Legal Corruption Unveiled: Disbarred Attorney’s Shocking Plot
By Dolores Quintana
Disbarred attorney Paul O. Paradis, formerly of Paradis Law Group in New York City, was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison today. Paradis, 60, residing in Scottsdale, Arizona, received the sentence from United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. after pleading guilty in January 2022 to bribery.
Paradis was involved in a collusive lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles, simultaneously representing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) and a ratepayer. The scheme involved accepting a secret kickback of nearly $2.2 million to allegedly facilitate the representation of his ratepayer client in a lawsuit against the city, enabling a favorable settlement.
In 2013, LADWP faced class-action lawsuits from ratepayers due to a faulty billing system, prompting Paradis’s involvement. While representing the city in a lawsuit against PricewaterhouseCoopers, Paradis also represented ratepayer Antwon Jones. Unbeknownst to Jones, Paradis orchestrated a “white knight” strategy, recruiting another lawyer to represent Jones, ensuring a lawsuit favoring the city’s terms.
Paradis received a secret kickback of $2,175,000 after a $67 million settlement in Jones v. City was approved in 2017. The kickback was concealed as a real estate investment through shell companies. Additionally, Paradis admitted to bribing LADWP’s general manager, David H. Wright, for a $30 million no-bid contract. Wright was promised the CEO position at Paradis’s company, Aventador Utility Solutions, and a $1 million annual salary.
Paradis cooperated with federal investigators, leading to guilty pleas from Wright, Thomas H. Peters, former City Attorney’s Office litigation chief, and David F. Alexander, LADWP’s former Chief Information Security Officer. Federal prosecutors recommended an 18-month sentence, citing Paradis’s cooperation. Judge Blumenfeld imposed a 33-month sentence, emphasizing the need to address Paradis’s conduct that “shattered public confidence in the government and legal profession.” Wright and Alexander are serving federal prison sentences of six years and four years, respectively, after pleading guilty to felony offenses in this case. Peters was sentenced to probation.
This case was investigated by the FBI and Assistant United States Attorneys J. Jamari Buxton and Susan S. Har of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section prosecuted this case.