State Bar Complaint Filed, but Investigators ‘Dragging Their Feet’ After, Claims Attorney, Client Gets Nasty in Failed Business Deal

 

Robert Blaine (left) and Paul Edalat (right) shaking hands after agreeing to Edalat buying Blaine Labs in Oct. 2018. (Courtesy of Edalat)

By Robert J. Hansen

Orange County, CA — Business lawsuits are common and typically uninteresting—that is, until people’s lives become threatened.

Paul Edalat, founder and CEO of the pharmaceutical company Vivera, attempted to buy Blaine Laboratories in 2018 with Edalat paying Robert Blaine $2.1 million to purchase Blaine Labs.

During the acquisition process, Edalat learned Blaine had paid nearly $500,000 to settle multiple sexual harassment claims of Blaine Labs employees.

The claims alleged Blaine had used a secret room, which he called the “Secret Sex Room,” behind his office for improper activities with female employees.

After learning this, Edalat chose to end the business deal and have Blaine return the $2.1 million; Edalat has had to sue Blaine to get his money back.

Saied Kashani, Edalat’s attorney, said things escalated in 2020 when Edalat and his family started receiving anonymous threats.

One anonymous threatening mailed letter warned Edalat to leave his house and neighborhood.  Kashani said an expert chemical and spectrographic analysis has matched this letter to known samples from Blaine’s printer.  

“That’s an accusation I don’t make lightly. It’s documented,” Kashani said in a phone interview.

Kashani shared with the Vanguard other anonymous threats that came via email, text message and letter mail. Edalat and his associates are seeking ISP and other records to try to prove the source of all the threats.

Another anonymous text to Edalat said, “Coming back for you. Are you ready? The best is yet to come. Fraud. This isn’t over until someone is dead.” These texts arrived minutes after a legal hearing on Edalat’s case against Blaine concluded and the day before the parties’ arbitration was scheduled to begin.

Blaine is represented by Boston attorney John Markham, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Edalat believes Markham may have been aware of Blaine’s activities.

Subpoenaed phone records show the latest anonymous texts were sent while Markham and Blaine were conferring by telephone following the hearing.

Edalat provided documents that revealed the Newport Beach Police Department has re-opened its file of Markham’s clients’ activities since 2020 and a referral is expected to be made to the Orange County District Attorney about Markham’s client’s continued pattern of harassment, intimidation, stalking, and threats.

The Orange County DA’s office has not confirmed this.

Kashani has issued subpoenas for Markham’s and Blaine’s cell phone and other records.

Also, Kashani and Edalat both claim Markham approached and insulted Edalat at a Southern California federal courthouse in July.

“Markham made statements as to suing my elderly mother,” Edalat said. “He said I should give bankruptcy advice to that lawyer (Alex) Murdaugh in South Carolina. This is not the first time he has made statements like this.” Alex Murdaugh is a former South Carolina attorney who recently was found guilty of murdering his wife and son.

That led to a complaint to the State Bar of California against Markham.

“Unfortunately the investigators are dragging their feet,” Edalat said.

In Edalat’s complaint against Markham to the State Bar, he also claims Markham has aided and abetted his clients in false testimony, including the filing of false declarations in support of Markham’s motions, noting lawyers cannot advise their client—or any witness—to give false testimony.

“I believe he has further advised at least one witness that I am aware of to present false testimony at a hearing,” Edalat said.

The Vanguard has reported on several cases involving attorneys that have gone undisciplined by the Bar.

“It is clear to me that Markham is fully aware of his clients’ criminal actions and that he is pulling the strings out of some kind of personal vendetta,” Edalat said.

Edalat added, “Markham uses his ‘status’ as a former government prosecutor to obfuscate the activities of his clients and throw up smoke screen after smoke screen. It is insulting to the profession and an abuse of his license to practice.”

About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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