Friday, May 11, 2018
The Stormy Daniels lawyer who tweeted bombshell allegations this week against Trump attorney Michael Cohen is now facing questions about his own business dealings -- as well as how he obtained Cohen's bank records. Recently, a complaint was filed against him to the California State Bar Association regarding his role in purchasing Tully's Coffee several years ago through an entity called Global Baristas. The complaint, first obtained and reported by The Seattle Times, was filed by attorney David Nold of Bellevue, Wash.
The complaint says Avenatti and Global Baristas faced a lien for unpaid federal taxes worth roughly $5 million, claiming taxes were withheld from workers' paychecks but not paid to the government. The complaint from Nold, as posted by The Seattle Times, called into question Avenatti's "fitness to practice law." Since the coffee chain purchase, Tully's has shuttered its stores (though the closures were described as temporary) as Global Baristas has dealt with numerous lawsuits.
Fox News obtained a copy of the notice of federal tax lien in question, sent to "Global Baristas US LLC" and "Michael J Avenatti MBR [member]."
But Avenatti reportedly says he thinks Global Baristas has paid the outstanding taxes. Further, Avenatti claimed to Fox News that he wasn't a "member" of Global Baristas US LLC -- but rather the entity that owned it, Global Baristas LLC.
"The federal tax lien is related to an entity that was owned by another company that I used to have an interest in," Avenatti told Fox News Thursday. "At no point in time was I ever responsible for any taxes for Global Baristas US LLC, nor was I ever a member of that entity, nor did I own any direct interest in that entity."
However, a 2017 court document posted by The Seattle Times shows Avenatti acknowledging he was the "principal" of Global Baristas US LLC.
Meanwhile, another lawsuit was filed back in 2013 against Avenatti by his famous business partner, Patrick Dempsey of "Grey's Anatomy" Dr. McDreamy fame. Dempsey's complaint against Avenatti, which was settled quickly, alleged Avenatti had not fully financed the coffee chain as agreed.
While Cohen faces scrutiny from federal investigators and the media over his financial transactions, the disclosure of the Cohen bank records has drawn the feds' attention. The Treasury Department's Office of the Inspector General said Wednesday that it was "inquiring" into claims that the information was "improperly disseminated."
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