Friday, May 25, 2012

We get cc'd on strange letters

Don't ask me why I got a copy of this!

May 25, 2012 

oscar.alcantara@goldbergkohn.com
direct phone: 312.201.3977
direct fax: 312.863.7477

VIA E-MAIL AND CERTIFIED MAIL

Mr. Sevan Muradian
President
North American Chess Association, Inc.
5500 West Touhy Avenue
Suite A
Skokie, Illinois 60077

Brad Rosen, Esq.
Special Legal Counsel
North American Chess Association, Inc.
5500 West Touhy Avenue
Suite A
Skokie, Illinois 60077

Re: Mr. Shiva Maharaj

Dear Messrs. Muradian and Rosen:

We represent Mr. Shiva Maharaj. Reference is made to: (i) the e-mail below from Mr. Brad Rosen, in his capacity as Special Counsel to the North American Chess Association (the "Association"), to Mr. Maharaj dated March 31, 2012; and (ii) the police report filed with the Village of Skokie Police Department on April 10, 2012, and supplemented on April 19, 2012, accusing Mr. Maharaj of criminal trespass to land and disorderly conduct. Because Mr. Rosen signed the e-mail in his capacity as Special Counsel to the Association, we presume that his actions are attributable to the Association, and therefore I am sending this response to the Association as well.

The documents referred to above contain multiple material falsehoods. Mr. Maharaj visited the North Shore Chess Center (the "Center") on March 30, 2012, to look in on one of his students who was competing in a tournament there. After spending approximately fifteen minutes inside the Center, Mr. Maharaj was standing on the lawn outside the Center (which certainly appears to be freely accessible to the public) speaking to a few parents about chess. While standing there, Mr. Maharaj was accosted by Mr. Rosen, who soon started yelling at him and demanding that he leave. As Mr. Maharaj was in the process of leaving, Mr. Rosen ran after him and confronted him again in a highly belligerent and emotional way that was alarming and upsetting not only to my client but to various onlookers. During this outburst, Mr. Rosen was yelling so loudly that Mr. Muradian appeared at the door of the Center and cautioned Mr. Rosen that he could be heard by the children inside the Center.

None of the statements made by Mr. Maharaj at the Center could remotely be described as inflammatory, critical or controversial, let alone "poisonous," as alleged. There were certainly no "disparaging remarks regarding local titled players," as is represented in the Police Report. The only discussion concerning any individual was the length of time that Mr. Jerry Neugarten had been President of Youth Foundation of the Illinois Chess Association. Mr. Rosen's confrontational outburst and conduct were completely out of proportion to anything that was said or done by my client.  Clearly, Mr. Rosen had sought to provoke a confrontation.

Subsequent to this incident, at approximately 12:45 p.m. on March 31, Mr. Maharaj returned briefly to the Center for the purpose of checking in on his student. Upon arriving at the Center, Mr. Maharaj was met by Mr. Muradian, who asked him to leave, and our client immediately did so. At this time, contrary to the representation in the Police Report, Mr. Maharaj was completely unaware of the existence of the e-mail -- sent at approximately 12:26 p.m., less than 20 minutes earlier -- demanding that he stay away from the premises. Mr. Maharaj had not read, opened or even known of the existence of the e-mail when he returned to check on his student (as will be easily demonstrable). The March 31 e-mail represents only one of a series of actions that appear intended to cause injury to Mr. Maharaj. First, Mr. Rosen distributed the e-mail to 12 individuals who are shown as copied on the transmission, and we understand that it was distributed further to an unknown number of other individuals. Second, Mr. Muradian contacted a business associate of Mr. Maharaj and urged him to terminate his dealings with Mr. Maharaj. And third, in the most outrageous action of all, the Police Report was filed.

There is no conceivable basis for the accusation that anything that Mr. Maharaj may have said or done at the Center in response to Mr. Rosen's bullying could remotely rise to the level of criminal conduct. Moreover, the fact that you would cause or permit a police report alleging criminal conduct, and risking a permanent scarring of Mr. Maharaj's reputation, to be filed against him without first conducting even the most elementary diligence to assure yourself that the March 31 e-mail had in fact been opened and read by Mr. Maharaj is astonishing and alarming.

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the statements and actions described above are part of a calculated campaign to discredit Mr. Maharaj and destroy his business reputation. Mr. Maharaj is a highly respected chess teacher with numerous students in Chicago and its suburbs. The course of conduct described above threatens to seriously harm our client's reputation, business and livelihood, and must stop immediately. We demand that you cease and desist from making any further comments concerning Mr. Maharaj, or otherwise seeking to discredit him in the chess community or in any other way. We caution you against any further such misconduct, and will protect Mr. Maharaj's interests to the fullest degree available in the event that you choose to ignore the foregoing caution.

Also, please note that this firm represents Mr. Maharaj in connection with all of the foregoing issues, and Mr. Rosen and any other counsel representing the Association should refrain from having any further contact with Mr. Maharaj outside of my presence.

Very truly yours,
Oscar L. Alcantara

1 comment:

GreenCastle said...

Hmm. I wonder what was in that email. It would be good to post it to balance out the obvious bias in this letter.