Gov. Cuomo's ex wife Kerry Kennedy in $40 million anti-oil deal
Governor Andrew Cuomo's (D-NY) ex-wife Kerry Kennedy, daughter of Robert F. Kennedy, stands to make up to $40 million while promoting a ridiculous $18 billion judgment from an Ecuadoran court against Chevron by indigenous peoples. That case, where the US judge hearing Chevron's countersuit stated that much of the evidence presented in Ecuador was "fraudulent," has been a windfall for western environmental groups who gleefully pounced on the opportuntity to politicize a case that never should have gone to trial.
The human-rights activist penned opinion pieces and lobbied officials to voice her outrage at the damage oil companies have caused to the town of Lago Agrio, where 1,700 square miles of rain forest have been destroyed and people sickened.
What Kennedy has never mentioned during her campaign is that she is being paid handsomely for her seemingly selfless advocacy.
Kennedy, 52, was secretly hired as a "public-relations consultant" by the lawyer representing the Ecuadoreans in an $18 billion lawsuit against Chevron, according to court documents.
Cashing in on her respected family name and legacy, Kennedy raked in tens of thousands of dollars and was given a 0.25 percent stake - worth as much as $40 million - if the $18 billion judgment handed down by an Ecuadorean judge is ultimately upheld. (Chevron has not yet paid pending its countersuit in Manhattan federal court.)
Kennedy was paid a flat $50,000 by lead attorney Steven Donziger on Feb. 22, 2010, bank statements made public in the case show.
She was set to pull down an additional $10,000 per month, according to a September 2010 draft budget by the law firm. And she was to get another $40,000 in expenses in June 2010, according to an invoice from Donziger.
But being a hired shill didn't stop Kennedy from presenting herself as a crusader with only a personal interest and familial duty to Ecuador's indigenous masses.
Chevron acquired the field when they bought Texaco back in 1993 and spent $40 million on cleanup that was approved by the Ecuador government. Then environmentalists got involved and sued Chevron for tens of billions of dollars while doctoring up a phony environmental report that the Ecuadoran court used as "evidence" against Chevron.
Chevron has countersued charging fraud and RICO violations because the environmental groups conspired together to extort settlement money from Chevron. The US judge has accepted most of Chevron's claims, as this article from a year ago explains:
A lawsuit in Ecuador claiming $113 billion in damages against the Bay Area oil company Chevron has been built on the drafting of fraudulent scientific reports and manipulation of the Latin American country's corruptible judicial system.
Astonishingly, the U.S. trial lawyer and his team suing Chevron are now on record acknowledging these schemes. Chevron's aggressive legal defense has introduced hundreds of thousands of pages of damning documents into court proceedings around the United States, as well of outtakes from a documentary on the suit, "Crude," in which the principles speak openly about their strategies.
"You know, this is Ecuador," Steven Donziger, the New York City attorney who has led the legal campaign against Chevron, explains in one "Crude" outtake. "You can say whatever you want and at the end of the day, there's a thousand people around the courthouse, you're going to get what you want. Sorry, but it's true."
"At the end of the day, this is all for the court, just a bunch of smoke and mirrors and bulls---," Donziger tells visiting technical consultants. "It really is. We have enough, to get money, to win."
Even as environmental activists continue to cheer the attacks against the San Ramon-based oil giant, the so-called Lago Agrio litigation is collapsing from the plaintiffs' incriminating admissions. A federal judge in Manhattan this week is weighing Chevron's RICO suit that charges the U.S. and Ecuadorean lawyers, activists and consultants conspired to extort a settlement from the company.
Central to the arguments from Chevron's attorneys is this contention: When an Ecuadorean court called for a "global assessment" of damages by a supposedly independent scientific expert, the plaintiffs arranged his appointment, paid him, and then had their own U.S. consultants actually write the report.
This is the case that Kennedy is boosting with her paid advocacy. She is just one more cog in a gigantic fraud machine that is seeking to extort cash from a deep pocketed defendant.