April 13, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Associates and adopted son of Ronald Reagan involved in business cheat scandal

Ronald Reagan’s adopted son and two associates cheated a fellow businessman out of nearly $4 million by depriving him of his ownership interest in an email business he created to capitalize on the memory of the former president and cater to conservatives, an attorney told a jury Wednesday.

In his opening statement to the Los Angeles Superior Court jury that will decide Elias Chavando’s lawsuit against Michael Reagan, Tim Kelly and Jay Hoffman, plaintiff’s attorney Mark Chassman said the three defendants took his client’s share of the business generated from @Reagan.com for themselves and put their interests ahead of his.

“They used greed, arrogance and strong-armed tactics … to enrich themselves,” Chassman said.

Attorneys for the defendants will give their opening statements Thursday. But in a sworn declaration contained within the defense’s court papers, Reagan denied any wrongdoing.

“Chavando has never been ousted from the email business,” Reagan said. “He did abandon his role in the business when he vacated (the Reagan Group’s) office and stopped performing his duties with respect to the email service business in August 2011.”

Reagan also said Chavando brought “little value to the business.”

But according to Chassman, Chavando was an innovator who recognized that conservatives would be attracted to an email service that guaranteed users their addresses would not be given to third parties and that they would be willing to pay the $39.95 monthly charge.

“Mr. Chavando recognized the personal privacy concerns of people long before the Edward Snowden incident,” Chassman said.

Chavando met with Kelly at the latter’s home in January 2010, Chassman said. Kelly at the time was an executive with Premiere Radio Networks Inc., which helped launch Michael Reagan’s conservative talk radio show and other business ventures. In 2009, Kelly and Reagan incorporated the Reagan Group to handle their joint business activities.

The three eventually agreed verbally to invest $2,000 each for start-up costs and to have an equal share in the profits, Chassman said.

“The value is in the ownership,” Chassman said.

Kelly agreed to manage the business while Reagan handled promotion duties and Chavando oversaw the software end, Chassman said.

The business grew over time, Chassman said. However, during a trip to Africa in July 2011, Reagan met with Chicago businessman Anthony Saliba and began talking to him about investing in the business, Chassman said.

Soon thereafter, Hoffman became a member of the Reagan Group, according to Chassman, who said Saliba liked the email business so much that he said he wanted to buy it. But Chavando was not told of the development of the eventual sale to Saliba, Chassman said.

“The deal with Mr. Saliba would have been fine with Mr. Chavando had he been told of it,” Chassman said.

Reagan, Kelly and Hoffman began an effort to exclude Chavando from the business, all of which is documented by email communications between the defendants, Chassman said.

Some of the emails contain such statements that Chavando should be “put in his place,” that “it would be better to die by the AIDS virus than to be in business with Elias Chavando” and that the plaintiff should not be able to “blow up what we have,” Chassman said.

One email contained disparaging remarks about Chavando’s Latino heritage, Chassman said.

After the business was sold to Saliba for $23 million, Reagan, Kelly and Hoffman received $3.8 million, the same share Chavando should have been given, according to Chassman.

“They knew what they did was wrong,” he said.

An attorney for the defendants later tried to pressure Chavando to sign a legal document giving up his rights to his share of the business proceeds, but he refused and filed suit against the trio, Chassman said.

Reagan, 69, was adopted shortly after his birth by Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman.

Related Posts

Registration Now Open for Summer at New Roads

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

New Roads School is accepting registration for its summer program, a vibrant selection of classes and camps curated to meet...

CodeREV Inspires Kids to Code

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Budding coders, robotics engineers, game developers, animators and STEM campers are invited to join CodeREV this summer for a memorable...

YMCA Santa Monica: When School Is Out, Camp Is In

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

As the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District nears its end,  YMCA Santa Monica is setting up for its popular Summer...

Top 4 Party Boat Rentals in San Diego

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Here’s a rundown of the top 4 party boat rentals that will elevate any event to an unforgettable experience: Alana...

Accents Owner Steven Hanna Reflects on Decades Long Legacy

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

For 37 years, Accents Jewelry has transcended mere commerce, evolving into a vibrant community, a crucible of creativity, and a...

Discover the Untold Story of Folk-Rock Icon Judee Sill in “Lost Angel” Documentary

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Directors Share Insights into the Life and Legacy of the Enigmatic Musician By Dolores Quintana Have you ever heard of...

O.J. Simpson, Infamous Football Star Accused of Murder, Dies at 76

April 12, 2024

April 12, 2024

Controversial Figure Succumbs to Cancer Shortly After Diagnosis Orenthal James Simpson, a former football player who is best known for...

Lyft Driver Faces Felony Sexual Assault Charges, Passenger Was Traveling Between Weho and Santa Monica

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

District Attorney Files Charges Following Allegations by Female Passenger On April 10, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón announced...

Los Angeles General Medical Center Seeks Public’s Help to Identify Patient Found in West LA

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Hospital Appeals for Assistance in Reuniting Unknown Patient with Family The Los Angeles General Medical Center, a public hospital operated...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew’s Interview; Film Opens on Friday

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

(Video) The New Menu Experience at Cassia Restaurant in Santa Monica is Delicious

April 11, 2024

April 11, 2024

The Southeast Asian dishes satisfy. Friendly ambiance, flavorful food, subtle cocktails, beer and wine, and scrumptious desserts. @culvercitywlanews The New...

Woman Allegedly Tweets Apocalyptic Messages Before Woodland Hills/Culver City Murder-Suicide

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Social Media Posts Precede Tragic Events at Family’s Home and on the 405 Freeway Reports have surfaced that a 34-year-old...

SB 1509 Advances: Malibu Officials Rally Behind Negligent Operator Treatment Bill

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Senator Stern’s Legislation Gains Momentum in Effort to Curb Reckless Driving SB 1509, the Negligent Operator Treatment bill spearheaded by...

Now Enrolling: St. Matthew’s Summer Enrichment Program

April 10, 2024

April 10, 2024

Discover the magic of St. Matthew’s Parish School through their Summer Enrichment Program, offering a timeless summer camp experience infused...

Rolling Robots Camp is a ‘Tech Genius Program’

April 9, 2024

April 9, 2024

Roll out the .. robots.  An afterschool learning center for robotics and STEM is hosting weekly camps this summer designed...