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My Turn: Ted Cruz chose money over American values

For the Monitor
Last modified: 2/3/2016 4:02:20 AM
In a world where voters no longer trust Washington politicians, there are refreshing new faces running for president who break that mold. The results out of the Iowa caucuses prove these candidates are gaining traction.

Unfortunately, Ted Cruz isn’t one of them. I should know: Mr. Cruz helped a giant Chinese tire manufacturer destroy my family business. He denies being directly involved in the case, but I know differently. We prevailed, but I still have important unanswered questions.

Mr. Cruz recently said our fight was between two Chinese tire manufacturers. That is a lie. I’m the third generation in our family business; we grew from a Chicago tire scrapyard into a manufacturer of tires used all over the world. I invented a tire that changed the mining industry. The innovation was so valuable I protected my intellectual property rights at the U.S. Copyright Office.

As 20th-century government regulations made U.S. production too expensive, virtually all tire manufacturing moved offshore. To accommodate demand, we were forced to manufacture in China. Soon, an employee conspired with companies, including Zhaoyuan-based Shandong Linglong, to steal our copyrighted blueprints and make low-quality knock-off tires. They stole our client list, too, and soon our company was on the edge of collapse.

In 2010, a United States court found Linglong liable for their actions and awarded our company $26 million. The Chinese company moved to appeal and turned to the Houston offices of Morgan Lewis to marshal their arguments. The attorney of record was the head of the powerhouse law firm’s appellate division, Ted Cruz.

By all accounts, Mr. Cruz, a former Texas state solicitor, was already planning a run for the U.S. Senate when he signed on to lead the Linglong litigation. Did he think it wise to work on behalf of a rank infringer bent on destroying an American company?

A defendant entering the appeals process typically posts a bond to assure they’ll make good on a court-ordered judgment. Linglong never posted a bond; my attorneys told me that was a sure sign they never intended to pay. Still, we commenced collection actions and met with dubious maneuvers to flout the judge’s order, coordinated by Mr. Cruz’s team at Morgan Lewis.

Did Mr. Cruz think it was appropriate to assist a Chinese company’s gambit to avoid paying a judgment? I’m not an attorney, but every one I’ve asked told me that aiding and abetting a company in its contortions to evade a court order is beyond the pale.

As Mr. Cruz’s Senate race gained steam, his leadership of Linglong’s assault on my family’s company came into focus. He denied working on the case, even though he signed Linglong court filings. Every motion bore Mr. Cruz’s signature.

As lead attorney and the name partner leading the appellate division at Morgan Lewis, he surely billed the client. When his primary opponent demanded that Mr. Cruz reveal how many hours he actually billed the client, he refused. Did he make a habit of not working on cases upon which he served as lead counsel? Is it routine at Morgan Lewis to delegate all legal work from practice leaders to associates? What kind of impact does that have on cases like ours, which Mr. Cruz eventually lost?

Finally, it’s standard law firm procedure for an attorney of record and practice leader to get credit for the many hours their associates work on clients they lead. As a senior partner, Mr. Cruz’s remuneration was based in part on the Linglong billings.

How much did the Chinese company pay Ted Cruz for his work on their behalf? This is important because a significant international appeal can earn a major law firm more than a million dollars. The lead attorney’s share of that kind of money can be significant.

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks eloquently of America, of being a patriotic American, and even criticizes an opponent for having “New York values.” But I’m quite certain the kind of man who would help a Chinese company evade a U.S. court order and destroy a Florida company does not share my American values.

Ted Cruz had a choice: Stand for American values and turn down a notorious client, or get paid. He took the money. On primary day, the voters of New Hampshire and beyond should consider the real Ted Cruz’s bad choices.

(Jordan Fishman is CEO of Alpha Mining Systems, a Florida-based specialty tire company.)


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