Rhony Laigo JoelBanderLaw Paul Mendoza Allen Pinoy watchdog investigation unearths architects of bander fictitious sex scandal
PinoyWatchDog.com Investigation Unearths Architects of BanderFictitious Sex ScandalBy Rene Villaroman with PWD Investigative TeamIn 2005, Atty. Joel Bander began representing more than 40 underpaid workers being deniedminimum wage and overtime pay by the owner of Le Vien Homes, Inc. and Taliavi Enterprises,two companies that owned about half-a-dozen board-and-care and rest home facilities for theelderly or mentally disadvantaged in Southern Los Angeles County and Northern OrangeCounty.Immediately after it was known that these 40-odd clients were being represented by Atty.Bander, Superior Court files indicated that Bander began receiving reports of intimidation andharassment from his underpaid clients. In addition, the business owner, Vivian Fermin, allegedlywas using her ability to sponsor immigration petitions as a bargaining chip to try to force thedismissal of the underpaid workers’ lawsuit.Le Vien Homes, Taliavi Enterprises and Vivian Fermin were being represented by Fil-Amattorney. This employer even arranged for another attorney, Scott Glovsky, to represent“retracting” employees. Glovsky would send letters of representation to Bander and then justdismiss the employees’ cases. “This is not the job of a true worker’s advocate,” Bander stated.Beirne Unethically Represented Employer and EmployeesHowever, a different attorney’s office was the one that made the greatest impact: the Law Officeof James P. Beirne. Atty. Bander told PinoyWatchDog.com that in 2006, a Bander client, one ofthe workers that filed the lawsuit, received a call from a Beirne staff member, Lita Brutas,saying, “How can you be suing your employer when they are sponsoring you for your laborcertification?”The anomaly here was that Beirne was representing the workers for their labor certification, buthe was also representing the owners of the business as counsel for the lawsuit, a practice thatis totally unethical. In addition, Ms. Brutas was the same Beirne staff member that purportedlyarranged successive labor certification petitions using fake employers in the case of Mr. ReyVillarica (PinoyWatchDog.com, Nov. 26, 2011 issue).“I was pretty incensed by the complete lack of ethics of the Beirne Law Office,” Bander toldPinoyWatchDog.com. “They were co-presenting both the employer and employee. Such a tacticwas way beyond ethical bounds.”Balita Media Owns Beirne Law OfficeBander recalls that when he recounted the incident to a prominent Filipino-American he wasimmediately informed, “Don’t you know that Balita newspaper is the real owner of that lawoffice? Beirne does not own the law office. He is not in charge. It is owned by the newspaperowners, Anthony Allen and Luchie Mendoza. It is an open secret in the Filipino community.”In retrospect, Bander had no idea how true that was. But it made sense; any ethically managedlaw firm would not call a client co-represented with an employer and threaten them, in essence,choosing one client – the one with more money – over the other.
The Alleged PerpetratorThis dispute raged on, with false declarations of scared employees tendered to the court byAttorney Glovsky and the Fil-Am attorney. That situation has made those employees no longerinterested in the tens of thousands of dollars of settlements; they just wanted to forgeteverything. PinoyWatchDog.com does not have information whether those two lawyers wereaware that Beirne was representing both employer and employees.But, Vivian Fermin, Balita Media, Beirne Law Office and its non-lawyer owners, Anthony Allenand Luchie Mendoza-Allen, still were not satisfied. As shown in an accompanying story “HowBander’s Enemies Set Him Up for Fake Sex Scandal”, PinoyWatchDog.com’s investigation hasdetermined that it was Vivian Fermin who was behind Myrna Tiu’s planning of the fictitious‘Christina San Jose’ to malign Bander because he was so successfully representing Fermin’sworkers who were denied their rightful wages.The PinoyWatchDog.com Investigative Team has spoken with the confidential investigator hiredby Bander to investigate Myrna Tiu, who actually used her real name in her communicationswith Bander and his staff in Manila.Court filings in Manila contain detailed text message exchanges between former Bander staffer,Lotis Rosario, now a leading clerk at the Philippine Supreme Court, and a purported brother ofthe fictitious ‘San Jose’ seeking money to reveal was behind the setup, asked if Bander is
staying in the Discovery Suites in Ortigas. “Hardly anyone knew where I was staying when Iwent to Manila, for security concerns. I am still that way,” Bander said. “I am still cannot be sureof Balita Media’s plans to harm me.”When PinoyWatchDog.com asked the investigator how could this person know where Banderwas staying then? He responded, “I learned that the brother of a Le Vein homes staff memberwas the night manager of Discovery Suites. It was a coincidence. That is how Fermin knewwhere Bander used to stay. I could not find any other reason this low-life trying to extort moneyfrom Bander because Fermin didn’t pay them to know where he was staying.”The investigator reported: “I personally called Myrna Tiu from the cell phone number she hadprovided Bander’s assistant. She admitted knowing Vivian Fermin. But once I asked more shehung up the phone.” Digging further, the investigator tracked Tiu to a small agricultural bank inLucena, Lagua, where he had some good connections. He found the bank president who waslivid about being asked about Tiu, stating “she swindled us for about a million pesos using falsereal estate documents as collateral.”During 2006 Bander remained quiet regarding this fake criminal matter, waiting for theinvestigation and criminal process to play out. However, Fermin and Balita were just feelinguneasy because they weren’t getting any reaction from Bander. On September 25, 2006, thenBalita Editor James Saspa, wrote Bander’s office seeking comment on the fake charges, evenone reported in the newspaper purportedly existing in Taguig that did not exist at all. It has beenreported that Saspa was an illegal alien at the time he was Balita’s Editor, and they also usedan immigration petition over his head to make him work beyond the prescribed legal number ofhours at low wages.“I told them if they reported it I would sue for defamation,” Bander revealed. No story ever ran inBalita until Rhony Laigo traveled to Manila just to arrange for a Hold Detention Order from theformer corrupt Arroyo administration. Laigo took this action after Bander exposed Balita Media’spattern of false advertising regarding the true circulation figures of Balita. But the Bander versusBalita/Beirne dispute all started when Beirne’s law firm started calling Bander’s clients to havethem withdraw from righteous wage claims.PinoyWatchDog.com will continue to inform the community about the roots of this dispute, andawait Mr. Rhony Laigo’s unsubstantiated denials without facts; his made up stories andmaniacal rants.