Amid issues about who exactly is paying him for his services, the Daily Caller did a little digging into Michael Avenatti, the ubiquitous lawyer of Stormy Daniels who has been given some $185 million in free media coverage by CNN and MSNBC, and discovered a “questionable history,” including several accusations of fraud and unethical business practices.
“Avenatti’s past is littered with lawsuits, jilted business partners and bankruptcy filings. People who have worked with the lawyer described him to TheDCNF as ruthless, greedy and unbothered by ethical questions,” write TheDC’s Peter Hasson and Joe Simonson.
Among the accusations is that Tullly’s coffee, which Avenatti once owned, owed one supplier $160,000 worth of coffee before being forced to shut its doors. Asked by TheDC about the debt, Avenatti denied that he personally owed the supplier anything — but a few hours later, Avenatti had mysteriously worked out a deal with the supplier to pay them back personally.
“So @StormyDaniels hot shot lawyer Michael owes my small company @Dillanos $160,179 for coffee,” wrote Dillanos Coffee CEO David Morris in a tweet Tuesday. “He talks a big talk about integrity. We trusted him. Michael Avenatti owned Tully’s coffee. They were a large chain of coffee shops. We are a wholesale roaster. We supplied his coffee. The $160,000 represented only a few weeks worth of beans. We cut him off when he wouldn’t pay, he had to close.”
TheDC followed up with Avenatti on the accusation in a phone interview “on several topics,” including Morris’s claim. Avenatti denied the accusation. “I don’t owe Dillanos coffee anything. I personally don’t owe them anything. So that’s nonsense,” he said, according to TheDC. However, “just three hours later, Morris announced that he had deleted his original tweet after working out ‘an arrangement’ with Avenatti,” TheDC reports.
Dillanos wasn’t the only vendor to sue Tully’s. TheDC reports:
David Nold, a Seattle attorney representing several Tully’s vendors, filed a complaintagainst Avenatti with the California State Bar on March 26, accusing him of fraud.
“In essence, he bought a company out of bankruptcy and then used it for a ‘pump and dump’ scheme to deprive federal and state taxing authorities of millions of dollars,” Nold claimed.
The Tully’s coffee debacle started with a deal between Avenatti and actor Patrick Dempsey in 2013. Just ten weeks after closing the deal to purchase the chain through parent company Global Baristas LLC, Dempsey sued Avenatti over what he alleged was the lawyer’s deceptive handling of the company’s finances, charges Avenatti denied but soon settled with Dempsey over.
“My decision to become a member and manager of Global Baristas was based, in part, on Michael Avenatti’s representation that he would provide both the capital to fund the entire Tully’s acquisition and sufficient working capital to allow Global Baristas to operate the Tully’s Coffee stores once the acquisition was completed,” said Dempsey in a 2013 affidavit. “Michael Avenatti never notified me that he intended to have or caused Global Baristas to borrow $2,000,000 for working capital, nor did he notify me that he planned to have or caused the company to pledge substantially all, if not all, of its assets to secure any loan.”
Avenatti divested from Global Baristas LLC in 2017. He remains Tully’s general counsel, TheDC notes. Read the full report here.
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