Thursday, June 11, 2015

New Jersey: SPLC Attorney Destroys Head Of "Ex-Gay Ministry"

ex-felon and municipal-bond fraud scheme mastermind Arthur Goldberg
The consumer fraud trial in New Jersey against JONAH - Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing - which fraudulently claimed that it could "cure" gays and make them heterosexual continues and, thankfully, continues to show the types of charlatans behind so many of these bogus ministries.  The irony is that even as the trial progresses, many Christofascists and right wing churches are launching new efforts to sell these snake oil peddling "ministries" to the ignorant and uninformed.  Among other things, at trial it came out that the founder of JONAH, Arthur Goldberg - which Wayne Besen and discovered a number of years ago - is a convicted felon.  Moreover, he lacks any of the credentials that he claims to hold in JONAH literature.  The New Jersey Jewish News has details:
On the trial’s second day, the plaintiffs’ lawyer Lina Bensman pointed out that Goldberg was a disbarred attorney who in 1989 was incarcerated for six months on federal tax fraud and conspiracy charges while heading a New York underwriting firm.

She asked why he had occasionally identified himself as a “doctor,” although he was not a physician and had no PhD.  “I am a JD, a juris doctor,” he explained. 

Goldberg also acknowledged that he used the title “rabbi” on occasion, although he was not ordained.
“I was not a rabbi,” he said. “I have no formal religious training other than going to a yeshiva in grade school.”

Goldberg also testified, “I have never been a licensed counselor. I give advice.”  But after being shown a signed document projected on a video screen, Goldberg acknowledged he had applied to the American Psychotherapy Association to become a certified relationship specialist and a certified professional counselor.   “But these certifications were revoked?” asked Bensman.  “Yes, ma’am” he replied. 
“And the certifications read, ‘I certify I have not been convicted of a felony’?”  “That is correct,” he said.

The article also notes:
According to Bennett Zurofsky, a Newark attorney who handles employment, consumer fraud, and constitutional rights cases, the allegations against JONAH “are similar to all fraud cases in that representations were made that people would rely on in making the decision to make use of the product or service, and that the representations were false and you were injured as a result of their being false.”

Zurofsky said the New Jersey fraud statute is stronger than those in many other states because it permits winning plaintiffs to collect triple damages — three times the amount of the money they spent on the service. In addition, the losing party is required to pay the attorneys’ fees of the winning side.

“What makes the consumer fraud statute useful is if you bring it as an ordinary fraud case you have to pay your own attorney,” he said. “A case like this one can be very expensive to litigate.”
Obviously, if JONAH loses this case, it could be shut down permanently.  Sadly, in states with less  stringent consumer fraud statutes, these quack ministries may be able to dodge much needed litigation.   FYI - Equality Case Files is attending the trial and is posting transcripts of the court proceedings and testimony. JONAH is being defended by a legal group headed by anti-gay extremist and fat cow Maggie Gallagher.

Again what JONAH has in common with so many of these fraudulent "ministries" is that fact that  most of the "experts" are frauds and/or have no legitimate credentials.

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