THIS TIME: That Nagging Question About TJ Cox’s Integrity: Has It Been Answered by An Arbitrator’s Finding That He Lied Under Oath?

First, was there a “spin”?  Did Mr. Cox try to lead us to believe it was his money when he said, on his website, that he invested $65 million in businesses? That amount was steered by Mr. Cox to developers, earning for himself, a small percentage. The $65 million was never his money.

Then, did he “fib”? Did he tell a LA Times reporter that he had registered to vote in the district and was going to move his family into the “home” he listed as his residence in the district? That’s what she wrote.  But, the listed “home” is a one-bedroom apartment, way too small for his family.

Finally, was there was a “lie”? We have come across court documents about an arbitration in which Mr. Cox testified under oath. In his written decision, the retired judge who acted as arbitrator did not mince words.

He said Mr. Cox testified “untruthfully”, and “falsely” about material facts.

The background, as retired Superior Court Judge Warren Conkin saw it: A Limited Partnership controlled by Mr. Cox sold storage units to another unrelated company. The units had been constructed by a corporation also controlled by Mr. Cox.

Roof leaks in some of the units were apparently caused by the installation of pre-fabricated structural steel columns or posts which were too long, as ordered.

At page 4, paragraph 29 Judge Conkin finds: “T.J. Cox testified untruthfully that he observed Tony’s Construction cutting the front columns down by 1-1 ½ ‘. The later evidence provided by both Claimant’s and Respondent’s experts established that the posts were not cut, and were installed as delivered.” (emphasis added)

The buyers claimed that the seller had given a warranty and the argument against that was that Mr. Cox did not have knowledge of the defect.

Judge Conkin dealt with that by saying that Mr. Cox “falsely testified” about the post installation and goes on to say at page 6, paragraph 42: “Finding the need to so testify raises a reasonable inference that Cox knew the posts were improperly installed…” (emphasis added)

In other words, Mr. Cox testified to having seen something which had not happened.

The arbitration award of $1,338,953.52 was confirmed as a Final Judgment in that amount On October 1, 2012.

But, the drama continued as the buyer tried to have Mr. Cox give a statement under oath about assets of his companies. After Mr. Cox failed to attend a session, one judge found his absence to be cause for issuance of a bench warrant.

He set bail at $1.3million.

Mr. Cox appeared for questioning and the warrant was recalled. The buyer then obtained a writ of execution and levied on property in Fresno. The court file does not reflect whether or not the judgment was satisfied.

The words used by Judge Conkin in his decision were unusually harsh. Sometimes an arbitrator will say something like “I find X’s testimony more credible than Y’s”; or that “X was mistaken”. He was unequivocal about Mr. Cox’s testimony.

Judge Conkin is no lightweight.  A Boalt Hall graduate, he retired from the Superior Court in San Luis Obispo County and since 1996 has served as an independent neutral. About a third of his cases are construction contract, or construction defect actions.

TAKEAWAY: Why are we talking about this now? All the information in this piece comes from records which are available to anyone willing to dig for them, friend or foe. Are the issues raised best dealt with before the endorsements, or the primary, or after?

 

(Sources include: Fresno County Superior Court Case Nos. 12CECG-1119 and 09CECG02451; the American Arbitration Association Construction Industry Arbitration Tribunal File Number 72110Y0014810LGB (Award dated 2-29-12) and LA Times of July 5, 2017, story by Sarah D. Wire)

 

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