After the Cartos and their hired thugs attempted to take over the offices of the LSF/IHR by force on October 15, 1993, LSF brought an action against Carto asking the court to order Carto not do pull a stunt like this again. (For details, see the declaration of Tom Marcellus that was submitted in that suit.)
Carto filed a cross-complaint, alleging among other things that we had not given him back all the personal possessions he had kept at the LSF/IHR offices. Carto, of course, asked not only for items such as pencils and notepads that had been in the office he had used, but also for complete libraries and copies of rare books that probably never existed.
This case went to arbitration, and the arbitrator recommended that each side drop its suit, pay its own costs, and go home. At that time, although we disagreed with the arbitrator that we had a poor chance of winning in court because of some legal technicalities, the cost of prosecuting the suit and the prospect of diminished returns (if any) convinced us to drop the suit. Carto did the same with his cross-complaint.
When you do this, of course, you give up any claims you made in your suit or cross-complaint. So, while we are no longer able to ask for damages arising out of Carto’s failed armed take-over, by the same token Carto can no longer ask for the return of his pencils and scrap paper.
Typically for Carto, however, he became fixated on the junk he had left behind, so he asked me (Greg Raven) about it in deposition, demanding that I return all his possessions. Because I knew that legally we had none of Carto’s possessions (as he had lost them when he failed to pursue his cross-complaint), I thought I’d have a bit of fun with the lunatic, and promised we would return everything that was his — which was, of course, a promise to return nothing. We subsequently informed Carto that we had investigated the matter, and determined that none of the items were his. Carto let this fester for months, and then filed a new suit for these same
possessions, adding a couple of new items to the list, including a rubber boat!
Oddly, instead of learning of this new suit through an attorney or by being served with it in legal fashion, we read in the paper that it had been filed! We could scarcely believe our luck, as we had been attempting to catch up with Carto to serve him with some papers, but he had been lying low. Now that he was appearing as a plaintiff in a lawsuit, he could longer hide from us.
I immediately drove to the courthouse in Santa Ana and obtaining a copy of the filing. We then had our attorney William Hulsy draft a simple response to Carto’s claims and file those with the court in order that we could be said to have
appeared in the case (meaning, that waiting for service by Carto was no longer necessary). We then served Carto through his attorney Brian Urtnowski, which we were entitled to do with Carto as a plaintiff, making our lives much easier.
This forced Carto to respond not only to our
appearance, but also to the service we had effected. As a result, he ran up thousands of dollars in legal fees on a junk lawsuit, which was of great benefit to the LSF/IHR.
On February 20, 1998, in front of Judge Thrasher, Carto agreed to dismiss this case with prejudice if we would return his boxes of crap. However, Carto was called to the stand, and under cross-examination by our attorney, acknowledged that he had brought a weapon to the LSF/IHR offices on October 15, 1993, during his failed take-over attempt. (Although he claimed to have purchased the weapon at a swap meet, would anyone be surprised to learn that he actually stole this gun from the estate of Jack Graham, who also named the IHR in his will? Carto also stole all of this money for his own purposes, with the IHR finding out about it only by accident.)
By this time, his suit had served our purposes, and we certainly didn’t need to store the boxes of nearly worthless materials any longer, so in exchange we offered to return what we had saved to fully and completely resolve the matter.
Note: When we called to tell Carto’s secretary Jean Scott that we were returning the items, she had a panic attack and refused to accept them! Go figure.