Turkey Must Present Defense by August 19 in Adana Land Suit
Posted 15 August 2011 - 11:28 AM
18:09, August 15, 2011
A Los Angeles Federal District Court has given Ankara until August 19 to present its case in a suit brought by Armenians seeking compensation for lands that once belonged to their ancestors and subsequently used for the Incirlik Air Base .
The base is located five miles from the city of Adana on the Mediterranean Sea Coast. The U.S. Air Force and the Turkish Air Force are the primary users of the base.
In December 2010, Yeghiayan filed a suit against the Turkish government and two Turkish banks, the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey and Ziraat Bankası, for seized Armenian assets seized in the region of Adana.
The plaintiffs are demanding $63.9 million dollars as compensation for the 49.5 hectares of property seized during the 1915 Genocide.
Posted 15 August 2011 - 11:29 AM
Posted 15 August 2011 - 11:34 AM
yev iys pastaban iyn mardn e ov arden isk kaskatsanqneri tak a
"hey sued Vartkes Yeghiayan, Rita Mahdessian, the Center for Armenian
Remembrance aka Conservatoire de la Memoire Armenienne, and Yeghiyian
Geragos and Kabateck claim that Yeghiayan "created a sham charity as
a means by which he could funnel monies for his own personal charity
Yeghiayan created the Center for Armenian Remembrance in 2005, after
a settlement with the New York Life Insurance Company, "to defraud
class members, the court and the Armenian community," according to
Posted 15 August 2011 - 11:36 AM
12:22, August 13, 2011
LOS ANGELES, CA. -- A U.S. federal district court in Los Angeles handed Armenian plaintiffs an early victory in what will surely be a difficult legal battle over reparations for land seized from Armenians in Turkey during the Armenian Genocide (Alex Bakalian et. al vs. Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank of Turkey, and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi et. al, Case Number 2:10-CV-09596, December 15, 2010). Nearly eight months after the complaint was filed, the court determined that all three defendants, in a first-of-its-kind lawsuit in the United States, had been lawfully served.
The lawsuit, filed by descendants of Armenian Genocide victims, accuses the defendants of stealing and then profiting from land that was illegally seized during the Armenian Genocide, when the Ottoman Turks drove Armenians from the Adana region of southern Turkey. The property at issue in the lawsuit is currently part of a strategic U.S. airbase in southern Turkey.
Representing the plaintiffs are the Yeghiayan Law Firm in Glendale, Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader, LLP in Los Angeles and Michael Bazyler from Chapman University School of Law in Orange.
The plaintiffs have spent recent months attempting to serve all the defendants, and then to have the court affirm their service efforts. In the August 2 order, the court denied Central Bank of Turkey and Ziraat Bank’s motion to dismiss the complaint for insufficient service of process. The court acknowledged that the plaintiffs presented “credible evidence that their process servers made several attempts to serve the bank defendants at addresses in “New York City… were repeatedly denied access to the buildings and …misdirected as to Ziraat Bank’s actual location.”
The court further found that the banks’ security guards had “engaged in behavior apparently designed to thwart service of process.” The banks did not deny having actual knowledge of the pending lawsuit, and thus the court ordered them to serve a responsive pleading to the complaint by August 19.
The court additionally recognize that the Republic of Turkey had also been recently served with the complaint through diplomatic channels–a lengthy process involving high-level contacts between the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry–and must also file papers responding to the complaint by August 19.
“From the outset, the banks have sought to make it as difficult as possible to litigate this lawsuit,” says Vartkes Yeghiayan with the Yeghiayan Law Firm. “Finally, after months of maneuvering and numerous attempts to evade service, the U.S. federal court has required all three defendants to respond to the Armenians’ complaint.”
Center for Armenian Remembrance
Posted 07 September 2011 - 12:28 PM
Turkish Government Ignores Armenian Property Rights
Lawsuit, Court Enters Default
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.--The Turkish government is now in default after ignoring a lawsuit brought against it and two Turkish banks over reparations for land in southern Turkey seized from Armenians during the Armenian Genocide (Alex Bakalian et. al vs. Republic of Turkey, the Central Bank of Turkey, and T.C. Ziraat Bankasi et. al, Case Number 2:10-CV-09596, December 15, 2010). The default notice was entered on September 1, 2011.
The land in question is currently home to the Incirlik Air Base, which houses the United States 39th Mission Support Group and 39th Medical Group. The Air Base is located near Adana , Turkey .
After refusing to accept service of the lawsuit under governing rules of the 1906 Hague Convention , Turkey was served through U.S. embassy channels on June 20. Service was confirmed and the court was notified. Turkey had 60 days (by August 19) to answer the complaint but did not. The two bank defendants, Central Bank of Turkey and T.C. Ziraat Bank, requested and were given an extension to respond by September 19.
"The U.S. Department of State had sent a diplomatic note to Ankara warning that the country is bound by law to defend against the lawsuit," says Vartkes Yeghiayan, with the Yeghiayan Law Firm and one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. "Choosing to ignore the lawsuit won't make it go away."
The plaintiffs are arguing that their Armenian relatives owned land now occupied by the Incirlik Base. Their complaint includes documents showing legal ownership. When their relatives were forced to flee the then Ottoman Empire , their property was subsequently seized and then sold without their permission.
By refusing to respond, Turkey risks having the court rule against it in absentia. Damages could be as high as $100 million.
Representing the plaintiffs are the Yeghiayan Law Firm in Glendale , Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader, LLP in Los Angeles and Michael Bazyler from Chapman University School of Law in Orange .
Posted 27 January 2017 - 12:25 PM
Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:44 AM
The State Bar of California has recommended a Glendale-based attorney be disbarred after finding her “culpable,” or guilty, in an embezzlement scheme involving funds from a multimillion-dollar settlement relating to the Armenian Genocide, The Glendale News Press reports.
The state bar has asked the California Supreme Court to strip Rita Mahdessian of her ability to practice law in the state after determining there was enough evidence that she had misled a judge, misappropriated funds and committed moral turpitude.
This comes a year after she and her husband Vartkes Yeghiayan were accused of embezzling more than $300,000 of settlement funds from a class-action lawsuit over survivor benefits for descendants of Armenian Genocide victims.
Specifically, in its Aug. 29 recommendation for disbarment, the state bar said Mahdessian misappropriated $30,000 of that $300,000.
The organization said Mahdessian opened an investment account in which she transferred the funds and that the account was opened in her daughter’s name without the daughter’s knowledge or permission.
“[Mahdessian] then continued to maintain control over the funds, about which the daughter had no knowledge until being subpoenaed by the state bar to testify in this matter,” according to bar documents.
Although Mahdessian and her husband have denied any impropriety, state bar officials said there was enough evidence of culpability, or guilt, on Mahdessian’s part to recommend disbarment.
The money was the result of a pair of class-action lawsuits in 2005 against French insurance company AXA and the New York Life Insurance Co. over survivor benefits for descendants of victims of the Armenian Genocide. Mahdessian անդ հեռ հւսբանդ were co-counsels on the case against AXA.
The resulting $20-million settlement was split into two parts; $17.5 million was paid out to members of the class-action suit, while $3 million was set aside for an Unclaimed Benefits Fund, to which nine beneficiaries were named, according to court documents.
Any money left over after paying the main settlement and administrative costs would be transferred into the Unclaimed Benefits Fund, which could then be distributed to charitable nonprofit organizations recommended by the suit’s lawyers — Mahdessian and Yeghiayan.
The organizations were to “advance the charitable interests of the Armenian community,” according to documents from the state bar.
State bar officials said one of the nonprofits, the Center for Armenian Remembrance, was based out of the couple’s Glendale law firm and created three months after the settlement’s approval. A second nonprofit, the Conservatoire de la Memoire Armenienne, was also said to be based out of their office.
According to the state bar, Mahdessian and Yeghiayan requested more than $300,000 for the two nonprofits because of their supposed charitable status. However, according to court records, they were unable to provide any record of charitable activity and failed to disclose their ties to the two organizations.
The state bar said the couple used the funds for personal expenses such as issuing checks to their own law firm and paying law school tuition for their two children.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users