The Australian judiciary, in traditional court wig and garb.
Drawing is black and brown ink on sketchbook page, 7" x 4 1/2", January 8, 2015.
The Curious Case of Lamberto Fedeli, part 2
As Fedeli writes in his summary of the case, “In 1998 smells the rat.” He suspected that something dishonest had gone on in the jewelry settlement. In another posting, though, he says that he had already begun his crusade for justice in 1990. About what, then? This is where things in the Fedeli case get very weird.
Fedeli now claimed that he was owed far more money than he received in the earlier settlement. How did this happen? In 1998 he attempted to re-connect with the three lawyers who had worked on his case in 1988 and demanded to see the documentation on the settlement. He contacted the court he had been in and tried to get more records of the case, but could not obtain any useful information about the trial or his old lawyers. In 2004 (six years later!) Fedeli finally connected with one of the lawyers, who provided him with a court ledger which documented, in hand-written script, a payment to Lamberto Fedeli for $4,974.50 as a settlement in a defamation case that occurred in 1985 - by legal standards, ancient history. Note this number: it will become important.
But...a defamation case in 1985? Where did this come from? Fedeli doesn’t explain anything. Fedeli provides as an attachment a poor, low-resolution copy of this 1985 settlement for $4,974.50. You can see the numbers but you can’t read the names of the people involved (except Fedeli). The image is just too blurred to read. There is no indication of why this was paid out. What you can see in the numbers is that the lawyers garnished $2,000 from this amount, leaving Fedeli only $2,974.50. But this award in the defamation case is somehow - a BIG unexplained somehow - connected with the $9000 award for the jewelry in 1988. Were the accused the same people as the jewelers who didn’t return Fedeli’s goods? I doubt whether anyone would do business again with someone who had hit them with a fine for defamation, so it’s probably a different party.
And sometime three years later, Fedeli makes a major discovery.
In Lamberto’s mind, the 1985 settlement has become the amount in the jewelry case.
And there’s more: Fedeli claimed that he is owed not $4,974.50, but ten times that: $49,745.00, which was the real value of the jewelry he loaned out. Someone moved the decimal point one place to the left in the larger number, rendering Fedeli’s award in the 1988 case ten times less than it should have been.
There is a possible source of confusion here outside of Fedeli’s claim. In Italy, the punctuation on larger numbers is done with commas, while in Australia and other English-speaking countries it is done with periods (dots). So to an Italian, you are looking at a number “$4974,50” using commas which might confuse an Australian.
Someone moved the decimal points! This was clear evidence of foul play to Fedeli. And what was more, in reducing the amount to “$4,974.50” from the Fedeli-claimed “$49,745.00”, the lawyers in the 1988 court case had removed the difference in funds and taken it for themselves. Fedeli (or anyone else) had no idea how this fraud and theft could have taken place. Despite that poor but readable copy of the ledger in the earlier settlement, (which Fedeli provides in regular e-mail attachments) there is no evidence in legal records of a mistake in notation or a larger payout being authorized. Nor did there appear to be any crime or fraud committed, as there’s no suspicion in the court or evidence of an investigation. Only Fedeli knows the truth. Permanently convinced that he must get what he is owed, Fedeli continued. He now accused the lawyers he had worked with not only of stealing the money owed to him, but of falsifying the date (1985) on the ledger so that by 1988 the three-year statute of limitations in small-claims court had already expired.
As the 21st century opened, Fedeli took his numbers to an accountant in 2006. He needed to update his fraudulently stolen settlement in 1988. The $49,745.00 amount he claims was rooked from him by his dishonest lawyers (as well as the judge who threw him out of court, who had to have been in on the job) was re-valued by the accountant. He took into the account factors of inflation, eight years’ interest (though the case happened 18 years ago, not eight?), and the price of gold in 2006. And by golly, the amount owed Fedeli after all these years of struggle is the “curiously specific” sum of $165,280.87! This is now Lamberto Fedeli’s claim on the world. This is what he is now owed in his quest for righteous financial justice. But if you look closely at the financial story even in a somewhat rational light, something will emerge: This money does not exist. It is an imaginary construction. Lamberto tries to make it exist, but it is undocumented except by the claims of an obsessive and deluded mind.
Nevertheless, he kept on trying. In Australian small claims courts, anything under $25,000 stays in the small claims department, but anything over $25K can be brought to trial in a district court. In 2006 - already after almost two decades of struggle on the Case - Fedeli brought his cause to a District court, and went nowhere. He appealed to legal aid from the Australian office of the Legal Services Commissioner, as well as an attorney general, hoping to hunt down his treacherous lawyers from the old case and expose their fraud, duplicity, and theft. He received polite but firm letters from both of those offices, (scanned and presented as attachments for us) explaining that not only are the lawyers (whose 20-year-old business cards Fedeli produced) no longer accessible or even in practice any more, but that Fedeli’s case has long since timed out (the official statute being 3 years). So Fedeli is out of luck with the conventional legal world. He knows now what he suspected was true: They are all in collusion against him, not only the lawyers but the district court judge who threw his case out, and all the people he has tried to communicate and plead with. All corrupt, all standing together saying nothing rather than admitting that they defrauded or enabled the theft from an old Italian jeweler of more than $150,000.
What to do? He doesn’t know English well (except for cuss words), has no political contacts and knows no one rich or powerful, and after years of struggle is in poor health. How can he bring about justice and the return of his $165,280.87? Letters and phone calls and faxes don’t work...but there is this new thing, the Internet, and this even newer thing, social media, which can take his cause all over the world in a touch of a key. Everyone online can hear about Lamberto’s cause. And all these Australian authorities are online too, with e-mails and websites. He goes about compiling a list of politicians, journalists, TV and media people, lawyers, police, human rights activists, and anyone else who might support his cause. And somehow, among these Australian worthies, is me. How on earth did Lamberto Fedeli get my e-mail address? It’s not a secret; anyone who finds my blog or website can get my address. Fortunately, he is not sending abusive e-mails aimed directly at me. But why would Fedeli search me out? And what drives him to keep going?
TO BE CONTINUED