Mortgage-Company Critic Takes Back All Those Nasty Things He Said
Orix subsequently accused Rafizadeh and others of conspiring to libel the company, filing suit in a Dallas federal court. As the trial geared up last month, Rafizadeh told MSNBC that part of Orix's litigation strategy was to "Make a lie, see how far it gets you. If it works, great, lie again and point to the previous lie as foundation for the second lie. If it doesn't work, make a different lie."
It appears that whatever Orix's strategy was, it worked: the jury returned a verdict February 6 in Orix's favor while both Orix and Rafizadeh's family hammered out a confidential settlement.
Well - one part of the settlement apparently isn't confidential. The Predatorix site has now been replaced with a terse message from Rafizadeh: "All statements on predatorix.com, and on YouTube under the 'Predatorix' heading, regarding ORIX have turned out to be incorrect, and are hereby withdrawn and disavowed for all purposes. I apologize for any damage I may have caused by my statements."
The jury was asked to decide if a handful of statements from Predatorix were libelous or not. Ones the jury found libelous included a statement that Predatorix was dedicated in part to tenants of apartment complexes whose mortgages were serviced by Orix. This included: "David Pena of Empire Center, Dallas, who died of a heart attack after this property was seized and Justin and Darren Ruffin, twin brothers that drowned in a seized apartment's pool."
Also found libelous were specific allegations of tax evasion, and an accusation of a "secret formation of partnerships by Orix principals." The jury awarded $12.5 million in damages - an award that was apparently rendered moot when the parties reached a settlement.
Orix attorney Greg May had no comments this morning. Hair Balls e-mailed Rafizadeh, and we'll update if and when we hear back.
-- Craig Malisow