O.J.’s ill gotten-gains

I’ve posted before about O.J. Simpson’s book, If I Did It, and the resulting furore. In fact, in my previous post, I even mentioned Attorney-General v Blake, the case where a double agent was forced to disgorge the profits he made by publishing a book about his exploits.

So I was fascinated to read that Ron Goldman’s family has won the publishing rights to Simpson’s book. The Goldmans won a civil jury award for over US$33M ten years ago, and have been chasing Simpson for the money. Simpson has declared himself bankrupt. Apparently, a company named “Lorraine Brooke Associates” owned the rights to the book. LBA was run by Simpson’s daughter, Arnelle Simpson. The judge, US Bankruptcy Judge Cristol, traced $650,000 from HarperCollins to LBA and then to Simpson for his expenses. His Honour found that LBA was “clearly accomplished to perpetuate a fraud.” Presumably there are some kind of “claw-back” provisions that prevent bankrupts from transferring money to others with an intent to defraud creditors and access it themselves.

Unfortunately, a copy of the judgment is not available online yet or I would have read it.

Update

The judgment still isn’t online – presumably Judge Cristol hasn’t had time to get it published because of this furore. Celebrity gossip site TMZ briefly published the manuscript of If I did it online, but after an emergency application to Judge Cristol, they took it down again.

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9 Comments

Filed under courts, criminal law, insolvency law, morality, OJ Simpson, USA

9 responses to “O.J.’s ill gotten-gains

  1. fairlane

    He’s quite a specimen is he not? “If I did it”. I don’t know who is the sick one in that arrangement, O.J. or the people who agreed to pay him to write such a book.

    As I mentioned previously, I continue to wait for the day when my family figures out I’m trapped on this planet and sends a ship to bring me home.

  2. They’re all sick. I despise OJ, as I’ve told you before.

    Unfortunately, I increasingly think: “Stop the world, I want to get off!”

  3. marcellous

    The relevant provision in Australia is section 121 of the Bankruptcy Act.
    Until this section was amended in 1996, it referred to a transfer “with intent to defraud creditors.”
    I imagine the judge in the O.J.Simpson case is dealing with a statute in similar form to the pre-1966 Australian legislation. “Fraud” here is used in its broader equitable sense (sorry everyone else, that is lawyer talk) rather than the narrower common law sense of “deceit.”
    Broadly speaking, you can arrange your affairs so that future creditors may be unable to reach your assets, but once you do have creditors or events have occurred which mean there is reason to think you will have them (obviously there will be a question of degree here), then the transfer will be caught by this section.
    So, for example, it is fine for barristers, as they often do, to place all their valuable assets in the hands of their wife in case they subsequently get sued by someone, but it wasn’t OK for Mr Cummins QC who had not filed a tax return or paid any income tax since 1955, to transfer his assets to his family trust and to wife in 1987 in this way.

  4. Marcellous, I’ve fixed up the Mr Cummins QC link and updated my post to be a bit more “legal”.

    Your comments were very helpful in reminding me of how bankruptcy preferences work in Australia – I haven’t looked at s 121 since I left practice – but on reading your comments I realised that of course the US law would work in a similar way.

    I will have to check out the judgment when they publish it.

  5. GavinM

    You’ve got to hand it to O.J. he’s a shocking piece of work, but boy, he’s got more front than Myers..(to use one of my mother’s favourite terms).

    As to who is the sicker in the arrangement…Well, I reckon it’s a photo-finish…

  6. fairlane

    People like O.J. are becoming status quo. Look at our “celebrities” here in the States. Brittney Spears, Paris Hilton and the rest of that gaggle of fools.

    Vapidity, arrogance, and anti-social behavior all for the masses to consume.

    “God Bless the United States of America, pass the hand grenades.”

  7. marcellous

    LE, “voidable preferences” are section 122. They are transactions within a prescribed relation back period which have the effect of preferring a creditor over other creditors.

    Mind you, we are both still guessing about the relevant US law.

    Incidentally, Attorney General v Blake has been described by Justice Barrett of the NSW Supreme Court as [one of] The “Most Wrong” Equity Cases 1990 – 2003. It’s a very Sydney equity sort of paper.

  8. Oh poopies. Blame it on trying to do one million things at once. Will amend post yet again. Can’t believe I’ve forgotten my bankruptcy law totally. But then again, I can. Having a child does terrible things to your memory.

    I’ll have to check if the OJ judgment is there yet.

    I have read Barrett J’s paper – and if I have my way – BWAH HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA! – I will reform the Australian legal community’s view of Blake. My evil plans are already in motion.

    If I do say so myself, I think I might even convince some of the Sydney Equity Bar. WATCH THIS SPACE. But Gummow and Heydon JJ are lost causes vis a vis Blake, I think.

    (Yes, LE is overtired and overemotional from marking too many exam papers).

  9. P.S. Judgment still isn’t there.

    Reminder for self – Florida Court Website is here.

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