Home > Junk fax profiles > Chartered Financial

First Chartered Investment aka Chartered Financial

Lessons in how NOT to fight a junk fax suit

This is the mind-blowing story of a junk faxer who parlayed a $5K judgment into over $50K, felony charges, and much more...

Background: This page was created in order to document the chronology of what has transpired in this unusual junk fax civil action. It was created after the action was initiated. Since the litigation was on going for longer than I expected, I decided it would be good to document what had happened and also enter evidence as I collected it. I decided to make it available on the web for my own convenience in terms of editing it, and so I can submit the URL to the court so the court can  review the audio evidence, and other hyperlinks assembled here. I've embellished the content so that it also serves a broader public interest purpose since this case was truly an unusual case. Also, I wanted to post the information publicly so 1) if there were any inaccuracies in the information I obtained, people would be able to contact me to correct the error so that the evidence I introduce would be as accurate as possible and 2) so that people with evidence that could help my case would be able to find me. I welcome any suggestions or corrections (or rebuttals!). Use the contact link.

First Chartered Investments under the guidance of Charles Cunningham sent out millions of junk faxes for almost a year after the FCC told the president of the company (Katrina Hartwell) to stop in August 2002.

As a result of the continuing faxes, I and a few other people took her to court over her disregard for both federal law and the FCC citation.

After several delays, including the death of her husband Charles who had authorized the faxing in the first place, she eventually lost in court. 

Then she was persuaded by her husband's paralegal, Howard Herships, that the ruling was unfair and unjust and that he would assist her in fighting for justice.

One slight problem was that Howard is a famous vexatious litigant and his friend, Eleanor Lindquist, is a famous pathological liar and scam artist. 

By ignoring the FCC citation and by trusting Herships and Lindquist and not taking any of the advice I tried to give her, Hartwell ended up with judgments 10 times more than she started with, felony charges (for vandalizing my car), nearly losing her business in receivership. In addition, she was scammed out of $100K by Eleanor. 

Had she simply paid the $5K judgment at the beginning, she could have avoided much of this. 

Ignoring the law, ignoring the FCC, and deliberately ignoring court orders doesn't pay. Judges are sensitive people and they do not like it when people do not follow their orders or break the law. People who tell you that they know how to abuse the legal system to tie up the creditor to get you out of paying the judgment are just going to get you into more trouble, not less. Hartwell is the textbook case of why that is true and this is her story. 

Website: http://www.charteredfn.com/

Aliases for company:

  • First Chartered Investments, Inc. (the original name)
  • Chartered Financial & Investment Corporation (the new name created to try to avoid collection of the prior judgments)

Case info

The chronology of events

Note: the events below are some of the highlights of the events of this case. This is not a complete chronology.

Throughout this ordeal, I have extended to the Defendants  the opportunity to settle this by cooperating but Hartwell has always refused to do that. So now we are only left with options that are going to be very unpleasant for her, in addition to the felony charge she is already facing. That was her choice. All of these (including the felony charge) were her choices.

What follows is her story of how she was able to turn a simple $5,000 judgment into judgments of over $42,000, skyrocketing costs (she will have to pay the bill for the receiver and the receiver's attorney and both of them are not cheap), felony charges, and is on the verge of losing her business and personal property.

  • various times in 2003: received junk faxes from First Chartered. They were sent by fax.com which I confirmed by fax.com's records and via header identification. The FCC sent Katrina Hartwell at letter telling her not to fax. She ignored it and continued sending out faxes (without the company name on the fax) for approximately a year thereafter. You shouldn't ignore FCC notices because it proves to the court that you are intentionally breaking the law. Courts are not going to be sympathetic to you at all.
  • Aug 8, 2003: Marie Firl at 1592 Union Street is listed as the agent for service for First Chartered. I send them a demand letter.
  • Sept 24, 2003: I file one case for the 10 faxes that Andre Barde has found in my fax pile. It's a $5,000 case (only $500 per fax because I'm a neophyte at this point and don't know you can sue for $2,500).
  • Oct 16, 2003: Registered process server serves the complaint on Firl at that address
  • Nov 20, 2003: Case is heard. Nobody shows up for the Defendant. Default judgment is entered for $5,000. 30 days later I start to try to collect, eventually sending a keeper to their office. 
  • Mar 4, 2004: Defendant files a motion to vacate the judgment claiming that they weren't served. I now believe they were telling the truth about that (e.g., either the process server was lying or Marie Firl never gave them the complaint). I am a nice guy and explain to the Defendant that they were served by a registered process server at their agent for service's address and they should be careful what they ask for. I tell them I know a lot more about the law than I did when I filed the original claim and that if they choose to vacate the judgment, then I will ask the court to dismiss without prejudice so that I could re-file these claims as separate actions of $2,500 each. I also told them that I found 6 more faxes so that instead of owing me $5,000, they will owe me well over $40,000. They ignore my advice and choose to follow through on the motion to vacate. That wasn't smart. They should have listened to me. I warned them. I dismiss the case without prejudice and re-file as 16 separate cases.
  • May 18, 2004: I file as 16 cases. 2-04-SC-001187 thru 2-04-SC-001199, 2-04-SC-001214, 2-04-SC-001215, 2-04-SC-001718. Here are the faxes: FirstChartered16faxes.PDF
  • July 15, 2004: Trial date. They ask for a continuance. Granted.
  • Sep 9, 2004: Trial date. Katrina's husband died in China of a heart attack about 60 days ago. She against asks for a continuance. Judge points out that they've known about the case for at least 6 months and have used up their continuance. Trial is held. Here are the notes I hand the judge: Kirsch v First Chartered, Charles Cunningham, Katrina Hartwell
  • Sep 10, 2004: Judgments are mailed out. I win all 16 cases for $2,500 plus service and filing costs. Judgment40K FirstChartered.pdf. Katrina decides not to appeal the judgments.
  • Late 2004: Katrina hooks up with Howard Herships because he was her husband's paralegal. But unbeknownst to Katrina, Howard is a famous vexatious litigant who is not a lawyer. Howard assures Katrina he will save the day for her. Essentially, Howard engages in the unauthorized practice of law. Howard assures her he can file sufficient paperwork in the courts to tie me up in knots for years so I cannot collect. He points to his infamous track record: Article about Howard Herships and his vexatious litigation. Hartwell trusts him because he tells her what she wants to hear (that Kirsch can be stopped) and employs him as a "computer consultant" so that he can represent the firm in court. They change the name of the company to make it harder to collect. In the meantime, I am doing research on their bank accounts, getting writs of execution and abstracts of judgments issued, filing liens on her property, wage garnishments, judgment debtor exam, OSC re: contempt, etc. I want them to know that I'm not going to walk away. What's the point of wasting the court's time to get a judgment if you aren't going to collect? If you aren't serious about collecting, you should never have filed the lawsuit in the first place. That would simply waste everyone's time.
  • Jan 13, 2005: My motion to add Chartered Financial & INVESTMENT CORPORATION to the judgments are granted by Commissioner Ryan after I present compelling evidence that the new company is a successor in interest of the old company.
  • Early 2005: Appeal after appeal by Hartwell (with Herships doing the ghost writing) in 6 different state and federal courts in an attempt to stay the judgments...every single one is denied which is exactly the right disposition since none of Hartwell's arguments (all of which are crafted by Herships who is not a lawyer) have any merit whatsoever. None of Hartwell's requests are granted. Yet she doesn't get the message that maybe she is wrong and all the judges are right. How many times does it take to for her to be convinced she is wrong? Also there is a Debtor Exam which got dropped from the calendar by mistake, an OSC re: contempt which got dropped through a clerical error, various 170.6 challenges against judges to delay the proceedings, etc. They also file for a TRO in federal court against Commissioners Madden and Ryan personally. That is pretty outrageous to sue a judge personally for a ruling you didn't like. I am able to find their bank account and I levy a little more than $10K from the account and they immediately move it so I can't do it again.
  • Feb 9, 2005: I write a letter to Presiding Judge Danner about these cases in response to a letter that Katrina wrote to him portraying me as the evildoer. You take a lot of heat from the evildoers and their attorneys for trying to do the right thing and help enforce the law. They basically try to portray you as abusing the legal system and paint themselves as innocent victims and lie about what the law really says. 
  • June 13, 2005: I write an 8 page letter to Commissioner Madden explaining the various motions I am making in case 2-04-SC-001196 to try to collect my judgment. The letter contains a pretty good summary of many of the techniques they've used to date to frustrate my attempts to collect my judgment.
  • June 16, 2005: 1pm D-86: My 3 motions are heard. Katrina doesn't show but Herships shows up. Herships gets frustrated pretty quickly because Madden correctly points out that Herships has no standing to appear. Even though Madden is 100% that Herships can't talk, Herships calls Madden an "idiot" and then storms out of the courtroom. Madden denies the vexatious litigant motion saying he doesn't have jurisdiction to make that determination (which I believe is the correct ruling because it appears that it must be done in a court of record), I withdraw the turnover order (for reasons I'll explain when this is over), and he grants the assignment order (which Hartwell of course ignores after it is later served upon her). In the meantime, Deputy Cordero stops Herships from leaving the building because insulting the judge is a contempt of court (PC 166(a)). The deputy discovers that Herships has a warrant for his arrest on misdemeanor charges in San Francisco. So he does a cite and release on the warrant (probably because it's a low bail amount and it's out of county). But he also discovers that Herships driver's license expired 5 years ago. The deputy tells Herships not to drive. It's not illegal to have an expired license; it's just illegal to drive with an expired license. Herships leaves the courtroom, but Cordero thinks Herships isn't going to heed his advice and alerts the perimeter deputies. Sure enough, Herships gets into his car (which is actually Eleanor Lindquist's car, a '91 Mercedes 300E (4 door) blue 2VIW753), and starts to pull out of the parking lot. Two seconds later it's like a scene from "Cops" in the parking lot. Police cars swoop in and block his exit and force him out of the car. Herships is arrested for driving without a license. The car is towed. Herships should have heeded Cordero's warning. The big irony of this is that the person who hears the traffic misdemeanors is Commissioner Madden, the very same judge who Herships just called an idiot. What can I say? Howard really knows how to work the system. He should write a book.
  • Aug 30, 2005: Herships is getting pretty upset that all of his stuff is being denied so he files (using Katrina's name as usual) a declaration to try to disqualify every judge in Santa Clara County: DisqulificationAttempt.pdf. This is just the latest filing of a never ending series of legal filings in courts in California (state and federal) as well as US Supreme Court that have been continuing in the background. Nobody's ever seen anything like it before.
  • Sept 2, 2005: Presiding Judge Danner denies the disqualification and strikes the declaration: DisqualificationDenial.pdf. I have to give Judge Danner a lot of credit for this; he was a lot more even tempered in his ruling than I would have been if I were a judge.
  • Sept 29, 2005: This is the big day for me. I am getting tired playing the cat and mouse games with them so I have a motion for to appoint a receiver in case 2-04-SC-001196 who is also empowered to collect the other cases which should end the collection nonsense once and for all (at minimal paperwork for the clerks since it is only 1 paper and not 16). And Hartwell's OSC re: contempt is set for hearing at 2pm in case 2-04-SC-001191 so after months of delay, she will finally be held accountable for ignoring every single post-judgment court order. Hartwell doesn't show up for either case. I call her office and they don't know where she is. It's always a bad idea to be a no show for your own contempt hearing. My best guess is that Herships has told Hartwell everything is under control with the litigation he's filing so there is no reason to show up. So Judge Southard carefully reads through the proposed order then grants my receiver motion (commenting that he appreciated the fact that I didn't try to take advantage of the situation and ask for more than I should) and also issues a bench warrant for Hartwell's arrest for FTA on an OSC re:contempt.
  • Oct 24, 2005: 1:45pm ex parte motion in D-84 (Southard) by the receiver to expressly add to the order to allow him to hire an attorney and post a $10,000 bond. Hartwell and Herships show this time and a new third person is there who claims her name is Eleanor Lindquist. Hartwell says she didn't show for her contempt hearing because she thought it was off calendar and handed the judge a printout to justify her statement. One little problem that Southard immediately pointed out to her was that the very printout she handed in her defense shows it was ON calendar! So Southard didn't buy it and suggested she turn herself in for arrest on the FTA warrant. She chose not to and walked out. The hearing is over at 2:10pm. Hartwell makes a gesture behind my back of "spitting" on me as she leaves (I can't see it but the receiver and his attorney do). We see Hartwell, Herships, and Lindquist head to their car. The receiver and his attorney suggest I get the plate number. I go over and do that. Herships threatens to bash my face in and tries to block my access, but I get the whole thing on tape because I have the recorder on my cell phone started to take down the vehicle plate number (Herships.MP3). One of them asks me, "Is this your car?" My car is near theirs and I say it is, but I think that is a really odd question. Why would they ask that? So I head back to the courthouse to tell the receiver and his attorney what Howard said to me (they are watching from a distance). On my way back to the courthouse, while my back is turned, the receiver and his attorney see Herships and Hartwell walk over to my car and then key my car and then gesture in a sign of victory. They tell me to return to the vehicle. Sure enough: fresh paint and two key marks that have different characteristics so appear to be done by two people with different strength, one right after the other. So that explains the "is this your car?" question I got right before they did it. I call the Palo Alto police who take my statement and the statement of my 2 witnesses. It's a felony (PC 594(b)(1)) if the damage is >$400 so I get an estimate and provide it to the police officer. Also, two people conspiring to commit a misdemeanor (which is what happened on the second key mark) is a felony (PC 182). So is intimidating a witness (PC 136(a)(1) and PC 140).  And criminal threats such as the ones Herships made to me on tape is a felony (PC 422). So they are potentially in really deep doo-doo. They later get Herships' statement who claims I'm stalking them. He tells the officer he filed a police report on it in Santa Clara County. Cop asks him for the case #. Herships can't give it to him. I check. There is no such report. Nice documentation of Herships lying to a cop on something really easy to verify.  It's in the police report and that's a misdemeanor. When it rains it pours. 
  • Oct 25, 2005: I have a fax.com appeal hearing at 9am which is moved to Judge Nichols' courtroom at Down Town Superior (aka DTS). Judge Nichols, by the way, totally rocks: he's very smart so he easily sees through the shenanigans from the opposing counsel, his demeanor was perfection, his process was excellent, he got to the heart of the issues, he allowed both sides to air their argument, he didn't let the court room get out of control, he didn't over pontificate, but just enough to assure us he understood what he was doing, and he didn't make a mistake in anything he said or did. To my surprise, Herships, Hartwell, and Lindquist are in the audience. I figure they are not there to cheer me on in my 4 year battle agains the fax.com evildoers. The fax.com case is over in about an hour and Hartwell and crew then try to have Judge Nichols overturn the receiver order issued by Southard. That of course is amateurish and totally improper; a judge at the same level can't overturn another judge's ruling (Herships knows that) and also it wasn't on calendar and also they never gave me notice. Nichols refuses to hear it presumably for those 3 reasons and has Hartwell arrested on Southard's FTA bench warrant for her OSC re: contempt. It's cash bail only so Hartwell pays the $3K and bails out shortly thereafter. Her court date is set for December 7, 2005 at 9amin D-84 in Palo Alto. I also file my opposition to Hartwell's most recent (never ending) appeal to the 6th appellate district. I keep it short and sweet. Check it out... it's all on one page: Kirsch Opposition to Petition to transfer and request for stay. Too bad all legal briefs aren't that brief.
  • Nov 8, 2005: Apparently the DA decided to act on the police report I filed on October 24 and the DA has a judge in Palo Alto issue felony arrest warrants in Palo Alto for the arrest of Katrina Hartwell and Howard Herships for the vandalism of my car. The warrants are endorsed for night service and the bail is set at $10,000. Now that is cool. The justice system really works. The bad guys are losing.
  • Nov 16, 2005: Hartwell appealed Southard's receiver order in 2-04-SC-001196 by improperly filing it as a "small claims appeal" which it is not. In Herships view, this creates an "automatic stay" of enforcement. Of course, like everything Herships argues, that is just total bullshit. Appeals of post judgment orders must be heard by the appellate division, not a superior court judge and they have to go through several steps if they want to stay the order. Herships claimed that the Appellate Division refused to accept his appeal papers so that's why he filed in the wrong court. If so, that was a mistake by the clerk, but filing an improper appeal in the wrong is simply not the way to address it. But following the law is not Howard's strong suit. Judge Kleinberg heard the case (even though it should never have been calendared by the clerk) and ruled the appeal wasn't timely since he can only hear the appeal of the judgment (not post-judgment orders) and they are way late for appealing the judgment (even Howard acknowledged that). Kleinberg had "blue tagged" (with a sticky) each of Hartwell's attempts to overturn the judgment and commented that in his entire judicial career which spans over 35 years, he has never seen a case that has been appealed as many times as this one (and the small claims case file he had only has some of the appeals...he doesn't know the half of it!). Eleanor appeared again (her third time) to speak on their behalf. Eleanor admitted it was HER car that was towed (the one Herships was driving without a license). This has me really suspicious as to why a "small claims advocate" would loan out her car to Howard Herships. So I do some research on Eleanor and find this thread: Forces of BCO...help me bring down a thief which indicates that this gentle innocent-looking 70 year old granny isn't nearly as innocent as she appears. Not by a long shot. Right after the hearing, Judge Kleinberg had the deputies take Herships and Hartwell into custody on the felony arrest warrant. I saw them in handcuffs being escorted out of the courtroom. I also get in the mail a filing from the California AG's office which was forced to respond to Hartwell's urgent motion in the federal appeals court of the 9th circuit to appeal the denial of her TRO in federal court (Case No. 05-80129). The AG's filing is about .5" thick. This is just an incredible waste of the AG's time to have to respond to Hartwell's frivolous attempts to overturn her judgments. The AG is basically forced to assume the federal judge isn't very smart and counter point by point every argument they make. Big waste of time. 
  • Nov 17, 2005: Judge Kleinberg's outrage at what Hartwell has done means that the next time they attempt an appeal to a court of record, I can motion the appeals court to have Hartwell declared a vexatious litigant and simply refer to the case file in 2-04-SC-001196 in my declaration. I will invoke the authority of CCP 391.7(a) to bring a motion before the court to have Ms. Hartwell declared a vexatious litigant pursuant to the definitions in CCP 391(2) and 391(3). In the meantime, I send a letter to the presiding judge about the matter in the hopes he will take action: Letter to Danner on Hartwell. I also speak to the receiver. Because Katrina refuses all offers from the receiver to cooperate with him, life is going to get a lot worse for Katrina real soon now. All of us cannot believe how stupid she is. She is putting all her faith in Herships, a guy whose every motion has been denied. I have told her in the past to get a real lawyer who knows the law and will tell her her options and to arrange payment over time so that I do not have to disrupt her life. I have no interest in that. I am simply trying to collect my judgment and her non-compliance with court orders (such as wage garnishment, SC-133, etc) and abusing the system have simply made her situation worse. She clearly doesn't like it that someone is holding her accountable for non-compliance with the law. She must think I am a bad guy and all the judges who tell her she's wrong she thinks are wrong too. I cannot simply drop my collection efforts and let her "off the hook." If I did that, Herships declares victory and then others will replicate what Herships has done and judgments will be meaningless and the rule of law will not be enforced. More Howard Herships antics is not something that anyone would want to encourage by any stretch. That would be a great disservice to the legal system. Besides, this is a useful case study to others to show what happens to people who refuse to comply with the law and with lawful court orders and try to game the sytem. If we can win against the famous Howard Herships, it will hopefully persuade others thinking of doing something similar to not do it. Also, Katrina is operating on the mistaken belief that she can simply ignore court orders she disagrees with. Of course, that is not how the system works. If you don't have a stay in hand, you better follow the order. If this is not enforced, the system breaks down because court orders become meaningless. There is no point in bringing a lawsuit in the first place if you are not going to ensure that the orders are enforced and the judgments are paid.
  • Nov 18, 2005: Katrina lost her emergency appeal in federal court (9th circuit court of appeals). The California AG tried to get the judge to issue a pre-filing motion against her (the same type of Order that I suggested in my letter to Danner above), but the federal judge declined to do so at this time. That was probably because that judge has no clue as to how many other suits she's filed since that evidence was NOT put before him.
  • Nov 20, 2005: Herships has contacted the San Jose Mercury newspaper about me. They do a story about this. Both Katrina and I are quoted in the story. It runs on page 1 of today's paper! See the newspaper articles section below.
  • Nov 21, 2005: I receive a phone call at 12:30pm from a friend of Katrina's brother John. He says that Katrina wants to settle this issue. All of my previous settlement talks with them ended with an agreement between the parties and then they never signed it. This time it seems real. Katrina has already drafted a letter of apology. I tell him all I want is 4 things: 1) a payment plan for her to pay her legal debts to others who have judgments or are owed money (such as the receiver I was forced to appoint) and to me for both my judgments and the damage to my car 2) a written apology so that I know that she knows what she did was wrong and now realizes it 3) to tell the truth in court about the vandalism incident to my vehicle and 4) to drop all litigation against the Superior Court and the Commissioners. After the full payment is received, I will remove my liens, file a satisfaction of judgment, and dismiss the contempt charges.
  • Nov 21, 2005: I meet with John's friend. He want to settle this with me at a reduced rate. No deal. We can't come to terms. 
  • Nov 30, 2005: Herships and Hartwell appear at their arraignment on felony charges in D-88 (Pichon). They are represented by the public defender, a Mr. Goodman. Goodman talks faster than any attorney I know. Howard wants to hire his own attorney. So they basically re-schedule the arraignment date to Jan 18, 2006 at 1:30pm. True to form, Howard argues with Goodman as to how the defense should be handled. Howard wants to file all these papers in protest, but Goodman says he can't do it..."it's like the alphabet," Goodman explains to Herships. "You have to do A and B before you do C." Herships reluctantly agrees (after arguing for a few minutes with him). I'm sure Herships wants to take this case to the Supreme Court.
  • Dec 19, 2005: Small claims case is heard by a Pro Tem. Hartwell is honest and admits she keyed my car. Herships and Hartwell lose the case. There are punitive damages of 3 times the actual damages also awarded against Herships. If I'm lucky, Herships will appeal and I can get another shot at 10x actual damages.
  • March 13, 2006: We all meet at the receiver's attorney's office and work out a settlement agreement. I agree to release the liens.

Howard Herships background

  • Herships was the paralegal used by Charles Cunningham before he died. When Katrina ran into legal problems, she naturally turned to Howard for help. That was a major mistake.
  • Howard Herships, a famous vexatious litigant, regularly engages in the unauthorized practice of law. He promises his clients that Howard knows how to tie up the opposition in knots for years. And by filing all his paperwork using the client's name as pro per, Howard side-steps the prohibitions of the vexatious litigant statute.
  • Article about Howard Herships and his vexatious litigation for an unflagging series of lawsuits over almost 8 years over the same loan default.
  • Court order declaring Herships a vexatious litigant. This is actual the appeals court ruling. Naturally, Howard is going to appeal any trial court ruling.
  • Oct 24, 2005: Herships.MP3: This is an audio of me recording their license plate after the ex parte hearing that happened just a few minutes before (see the entry above for that date). While I am trying to view their plates, Herships approaches me to block my view of their vehicle and threatens to punch my face in. He then realizes he is being recorded and then pretends he is the victim. So how many REAL victims say "hit me again...why don't you hit me again?" None. This is just before two independent eye witnesses observe Herships and Hartwell keying my car while my back is turned to them as I walk back to the courthouse.
  • Howard apparently never passed the bar because he has some unusual beliefs about the law and the legal process including:
    • The law shall be interpreted how Howard Herships thinks it should be interpreted. Therefore, if Howard thinks it is illegal, it is. It does not matter how many judges disagree with Howard. They are wrong. Howard is right.
    • If you get a bad ruling, it simply means the judge is an idiot. Therefore, the right thing to do is try to overturn the decision so that Howard's view of justice prevails.  "If at first you don't succeed, file, file again." There is no limit to how many times you can appeal because each time, you can change a few words and re-file. The idea is that you may get lucky and find a judge who agrees with you. You can get away with it because judges are in general too timid to issue an order to stop you from filing pro per even though the law was changed to allow them to do that (it just forces you to use an attorney which doesn't violate your right to due process).
    • The law applies to other people, not to you. Therefore, it is OK to operate a motor vehicle, even though you have a driver's license that expired 5 years ago and even after a cop tells you not to do it. If you get arrested, it doesn't mean that you were wrong. It simply means that the cop was wrong. He just doesn't understand that if your name is Howard Herships you are above the law and don't have to follow laws you don't agree with.
    • If you get a court order to do something, if you don't agree with it, you don't have to follow it. Everyone else needs a stay from a higher court to avoid following a court order, but you aren't bound by that if your name is Howard Herships. That is the Herships exemption from the law. You can merely claim you have an appeal pending to stay the order, or, if that doesn't work, your simply claim that a stay was issued in your favor and that they just haven't issued the paperwork yet. It doesn't matter if it isn't true because most people will take you at your word and won't check anyway, especially if you say it with confidence like it is really true.
    • When writing legal briefs, it is perfectly OK to generalize narrow case law to apply to your current situation if the result would help your case. So if case law says that in contract cases where there is a recurring payment that mandatory joinder is required when filing an action, it is OK to interpret that as meaning that mandatory joinder is always required in all causes of action, including tort law. 
    • When citing a case, it is OK to say that this case proves your point, even though it says just the opposite. This works many times because judges are lazy and don't look up the case. Therefore, they'll take your word that the case says what you say it does, especially if your brief looks and reads like it was written by a real attorney (who are not supposed to do that).
    • There are bad judges everywhere. If filing in the correct venue doesn't work, file in the wrong venue and hope that the judge doesn't notice. So if you have a Superior Court judgment in Santa Clara County and you can't get it overturned there, then try to get a stay in San Mateo via an ex parte motion using the argument that venue is proper because the judgment is being enforced in San Mateo.
    • If you are in a hurry, it's OK not to notify the other side of an ex parte motion (as he failed to do on Oct 25). 
    • If the judge rules against you, you need to put him in his place and show him who's really the boss. Tell the judge to stop interrupting you when you talk. If that doesn't work, call the judge an "idiot" to his face. If that still doesn't work, sue him personally in federal court for making a bad ruling. And never ever follow any of his orders. You have to show him that you are in control, not him. That will teach 'em. And if that's not enough, just file a CCP 170.6 against them. This works even if you know nothing about the judge (and admit it).
    • To intimidate your opponent, tell him you filed for cert in SCOTUS and it was granted and that Alan Dershowitz will be representing you. This has a chance of working especially if you can sound convincing, so it's worth trying. You have nothing to lose. If you get called on it, apologize and say, "I guess I was mistaken."
    • Don't worry about lying to a police officer even though it is a misdemeanor. So it's OK to claim you filed a police report on an incident that never happened even if there isn't a police report. If the cop calls you on it and asks for the Case #, just say you don't have it but will get back to him with it (and then never get back to him). And use different venues each time you refer to the police report, e.g., if the Palo Alto cop figures out there was no police report filed, you just say "Oh, I filed it with the Sheriff" and vice-versa....if the Sheriff calls you on the lie, you just say, "Oh, I filed it with Palo Alto." I checked both and there was no police report that Howard claimed to the Palo Alto cop.

Charles Cunningham information

Charles Cunningham was the person who originally contracted with fax.com to send the faxes for First Chartered. Cunningham was Katrina's husband. He was a VP of the company and Katrina was the President. He died a few months before the judgments were rendered in this case, of a heart attack in China. His paralegal was Howard Herships.

Eleanor Marie Lindquist facts

Eleanor is involved on this page because she showed up in court claiming to be a "small claims advocate" on behalf of Katrina Hartwell three times so far: on Oct 24, 25 and Nov 17. I thought it was odd since there is no such thing as a "small claims advocate." Also, even if there was such a thing, why would a small claims advocate loan Howard Herships (a man w/o a driver's license) her car? That just seemed way too odd for my tastes. Also, at her first hearing she was a small claims advocate and at the third hearing she was an advocate in family court. That's just way too weird for me. Something is fishy here.

What's even worse is that she's talked to the press about me, and made up stories about me out of nowhere stating things about me that are untrue and have no factual basis. These are not simply misinterpreting facts. These are lies manufactured out of thin air.

It's pretty hard to believe that anyone would be so brazen to lie like that. So I did a little background checking and boy, was I amazed at what I found. I have investigated a lot of people associated with junk faxes, but I've never run across someone like Eleanor.

Eleanor sent me a letter asking me to remove the information about her on this site. I said I be happy to remove any information which is both false and defamatory if she would tell me what was in error. She wrote back asking me to remove the information about her on this site because "all of the information is inaccurate as it is not from reliable sources which can be confirmed and as this information is readily available without of the statutory protection under both Federal and State Law reporting laws, I am requesting you remove it immediately."

My offer still stands. If she'd tell me statements that are false, I'd be happy to remove them. If she wants to send me a rebuttal, I'd be happy to publish it on this page.

In the meantime, here's what I found out.

I finally found out how Eleanor got involved in all this. Eleanor and Herships are friends. That explains why she loaned him her car. For example, see CTEAC Meeting Summary of March 24, 2005 showing they are both representing SFHW at this meeting. So at first I thought that Herships, who complains about me to anyone who will listen, was complaining to Eleanor who offered to come in, roll up her sleeves, and "save the day" for Howard. Well, There are some reports that Herships and Eleanor are living together but I haven't been able to confirm that. Also, Eleanor, who Katrina met through Herships, scammed Katrina out of $100K, but Katrina still trusts Eleanor and still doesn't have a clue she is being scammed. Eleanor is just a great liar. She's that good.

  • People familiar with her (e.g., attorneys, friends, associates, former employees, family members, etc) had the following things to say about Eleanor (I am mixing in all the remarks so as to protect the sources from retaliation; note that these are the statement of others and I have not independently verified these statements but they seem to be remarkably consistent with each other and consistent with what I observed first hand so I am publishing them here as Eleanor's story is a matter of public interest):
    • Eleanor is a teller of whoppers. 
    • She's a storyteller.
    • She is a pathological liar.
    • People who have known her much of her life say she has always been that way. They can't figure out why.
    • We have no idea as to her real name. Eleanor is her real first name and Lindquist is her current husband's name. So that's her current name she is using, but her real birth name is a mystery to us all.
    • I can't believe the number of schemes she was involved in.
    • In a deposition in the bankruptcy proceeding she was evasive, gave nonsense answers, and contradicted herself many times. So many bogus names about husbands and kids. We just couldn't figure it out. We got different answers every time we asked the questions in the same deposition! I've never seen anything like it.
    • Our client had a $500K judgment against her, mostly for attorney fees. When we tried to collect, she declared bankruptcy.
    • The bankruptcy trustee was convinced there were shenanigans going on. The creditor's meeting, which is almost always 10 minutes long, was 2 hours long and continued on another day. That is HIGHLY unusual and only happens when the trustee knows that there is something hugely amiss.
    • Our clients gave up because they thought we were drilling in a dry hole. Our clients didn't have deep pockets to pursue it so they quit. If someone has time and money, we could pursue it. Our client didn't want to spend the money to deny the discharge because it may have meant spending a lot more money without any assurances of being able to recover that at the end, even if we were able to find any assets.
    • She's probably hidden the dough and parked it somewhere where nobody can find it.
    • She supposedly got $15M in cash and equipment from HP for her company. That money is gone.
    • Eleanor and her husband can't account for where all the money went. They claim they do not know. They kept very poor records. There were hardly any books. She said her husband has Alzheimer's so that's why they can't figure out what happened. The only problem with that is that after the bankruptcy, her husband later moved up to Oregon where he's working for Intel. Doubtful he'd be able to do that if he had Alzheimer's.
    • Her husband Jeffrey C Lindquist is as dishonest as she is. They are cut from the same cloth. He's in Oregon right now working for Intel. I hear he just filed for bankruptcy.
    • She's currently living in San Mateo. She moved out of her San Francisco condo when the bank foreclosed on it around the time of her bankruptcy.
    • When she moved out, she told everyone she had cancer. Yet the very day she announced she was moving out, she was filing for bankruptcy. So I seriously doubt she had cancer. She never lost her hair.
    • She was on the board at the condo association. People were impressed about what a pathological liar she was. She'd lie frequently. People were resolved to get her off the board. 
    • She ran for San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1984 using the name Eleanor Davis. She told us she came in second. The SF Examiner for Dec 7, 1984 shows she really came in 14th place (about middle of the pack) with 16,906 votes.
    • Her firm had 25 employees. She owed them at least $200K at the time of the bankruptcy.
    • There were a lot of lawyers who had liens on her property. But the bank came in first so all the others were left with worthless liens.
    • At the condo association, there were some people who believed her. Others saw right through her lies. She'd make these accusations about people but then have no evidence to back it up.
    • You can't be sure anything is real with her.
    • If she does have children they never spent any holidays with her or sent her any gifts
  • Here are the names I could find that appear to be AKAs based on bankruptcy filings, google search, etc)
    1. El St. John Lindquist (at St. Dominic's Catholic Church in San Francisco on Bush St)
    2. El St. John (for business, as in the cover photo to the right)
    3. Eleanor Marie Lindquist (her most recent name)
    4. Ellen Calamari
    5. Eleanor M Lindquist
    6. Eleanor M Davis (the name she used in 1984 when running for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors)
    7. Eleanor Marie Calamari (her true birth name)
    8. Eleanor C Calamari
    9. Eleanor D Calamari
    10. Eleanor M Calamari
    11. Eleanor C Lindquist
    12. Eleanor Calamare 
    13. Eleanor Calimari-Davis 
    14. Eleanore M Calamari-Davis 
    15. Eleanore Calamari
    16. Ellen Calamari
  • From her bankruptcy testimony:
    • 5 husbands: Jack Singer, David Reisman, Thomas Kinter, Charles Davis, Jeffrey Lindquist
    • Confirmation name (middle name): Cunigunda
    • Has used "El St. John" as her professional name since age 17
    • got paid $325K/yr at Silvertech; was board member and founder
    • Never used any social security number except her own
    • 7 children but wouldn't reveal names (likely because there aren't 7 children). There was only one that I could find that anyone knew about.
    • Claimed she put $6M in AT&T stock and a Picasso in a storage locker at Indiana & 25th street. Unfortunately, Jeffrey didn't pay the bill so they sold the entire contents for the past due rent (a few hundred dollars) to an anonymous stranger. OK, well that lie has so many holes you can drive a truck through it. 1) AT&T stock would be in her name or street name, not "bearer." Therefore, all she has to do is ask AT&T to replace the shares. 2) the storage company she named doesn't exist 3) at auction, the contents almost never go for the EXACT price of the rent due, 4) the storage place would have notified them via mail and phone many times before auctioning the stuff since most times, they barely get 10% of the rent due so they try everything to contact the owner, 5) buyers are never anonymous.
  • Eleanor is the ONLY bad apple in the Calamari family. With the exception of Eleanor, they are all really nice people.
  • All of these aliases are explainable. Eleanor has been married 5 times. The Lindquist surname is because she married Jeffrey C Lindquist. The Calamari surname is her real name for certain. The Davis surname she took in 1984 is likely from her husband at the time. The St. John surname that she recently took is related to her church because she believes she's a saint. Yeah, I know...hard to believe, isn't it?
  • Why I think Eleanor Marie Calamari is her real name is that 1) it's the only name in common to her 2 bankruptcies 2) it's the only name of all the names listed in the bankruptcy that has a history to it 3) she "came back" to using this name again recently after switching names 4) the name is the earliest known name associated with her 6) her mother has that name 7) she's of Italian descent so it's consistent 8) someone who knows her extremely well confirmed it
  • Companies where she is the owner/principal/agent for service of include:
  • She apparently lies about her age.
    • Nov 17, 2005: age 70 in court admission under oath on Nov 17, 2005 (implies DOB Jan 1935 by she could have been rounding to the nearest year in which case DOB Jan 1936).
    • Nov 28, 2000: age 67 in article ZENIT, November 28, 2000 - The World Seen From Rome (i.e., DOB Jan 1933)
    • She regularly uses two different birthdates: Jan 1935 and 1937. Her real birthdate appears to be Jan 18, 1935 since this is consistent with the majority of the data, but it could be Jan 18, 1936.
  • Lived with Jeffrey C Lindquist (see Jeffrey C Lindquist bio from the SilverTech site) at the condo in San Francisco. After the bankruptcy, split up. She's in San Mateo now. He's in Oregon working for Intel.
  • Currently resides in San Mateo.
  • Her condo on Bryant St in San Francisco was purchased in Aug 2000 for $1.01M. The bank (Washington Mutual) foreclosed at the time of her Chapter 7. 
  • Owns a '91 Mercedes 300E (4 door) blue 2VIW753 which she let Howard Herships drive. Herships had an expired driver's license at the time so her car was towed when he tried using it. She reportedly told a cop that she was "across the street" when they towed her car. That's just too hard to believe since why would Herships drive away and leave her? The cops stopped Herships as he was pulling out ALONE in the car...I know...I was there.
  • Claims to have seven children (in the Zenit.org article "Grandmom Launches Alternative Internet for Families" about El St. John of Nov 28, 2000) and numerous grand-children. I'd sure like to know who they are, but Eleanor refused to disclose this in her deposition in her bankruptcy case.
  • Story of how she scammed a guy out of $100K and then sued him when he gave up pursuing her is posted here: Forces of BCO...help me bring down a thief.
  • Eleanor Marie Lindquist filed chapter 7 on 11/22/2002. Granted a discharge on 3/16/04. Case # 02-33288 TEC 7 in Northern California. Eleanor Marie Lindquist aka El St. John bankruptcy discharge dated March 16, 2004
  • Here is the official El St. John bio from the SilverTech site
  • One thing for sure...I've never heard of a "small claims advocate" that she purported to be in court. There is no such position. Then, in front of Judge Kleinberg, she claimed she was an advocate in family court. But look at her background. This is a CEO, business owner according to her bio. A real "big shot." Hard to believe she'd give that all up to work in small claims. The ONLY time anyone has ever seen her in court is with Hartwell and Herships. And letting Herships drive her car??? Come on now. That would never happen if there wasn't some kind of personal relationship going on. Herships was ALONE when he was pulling out of the court parking lot. So she clearly gave him use of her car. Yet she told the cops that she was across the street. But it took them 30 minutes to arrest Howard. Why didn't Eleanor come? Why didn't Howard wait for her before pulling out? And "small claims advocate"? Even if there was such a position, Eleanor is hardly the type that would take such a job. And to appear ONLY in Katrina's case? And explain the 14 aka's, multiple birthdates, multiple social security numbers associated with her name, and stories of ripping people off or leaving her employees stranded without pay. 
  • So she claimed under oath that she is a "small claims advocate" yet there is no such position. And none of the small claims judges have EVER seen her before. Nor have the deputies. She ONLY appears in this ONE case for this ONE defendant. And she loans her car to the Defendant's friend who has no license to drive. How is THAT possible? 
  • There is a top-rated mystery book featuring Eleanor Lindquist written by Norman Rudnick about a a well-known eccentric in San Francisco. I checked with the author who confirmed that his book has absolutely nothing to do with the real Eleanor.

The bottom line is that Eleanor is a very intelligent, very smooth pathological liar who can fabricate convincing facts on-the-fly. She has defrauded a number of people out of a lot of money.

Newspaper articles about this case

  • Executive fights faxes, one at a time Los Angeles Daily Journal, June 6, 2005. All those fancy lawyers lost their cases. I've never lost any of the more than 50 cases I've brought. It is nice when the law is on your side and the judges follow the law.
  • Crusader against junk faxes gets his day in court -- every week, San Jose Mercury News, November 20, 2005. This article is misleading. I've filed only 2 cases (not 44) since November of last year (and only one of the 2 cases was for a junk fax). I've never had any of my cases heard by the so-called "Kirsch court." And finally, junk faxes are a nuisance but they are not to be equated with crimes of violence.

    The article paints Katrina as an innocent victim of my crusade. Yet Katrina was arrested on felony charges but the editors cut that out. Also, the article fails to point out:
    • She was running the company when the faxes were sent.
    • The FCC cited the company for its illegal activity.
    • She (personally) was notified by FCC of the illegal activity.
    • She responded by continuing the illegal activity while attempting to hide the source of the junk faxes by illegally removing all identification of the company from the faxes and causing phone calls generated from the faxes to be answered with a false company name (also illegal).

    This is hardly the poor widow who didn't know anything about what was happening.

Mysteries yet to be solved

  • all have been solved!

Disclaimer