Daily Archives: June 6, 2016

Zillow to pay $130M to settle lawsuit with Move over alleged trade secret theft

One of the most contentious battles in history of online real estate is now over, asZillow announced Monday that it reached a settlement with Move over allegations of trade secret theft levied against two high-level executives at Zillow who once plied their craft at Move.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Zillow will pay Move, which operates Realtor.com for the National Association of Realtors and owned by News Corp, a total of $130 million to settle allegations that Errol Samuelson, who was once Move’s chief strategy officer, stole trade secrets and proprietary information from Move before joining Zillow in 2013.

The settlement amount is far less than Move initially wanted, as Move originally claimed that Zillow owed the company $2 billion in damages.

Read on.

Media Executives See Huge Payday Fueled by Donald Trump’s Campaign

EARLY ON, MEDIA executives in charge of much of America’s broadcasting industry were worried that Donald Trump, who eschewed traditional political advertising, might dampen prospects for a high-spending campaign season.

That fear is gone.

The Intercept reviewed the past six months of investor earnings calls and presentations of major media companies. In the first few months of this year, some executives expressed concern that Trump might continue to rely on his extraordinary free media exposure and spend less money than traditional Republican candidates. But over the last two months, the concern has dissipated and transformed into excitement that this year is on track to be the most expensive election in history.

In reviewing the transcripts, we observed no discussions during any of the calls about the media’s role in creating the Trump phenomenon, or the media’s duty to present voters with the information necessary to make informed decisions.

Read on.

‘Missing Pants’ Judge’s $67M ‘Crusade’ May Net Suspension

And I remember this case years ago. That judge needs to lose his license permanently..

Law360, New York (June 6, 2016, 4:08 PM ET) — A former administrative law judge who sued his dry cleaner for $67 million over a pair of lost pants should face a 30-day suspension if he doesn’t comply with the terms of a disciplinary probation, a D.C. conduct committee recommended Friday.

An ad hoc hearing committee for the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Board on Professional Responsibility recommended that the board find Roy L. Pearson Jr. violated two D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct for conduct in connection to his suit against his dry cleaner over…

Source: Law360

Media is dollar late on reporting Trump U paying off two state AGs

The Associated Press reported Thursday that attorney generals from Texas and Florida, who dropped investigations against the Trump University received donations from the university. I posted that story in March and in addition that Trump Foundation said that it made an error in 2013 donation to political organization associated to Florida AG Bondi.

And that was a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibilities and Ethics in Washington:

The Donald J. Trump Foundation appears to have illegally given $25,000 to a political organization associated with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while her office was reportedly considering joining a lawsuit involving Trump University, and to have failed to disclose the contribution in its tax return, according to an IRS complaint filed today by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

According to Florida campaign finance records, in September 2013 the Trump Foundation contributed $25,000 to And Justice for All, a section 527 political organization.  Section 501(c)(3) private foundations like the Trump Foundation, however, are prohibited from all political activity, including contributing to political organizations.  Despite making the political contribution, on its tax forms, the Trump Foundation claimed it did not transfer any money to a 527 organization or engage in any political activity and failed to report the contribution to And Justice for All.

“The rules are clear: a tax-exempt charitable foundation cannot support a political group,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said.  “The apparent failure to tell the IRS about this political activity makes matters worse and is something we’ve seen too many organizations doing lately.”

Lastly, according to one of the lawsuits, Attorneys General in 11 states and the DOJ received numerous complaints against Trump University.

From Cohen vs. Trump complaint:

Governmental Investigations into Trump University

  1. Attorneys General in 11 states and the U.S. Department of Justice received numerous complaints against Defendant and Trump University, and at least two Attorneys General launched investigations. In January 2010, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office launched a probe of Defendant and Trump University’s advertising and business practices after getting two dozen complaints. Abbott said he was probing “possibly deceptive trade practices” dating back to 2008. Abbott’s investigation resulted in Defendant’s ultimate suspension of all Live Events in Texas in May 2010.

NY Fed Bank heist warning?


Yahoo News broke a story on Sunday revealing that the Federal Reserve Bank of New York — which was the victim of a spectacular $81 million heist in February — had actually blocked 35 requests for money transfers earlier on the day of the heist, but then approved five of those transfers when they were resubmitted later.

Of course we asked the Fed why the repetition of the names did not create red flags,” the source said. “They are saying they rejected 35 badly submitted ones,” the source said. But when the requests were resubmitted, they “paid five of them and stopped 30. Why? They can give no answer.” 

Read the whole story here.


Goldman Sachs attracted more than a quarter of a million applications from students and graduates for jobs this summer, suggesting fears of a ‘brain drain’ in the sector may be exaggerated as banks introduce more employee-friendly policies.

The number of applications from students and graduates globally have risen more than 40 per cent since 2012, according to figures provided to the Financial Times. The data can include more than oneapplication per individual.

The numbers show Goldman Sachs is attracting far more would-be bankers than they could ever employ. The trend is mirrored at several other large banks such as JPMorgan, which said it was hiring only 2 per cent of graduate applicants to its investment banking division, and Citigroup, where the proportion of would-be analysts and associates hired in its global investment banking division was 2.7 per cent.

Several — though not all — other banks also say they are seeing higher application levels and improved retention rates despite the battering the industry’s reputation has taken for everything from long hoursto causing a crisis that inflicted poverty on a generation.

Check out the rest here…

Exclusive: Snowden Tried to Tell NSA About Surveillance Concerns, Documents Reveal

By Jason Leopold, Marcy Wheeler, and Ky Henderson

On the morning of May 29, 2014, an overcast Thursday in Washington, DC, the general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Robert Litt, wrote an email to high-level officials at the National Security Agency and the White House.

The topic: what to do about Edward Snowden.

Snowden’s leaks had first come to light the previous June, when the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and the Washington Post’s Barton Gellman published stories based on highly classified documents provided to them by the former NSA contractor. Now Snowden, who had been demonized by the NSA and the Obama administration for the past year, was publicly claiming something that set off alarm bells at the agency: Before he leaked the documents, Snowden said, he had repeatedly attempted to raise his concerns inside the NSA about its surveillance of US citizens — and the agency had done nothing.

Some on the email thread, such as Rajesh De, the NSA’s general counsel, advocated for the public release of a Snowden email from April 2013 in which the former NSA contractor asked questions about the “interpretation of legal authorities” related to the agency’s surveillance programs. It was the only evidence the agency found that even came close to verifying Snowden’s assertions, and De believed it was weak enough to call Snowden’s credibility into question and put the NSA in the clear.

Litt disagreed. “I’m not sure that releasing the email will necessarily prove him a liar,” Litt wrote to Caitlin Hayden, then the White House National Security Council spokesperson, along with De and other officials. “It is, I could argue, technically true that [Snowden’s] email… ‘rais[ed] concerns about the NSA’s interpretation of its legal authorities.’ As I recall, the email essentially questions a document that Snowden interpreted as claiming that Executive Orders were on a par with statutes. While that is surely not raising the kind of questions that Snowden is trying to suggest he raised, neither does it seem to me that that email is a home run refutation.”

Within two hours, however, Litt reversed his position, and later that day, the email was released, accompanied by comment from NSA spokesperson Marci Green Miller: “The email did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse.”

Five days later, another email was sent — this one addressed to NSA director Mike Rogers and copied to 31 other people and one listserv. In it, a senior NSA official apologized to Rogers for not providing him and others with all the details about Snowden’s communications with NSA officials regarding his concerns over surveillance.

The NSA, it seemed, had not told the public the whole story about Snowden’s contacts with oversight authorities before he became the most celebrated and vilified whistleblower in US history.

Hundreds of internal NSA documents, declassified and released to VICE News in response to our long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, reveal now for the first time that not only was the truth about the “single email” more complex and nuanced than the NSA disclosed to the public, but that Snowden had a face-to-face interaction with one of the people involved in responding to that email. The documents, made up of emails, talking points, and various records — many of them heavily redacted — contain insight into the NSA’s interaction with the media, new details about Snowden’s work, and an extraordinary behind-the-scenes look at the efforts by the NSA, the White House, and US Senator Dianne Feinstein to discredit Snowden.

The trove of more than 800 pages [pdf at the end of this story], along with several interviews conducted by VICE News, offer unprecedented insight into the NSA during this time of crisis within the agency. And they call into question aspects of the US government’s long-running narrative about Snowden’s time at the NSA.

* * *

The Obama administration spent the spring of 2014 engaged in highly classified talks centered around three events: Snowden’s testimony to European Parliament in March, the release of a 20,000-word April 2014 Vanity Fair story about Snowden, and his first US television interview, with NBC News’s Brian Williams, in May.

Read on.