CLEVELAND, OH – Two Russian oil and gas investors in Naples, Florida sued the law firm that employs Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley’s for malpractice in 2017. One of the council president’s Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur “partners” let Oleg and Andrey Tolkachev invest $5 million in a real estate deal without telling them the client they’d advised them to invest with had been hit with huge claims and settlements. Attorney W. Jeffrey Cecil is alleged to have fleeced the two Russians when he withheld the information.
The Tolkachevs, according to their claim in the Middle District Court of Florida, are in the “oil and gas” industry. In the former Soviet nation led by President Vladimir Putin the Russian Federation contracts with his hand-picked vendors to manage government-controlled industries.
The Tolkachev’s could be agents of the Russian government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act if their oil and gas interests are connected to their homeland. What Kelley’s Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur partners should have done was investigate their clients before they represented them.
CIA files show Mikhail Gorbachev was Secretary General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1986 when an Adolf Georgievich Tolkachev was executed under his administration as a spy for the CIA. The Russian who spied for the CIA was born in 1927. He had a son named Oleg Tolkachev who is currently an architect in Russia. All of the projects connected to Kelley’s firm’s Florida investments with the Russias involved real estate developments.
What Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur should have confirmed was if the 62-year-old Oleg Tolkachev in Florida is the same as the son of Adolf. Published reports provide details that KGB Lt. Colonel Vladimir Nikolaevich Zaitsev ordered the Alpha spetsnaz group to keep Tolkachev’s arrest secret in order to feed the CIA disinformation for 10 months before he was executed. Tolkachev’s wife’s life and that of their son, Oleg, were spared. He allegedly kept his spy activities hidden from them.
If Oleg Tolkachev is the son of a Russian executed for betraying his nation, and he’s in this nation doing the Russian government’s business, Kelley’s firm should have registered their representation of the two Russian aliens with the U.S. Department of Justice. The firm’s relationship with Tolkachev would have placed tight controls on Kelley as a public official not to disclose any “national defense” information to the Russian nationals through the firm’s lawyers during their foreign representation of the possible son of a counter-espionage agent. Doing so would place Cleveland’s council president in violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.
In the exhibits the Tolkachev’s submitted to the court in their complaint through their Russian American malpractice attorney, Warren Trazenfeld, a copy of the engagement letter the council president’s firm signed was attached. It explained “the scope of our representation will be to represent your investments and interests in the United States.” It was clear to Kelley’s partner’s in their contract’s language that the two Tolkachevs were not citizens of the United States and they were representing foreign nationals. Records show a Russian address of 50 1 Obskaya St. Novosibirsk for Oleg Tolkachev.
The way Trazenfeld described Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur’s representation should alarm every client who’s ever trusted the council president and his associates to handle legal transactions and investments. It’s like a law firm full of vote-suppressing, council-ordinance-rigging, duty-exceeding Kelley’s. This writer filed a criminal complaint against Kelley that was referred to the city’s prosecutor whose budget he controlled. It obstructively went nowhere.
Trazenfeld painted Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur’s Florida-office attorney, Cecil, in the light of someone who was ruthlessly greed-driven, unethical and dishonest for the scheme he and lawyers and agents of the firm ran on him; and it was a good one.
The Tolkachev’s had money and Kelley’s Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur colleagues in Florida handled deals for another real estate client, Frank J. Rosinus, they knew had $17,943,806.84 in real court-decided claims against him. Without disclosing the nearly $18 million in claims against Rosinus, the council president’s law firm advised the two Russian aliens to dump $4.7 million in several real estate and financing entities he controlled. Partners who were supposed to add money to get cuts of the deal told Cecil they didn’t have it; but he kept the “no money” information from the Tolkachevs.
The Tolkachevs claim they had to wire $4,781,200 of the funds invested to a Porter Wright Morris & Arthur they controlled to disburse the money. At the time Andrey Tolkachev invested $1 million in Academ AT, LLC to obtain a 50 percent interest in RYD International, and was given a 20 percent interest in an entity known as Lake Juliana Holdings,neither Tolkachev knew the other entities and Lighthouse Capital II were managed by Rosinus. Cecil hadn’t said a word.
The Tolkachevs claimed Rosinus advised Cecil that he was unable to provide the cash necessary to acquire the property, a fact Cecil never disclosed to Andrey Tolkachev. Cecil prepared the purchase money mortgage resulting in Andrey Tolkachev having unknowingly contributed 100% of the cash necessary to close the deal.
In their claim the Tolkachev’s said they “would not have invested in any Rosinus associated transaction or entity had they known the information about Rosinus which was withheld from them by the Defendants, or all of the facts surrounding the various transactions.”