this end, CAIR officials purposefully concealed the truth about Days from their clients, law enforcement, the Virginia and D.C. state bar associations, and the media. When CAIR did get irate calls from clients about Days’ failure to provide competent legal services, CAIR fraudulently deceived their clients about Days’ relationship to CAIR, suggesting he was never actually employed by CAIR, and even concealed the fact that CAIR had fired him once some of the victims began threatening to sue.
"The evidence has long suggested that CAIR is a criminal organization set up by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas to further its aims of stealth Jihad in the U.S.," Mr. Yerushalmi said referring to the fact that CAIR has been named by the federal government as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial. In addition, several of CAIR’s top executives have been convicted of terror-related crimes. As a result, the FBI has publicly announced that it has terminated any outreach activities with the national organization, which bills itself as "America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization."
"As it turns out, CAIR is America's largest Muslim criminal organization whose criminal activities know no bounds," Yerushalmi continued.
"According to the facts as carefully laid out in both complaints," Yerushalmi explained, "CAIR has engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized and because of the CAIR cover-up they still don’t realize it. The fact that CAIR has victimized Muslims and non-Muslims alike demonstrates that CAIR is only looking out for CAIR and its ongoing effort to bilk donors out of millions of dollars of charitable donations thinking they are supporting a legitimate organization."
The complaint also alleges that in addition to covering up the fraud scheme, CAIR forced angry clients who were demanding a return of their legal fees to sign a release that bought the client-victims’ silence by prohibiting them from informing law enforcement or the media about the fraud. According to the agreement, if the “settling” clients said anything to anyone about the fraud scheme, CAIR would be able to sue them for $25,000.
This enforced code of silence left hundreds of CAIR’s victims in the dark such that to this day they have not learned that Days was not an attorney and that he had not filed the legal actions on their behalf for which CAIR publicly claimed credit. Days has since died of a lung complication.
The original RICO complaint now on appeal, filed on behalf of four of the five current plaintiffs, identifies CAIR as a racketeering enterprise under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which is a criminal racketeering statute that allows victims to sue defendants in civil court. In addition to damages, the plaintiffs sought injunctive relief under this and other statutes to shut down CAIR and to prevent the individual defendants from engaging in public interest legal work in the future.
Mr. Yerushalmi, who is also handling the appeal of the RICO claims, believes the chances are good for a reversal: "The judge dismissed the RICO counts but specifically allowed the refiling of the fraud and breach of fiduciary duty claims. We believe that we will win the appeal and will then be permitted also to proceed on the racketeering charges."
While the new lawsuits only name the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network Inc. (dba CAIR), the RICO suit also names Nihad Awad aka Nihad Hammad who serves as executive director of CAIR National; Parvez Ahmed who was the chairman of the board of CAIR National during the relevant time period; Tahra Goraya who was the national director of CAIR but who has since resigned; Khadijah Athman who is the manager of the “civil rights” division of CAIR; and Nadhira al-Khalili, Esq., who is in-house legal counsel for CAIR.
According to the complaint, CAIR’s in-house Washington, D.C.-based attorney Al-Khalili was directly involved in taking the legal files out of the CAIR Virginia office and concealing them in the D.C. office.
Also named as defendants in the RICO complaint are Ibrahim Hooper and Amina Rubin, CAIR's director of communications and coordinator of communications, respectively. According to the complaint, these two were directly responsible for issuing fraudulent press releases about the fraud scheme, thus aiding and abetting the CAIR cover-up.
About David Yerushalmi, Esq. . David Yerushalmi has been practicing law for 25 years. He is a litigator specializing in securities law, public policy relating to national security, and public interest law. Mr. Yerushalmi is licensed and practices in Washington D.C., New York, California, and Arizona and currently serves as General Counsel to the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., one of the nation’s leading national security think tanks founded by former Reagan administration official Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., and has been Of Counsel and Senior Legal Advisor for Policy Affairs to the Institute for Advanced Strategic & Political Studies (Potomac, Maryland) since 1988. For a copy of the two new complaints, download the pdf files above.