CHICAGO (JGL) — If she has her way, Elaine Lehman, a first generation Filipino immigrant, wants to welcome the mainstream sector to join the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, marginalizing the Filipinos and Filipino Americans although this non-for-profit organization was originally conceived to serve as an umbrella organization of, for and by Filipino and Filipino American non-for-profit organizations “promoting economic and socio-political empowerment and cultural heritage of Filipino and Filipino American family values.”
In a motion to stop cold Lehman, Attorney Arcadio “Jun” Joaquin, Jr. asked Judge Sofia H. Hall of the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago, Illinois to reconsider her motion, allowing Lehman to file a third-party intervenor’s complaint about declaratory and injunctive relief against his clients, who make up the majority members of the FACGC Board Lehman calls “splinter group.”
Lehman’s single-handed act is considered an autogolpe, a Spanish word for self-coup or autocoup that left everybody in the dust. It is a form of putsch or coup d’état in which the leader, despite having come to power through legal means, dissolves or renders powerless the legislature, in this case, the FACGC Board, and unlawfully assumes extraordinary powers not granted under normal circumstances.
Judge Hall set the oral argument of the motion of reconsideration on Jan.4 of the New Year at 10:30 a.m. at room 2301 at the Daley Center building in Downtown Chicago and vacated the status hearing of the case set on Dec. 20.
In his motion, Joaquin said, under the Constitution which Lehman created, membership “is open to any person, who subscribes to the purposes of the FACC, without regard to creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, height, weight, physical or mental ability, veteran status, military obligations and marital status.
“The FACC shall be composed of members as specified in the Bylaws. Any person, institution, or other entity as determined by the Board of Directors that supports the purpose of the FACC may be eligible to become a member of the FACC, as specified in the FACC’s policies and procedures.”
“EXPANSION OF MEMBERS EXPANDS HER HUBBY’S BUSINESS”
Joaquin said Lehman’s expansion of the qualification for those applying for FACGC membership beyond the confines of the Filipino and Filipino American community will actually benefit her husband Ari Lehman’s “future entertainment business and make the place a business enterprise.”
Under the Non-For-Profit Law of Illinois, non-for-profit organizations that derive profits from “unrelated business income” (UBTI) are liable to lose their tax-exemption status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Ari Lehman, a 52-year-old New York City native, told this reporter that he first appeared as Jason Voorhees as a child in the Paramount horror film, Friday the 13th. He is a member of punk rock/heavy metal band, First Jason.
Joaquin said the membership provision under Lehman’s Constitution “is in contravention with the plaintiff’s Constitution dated May 20, 2016”, which limited its membership to Filipino American not-for-profit organizations in the State of Illinois in their endeavors of promoting economic and socio-political empowerment, cultural heritage and Filipino American family values in the State of Illinois and throughout the United States, and individual members as may be allowed by the Board.”
Joaquin said that if defendant Lehman is not stopped or enjoined, “the worst is yet to come, and may be too late by then. Plaintiff and the Filipino American community, in general, would like to see that justice is done instead of a travesty of justice.”
In his motion for leave to amend his complaint, Joaquin also added Ari Lehman, past FACC President Alex Gonzales, “alleged Chairman of the Board,” and Robert Mittenthal, “alleged Chair-Elect,” of the Filipino American Council of Greater Chicago, Inc. (FACGC) as co-defendants of Elaine Lehman because “plaintiff came to know that there are other persons who are unlawfully and illegally usurping the authority of the herein plaintiff and the duties and responsibilities of the real, actual, legitimate and lawful members of the Board.”
“COMPLAINT NECESSARY TO AVOID MULTIPLICITY OF SUITS”
Joaquin said his permission from the court to amend his complaint “is necessary to avoid multiplicity of suits.”
At the same time, he filed a motion for reconsideration on the order of Judge Hall on Oct. 17, allowing Lehman to file a “third-party intervenor’s complaint against the majority members of the board for declaratory and injunctive relief.”
In his motion filed on Nov. 28, Joaquin said on Sept. 19, 2017, “this Court after reading the corresponding pleadings and after hearing the oral arguments of the Plaintiff and Petitioner entered an order, denying Petitioner’s Motion to Intervene.”
However, in a complete turnaround, after another oral argument on Oct. 17, Judge Hall reversed herself and granted Plaintiff Lehman “leave (permission) to file an Amended Petition To Intervene” even if the petitioner failed to file “a new or different Petition, which could be considered as Amended Petition.”
“NOTHING COMES FROM NOTHING”
Drawing logic from Roman philosopher Lucretius’ principle, “Ex nihilo nihil fit” (Nothing comes nothing), Joaquin told the Court that because the petitioner did not file “new opposition,” this “plaintiff did not also file a new opposition thereto since there was nothing to rebut.”
Joaquin told the court that the reversal of her own order “with due respect” “may be an error or mistake.”
The Filipino American lawyer said the “primordial issue” in this case against Lehman “was whether she can be ordered to leave the premises of the Rizal Heritage Center or Rizal Community Center and to stop usurping the authority of the officers and members of the Board of Plaintiff, which is the real, actual, lawful, legal and legitimate corporate entity Plaintiff.”
He said Petitioner Lehman cannot intervene if she cannot “show legitimacy and authority as such.
“There was no showing by Petitioner Lehman “not even an iota or scintilla of proof” that she has “legitimacy, capacity, and authority to legally, properly and justifiably reverse, reconsider, overcome or overrule this Court’s Order dated Sept. 19, 2017.”
“NOT WHO CAN BEST SERVE BUT WHO HAS LEGAL AUTHORITY”
Joaquin said another issue which is “noteworthy is not who can best serve the interests of the (Rizal Center) building and the Plaintiff but who has the legal authority to represent the Plaintiff.”
He said “Elaine Lehman, an unknown in the Filipino American community, jobless, and has no lawful residence, practically grabbed the opportunity to serve her motives by, without proper authority, residing in the (Rizal Center) building without rent; closing the building to Filipino Americans, except to her friends, appointing members of the Board without authority, violating the FACGC constitution and by-laws which was amended in 2016.”
He added: Lehman, immediately “appointed herself without authority, as the alleged Registered Agent of the corporation by spreading lies about what was happening inside the building, and, therefore committing fraud, by naming Maharlika Hall as “Dr. Crisostomo Hall,” naming another hall, “Elaine Hall,” creating her own Board of Directors, unlawfully and without authority creating a new Constitution to suit her ulterior motives.”
Aside from asking the Court to reconsider her order dated Oct. 31, 2017, Joaquin also asked the Court to let him hold in abeyance his answer to the Lehman’s complaint “until after this motion is decided.”
She gave respondent Lehman until Dec. 19, 2017, to file her brief in response to the motion for reconsideration. Joaquin is given until Dec. 26 to file his Reply Brief. The Court asked to be provided with courtesy copies of all briefs and relevant pleadings on Dec. 28, seven days before the date of the oral argument.