Saturday, November 24, 2007

September 2007 credit card currency conversion case

September 10, 2007


The Honorable William H. Pauley, III
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
United States Courthouse
500 Pearl Street
New York, New York 10007-1581

In re Currency Conversion Fee Litigation

Dear Judge Pauley,

I received notice that I am a member of the class in this litigation
as a credit card holder who used his credit card in foreign
transactions between 1996 and 2006 and paid currency conversion fees
of 1% to 3% that allegedly were collusively imposed by credit card
companies and banks and hidden from credit card users such as myself.

I have opted out of participating in the $336,000,000 settlement fund
on general principles. I am writing this letter to take the
opportunity to state to you, as the judge in the litigation, what my
“general principles” are which have led me to opt out.

Information and commercial transactions in the American economy

Most adult Americans are participants in our country’s economy, both
on the commercial side of selling goods or services for recompense
and also on the consumer side of buying them for use personally or in
a business.

Frequently the seller of a product is much more knowledgeable than the
buyer about the product, the marketplace in which it is sold, and
other factors related to costs, price and quality affecting the
product. This superior knowledge can be and is frequently used
advantageously by sellers in conducting their business.

Perhaps in an ideal economy all buyers and sellers would have equal
knowledge and information about products and markets in which they
make purchases and sales.

For example, perhaps every hospital patient should be able to know
what the hospital’s costs are for each aspirin consumed by the
patient, what the patient is charged for each aspirin, what other
hospitals charge for aspirin for comparison purposes, how much each
doctor and nurse who participates in an operation is paid on an
hourly basis, how many doctors and nurses are present, the extent to
which all such doctors and nurses are “really” needed, and what other
hospitals charge for the same procedure, etc.

Similar things could be said about any product or service that is
bought and sold. Take the legal services provided by the plaintiffs’
lawyers in this litigation. They are claiming legal fees and other
expenses in excess of $90,000,000. Is there any place I can go to
look at their time records to find out who did what, and what took
how long to do, and whether it was all necessary work, in order to
justify such high amounts in legal fees? Or how about photocopying
charges? Can I find out the per page charges, and whether
alternative lower photocopying charges could have been availed of,
and whether all the photocopying was really necessary?

Buyer protections; big and small amounts

The disparity of knowledge and information between sellers and buyers
can exist in various contexts, and various things may aid in the
protection of buyers.

If I am a buyer and the amount involved is significant, and if there
is a competitive market place, say in the purchase of a car, I can
expend signifciant time and effort to get information in order to try
not to be taken advantage of in the making of my purchase, and, if I
am not satisfied with one prospective seller, I can try a different

If the amount involved is small, it may not be worth my while to
investigate and to do comparison shopping. The currency conversion
fee is a good example. I have looked at some of my old credit card
statements and agreements. On an older statement, I saw only the
conversion rate stated. In a more recent card agreement from 2002,
the 3% conversion fee is indicated. In a 2005 statement I see a
separately stated foreign transaction purchase finance charge of
$.74. When I have traveled abroad, I have noted the “spreads” on
conversion between US dollars and a foreign currency. Also, I have
spent time “comparison shopping” of foreign exchange shops to try to
find the best exchange rate available. I have at times made choices
among carrying cash abroad, using travelers checks and using my
credit card.

Where amounts are small for individual buyers, but there are many,
many buyes, and all their small amounts add up to a big amount, it
can be very good and beneficial if someone can represent the
interests of the buyers in a collective way. For example, if I am a
shareholder in a corporation, and the corporation gives its president
a $20,000,000 pay raise, and my share of the $20,000,000 is only five
dollars, it could be good and beneficial if, say, a pension fund that
owns lots of shares for the benefit of many individuals and whose
total share is, say, $2,000,000, to take steps to try to object to the
pay raise, including perhaps finding another president for the
company. This principle would extend to yourself, Your Honor, in
this litigation, and your determining for lthe benefit of the class
whether $90,000,000 in plaintiffs’ attorneys fees is an amount
reasonably required to obtain the needed legal services, or whether
other attorneys could have been gotten to perform the services in
question for much less. How good a job has been done in this case to
protect the interests of the class members who will each be paying a
very small amount but which small amounts add up to a very, very large

Legal protections; corporate wrongdoing

Particularly in situations where amounts involved are small, and a
single person does not have an incentive to spend time and effort
investigating and doing comparison shopping, my “general principles”
encompass that it is a proper role for our democratically elected
lawmakers to pass laws to try to provide protections to buyers.
These should be reasonable and fairly balanced laws of general
applicability that will take account that most of the citizenry
functions on both sides as sellers and buyers in the economy, and, if
as a buyer, we would like a certain protection, we need to be willing
to allow a similar protection in those situations where we are on the
selling side.

For example, if we think there should be available to patients the
information from hospitals described above, it may be similarly
appropriate to requires judges to keep records of how much time they
spend performing judicial functions during the year and to disclose
that to lawmakers and the public to better inform their decisions
about how much judges should be paid. Similarly, if a foreign
exchange shop has information that a different foreign exchange shop
has a better rate, it could be appropriate to consider a law that
requires the first shop to tell any prospective customer that there is
a better rate elsewhere. In other words, if you are only talking
about the other guy, it is easy enough to say the other guy needs to
disclose information, but, if the other guy is you, you may not be so
quick off the bat.

Also, under my “general principles,” there is a very significant role
for salaried state attorney generals to enforce consumer protection
laws. There is inherently a degree of discretion involved in the
enforcement of laws, and there needs to be a degree of accountability
to the public, including that it is to be kept in mind that the
public includes people in their capacities both as sellers and as
buyers. Also, there should further be mindfulness that penalties and
liabilities that are imposed may ultimately be borne by innocent
parties who have received no financial benefit. (For example, if a
corporation violated a consumer protection law and obtained a benefit,
a person who later purchases stock and becomes a shareholder may be
entirely innocent in the wrongdoing and have received no benefit, and
yet will be penalized if the corporation has to pay a financial
penalty after the person becomes a shareholder.) Further, under this
accountability, I think the citizenry desires that cost/benefit
principles be applied. State attorney generals have some
accountability to the citizenry, and that is important and good under
my “general principles.”

Further, under my “general principles,” by being salaried, state
attorney generals do not have an inappropriate personal financial
interest that biases them in how they try to enforce the consumer
protection laws. It would be wrong if their compensation was based
on the dollar amount of penalties they are able to get imposed,
because that would create a personal bias to seek the highest
possible penalties when lower penalties or liabilities are fairer and
more reasonable.

Further, under my “general principles,” if there is wrongdoing by a
corporation, that wrongdoing was conceived and implemented by one or
more individuals in the corporation, and it is important that our
society, for deterrent purposes, be assiduous in taking steps to
punish the culpable individuals in some way. In this litigation
$336,000,000 is being required to be paid for alleged wrongdoing. I
respectfully ask Your Honor, are you aware of a single officer or
employee of any of the defendants who has suffered any penalty or
other type of sanction as a result of their participation in
conceiving and implementing this alleged wrongdoing? If that has not
happened, I have very serious qualms about whether the prosecution and
outcome of this litigation is in fact and on balance serving societal

This litigation ill serves societal interests

I believe the prosecution and outcome of this litigation ill serves
societal interests under the “general principles” I have enunciated

The plaintiffs’ lawyers are basically taking upon themselves the job
of enforcing consumer protection laws, but, unlike a state attorney
general, they have a financial incentive that biases them in favor of
a harsher or more onerous result than a salaried state attorney
general who does not have such a bias and who would more reasonably
and fairly consider both sides and the possible general applicability
to other situations of the same standards. The plaintiffs’ lawyers
have no mindfulness that innocent parties who obtained no benefit may
nonetheless get penalized.

A $316,000,000 settlement is being required to be paid for alleged
wrongdoing, and I suspect that not a single employee or officer of the
defendants has suffered or will suffer any penalty or other sanction
as a result of their participation in the alleged wrongdoing. What
lesson is learned from that? They got a good salary and benefits
while conceiving and implementing this alleged wrongdoing, and they
incur no sanctions, and so, why not, as they are laughing their way
to the bank, set off in conceiving and implementing some new
wrongdoing and get paid even more good corporate salaries and
benefits, and let further innocent saps bear the costs and penalties
if that new wrongdoing gets exposed..

This litigation complains about credit card companies and banks
allegedly taking advantage of a situation to skim, in very small
amounts from millions of credit card users, hundreds of millions of
dollars in currency conversion fees. So, then what happens? What
happens is that the plaintiffs’ attorneys are going to skim, in very
small amounts from the same millions of credit card users,
$90,000,000 in attorneys fees, and that is not to mention additional
tens of millions of dollars in attorneys fees to be skimmed by the
lawyers for the defendants from all the shareholders of the credit
card companies and banks they represent. That is truly delicious

You are, of course, the person in the best position to mitigate the
foregoing. While settlements can be a good thing, it is also
important for society and its citizens to know what is wrongdoing and
whether wrongdoing has taken place. If the law fails to do that,
society, including its judges, lawyers and citizens, can lose track
of guidance and standards about what is wrongdoing, and the result
can be mindless and arbitrary transfers and shifting of funds,
frequently between and among equally innocent parties who neither
provided nor otherwise received a benefit. I would think you, as a
judge, would find that very unpalatable. At a minimum, you could
call the attorneys before you and say, “OK, you are alleging this
wrongdoing has taken place. Is anything being done to hold
accountable the individuals who are responsible for it? If not, I am
dubious that society very seriously thinks there has been
wrongdoing.” Your Honor, did you ever do that in this case? Your
Honor, did that thought ever cross your mind even?

I have my opinion about the inefficiency and wastefulness of this
litigation and whether, for society to adequately address the matter
at hand, it is reasonably required that there be a collective
expenditure of $90,000,000 paid for attorney services for the
plaintiffs and similar tens of millions of dollars paid to attorneys
for the defendants? In your opinion, is that the best our society
can do, Your Honor?

As I have indicated, the skimming that is going on by the attorneys
here is at least as reprehensible as the skimming that the credit
card companies and banks are alleged to have perpetrated.

In short, Your Honor, I think you should be ashamed to put your stamp
of approval on these shenanigans.


Robert Shattuck
[my address and telephone number]


Cash said...

Exhibit D - Hon. Justice Pauley & Clerks:

Cooper & Bonas
26255 Bungalow Court
Valencia, California 91355

Today is 03-11-08. First, We thank you for honoring your duty & formally recognizing our objection to Mrrs Lloyd Constaintine, MIchael Hausfeld & Patrick Coughlin’s (PC) application for confirmation of his settlement & his request for an award of attorneys’ fees. We appreciate your looking out for We The People by ordering that I be included on the formal service list.

Second, as an update, at 3:43 P.M on 03-10-08, Mr. PC served me, electronically, with all but the key filing – his opposition to the objectors’ papers. In response, at 6:10 P.M., I asked Mr. PC if he thought it might be a good idea if I thank you for ordering that I be recognized, as both a qualified “interested party” & The Judge Advocate General, which he previously refused to do, in breach of his fiduciary duties. Exactly 58 minutes later, at 19:08 hundred hours, Mr. PC responded to me, verbatim:

Mr. Bonas: It has come to my attention that my earlier e-mail inadvertently did not have attached the … Reply Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Further Support of Motion for:

(1) Final Approval of Class Action Settlement;
(2) Award of Attorneys' Fees; and
(3) Class Representatives' Petition for Incentive Awards.

Third, for the record, I have previously requested from Mr. PC’s team a real simple copy of their lead counsel’s “hourly prices” & breakdown of their total time in the case, not the detailed back up. I have done so by hard copy, not electronic U.S. Postal mail. This information is at Mr. Lead counsel’s finger tips, yet he has shunned my real simple requests, in breach.

Fourth, I note the reality that IF Mr. PC employed correct price protocol, which he impliedly swore to this court that he did, that real simple number includes “costs”, as “expenses” are a cost of doing business, built into ones hourly price, undeniably. Here, I tender, as all Lead Counsel’s are duty bound to produce to the court, my proof that I set my hourly price by the sole correct hourly price tag price protocol:

Ex 300 (My expenses are included in my price- itemized cost of doing business!)

P.C.’s attempted bilking, on top of the “multiplier” is the point I now present as a deeply experienced Niche Complex Judge Advocate General. Some of my CV & samples are attached:

Ex Gates Price Modeling Software - based on income & rivals’ current price intel (IRI)!

In addition to being licensed [as an] attorney in any state or territory of the U.S., all military attorneys undergo specialized training to qualify as judge advocates, allowing them to act as trial or defense counsel at military courts-martial. Specialized training takes place at … military law centers.

Cash said...

Date: 03-15-08

As a follow up relating to all CEO bank felony Credit Card nibbles, by the millions daily, I present the following facts marked on my 03-04-08 Capital 1/Mr. Fairbanks Tax Statement:

Wells Fargo ATM Cash Advance

A) 02-20-08 $300.00 Wells Fargo BA Valencia CA Cash Advance
B) 02-20-08 $2.00 Fee Tax Not based on Cost
C) 02-20-08 $302.00 total

Taxing Finance Charge

A) 25.90% APR $10.63 (Purchases $516.32 balance);
B) 25.90% APR $3.10 (Cash);
C) 34.62% Annual Percentage Rate Applied This Period;

These void nibbles, like the $18 mark over draft ding dong, are extorted, under fraud colors of authority, from millions & millions without representation daily, amount to a flat void penalty or liquidated damage for not breaching, in flat crossing of owed faithful price right protocol, defining the word “competition.” See Beasley on how to count, won by my friend John Lehman, not Regan – on how to count, faithfully! About it a reporter explained, verbatim:

It's not chump change. In court documents connected with their lawsuit filed Wednesday to overturn the city's just-approved ballot measure banning ATM surcharges, BofA said its 188 San Francisco ATMs collect about $245,000 per month from the surcharges. Wells Fargo said its 174 ATMs in the city take in $210,000 monthly. That's annual revenue for the two banks of about $5.5 million a year from ATM surcharges in San Francisco [alone]. BofA and Wells charge noncustomers $1.50 for using their ATMs. In most cases, consumers also have to pay a separate fee to their own bank for using an outside ATM.

Now, here, e.g., in the Valencia region, in is a $2.00 “match” marked, unlike the S.F. regions $1.50 “match,” both of which are expressly tapped a criminal contract by Container, 393 U.S. 333 (1969), in lieu of the “free” service to customers, which costs are 100% covered from a litany of other “nibbles” en mass. See my “Zone, Region, Match, Grip, Pod Match” files!

“[D]escribed as a "good source of [extra, free] revenue"-pursuant to a strategy of "maximizing fee [revenue] income."

“In the usual … case, the defendant bears the burden of establishing a pro-competitive justification.

Gary Joseph Bonas II

Cash said...

$725 price mark
On 10-04-07, Mr. Constantine had Mr. Jeffrey I. Shinder swear to this court that the following sticker price set in strict compliance with correct price protocol:

Constantine, Lloyd $47.25 hours $725 (2006)
On 11-14-05 Mr. Constantine had Stacey Anne Mahoney swear to this court that Constantine set his followings sticker price tags in strict compliance with correct price protocol:
Constantine, Lloyd $685 (2005)
Constantine, Lloyd $685 (2004)
Constantine, Lloyd $625 (2003)
On 11-27-2007 Mr. Constantine contracted with Robin M. Wilcox to swear the following sticker price tags (& representations) were set in strict compliance with correct price protocol & controlling kinked demand curve economic law, verbatim:

Lead Counsel requests hourly attorney [sticker price tag] rates ranging from $275 (Ankur Kapoor, Esq.’s hourly rate for 2006) to $725 (the hourly rate of Lloyd Constantine, Esq., for 2006), hourly paralegal rates ranging from $110 to $125, and an hourly technological support rate of $185. Case law makes clear that these hourly rates fall at the high end of the billing rate spectrum. See In re Independent Energy Holdings, 2003 WL 22244676, at *9 (partner rates ranging from $650 to $695 and associate rates ranging from $300 to $425 are “high” but “not extraordinary”)….

Now, throughout the years of this litigation, Mr. Constantine forgot to alert this honorable Guardian court of the following real simple correct price protocol rules & controlling Article 3 common law:
Ex A 300 – Correct price protocol (No Research necessary)
Ex B Common Law Void Retainer Contract Price Term;
Ex C Common Law Negligence for all & punitive damages;
Ex D Common law Price Fraud – Fraud; &
Ex E False Claims Act – Whistle-blowing & 15%-25% of all owed (Sherman)

Now, the great part about this is how Mrrs. Constantine, Hausfeld, Lief & Coughlin uniformly enter a contract to allocate ordered multipliers in contempt of court pro-rata directives to come up even more, in contempt, on the down low. That reality shall be the subject of the further briefing, so you know! See attached.

Cash said...

Date: 03-12-08

Re: In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation
Master File no. m21-95; MDL No. 1409

Greetings honorable Clerk McMahon:

We write direct to you in connection with owed disclosures intentionally omitted, in breach, by both lead defense & plaintiff’s counsel in our above referenced action. The owed disclosures omitted center on real simple law & real simple fact, of which Judicial notice must be taken, with respect. We present in this semi-formal way due to the sensitive nature of our intel.

First, I thank you for formally recognizing Me as THE KEY private A.G. in connection with this matter. To introduce myself, I present the enclosed CD, containing a lot, incuding Exhibits A1, A2 & A3, my most recent “CV” cover page Niche Comlplex lit field debriefing to my Naval Jag command center in D.C. with short one page Niche “law” cipher patches.

Second, with regard to the lead defense, I alert you to the reality that defense has lied to you about the word “competition” in every instance they have used that word before this honorable court of United integrity. See attached Exhibits A-2, A-3 & C1, C2, C3 & C-4.

Third, with regard to owed disclosure failures by both leads, We present some of the rules pertaining what we call our “Ex Parting” application. See Exhibits B1 (Common Law Court Fraud Elements), B-2 (Ex Parting Papers) & B-3 (Void orders law, pertaining to settlement orders. Marked “D” attached, we highlight some factual & legal bad lead counsel samples.

Fourth, I after a review of this summary first round presentation, We permit this court some time to decide for yourself what We already know: the so called “special master” here is on both leads payroll, by “contract.”

Fifth, owing to the fact that you have entertained the defense in this case under your “gold tasseled flag” military war power jurisdiction, We cite our Jag jurisdiction, verbatim:

In addition to being licensed [as an] attorney in any state or territory of the U.S., all military attorneys [like Me] undergo specialized training to qualify as judge advocates, allowing them to act as trial or defense counsel at military courts.

Sixth, with regard to what we know to be a “hustle” settlement, we respectfuly grant some time, after digesting the enclosed presentation, to conclude the same in this “state annointed & emitted bill of credit” case.

Gary Joseph Bonas II

Cash said...

Cooper & Bonas
26255 Bungalow Court
Valencia, California 91355

Greetings Honorable Justice Pauley & clerks:

As a supplement to recent semi-formal filings to assist the honorable courts, we present the following patches.

First, we recite Mr. Constantine in his Mastermoney case, slightly modified:

The law practice of [Class Action] professional[s] … involves identifying an issue
which they decide to invest in, and then finding nominal clients … to provide the vehicle for their investment.

Mr. Constantine correctly states A business truism in all Professional Plaintiff Class Action filings, which applies to Mr. Constantine with equal force, as it does all lead Class Counsel in this billions of dollars a year plus industry (Small-Jumbo).

Second, in that Mastermoney Visa case, Mr. Constantine swore, verbatim:

29. C&P has been studious in posting every pertinent document on the case website….

30. Most of these website postings, typically accompanied by press releases from C&P on the PR Newswire, were done voluntarily by C&P, not as a result of the Court’s order.

In the extremely rare case, Mr. Constantine and all other leads have, in the past, posted their “price schedules” and accompanying declaration, as owed to all absent class members. That omission is easily patched with a simple order as it is not forthcoming from counsel in their “typical fiduciary role.” Such an order might militate in favor of trust in connection with absent class member, private & public “check and balance” by economical access to these signed under oath documents.

Third, contrary to Mr. Constantine, for example, Mr. Michael Hausfeld posted one of his price schedules for his clients on his own website (Garmet Workers). Some might view Mr. Hausfeld’s voluntary fiduciary candor in this regard as “good faith,” which instills confidence & trust both in connection with clients & the honorable court.

Fourth, related, thus far, certain foreign sovereign State Bar Executives, after having been briefed related issues, haven’t been interested in taking the Michael Hausfeld kind of “faithful lead,” which might be viewed as “old school” English Recidivsim. Or, perhaps it might have something to do with the State’s State Bar, Inc. contracting to & selling credit themselves, forgetting about the “No State Shall Emit Bills Of Credit [Cards] Rule. See attached “Flag Law”.


Gary Joseph Bonas II

See this link for published details:

Cash said...

Cooper & Bonas
26255 Bungalow Court
Valencia, California 91355

Merill G. Davidoff
Berger Montague, PC
1622 Locust Street
Philadelphia 19103-6305

Dear Mr. Davidoff:

Thank you for copying us on the May 6, 2008 letter you wrote to the honorable Justice Pauley in response to three recently filed objector letters memos dated April 18, 20 & 24 2008, respectively.

We think those memos might have gotten lost in the mail like the other two times that happened in connection with other filings, which you may recall.

As I previously mentioned, my "" account crashed. I invited you to simply e-mail me those papers if you'd like to save the Class the "stamp" expense you charge them & have the court pay for on top of your attorneys’ fees, but if you prefer hard copy is O.K. with us too. I look forward to receiving the above three memos by Bizar, Jou & Selfe.

Next, I am concerned that your partners, Mrrs. Cannon & Constantine, who have a core publicly traded defense contract practice, haven’t explained to the honorable justice Pauley the jumps in his hourly prices (from top to bottom) with any "cost study" back up as key market makers in this field. Again, I quote is verified jumped numbers in another matter, which he now presents as faithfully & not padded up

’03 ’04 ‘05

$105 Jumps

Gordon Schnell $320 $425 $450
Jeffrey Shinder $320 $425 $450
Stacey A. Mahoney $295 $400 $420
Mathew L. Cantor $295 $400 $420

$50 Jump

Robert L. Begleiter $440 $490 $500

$75 Jump

Michelle Peters $175 $250 $260

$65 Jump

Amy Roth $210 $275 $275

About these numbers, by way of example, none have been presented as “cost of living” or “inflation” bumps. None have any tie to “cost of doing business expenses,” as you have split those numbers as another element of income requested from the court.

Next, I haven’t seen any declaration from the class plaintiff’s (represented to the court as “adequate absent class member fiduciary guardians) confirming that they agreed to these numbers at the time the retainer contract was entered & anointed each year by re-negotiation with the client each year these hourly prices were lifted?

Now, shifting back to Mr. Constantine’s price schedule since 2003:

2003 2004 2005 2006
$60 Up $0 Up $40 Up

Constantine, Lloyd $625 $685 $685 $725

According to Mr. C., or C., Mr., the so called “market” he made told him it’s O.K. to his & each of his staff’s numbers in un-explained ways, which are wholly unrelated to costs. I guess in 2005, C., Mr.’s phantom market told him it’s not O.K. to bump his & Ms. Roth’s hourly sticker price tags, but that it is O.K. to bump every other one of his staff’s prices, which I think is no different than C., Mr. “giving himself a bump,” through his leveraged staff marked above. I could, however, be wong – C. Mr. might not be “John” “renting” his people staff commodities & actually compensating them the exact numbers he charges we the people clients for their services to us.

Now, perhaps C., Mr. can put me in touch with the ghost person he calls “the market maker” who might know something I don’t about faithful price protocol. That might assist in addressing some of these pretty simple “book-keeping” & fiduciary matters raised. Related, I understand that absent class members are not as important to C., Mr. as his advertised big money clients, including:

A) Morgan Stanley (CEO – Visa, Mastercard);
B) Discover Financial Services, Inc. (Credit Card);
C) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.; &
D) PayPal, Inc., e.g.

This price right protocol conflict reality demands public “fiduciary” disclosure relation C. Mr. chose to enter in connection with representing We The People, en mass, price-wise. The price right protocol triple conflict is marked here:

A) The Duty raised, directly, what is price right & what is price wrong in connection with “competently” representing clients in court filings;
B) The Duty to disclose proof of price right protocol in connection with the attorney client “hourly price” retainer; &
C) The duty not to fog what price right 101 is in connection with defense contract work for big paying clients in connection with the Model Rules.


Gary Joseph Bonas II