Should I dedicate this blog to affluent, gay, white male: ‘The King‘ Chris Cortazzo?
Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker’s top-selling Malibu realtor. Remember? He accused me of extortion when I threatened to blog about him? Chris and his legal team predicted a felony in my future… an automatic deportation.
Chris wanted to fine me, humiliate me, take away my home and most importantly he wanted to silence me… yet, after months of bargaining with expensive help from his Super Lawyer Bryan Freedman… Chris Cortazzo accomplished no fines, no deportation, no felony.
When all was said and done Chris achieved a wobbly misdemeanor and a recently expired, three-year gag order… as part of a convoluted plea deal. The ubiquitous plea deal routinely offered to people like me in the USA who couldn’t afford a fair trial.
No. Chris Cortazzo is undeserving of any dedication. He is a very, very bad gay.
Instead, I dedicate this blog to every man woman and child presently held illegally in jails and prisons all over ‘the land of the free’. There are presently 2,500,000 people in US jails.
Two and a half million people.
Private and public US jails and prisons are crammed with brown men, women and children who could not afford a fair trial and under hopeless duress accepted a plea deal. Worse, there are corroborated stories of pre trial detainees tortured into signing false confessions or incriminated by the police and corrupt, racist prosecutors.
Thanks to organizations like the Innocence Project hundreds of men and women have had their convictions overturned and on occasions released from decades of solitary confinement for crimes they did not commit.
Cowed by PTSD many will not survive their freedom. Suicide and terminal illness rates are high. It is hard for them to live normal lives. They return to unrecognisable neighbourhoods, children estranged, families and friends scattered. In some states they are barred from voting. For the decades of torture they endured many sue and win handsome payouts but after huge ‘civil rights’ attorneys bills, taxes and years waiting for payment they receive only a little remuneration.
Fearful, white tax payers unquestioningly pay whatever it costs for more prisons, death row, jails, the police and the military. They believe mass incarceration makes them safer. They rarely enquire: Who profits from mass incarceration? They are unaware that the same people profiting from corrupt and illegal wars in Iraq and Libya also own the jails and the prisons ignoring the untold suffering within.
Whilst the 1% get richer on the backs of the poor, hiding their ill-gotten gains elsewhere, avoiding taxation… disenfranchised people of color are radicalized by brutal treatment whilst incarcerated. The poor know they are easy prey. Inside the big house they are gouged further by deputies who own and operate vending machines. A 50 cent pack of noodles sold to those who can least afford it… for $3. Loved ones forced to pay 1000 times more than you and I to receive phone calls from the incarcerated.
In America… if you are poor, vulnerable or sick… expect to be enslaved by the state.
Black communities are bullied by a police force trained to raise revenue by issuing hundreds of bogus tickets. In Ferguson MO 80% of the residents had been ticketed for minor infractions, raising millions of dollars for a failing local government. Private prisons are kept profitably full by agreement between local politicians and prison owners. Remember Judge Ciavarella, jailed for receiving payment from a prison owner for imprisoning innocent children? Some of those innocent kids killed themselves.
Two million children are arrested every year in the US, 95% for non-violent crimes. 66% of children incarcerated never return to school. The US incarcerates nearly 5 times more children than any other nation in the world.
Ferguson and Mark Ciaverella are just the tip of the iceberg. As in any tin pot dictatorship, powerful Americans use jail to silence whistleblowers and truth tellers.
This is my story: the story of rich, entitled white folk taking down and silencing enemies using the public court system as their personal weapon.
The blog referred to during this post is the blog I allegedly ‘threatened’ to publish if Chris Cortazzo didn’t right his wrongs. The original blog exists publicly in its entirety as court records, evidence submitted by the prosecution during my pre-trial.
Why now? Why write this 4 years after the event? I might have left my story in the past but this story became unexpectedly relevant. I was recently contacted by lawyers who revealed I wasn’t the only Malibu property owner who had fallen foul of realtor Christopher Cortazzo.
Powerful friends, they say, make powerful enemies. Chris and his friends proved they could do anything they wanted to me and others. There were times when I suspected my very own lawyer had been bought by the other side.
This is a Hollywood story. As with any epic Hollywood story it requires a suspension of disbelief. This narrative snakes in and out of reality tv, multi-million dollar homes, secretive Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and into the many canyons of Malibu, Bel Air and Beverly Hills. It stars ‘A’ listed talent and their representatives, a cast of corrupt policemen, prosecutors and the judiciary. It is the story of shameful… affluent, white gay men and their friends.
It is fortune lost and found.
Let’s get one thing clear before we go any further. I don’t want anything from you. Nothing. I don’t want your money, I don’t want your time, I don’t want your body. I want nothing from you… never… ever.
This is the blog you didn’t want me to write, the blog you spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to kill. This is the blog I sat in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail contemplating. This is it. This is the blog you wanted me to regret.
Chris. Are you ready?
Before I start, I have two words to say to you: Hiroshi Horiike.
This name probably means nothing to your starry friends and clients, your 1% billionaire neighbours or the older Malibu home owners you nurture until they are ready to sell their ocean side properties. The celebrities with whom you carouse all over the world may not be aware of Hiroshi Horiike. I doubt if you make mention of his name in the many mansions, yachts and fast cars you inhabit.
Let me educate my readers.
Millionaire Hiroshi Horiike spent two years searching California for a dream home, one grander than any he could find in his native China.
After visiting more than 80 properties in the Los Angeles area with an agent from Coldwell Banker, Horiike paid $12.25 million in cash for a four-bedroom, six-bath Tuscan-style mansion with a swimming pool, spa and guest house on 5.1 acres (2.1 hectares) overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There was just one catch. After settling in, Horiike found the Malibu home had less living space than he’d been told — a third less. It had 9,434 square feet (876 square meters) instead of the 15,000 square feet shown in marketing brochures from the seller’s agent, who also worked with Coldwell Banker.
You were the realtor repping both Hiroshi and the seller. You were the realtor. Chris, you were the realtor referred to in this quote and subsequent court documents. Sounds dodgy doesn’t it? No wonder you wanted to shut my big mouth.
Horiike, who also goes by his native Chinese name Peng Hong Ling after adopting a Japanese name as an adult, claimed he was cheated and sued the agent and the brokerage. He won a state appeals court ruling that sellers’ agents have a fiduciary duty to protect buyers’ interests, not just those of their clients, when there’s only one brokerage involved in a deal.
Of course you and Coldwell Banker have been defending yourselves vigorously in the courts… there’s a great deal at stake for Californian real estate agents.
If left standing, the decision could compel disclosure of confidential client information or force brokerages to drop out of transactions where they represent both buyers and sellers, threatening commissions on tens of thousands of deals.
Have you fucked it up for your Californian realtor colleagues? Have you derailed their gravy train?
Horiike and I have a great deal in common when it comes to you, Chris.
Horiike and I were both US property virgins. We foolishly thought we could trust our realtors. We were naive, we were excited, we were unaware… in the unlikely event we were duped by unscrupulous realtors when we purchased our homes… we only had two years for discrepancies to reveal themselves before a remarkably short statute of limitation kicks in. I discovered my geological discrepancy after two years… some people must have rubbed their hands in glee.
Hiroshi, he’s the Mensch! Hiroshi is the man who won’t let go of the bone, Chris. And you… you are Horiiki’s bone. He’s taking his case all the way to the Supreme Court because, like me, he had his dream shattered by realtors.
But let’s concentrate on us for a moment Chris. Just us. Before this blew up you already had a very low opinion of me. An opinion you share with many white, affluent, gay men. Chris you described me, after our couple of dates, in court documents as ‘dark and creepy’.
Let’s cast our minds back to happier times. Chris, let’s remember when I arrived with society photographer Todd Eborle at the annual Barry Diller pre-Oscar garden party a few years back (I sat between you and Helen Mirren) we had a nice enough time. We ate from the buffet. We marveled at Rupert Murdoch and David Geffen chatting animatedly at the edge of the garden.
As I mentioned earlier, we’d had a date or two in West Hollywood but it didn’t work out. You claim we didn’t have oral sex. If you can’t remember sucking my cock, I’m perfectly happy to forget it too. The next time I saw you? At the house on Hume Road, Malibu. I loved that house like Horiiki loved his, and a little like Horiiki I’d seen a ton of houses before I found my dream house on Hume Road.
Corey Nelson my dumb, good-looking realtor was sick of showing me property. He had shown me hundreds of homes. Sometimes… I wouldn’t go inside. Rude!
The purchase of Hume Road happened before the crash when realtors didn’t have to work very hard to sell a house. We had given up looking. Corey Nelson and I hadn’t spoken for months. So, when I found my little slice of paradise I called Corey because I knew he would appreciate making a sale. I could have called anyone but I felt loyal to Corey. I had no clue his inexperience and ambition would severely compromise me.
I was renting an apartment in Hollywood that had once belonged to Joni Mitchell. Every day I would drive from El Cerritos Place to the Malibu property and sit in the garden, sit on the terrace and gaze at the view. I was desperate to buy the house on Hume Road. Indeed, my enthusiasm predicated just how much of a liberty you two groovy hucksters might take with me.
I met the owner of the Hume Road House, Kelly Mormon. He asked if I wanted to move in before I bought the house. I moved in. I explored the neighborhood. I saw a family of bob cats and eagles wheeling through the canyon. Humming birds fed from the passion fruit flowers that grew on my terrace. Walking Las Flores Canyon one warm evening I met a grumpy man from Cal Trans who told me buying a house on Hume Road was a really bad idea. He told me the city should buy the houses in the canyon and demolish them. I’d heard rumors the land was unstable. The neighbours denied it of course. They assured me everything was just fine.
I wrote to Corey explaining my fears. When we subpoenaed his emails it was revealed soon after I wrote that email… Corey Nelson wrote you Chris asking what he should do about my cold feet. Your reply was chilling. “Call me,” you said. I can’t imagine the plan you hatched during the call.
Corey abandoned his fiduciary duty when he made that call to you, Chris.
Let’s talk? You and me? Can I confide in you?
Do you remember the film? I’d made a film people loved and I’d been nominated for a British Academy Award. They warn the foolhardy: never move to LA unless invited. Industry people (my agent and manager) told me my interests would be best served if I moved to Hollywood. In 2007, after 35 years, I sold my beautiful sea-side house in Whitstable Kent. I started house hunting in Los Angeles.
I met Corey Nelson from Sotheby’s a well-known realty company. He was one of those cute ex Bruce Weber models who would do almost anything to make a sale. I met him with an older gay realtor who claimed he was fucking him. We met at Joan’s on Third in West Hollywood. I love Joan. She’s a romantic! Have you heard her story?
Corey and I spent a long time house hunting. I looked at hundreds of houses, none I liked. Corey was cute and fun. We spent time together socially, we climbed Runyon Canyon. I trusted him. I believed realtors in the USA behaved like estate agents in the UK: with honesty and accountability.
Months into our search I had still not found a house.
My recently deceased friend Jean Perramon lived in The Santa Monica Mountains. His house had views stretching from Santa Monica to Point Dume. Walking his neighborhood one evening I peeked past a large For Sale sign through the gates of an abandoned estate. To Jean’s consternation I opened the gates and wandered down the steep drive into two acres of lush, semi tropical gardens. Huge cactus trees, ancient palms. Bananas, citrus, plums. Stone paths weaving through the landscape. At the end of the path an empty, unlocked 1970’s post and beam family home divided into two apartments.
I told Corey about the house and he introduced me to Chris Cortazzo, Kelly’s agent.
Well, we scarcely needed introducing.
Listen, let’s face it…Chris has done very well for himself. He comes from a humble Malibu family, his mother is often seen eating lunch in the garden at Cross Creek. His fireman father is dead. He sells more real estate than any other broker in the USA. For a man who is scarcely literate… he has done very well for himself. Perhaps it is gay mythology but your story includes a romantic liaison with billionaire Barry Diller who, it is alleged, set you up as a realtor and let you sell his property. Is that true?
He writes this about himself on his own website:
Yes, Chris Cortazzo’s name is everywhere in Malibu, because that’s what happens when you’re “The King.” It was actually the Bravo TV program Million Dollar Listing, in which CC was profiled among several other L.A.-area top-producing agents, that coined the term “The King of Malibu”. Perhaps it was his incredible production that earned him the title. Perhaps it owes to the type of clientele he often serves, namely some of the biggest names in entertainment and business.
After renting the Malibu house on Hume Road for a couple of weeks I asked Corey to write an offer. The house had been on the market for a year or more hand had a price reduction. I live in a country where houses languish on the market for years, it did not occur to me that if a house had been on the market for a few months it may be problematic. Nor did it occur to me that I may be working with a couple of realtors who were determined, at any cost, to sell me a doozy.
My soppy, inexperienced realtor wanted his commission and was sick of showing me endless properties. We had written offers before but they had not been accepted. I had never ordered an inspection.
The problem with the beautiful house? During the past ten years there had been landslides on either side of the property. There was illegal construction in the garden including un-permitted retaining walls and water tanks degrading the land, making it more liable to slide.
They knew if I had this critical information I would not buy the house and more importantly… it would be worth far less than the 1.4 million dollars I paid for it.
Neither the seller nor Chris disclosed this information. Information, by law, they were required to reveal. Corey told me a thorough geological report would cost me $10,000. So, using the excuse I would save money I needn’t spend, they presented me with an expensive and thorough looking geological report conducted in 2004. Corey persuaded me this report was adequate for my purposes, advising me I should have a verbal report from another geologist to confirm nothing seismic had happened after the 2004 report.
The difference between 2004 and the year I bought the house? The house no longer sat on an HISTORIC slide as the report stated. A historic slide means that during the past decade no noticeable seismic activity had taken place within a thousand feet of the property and the land was stable. In 2004 the house sat comfortably on the ridge line, foundations built on bedrock.
However, shortly after that 2004 report was written large parts of Las Flores Canyon including Hume Road began sliding into the sea. My house now sat on an ACTIVE slide. This important information was deliberately kept from me. Moreover, Corey told me that he could not find a local geologist who would come to the house so we hired a geologist recommended by… Chris Cortazzo. I was assured by Corey that the ‘verbal’ geological report from a geologist was perfectly normal. Again, abandoning his fiduciary duties.
The young, good-looking geologist sat uncomfortably with us in the garden, Corey at his side. He held the 2004 geological report. I asked if there was anything I needed to know that may influence my purchase of the property. I asked many, many questions. I needed to know everything before I invested my hard-earned $1, 500,000. Without looking into my eyes the ‘geologist’ told me the house had a “reasonable half an inch of ‘creep'” but failed to mention either of the recent slides or the illegality of the un-permitted terracing.
I bought the house. After we signed contracts at the close of escrow, Chris shook my hand and said, with half a grin, “You’re going to own that house for a very long time.”
Only when I tried selling the house… did I learn what he meant.
The next time I saw Chris Cortazzo he was sitting in a sex addict meeting where he claims he was ‘helping a friend’. After seeing him at the meeting I wrote a sweet email welcoming him to SAA. It’s hard to admit a problem like sex addiction. I wanted him to feel safe when he returned. That’s what we are taught to do in AA SAA etc… we look out for each other. We reach out. Almost immediately the troubled transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane who lead the meeting told me not to contact Chris again… under any circumstances.
Sean McFarlane chaired the Brentwood Sex Addict meeting (ironically held in a middle school until the school realized a famous pedophile attended the meeting) for over a decade, a serious break from the 12 traditions and frowned upon within the Anonymous community. McFarlane didn’t seem to care much for the AA rules unless others broke them. His personal recovery, doubted by many, seemed ‘unsponsored’. He tells a melodramatic, highly questionable personal story and is well-known (to those within the addict community) to prey upon vulnerable celebrities eager to keep their failing marriages.
Consequently, he has a gang of loyal Hollywood/sports celebrities with whom he consorts in and out of therapy. He would boast how he taught Mike Tyson’s daughter to swim. The daughter who tragically… drowned. Our ‘trusted servant’ McFarlane rarely accounted for the huge 7th Tradition purse he collected every week and handed over to his ‘treasurer’, John Artz.
It is rumored Sean McFarlane would take sex addicts through the 12 Steps… if they paid him. Again, discouraged within the anonymous cult who pride themselves on sharing their sobriety with newcomers… for ‘fun and for free’.
Sean ‘no shame in my game’ McFarlane is a transphobe. I never once heard anyone in that Sex Addict meeting challenge his transphobia. He considered all trans people ‘evil’. Whenever he had the opportunity he told graphic tales of his own heroism in the face of evil transsexuals. How he saved one or other of his many trans chaser clients from the grips of an evil ‘tranny hooker’.
The group would cheer Sean’s transphobia. Lawyers, agents, actors… casting directors. Collectively witch hunting the trans people Sean considered evil. Lately, as the Hollywood conversation turns toward inclusivity, color blind casting, gender neutrality… one wonders how Sean and his creepy white guy transphobic friends in the entertainment industry will survive?
The last time I heard from the ‘geologist’, he had turned to Jesus. I was in my bed… at home in Malibu. It was dark. He called from a blocked phone. He was distressed. He apologized for calling late at night. He stumbled over his words. He told me Corey instructed him not to mention anything that would influence me away from buying the house. The ‘geologist’ felt guilty. He omitted to tell me the status of the slide had changed from historic.. to active.
He told me the lie plagued his conscience.
People ask: What did you do when he told you? What could I do? I tell them. “I listened.”
When we subpoenaed the geologist during my pre-trial… a completely different man (50 years old and morbidly obese) arrived at the court-house. He didn’t want to be there, he was sweating bullets. It was all the proof I needed but the pre-trial judge refused to listen to our evidence. It was one of your triumphs, Chris. The truth couldn’t help us. The statute of limitations had long run out.
When I spoke to Corey he said, “I knew this would come back to haunt me.” You’re right Corey, if you have any conscience, it’s going to haunt you… the rest of your life.
After the geologist’s late night call I emailed Chris letting him know I’d give him time to ‘do the right thing’ and find a solution including a ‘fair and equitable’ settlement… or I would start a campaign against him… including paid advertisements in local newspapers, national news articles and a revelatory blog.
Soon after writing this email I was arrested and held without recourse to bail in LA Men’s County Jail.
TP… the bug-eyed, ex head of a major film studio and his son were Malibu neighbours and regular faces at my sex addict meeting in Brentwood. TP’s son described sex therapist Sean McFarlane’s reaction when he heard I’d been arrested,
“Sean leapt out of his seat and punched the air screaming… ‘he’s going down’.”
Bryan Freedman, John Adler (my SAA sponsor), TP and others smiled broadly at the news. The men in that sex addict meeting coalesced around you Chris, you became one of their walking wounded.
Bryan Freedman, another self identified sex addict/alcoholic I saw almost every morning at either the 7am Palisades AA stag meeting or the Sex Addict meeting in Brentwood.
Chris, how did you meet Bryan Freedman? Did you meet him at the sex addict meeting? Did transphobic sex therapist Sean MacFarlane introduce you? Bryan is a great fan of transphobic sex therapist Sean McFarlane.
Bryan Freedman’s firm Freedman + Taitelman would represent your interests against me.
Bryan J. Freedman was selected as one of the most influential entertainment litigators in the country by The Hollywood Reporter in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 and in all eight years has been named in the Top 100 Power Lawyers list. Additionally, Bryan was recognized as a Southern California “Super Lawyer” in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, a peer-based award reserved only for the top 5% of all lawyers in Southern California. Also, Bryan has the unique distinction of being 1 of only 22 selected Honorees to Variety’s 2015 Legal Impact Report.
I know a very different Bryan Freedman. This is the man who wept in AA meetings because he couldn’t bully his son into being the first jewish NBA basket ball player. This is the married man who confided in a public SAA meeting he couldn’t stop intriguing with women… looking at small ads whilst his wife slept beside him. This is the man who would high-five the equally despicable UTA Talent Agency boss Jeremy Zimmer at the AA meeting ‘above the bank’ in the Palisades where we sat together for more than a decade.
How involved was Bryan Freedman? How much money did you pay him to have me vanish into the jail system? I’m guessing he was involved with the plan? He’s a Super Lawyer. His plan might include a cast of corruptible characters. How much did they have to do with my illegal incarceration in the Los Angeles Men’s County Jail?
You and your advisors believed I might bend to your will if you held me in jail long enough.
Remember, we have to suspend our disbelief:
Just about every branch of Ferguson government (police, municipal court, city hall) participated in “unlawful” targeting of African-American residents for tickets and fines, the Justice Department concluded this week.
At first, the plan unfolded splendidly! We understand how utterly corrupt American prosecutors are. Existing in a semi secretive world of grand juries and trumped-up charges designed to protect the rights of the 1%. County prosecutor Anne-Marie Wise is no different, she played out your rich boy charade very admirably. Anne-Marie, persuaded there was a case to answer by your impressive lawyer, sent her ZZ Top cops to arrest me. They kept their cop badges under their waist length beards.
I agreed to meet Chris on the Pacific Coast Highway outside the Country Kitchen in Malibu (opposite the home of Tom Pollock) where he had offered to make his amends for ripping me off. Instead, as I ate my breakfast burritos the cops arrived. As I sat handcuffed in the blazing sun a black Rolls Royce with blackened windows cruised past, it lingered. Was that you Chris? I knew the Rolls had something to do with you, Chris… so did the cops.
Did you enjoy watching me handcuffed Chris? Did you take photographs on your cell phone?
ZZ Top and I headed up Las Flores Canyon to Hume Road. The crazy bearded cops ran around my property with guns. Why? Because this is the melodrama of over paid, over weight, underutilized… LA cops. Once in the house they meaninglessly tossed furniture and emptied my draws. They seized my lap top and took me to the Calabasas police station where they interviewed and charged me with a felony extortion. Extortion (for those who remain confused) is either threatening to reveal a secret or a crime unless money is paid. It usually accompanies threats of violence.
Even though I had a valid US visa I was informed I could not post bail because of an Immigration Hold. If an alien in the USA is charged with a felony they can be held for up to 48 hours by ICE to determine if they are a threat to the nation.
Your plan was working.
A day later I was taken to The LA Men’s County Jail. Processed. Screamed at. They gave me a chest X-ray. They fed me a baloney sandwich. They asked if I was either suicidal or gay. I told them I’m gay because I’d heard from Robert Downey Jr this was the only way to survive the jail and anyway I’d been out of the closet for a long time and I wasn’t about to crawl back in. Not on your account Chris Cortazzo.
48 hours passed. I was not released.
Whoever flicked the switch… whoever threw away the key did so at this moment.
To achieve this plan they needed a dependable federal government insider: someone prepared to override ICE protocol and keep me detained for longer than the mandatory 48 hour Immigration Hold. This part of the plan required someone important in Federal Government to break the rules. At the final reckoning I was held longer in Men’s County Jail on an ICE hold than any other pre trial detainee… ever.
Keeping a pre-trial detainee in jail until they bend to the will of the prosecutor is a common ploy. It happens all over the USA. It is happening right now as you are reading this blog. People agree to anything to get out of jail and they assumed I’d plead guilty to felony EXTORTION and an automatic deportation.
As you can imagine, the jail is a dangerous place. I had to get a grip. Surprisingly I was very well equipped to deal with the jail. AA/SAA had taught me a few simple tricks:
1. Wherever I am… I am in the right place.
2. It’s all part of God’s plan.
3. Acceptance. Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today.
So many of the lessons I learned sitting with Sean MacFarlane, Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman and you Chris in the rooms of SAA and AA… listening to the 12 Steps kicked in and saved my ass.
And so… I sat in the jail. For 86 days I sat in the jail. I’ve already written about that, Chris. I’m sure you’ve read it.
Almost immediately, the plan began to gently fray. The first part of the plan depended on my finding the situation in jail… terrifying and intolerable.
You thought I was like you and Bryan and Jeremy and so many entitled, affluent white dudes? You were certain I’d agree to anything to get out… including your terms. You thought I’d crumble. You thought I’d lay down and die. But the only thing crumbling… was your plan.
Chris, as you subsequently learned, I’m a stubborn son of a bitch and I wasn’t agreeing to anything. So, for a few weeks I went back and forth to court. The first two judges were ghastly and totally on your side. They refused to listen to evidence, they were rude and surly to my attorney.
Do you remember? I sat in front of you at the pre-trial. I was shackled. You sneered at me Chris. This is where I learned how much you hated me after our date. This is where it became apparent to me the rich can do anything they want in an American court. They can buy the court just like they buy everything else. Protected by your tame prosecutor, Chris… you looked so very smug.
After keeping me illegally in the jail for 86 days without a whiff of surrender, without capitulating, without giving an inch…. the ACLU started sniffing around my case and someone got scared. Someone was likely going to be held responsible if something happened to me. If I died in the jail of cancer… or a gall stone blockage… or fell victim to the violent deputy culture in the jail, which might very well have happened.
I realized two months into my incarceration: Wow, this situation is illegal and someone… someone is going to have to pay for this! I’m going to get paid for this. I relaxed, thinking to myself: another tough day at the office. I played cards, I ate pork rinds, I had visitors, I kept myself out of trouble and I waited.
I told my friends on the phone I suspected my incarceration was illegal… knowing I was being listened to. Then, one evening with a little warning from the Mexican nuns working in the jail for the Esperanza Project, I was called from my dorm, sat in a holding cell for a few hours, handed my clothes and ushered out of a small, unassuming door at the back of the jail.
The puckered asshole of the jail. Shat out onto the balmy LA streets.
At the final reckoning I was paid for every day I was illegally held as a pre-trial detainee without recourse to bail.
Fuck Chris, the day they released me from the jail you were on the phone for hours to your lawyers and the prosecutor and the prosecutor to your lawyers. My release terrified you and a simple order of protection wouldn’t mollify you. As I was getting out of the jail and headed home to Malibu and my dog… you were hiring 24 hour body guards. You were frightened I would come after you. And why wouldn’t you be scared? After all, you and your friends had kept me locked up illegally for three months.
I must admit, when I first read this flurry of activity in your restitution claim (you expected me to pay your lawyers fees) and the hiring of body guards as documented in your restitution claim I laughed out loud. I have no other weapon than this blog. The only weapon I have is so American: freedom of speech.
Once out of the jail my lawyers and I relaxed into a long wait for you and your lawyers to alter your expectations. You hadn’t really worked out what would happen if I didn’t capitulate. You hadn’t worked on finding a corrupt trial judge. You thought I’d be long gone.
Were you assured by ‘Super Attorney’ Bryan Freedman and his unfortunately large featured lackey Brian Turnauer they would find you a sympathetic trial judge?
The catastrophic and totally unexpected final blow to your plan came soon after my release: Ms Wise seemed poleaxed by the judge assigned to our case: enter the unassailable Judge Jessic. The Judge who couldn’t be bought. The judge most likely to have integrity. You should have seen Anne-Marie’s face Chris, when she realized our Judge wasn’t going to play the game. My favorite line of Judge Jessic’s to Ms Wise?
“I must admit I’m finding it difficult wrapping my head around this charge. What’s the difference between threatening to blog and threatening to write a Yelp review?”
The prosecutor hung her head and said quietly… ‘nothing’. You should have been there Chris is was GREAT. Just like the time… and I’m repeating myself but it’s worth repeating… when Judge Jessic wondered out loud why I was sitting in the dock and not you. We all know the reason for that Chris? Because justice in the USA is reserved for the few who can afford it.
How quickly a felony dissolves into a convoluted misdemeanor when you can’t buy the judge. At the suggestion of the ACLU I refused to plead guilty to anything and opted for the Californian ‘No Contest’ plea. The huge restitution claim was whittled to almost nothing. No fines or costs to pay. All you were likely to get out of your ‘plan’ was a gag order. A three-year gag order.
I had to sit quietly on probation for 18 months. A grimy realtor from AA, the appalling self-promoting/self-obsessed/self-publishing Robert Radcliffe (Sotheby’s Palisades), called the police and told them I had been rude about you Chris Cortazzo. I read the police interview, Rob. The lies you told! The police jumped all over the claim spending hours of their time filing reports. Jessic threw it out. He knew what was happening.
Tell me Chris, even though it’s election year and this may be dangerous conjecture.. I’m guessing Hillary Clinton did your federal bidding… just a guess? To hold me indefinitely in jail… breaking the rules. Did your billionaire mentor Barry Diller do the leg work? Did Barry call the Mayor or the state department? I can’t imagine Hillary would take your call, Chris.
I returned to the Palisades AA stag meeting. The discomfort on the faces of Jeremy Zimmer, Bryan Freedman, John Artz (Malibu based DUI attorney with plenty personal experience of DUI) and the Dutch creep who burglarized my house whilst I was in jail. I wasn’t disappointed. They were outraged! Jeremy complained bitterly I had broken AA laws by blogging about him. Fuck you Jeremy Zimmer. Fuck you. There are no AA laws. There are no leaders.
Chris, this is the blog I must have written a thousand times since I left the jail, I wrote it… then deleted it. I wrote it… then deleted it. I must have torn up a million words. Sometimes, I would frame the blog as an apology, sometimes a roiling river of resentment. I had months to write it, months to rewrite it. Waiting for the gag to be removed.
And now? How did you affect the rest of my life? As I outlined in my damages claim, I have PTSD. I deal with it. The experience inspired a general disgust for affluent, white gay men and specifically a loathing for realtors, lawyers and Hollywood agents.
The extortion law was originally written to protect people who had committed crimes or had secrets from being violently blackmailed. Of course it’s hard luck when, in life, one gets fucked over. In America the potential for being fucked over is a daily hazard, most often than not those who manage to successfully do the fucking over are hailed as the winners. Just look at the Wall Street ‘winners’ rewarded for fucking over the entire nation.
Unlike most people who get fucked over, who cannot fight back…I have this modest blog. It has proved to be one of the most effective fog horns in the world.
Try as he might, Chris Cortazzo couldn’t keep out of trouble. Chris faces more legal challenges. As well as the lawsuit with Hiroki the Chinese Billionaire another grubby lawsuit has emerged… from a desperate Persian family whose property Cortazzo represented. They are claiming Chris cruelly ripped them off. The truths Chris feared most have revealed themselves. A theme emerges: those of us who have publicly aired our grievances with Chris Cortazzo share a common bond. We are all foreigners in the USA.
As for the legion of Million Dollar Listing fans who couldn’t believe Chris was anything other than a saint? I ignored the lies written about me all over the internet; I don’t have to prove myself to anyone. There’s no shame in my game. With the help of the ACLU I sued LA County and a substantial financial settlement arrived from the City of Los Angeles a year later. I sold my beautiful Malibu house. I moved to New York and set about reinventing my life.
Bryan Freedman. (I’m slowly shaking my head.) There was a time I held you in such high regard I asked you to become my AA sponsor It’s hard to forgive you Bryan. You, Sean MacFarlane, John Artz and Jeremy Zimmer are the worst kind of ‘sober’ people. Daily celebrating the AA message of humility, espousing the 12 Steps, quoting The Big Book… declaring forgiveness and ownership of ones defects of character. Your ‘sobriety’ is a sham. You may as well be drinking/drugging /cheating on your wives. You remain the same arrogant hypocrites, behaving contrary to the AA message, as you always were. The very same men who arrived in our rooms broken and defeated (I remember your stories) begging for help with their alcoholism and sex addiction. You have learned nothing… whilst affording me the greatest gift: LA County Jail.
The Brentwood celebrity Sex Addict meeting moved locations. An undercover journalist sat amongst the sex addict group from a sleazy British newspaper. He called me, wanted me to help him out. The SAA attendees scattered. Members of the meeting asked why there was little financial accounting within the group. Every week the 100 or so the very rich men in that school room would drop five or ten dollars in the ‘7th Tradition’ basket. No one could account for it. Where had the money gone? Sean was removed by democratic vote as the group leader. His wife left him. The meeting disintegrated.
The cult of snake oil salesman Sean MacFarlane is not new to the anonymous programs. AA/NA is particularly prone to charismatic leaders guiding the incomprehensibly demoralized addict and alcoholic out of the shadows and into the light. Rehabs, sober living accommodation, half way houses and addiction counsellors… facilities mostly run by addicts and alcoholics, the lunatics are indeed running the asylum. No doubt there will be many other Sean MacFarlanes ‘helping’ other desperate addicts achieve sobriety… of course, for huge sums of money and little consequence.