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Alan Harris (SBN 146079) Abigail Treanor (SBN 228610) HARRIS & RUBLE 6424 Santa Monica Boulevard Los Angeles, California 90038 Telephone: 323.962.3777 Facsimile: 323.962.3004 [email protected] [email protected] Attorneys for Plaintiffs

UNITED STATE BANKRUPTCY COURT

CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES DIVISION

In re: The Woman’s Club of Hollywood, California, Debtor.

CASE NO.: 2-11-BK-12572-BR CHAPTER 11 QUICK, SMITH AND ZARDENETA MOTION TO DISMISS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT; AND DECLARATION OF ALAN HARRIS IN SUPPORT Assigned to Hon. Barry Russell Date: March 28, 2011 Time: 2:00 p.m. Courtroom: 1668

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TO ALL PARTIES AND THEIR ATTORNEYS OF RECORD: PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on March 28, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. or as soon

thereafter as may be heard, in Courtroom 1668 of the above-entitled court, located at 255

East Temple Street, Los Angeles, California, Susan Quick, Nadine Smith and Christine

Zardeneta (collectively, “Members”) will and hereby do apply for an order: (1)

dismissing this case; and (2) for such other relief as may be appropriate in the

circumstances, including, in the alternative, an order lifting the automatic stay for the

limited purpose of permitting the Superior Court of California to appoint an individual to

oversee an election of a Board of Directors for The Woman’s Club of Hollywood

(“WCH”).

There is good cause to grant the Motion. The Motion is based upon this Notice,

the Motion and Memorandum of Points and Authorities, the Declaration of Alan Harris

(which includes as exhibits the Declarations of Christine Zardeneta, Barbara Testa, David

Garrett, Mars Berman, Sara Van Horn, Buzz McEntire, Rosemary Lord, James Steliotes,

Susan Quick, Nadine Smith, Velma Montoya, Kandace Krapu, Monica Dodi, and

Stephen McAvoy), the pleadings and papers on file in this action and such further

evidence and argument as may be presented at or before the hearing on this Motion.

Dated: February 24, 2011 HARRIS & RUBLE

____/s/______________________

Alan Harris Abigail Treanor Attorneys for Plaintiffs

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

MOTION TO DISMISS BANKRUPTCY ............................................................... 1 I. Introduction ...................................................................................................... 1 II. Statement of Facts ............................................................................................ 2 MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES I. Background .................................................................................................... 17

II. There Is Sufficient Cause To Dismiss The Case ......................................... 19

A. The Bankruptcy Filing Was Unauthorized ......................................... 20

B. Pre-Petition Self-Dealing And Egregious Misconduct ..................... 21 III. Conclusion ...................................................................................................... 26 DECLARATION OF ALAN HARRIS .................................................................. 27 INDEX OF EXHIBITS ........................................................................................... 30

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TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Cases Argus Group 1700, Inc. v. Steinman

206 B.R. 757 (E.D. Pa., 1997) ..................................................................................... 24

Carolin Corp. v. Miller 886 F.2d 693 (4th Cir., 1989) ....................................................................................... 25 Chitex Communication, Inc. v. Kramer

168 B.R. 587 (S.D. Tex., 1994) .............................................................................. 21, 23 In re AdBrite Corp. 290 B.R. 209 (S.D. N.Y. 2003) .................................................................................... 20 In re Arkco Properties, Inc. 207 B.R. 624 (Bkrtcy. E. D. Ark., 1997) ..................................................................... 20 In re Arnold

806 F.2d 937 (9th Cir. 1986) ........................................................................................ 25 In re Charfoos

979 F.2d 390 (6th Cir., 1992) ....................................................................................... 25 In re ELRS Loss Mitigation, LLC.

325 B.R. 604 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Okla., 2005) ..................................................................... 22 In re First Financial Enterprises, Inc. 99 B.R. 751 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Tex., 1989) .................................................................. 21, 22 �

In re Goeb 675 F.2d 1386 (9th Cir. 1982) ...................................................................................... 20

In re Laguna Associates Limited Partnership 30 F.3d 734 (6th Cir., 1994) ......................................................................................... 25

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In re New York Trap Rock Corp. 158 B.R. 574 (S.D. N.Y., 1993) .................................................................................. 24

In re Phoenix Piccadilly, Ltd. 849 F.2d 1393 (11th Cir., 1988) ............................................................................. 24, 25

In re Rognstad 121 B.R. 45 (Bkrtcy. D. Hawaii, 1990) .................................................................. 25, 26

In re Silberkraus,

253 B.R. 890 (Bkrtcy. C.D. Cal., 2000) ....................................................................... 24 In re Spade

258 B.R. 221 (Bkrtcy. D. Colo., 2001). .................................................................. 21, 22 In re Start the Engines, Inc., 219 B.R. 264 (Bkrtcy. C.D. Cal., 1998) ...................................................................... 24 In re Stolrow's Inc. 84 B.R. 167 (9th Cir. BAP 1988) ................................................................................. 19 In re Trident. Assocs. Ltd. Partnership 52 F.3d 127 (6th Cir. 1995) ......................................................................................... 24

In re Y.J. Sons & Co. 212 B.R. 793 (D. N.J., 1997) ....................................................................................... 24 Int’l Zinc Coatings 355 B.R. 76 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Ill., 2006) ........................................................................... 22 Matter of Little Creek Dev. Co.

779 F.2d 1068 (5th Cir., 1986) ..................................................................................... 25 Price v. Gurney

324 U.S. 100 (1945) ...................................................................................................... 20 SEC v. Spence & Green Chemical Co. 612 F.2d 896 (5th Cir. 1980). ....................................................................................... 21

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Statutes 11 U.S.C. § 1112(b) ........................................................................................................... 19 11 U.S.C. § 305 .................................................................................................................. 21 11 U.S.C. § 105 .................................................................................................................. 25

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MOTION TO DISMISS BANKRUPTCY

I. Introduction

1. Susan Quick (“Quick”), Nadine Smith and Christine Zardeneta (“Zardeneta”)

(collectively, “Members”), parties in interest as members of The Woman’s Club of

Hollywood (“WCH” or “Women’s Club”), respectfully move this Court for entry of an

order (1) dismissing this case; (2) awarding sanctions; and (3) for such other relief as may

be appropriate in the circumstances, including, in the alternative, an order lifting the

automatic stay for the limited purpose of permitting the Superior Court of California to

appoint an individual to oversee an election of a Board of Directors for WCH. This relief

is to prohibit Nina Van Tassell (“Van Tassell”) and Jennifer Morgan (“Morgan”)

(collectively, the “State Court Defendants”) from failing to properly repair and insure the

buildings owned by the WCH, from “donating” the real estate of the Woman’s Club to

another entity or using the real estate as collateral for a large loan, from acting without

approval of the membership of the WCH, and from making changes in the corporate

governance of the Woman’s Club, under which changes they might claim to have

authority to donate assets of the Woman’s Club and/or otherwise encumber the assets,

without approval of the membership, all the while unduly burdening WCH with

unnecessary expense in their effort to secure and enjoy its assets for their own benefit.

II. Statement of Facts

2. Urgent relief is required, as The State Court Defendants have failed to insure,

protect, or repair the valuable real estate now owned by the Woman’s Club; WCH has

entered an unauthorized agreement with Van Tassel’s real estate partner, securing a

“loan” from him and alienating WCH assets in return (Declaration of Alan Harris

(“Harris Decl.”) Ex. 18 [January 18, 2011 Deed of Trust from WCH to Carl Von

Randallhoff (“Von Randallhoff”)]; Harris Decl. Ex. 19 [February 2011 Lexis Printouts

detailing co-ownership by Van Tassel and Von Randallhoff of four Los Angeles

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properties])1; The State Court Defendants have negotiated to secure a large loan, the

proceeds of which they will control, yet no plan is in place to repay the loan; The State

Court Defendants have negotiated to give away some or all of the valuable WCH real

estate; The State Court Defendants have threatened and alienated many of the long-time

members, organizations, and individuals who have historically rented the facility for a

variety of public, charitable, and quasi-public events, and; The State Court Defendants

are jeopardizing the non-profit status of the Woman’s Club. Many respected

organizations have missed the financial and other aid that had been given to them for

many years by the Woman’s Club. (See, e.g., Harris Decl. Ex. 12 [Winston statement for

The Jeffrey Foundation]2.) The apparent goal of Van Tassell and Morgal is to sell the

assets or, having driven the Woman’s Club into bankruptcy, to exploit the remaining

assets for their personal profit.

3. The Woman’s Club, founded on April 15, 1905, as a service club, has a long

history of philanthropy and civic and artistic events. (Harris Decl. Ex. 8-1 [Lord Decl. of

December 5, 2010].) For example, during World War I and II, the Woman’s Club served

as an auxiliary center for the Red Cross and even raised over $100,000 in war bonds to

aid in the war efforts. (Id.) After World War II, the Woman’s Club acquired the

property––which it still currently owns––located in the heart of Hollywood on 1749

North La Brea Avenue (the “Property”). (Id.) The large Property has on it a Clubhouse,

a two-story Hospitality House (formerly a historic 1904 schoolhouse), with a residence

upstairs and a classroom downstairs, and a cottage used for residential purposes. (Id., Ex.

8-1, 8-2 [Lord Decl. of December 5, 2010].) Most of the Property, prior to the illegal

takeover by individual State Court Defendants Morgan and Van Tassell, was rented out

1 Van Hassell and Von Randallhoff have represented themselves to be married and investors “in many properties in the area.” Harris Decl., Ex. 11-1 [Smith Decl.].) 2 “The Jeffrey Foundation . . . as well as many other charities have benefitted from this philanthropic group of ladies . . . having been a member for over 8 years, I was horrified at how they tried to eject the President Marjorie Hopper last year . . . this amounted to bullying and lying in an outright criminal way.” (Harris Decl., Exhibit 12-1)

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for special events or for long-term use by residential and business tenants. (Id., Ex. 8-2

[Lord Decl. of December 5, 2010].) In 1994, the Clubhouse on the Property was

recognized as a historical monument by the Cultural Heritage Commission of the City of

Los Angeles. During the 1990s, luxury condominiums were built on adjacent properties.

(Id.)

4. Member Quick joined the Woman’s Club in 1987 and was immediately put on

the Board of Directors (“Board”). She served on the Board from 1987 to 2008. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 10-1 [Quick Decl.].) From 1992 to 1994 and again, from 1997 to 1999, Quick

acted as President of the Board. (Id.) Quick is a lifetime member of the Woman’s Club.

Member Smith, another lifetime member of the Woman’s Club, joined the Woman’s

Club in 1988. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-1 [Smith Decl.]) Smith served in many capacities on

the Board, including as President from 1999 to 2001. (Id.) Member Zardeneta served on

the Board from February 2010 and is a current member in good standing of the Woman’s

Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1- 1 [Zardeneta Decl.].)

5. State Court Defendant Van Tassell has been a member of the Woman’s Club

for several years. (Harris Decl. Ex. 5-1 [Van Horn Declaration], Ex. 11-1.) Van Tassell

purports to be the current President of the Woman’s Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 3-1 [Testa

Decl.].)3 State Court Defendant Morgan is a real estate broker, who also works as a real

estate consultant. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-1 [Smith Decl.]) Morgan purports to be the

current Executive Director of the Woman’s Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 3-1 [Testa Decl.],

Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.].) Prior to this, Morgan had not even been a member of the

Woman’s Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 3-2 [Testa Declaration], Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.].)

6. In November of 2009, State Court Defendant Van Tassell––real estate investor

and Woman’s Club member––organized a small group of Woman’s Club members,

including three Board members, and held a series of illegal meetings which they called

“Board meetings,” in defiance of communications by then-President Marjory Hopper

3 Van Tassell initially declared a self-appointment of President, with an election to be held at a later date. (Harris Decl. Ex. 2-2.)

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who had banned these disruptive events, and in violation of the Bylaws of the WCH.

(Harris Decl. Ex. 5-1 [Van Horn Decl.], Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.], Ex. 14-17 [Krapu

Decl.].) During these closed meetings, the group (led by Van Tassell) elected amongst

themselves new Board members. Some of these purported newly elected Board

members were not even legal members of the Woman’s Club. State Court Defendants

Morgan and Van Tassell dismissed the Business Manager, Carolin Kewer, without proper

authority. This group also delivered an unauthorized dismissal letter to the Club’s

Treasurer, Kandace Krapu. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-8, 14-17 [Krapu Decl.].) During this

time, Van Tassell, Morgan, and others led by the two also attempted several times to

illegally break into the buildings on the Property, in order to change the locks and take

possession of the Property and club assets. Van Tassell had paid a handyman to buy new

locks and promised to pay him an additional amount after changing the locks. The police

were called twice in response to these attempted break-ins. (Harris Decl., Ex. 1-3

[Zardeneta Decl.], Ex. 14-18 [Krapu Decl.].)

7. On or about November 19, 2009, President Hopper, Business Manager Carolin

Kewer, and other Board members enlisted the aid of non-profit attorney, Robert Enders.

(Harris Decl., Ex. 5-1 [Van Horn Decl.].) Mr. Enders, under the authorization of

President Hopper, wrote a letter to all general and Board members of the Woman’s Club.

(Id.) The letter, relying on the Woman’s Club Bylaws and Roberts’ Rules of Orders, was

sent to the entire membership and stated that, inter alia, the results from the illegal Board

meetings led by Morgan and Van Tassell were invalid and that any Board members

purportedly elected from these illegal meetings were invalid. (Id.) Mr. Enders also

suggested that an investigative committee be formed regarding the methods of

accounting, handling of club funds, and intimidation of members. (Id.)

8. President Hopper followed through with all of Mr. Enders suggestions and

organized a full membership meeting for December 9, 2009. At the December 9, 2009

meeting, the membership agreed to President Hopper’s proposal for outside community

volunteers to form an investigative committee. The committee was headed by respected

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community non-profit expert, Stephen McAvoy, who oversaw the beginning work of the

committee. (Harris Decl., Ex. 17-1 [McAvoy Decl.].) After initial investigations were

complete, the investigative committee issued a document recommending a course of

action that would return the Woman’s Club to its stated objective of the promotion of

cultural, civic, and philanthropic interests and, which would include the resignation of

any members of the Board who were not elected through legitimate election procedures

open to all general members. (Harris Decl. Ex. 16-8 [Lord Decl. of January 6, 2011].)

All Board members and office staff would step down and an open, democratic election,

as set forth in the Bylaws, would be scheduled for April of 2010.4

9. However, beginning in January of 2010, Morgan and Van Tassell began

spreading false reports that Hollywood Heritage, a preservation organization, was going

to take over the Woman’s Club and “planned to run it into the ground in order to declare

Bankruptcy and then sell the property.” (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-1 [Zardeneta Declaration],

Ex. 7-1 [Testa Declaration], Ex. 11-1, 10-2.) Through the dissemination of this false

information that Hollywood Heritage was going to take over the Woman’s Club, Morgan

and Van Tassell were able to mislead some members into joining their rogue group in

order to “save the Club.” (Harris Decl. Ex. 7-1 [Testa Declaration], 10-2, Ex. 15-1 [Dodi

Decl.].) On January 20, 2010, there was another meeting where Morgan reported that the

lot next to the Woman’s Club Property was for sale for $1.1 million and that the

Woman’s Club should purchase it. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-2 [Zardeneta Decl.], Ex. 3-2

[Testa Decl.].) Members in attendance questioned Morgan’s intentions. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 1-2 [Zardeneta Decl.].)

4 President Hopper also enlisted the advice of Mrs. Morris Winston, head of the Jeffrey Foundation, as to the best course of action for the Woman’s Club. Mrs. Winston suggested, as they do in other non-profit organizations with similar issues, that President Hopper remove those members who had participated in the attempted illegal break-ins, and illegal “board meetings” because they were preventing the Club from carrying on its objectives in pursuing philanthropic and civic endeavors. (Id.).

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10. On or about February 4, 2010, Van Tassell and Morgan held a meeting, which

they referred to as an official Board meeting, at the office of Lottie Cohen––attorney for

the State Court Defendants––attended by Members Quick and Smith, State Court

Defendant Morgan, and Ms. Cohen among others, including other members of the

Woman’s Club, during which time it was discussed that a takeover would be done by

Morgan, with Cohen as the parliamentarian. (Harris Decl. Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.], Ex. 1-

2 [Zardeneta Decl.].) During the meeting, Morgan and Van Tassell led the women to

believe that they needed to save the Woman’s Club from a takeover by Hollywood

Heritage. (Harris Decl. Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.].)

11. On or about February 5, 2010, a letter, written under the authority of President

Hopper, was hand-delivered to Van Tassell at her home revoking her Woman’s Club

membership and removing her from the Woman’s Club’s Beautification Committee due

to her participation in illegal Board meetings, the illegal break-in attempts, and other

inappropriate actions. Others who participated in the attempted break-ins were also

removed from the Woman’s Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 5-1 [Van Horn Declaration].)

Throughout this time, Van Tassell and Morgan continued to call President Hopper

insisting that she resign. (Harris Decl. Ex. 10-1 [Quick Decl.].) Morgan threatened

President Hopper that if she did not voluntarily resign, they would force her to resign.

(Harris Decl. Ex. 7-1 [Testa Declaration].)

12. In early February 2010, Hollywood Heritage delivered official letters to

President Hopper and Ms. Cohen, which stated that Hollywood Heritage had no

intention, nor did they ever have any intention, of taking over the Woman’s Club for any

purpose. The letter requested that members (and purported members, i.e. Van Tassell

and Morgan) of the Woman’s Club cease and desist from falsely asserting that

Hollywood Heritage intended to take over the Woman’s Club.

13. On or about Monday, February 8, 2010, an illegal Board meeting was called to

order by Van Tassell and Morgan at the Hospitality House on the Property. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 1-3 [Zardeneta Decl.], Ex. 5-1[Van Horn Declaration], 11-1.) Morgan, Van Tassell,

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Ms. Cohen, and others enlisted the help of the groundskeeper, Michael Wallace, to let

them into the Hospitality House, as the main building was blocked.5 (Harris Decl. Ex. 6-

1 [McEntire Declaration]; Ex. 14-17 [Krapu Decl.].) Morgan, Van Tassell, Quick, Smith,

Zardeneta, other members, and Ms. Cohen attended the February 8, 2010, special

meeting. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-2 [Zardeneta Decl.], 5-1, 10-1, Ex. 11-2 [Smith Decl.].)

Ms. Cohen acted as the Parliamentarian and ran the meeting at a very fast pace. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.], 11-2 [Smith Decl.].) Notwithstanding the February 2010

Hollywood Heritage letter which provided specific instruction that Ms. Cohen read the

letter aloud to the membership, the letter was not read by Ms. Cohen or otherwise. In

fact, at the meeting, Morgan and Van Tassell continued to deceive the women in

attendance that Hollywood Heritage intended to take over the Woman’s Club in order to

sell it off. (Id.) Morgan and Van Tassell urged that the only way to save the Woman’s

Club was to put them on the Board. Through a process which did not follow the effective

Bylaws, Van Tassell was purportedly elected as the President and Morgan purportedly

elected as the Executive Director. (Harris Decl. Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.].) However, it

was impossible for Van Tassell to serve as a legitimate Board President since the Bylaws

require that in order to become President, (1) the member must first serve on the Board

for two years and (2) the full membership must be informed of the election. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 16-12 to 16-13 [Lord Decl.].) Not only had Van Tassell never served on the Board,

but the full membership had not been informed of the purported election. After receiving

several intimating phone calls from State Court Defendant Morgan, President Hopper

finally resigned from the Board.6 (Harris Decl. Ex. 3-1 [Testa Declaration].)

5 The main building on the Property had been blocked because President Hopper had hired a security guard to prevent unlawful entry into that building. (Harris Decl. Ex. 6-1 [McEntire Declaration].) 6 Morgan did not limit her intimidating phone calls to President Hopper, but called elderly members of the Woman’s Club, whom she threatened with her alleged position as a Superior Court receiver.

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14. On February 8, 2010, Morgan and Van Tassell, along with Ms. Cohen and the

help of Mr. Wallace, took illegal possession of the main building on the Property and

changed the locks. (Harris Decl. Ex. 5-2 [Van Horn Declaration], 6-1.) With this

takeover, the helpful work done by President Hopper and Mr. McAvoy’s investigative

committee in order to aid the Woman’s Club was dismantled.

15. Once Morgan and Van Tassell gained physical possession of the Woman’s

Club Property, Morgan and Van Tassell improperly drained Woman’s Club funds and

resources. For example, Morgan and Van Tassell hired their own staff, to be paid from

Woman’s Club resources, including (a) Van Tassell’s handyman, Kevin Juarez, (b) two

housekeepers, (c) Morgan’s assistant from her company, Home Safe Realty, Elizabeth

Lopez, who Morgan hired to become a full-time office assistant for the Club, and (d)

Michael Wallace, (formerly the Woman’s Club groundskeeper) who was hired as the

bookkeeper and building manager. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-11 [Krapu Decl.].) All of these

individuals were put on full-time status and paid “off the books” through the Woman’s

Club petty-cash fund, now controlled by Morgan. Van Tassell and Morgan gave Mr.

Wallace free rent and free utilities on the Property. Morgan converted the yoga studio on

the Property––which had frequently been rented by studios and casting agencies for

casting sessions and classes (providing much-needed revenue for the Woman’s Club)––

into her own personal executive suite. Despite objections from other Board members and

the valuable rental fees historically derived from the studio, Morgan declared that the

studio was not to be rented. In addition, Morgan and Van Tassell banished legitimate

members of the Woman’s Club. Morgan and Van Tassell evicted long-term leaseholders,

some of whom had rented various spaces at the Woman’s Club for decades. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 5-2 [Van Horn Declaration], Ex. 11-2 [Smith Decl.].)

16. Van Tassell and Morgan called their first purported Board meeting on

February 24, 2010. They chose Board members from a mixture of old Board members,

regular members, and new Board members. Van Tassell announced that she recruited

forty new “members,” many of whom did not go through the proper admittance process

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to become legitimate members of the Club and most of whom “voted” in favor of Van

Tassell’s proposals. Morgan did the same thing. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-5 [Krapu Decl.].)

Self-appointed Executive Director Morgan and Van Tassell dismissed from the Board

those directors they deemed no longer useful to their agenda, including Pittman, Border,

Sesti, Hillebrew, Adams, and Monte. Other members began resigning or simply leaving

due to their uneasiness with how Morgan and Van Tassell were running the Woman’s

Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-16 [Krapu Decl.].)

17. After Van Tassell’s self-appointment as President of the Board, she and

Morgan sought to change the Woman’s Club tax status from a 501(c)(4) corporation to a

501(c)(3) corporation in order to qualify for certain large loans they were in the process

of obtaining.7 There was never approval by the membership regarding obtaining a large

loan, over $300,000. (Harris Decl. Ex. 3-2 [Testa Decl.]) In fact, one of Morgan’s

intentions after securing the $325,000 loan was to deem herself “construction supervisor”

and pay herself a $60,000 salary from the loan proceeds. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-4 [Krapu

Decl.].) Notwithstanding the fact that membership had not approved the change to

become a 501(c)(3) corporation, Van Tassell and Morgan nonetheless filed for a change

in tax status, claiming that they had presented it for a vote by the entire membership and

that it was approved. Van Tassell and Morgan knowingly furnished the State Attorney

General’s Office, the California Secretary of State, the IRS, and other governmental

agencies with this false information––i.e. that the membership had voted on and agreed to

the various changes in Board representation, the change in tax status, and other financial

matters. During the first week of March 2010, Morgan and Van Tassell rewrote the

Bylaws without membership approval. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-1 [Krapu Decl.].) However,

the “new Bylaws” had not been written pursuant to the effective 2005 Bylaws and had

not been approved by the membership, so accordingly, the “new Bylaws” have no force

and effect. (Id.) In these “new Bylaws,” Morgan and Van Tassell included terms such as

7 This serious change in tax status had been discussed for several years, but the membership had voted that it was not in the best interest of the Woman’s Club.

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depriving the membership of voting power and granting the Executive Director, namely

Morgan, with sole authority over finances. Such terms were needed for the application

for the 501(c)(3) corporation. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-3 [Zardeneta Decl.].) Morgan and Van

Tassell submitted the “new Bylaws” to the various government offices as having been

approved through ratification by the full membership. However, the full membership,

including the new Board, had not been notified of the new “Bylaws” and never voted to

ratify them. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.].)

18. In early June of 2010, in an undisclosed Nominating Committee meeting,

which did not comport with the requirements of the 2005 By-Laws, Van Tassell and

Morgan nominated themselves for Board positions and chose the others who would run

for office. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-2 [Smith Decl.].) Van Tassell and Morgan’s nominations

for the Board included their new employee, Michael Wallace, and his friend Ian Duncan.

(Id.) Mr. Wallace and Mr. Duncan were not even members of the Woman’s Club. (Id.)

Further, Mr. Wallace and Mr. Duncan were paid employees of the Woman’s Club and

these new positions on the Board obviously represented an ethical dilemma and conflict

of interest. (Id.) Other members who intended to run had been purposefully left of the

ballot. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-3 [Zardeneta Decl.].) Morgan and Van Tassell failed to

properly notify the membership of the election they scheduled for Saturday, June 19,

2010. The only notification was on a flyer––in very tiny letters at the bottom––left in the

Hall at the Woman’s Club, which stated that there would be an election during the Italian

luncheon scheduled for June 19, 2010. On June 19, 2010, the Italian luncheon was held

by Morgan and Van Tassell, with very few attendees: approximately twenty attendees,

including about only five members. At the luncheon, a small table with an unobtrusive

election box was set off to the side. Some luncheon attendees were unaware that there

was even an election held that day. Members were placed on the ballots without their

knowledge. (Harris Decl. Ex. 7-2 [Testa Declaration].) The “election” was held in

complete disregard of the requirements of the 2005 By-Laws. (Harris Decl. Ex. 16-13,

16-14 .)

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19. Morgan and Van Tassell continued to work together to change the Articles of

Incorporation and the tax status to 501(c)(3) corporation. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-2 [Krapu

Decl.].) Morgan and Van Tassell applied for large bank loans using the Woman’s Club

Property deeds as collateral, but with no repayment plans. Morgan and Van Tassell

brought none of these actions to the attention of the full membership for their approval.

(Harris Decl. Ex. 7-2 [Testa Declaration].) Morgan requested a $100,000 yearly salary to

be paid in the future, with a $10,000 expense account, a $300 or more weekly cash

expense account, and a free Blackberry account. (Harris Decl. Ex. 1-4 [Zardeneta Decl.],

Ex. 4-2 [Berman Declaration]; 9-1; 13-1.) Notwithstanding her representation on

documents sent to the Bank and to the City of Los Angeles that she was providing her

services pro bono, Morgan demanded an accrued salary of $8,000 per month from the

Woman’s Club. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-7 [Krapu Decl.].) It was also stated by Morgan’s

office assistant that renters were often given a discount if they paid in cash. During an

August 28, 2010, Board meeting, Morgan requested that all references of her demands for

$100,000 yearly salary be erased from all records and Board Minutes. (Harris Decl. Ex.

9-1 [Steliotes Declaration].) This request by Morgan was made after Morgan had filled

out loan applications which required applicants––here, Morgan––to declare that they

would not receive financial benefits from the applications. The loan-approval process

was also the impetus for rewriting the Bylaws and changing the tax status of the

Woman’s Club to a 501(c)(3) corporation. (Id.)

20. Without membership approval, Morgan and Van Tassell have made plans for

the Club Property as follows: (1) Morgan and Van Tassell appear to have offered to gift

to the City of Los Angeles the 1904 Hospitality House, which would be removed from

the Property in violation of historic protection rules; (2) Morgan and Van Tassell have

stated plans, in connection with the Community Redevelopment Agency, for

condominiums and a pool to be put in the place of the historic house, with the main

historic club building slated to be given to the City to become a Community Center,

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where the Woman’s Club would be able to rent a room8; (3) Morgan and Van Tassell

have offered to donate the Woman’s Club’s historic archives to a library. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 5-2 [Van Horn Declaration], Ex. 7-1[Testa Decl.], 9-1, 11-3, 14-6.) These plans

have been developed in a clandestine manner, with the full membership unaware,

uninformed, and never asked to vote on these proposals. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-2 [Smith

Decl.], 14-2.) In fact, Morgan sent the un-ratified Bylaws she had personally rewritten to

the IRS without authorization from either the Board or the general membership. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 14-3 [Krapu Decl.].)

21. In order for Van Tassel and Morgan’s plans to redevelop the Woman’s Club

Property, move the Hospitality House, and build condos, there can be no one living in the

current Hospitality House. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-12 [Krapu Decl.].) However, current

tenant and Woman’s Club member, 70-year old Sara Van Horn, has lived in the upstairs

portion of the Hospitality House for almost 15 years with a lease that runs through 2011.

Through various tactics, Morgan has continuously harassed and frightened the 70-year

old tenant, including an eviction notice.9 (Harris Decl. Ex. 2-1 [Garrett Decl. (referring

to an unlawful detainer signed by Morgan)]; Ex. 14-12 [Krapu Decl.].)

22. Van Tassell and Morgan have forced out other long-time renters by raising

rental fees 300% and have turned away new, prospective renters. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-3

[Smith Decl.].) There had been plans for roof repairs and other critical updates and

renovations to the aging Property. Under Van Tassell and Morgan’s care, the Property

has run into disrepair. The purpose of which was to justify the need for an immediate

loan. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-5 [Krapu Decl.].) Van Tassell and Morgan are running bills in

the Woman’s Club name. Van Tassell and Morgan have allowed their employee, Mr.

Wallace, to rent the Hospitality House for filming without the proper permits. Van

Tassell and Morgan have failed to obtain fire insurance, yet use the petty-cash funds for 8 Morgan and Van Tassell have publicly displayed architectural renderings of this new property. 9 Sara Van Horn countersued the wrongful eviction notice, after which the eviction was immediately dropped.

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daily lunches for themselves, staff, and friends. (See generally Harris Decl. Ex. 14

[Krapu Decl.].)

23. Since taking over the Woman’s Club, Morgan and Van Tassell have had

clandestine meetings, illegal elections, and placed strangers on the Board. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 11-2, 11-3 [Smith Decl.].) The Van Tassell and Morgan have participated in many

questionable and potentially illegal activities. (See Harris Decl. Ex. 14-16 [Krapu

Decl.].) Morgan and Van Tassell had failed to obtain fire insurance and appear to have

made a concerted effort to allow the building to be damaged by rain. (Harris Decl. Ex.

14-16 [Krapu Decl.].) In violation of the Woman’s Club effective Bylaws, Morgan and

Van Tassell have willfully failed to notify the entire membership of events, even crucial

events like elections, and meetings. (Harris Decl. Ex. 11-2 [Smith Decl.].) The Club’s

purposes of philanthropy, community service, and the arts have all been abandoned. (Id.)

In addition, Morgan and Van Tassell have been attempting to change the tax status of the

Woman’s Club without informing the membership who must approve the changes. (Id.)

Morgan and Van Tassell have generated many debts for the Woman’s Club, including

paying salaries for unnecessary administrative workers and a $300 per week petty-cash

fund for Morgan. (Harris Decl. Ex. 10-1 [Quick Decl.], Ex. 11-3 [Smith Decl.].) Morgan

has misused the business account of the Woman’s Club for unauthorized charges.

((Harris Decl. Ex. 14-10 [Krapu Decl.].) Plaintiffs believe that Morgan and Van Tassell

intend to run the Woman’s Club into the ground so that the Property will be sold. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 11-3 [Smith Decl.].) Again, Van Tassell is a property investor and Morgan is a

realtor, each standing to gain from the sale of such valuable property in the heart of

Hollywood. Morgan has admitted that she intended to make “big bucks” as the broker

for the development of new condos on the Property. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-6 [Krapu

Decl.].) Morgan also indicated that she would make money by acting as the general

contractor. (Id.) Van Tassell would likewise profit personally through the sale of the

condos. (Id.)

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24. In response to the foregoing, Members Quick, Smith, and Zardeneta, filed a

lawsuit to secure appointment of a receiver for the HWC. After the lawsuit was filed,

Morgan and Van Tassell, or persons on their behalf, have called Members Quick, Smith,

Zardeneta and other members attempting to intimidate them into dismissing the lawsuit.

(Harris Decl. Ex. 11-3, 11-4[Smith Decl.]; 14-13.) Morgan and Van Tassell, or persons

on their behalf, have threatened that they could countersue and take their homes. (Harris

Decl. Ex. 7-1 [Testa Decl.], 10-2, 14-13.)

25. Van Tassell called a meeting for Saturday, January 8, 2011, during which new

Bylaws would be proposed in order to qualify for the change in tax status to an IRS

section 501(c)(3) corporation and to qualify for the large-amount loans. (Harris Decl. Ex.

14-14 [Krapu Decl.]; 16-6.) The new proposed Bylaws, however, have not been sent to

the entire membership. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.] .) Those who were sent

copies of the new proposed Bylaws received incomplete copies. (Harris Decl. Ex. 13-1

[Montoya Decl.].) Furthermore, notice of the meeting was not given to the membership.

(Harris Decl. Ex. 13-1, 13-2 [Montoya Decl.]; Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.].) Van Tassell

also unilaterally declared that only those members who pay their dues, which she

arbitrarily doubled, would be allowed to vote. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.].)

Accordingly, very few members were aware of the proposed meeting, even fewer

members who were aware there would be an important vote regarding the ratification of

new Bylaws, and only a handful who would be “allowed” to vote because of the 100%

increase in dues. (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.].) Furthermore, there was a

strong likelihood that the documents submitted by Morgan and Van Tassell to the IRS

would not include full and accurate information. (Harris Decl. Ex. 13-2 [Montoya

Decl.].) The change of the corporate status of the Woman’s Club is part of the plan to

dismantle the organization without the support or consent of its members. (Harris Decl.

Ex. 14-14 [Krapu Decl.].)

26. Accordingly, on January 7, 2011, Members Quick, Smith, and Zardeneta filed

an Ex Parte Application For An Order (1) Appointing A Receiver For The Woman’s

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Club Of Hollywood; (2) Preventing Any Changes To The By-Laws Of The Woman’s

Club of Hollywood; (3) Preventing Any Changes To The Corporate Status, Structure,

And/Or Governance of the Woman’s Club Of Hollywood. (Harris Decl., Ex. 20.) In

response, on January 7, 2011, the State Court Defendants filed Defendants’ Opposition

To Ex Parte Application (the “Opposition”). (Harris Decl., Ex. 21.) According to the

Opposition, “THE CLUB IS DOING JUST FINE.” (Id., 3:6, emphasis in original.) The

Opposition was supported by “the declaration of President Nina Van Tassell evidencing

that the Corporation is in no way threatened.” (Id., 3:9-10.) The Van Tassell Declaration

goes much further:

4. The Woman’s Club has been successfully operating for over 100 years as

a nonprofit. Attached is a copy of the November 30, 2010 Balance Sheet

showing the assets and liabilities, income and expenditures.

5. The Woman’s Club owns a building at 1749 North La Brea Avenue,

Hollywood, California, 90046. This building is income producing from

rents, creating a positive cash flow, which combined with donations,

maintains profitability.

(Id., 7:13-18) (emphasis supplied). The attached “Balance Sheet” showed “Net Income”

of $1,559.37 for the period from June through November 2010. Id. The Van Tassel

Declaration, filed a few days before the bankruptcy, positively asserts that “The

Woman’s Club is in a stable economic condition and operates at a small profit.” Id.,

7:25-26.

27. Nevertheless, despite the Opposition, on January 11, 2011, the Superior Court

entered an Order granting the “Ex Parte Application in its entirety.” (Harris Decl., Ex.

22-4:6-7, 11-12 [Notice of Entry of January 11, 2011 Order in Quick v. The Woman’s

Club of Hollywood, Los Angeles Superior Court [BC446641]).) In part, the Court

ordered the parties to submit a list of three persons to be appointed Receiver “until an

election, which the Receiver shall oversee, is completed in conformance with the 2005

Bylaws of the Woman’s Club.” Id.

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28. On January 19, 2011, the parties submitted a Joint List of Three Potential

Receivers. Id., (Harris Decl., Ex. 23 [Joint List of Three Potential Receivers in Quick v.

The Woman’s Club of Hollywood, Los Angeles Superior Court [BC446641].)10

29. Immediately thereafter, on the very same day, January 19, 2011, Van Tassel

caused WCH to “borrow” $25,000 from her longtime partner, Carl Von Randallhoff.

(Harris Decl., Ex. 21.) In exchange for the “loan” Van Tassel, as security, purported to

deed all of the WCH real estate to her partner. (Ex. 18 [January 18, 2011 Deed of Trust

from WCH to Carl Von Randallhoff, executed by Van Tassel].)

30. On January 20, 2011, WCH filed a voluntary petition for Chapter 11

bankruptcy, thereby preventing the appointment of a Receiver to protect the WCH.

WHEREFORE the Members respectfully request that the Court enter an order:

(1) granting this Motion;

(2) dismissing this case;

(3) awarding monetary sanctions;

(4) for such other relief as may be appropriate in the circumstances, including, in

the alternative, an order lifting the automatic stay for the limited purpose of permitting

the Superior Court of California to appoint an individual to oversee an election of a

Board of Directors for the WHC.

Dated: February 24, 2011 Harris & Ruble __/s/___________________ Alan Harris Abigail Treanor Attorneys for Plaintiffs

10 The agreed-upon list of three potential receivers, each proposed by the Plaintiffs, consisted of Evelyn Carlson, former Senior Vice President and General Manager of Knapp Communications (MBA UCLA); Stephen Moses (JD Harvard); and Professor Dennis W. Rook (Dean, Graduate School of Marketing, USC).

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MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES

I. Background

The filing of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy is in utter bad faith and this case should be

dismissed, forthwith. The purpose of the filing was to circumvent the Superior Court

Order, mandating appointment of a Receiver so that proper elections could be held.

There is no reason for the WCH to be in the bankruptcy court. A week before the filing,

Van Tassel, the alleged “President” of the WCH, provided a Declaration to the Superior

Court, claiming that the “The Woman’s Club is in a stable economic condition and

operates at a small profit.” (Harris Decl., Ex. 21, 7:25-26.) According to Van Tassel’s

attorney, in the same filing: “the Corporation is in no way threatened.” (Id., 3:9-10)

Within days after the state court granted Members Quick, Smith, and Zardeneta’s Motion

for Appointment of a Receiver for the WCH and the day before the filing of the

Bankruptcy Petition here, on January 19, 2011, Van Tassel, instead of cooperating with

the court-ordered elections, she deeded the property to her long-time partner in life and

real estate, Carl Von Randallhoff. (Harris Decl., Ex. 18) Analysis of the operative By-Laws during the period of Van Tassel’s “election” as

WCH President reveals that Van Tassel did not comply with them and her “election” is

invalid. The By-Laws provide that the annual election would be held “on the first

Wednesday in May.” (Harris Decl., Ex. 16 [Lord Decl., Ex. A is a copy of the By-Laws,

Article XI, Section 6.) There was no election on that date, and there is no basis under

which Van Tassel can act as WCH’s “President.” Her claims to be President are in utter

derogation of the By-Laws. The By-Laws provide that “[i]the absence or disability of the

President, the Vice - Presidents, in order of their rank, shall assume the duties and

prerogatives of the office.” (Id., Article V, Section 1.) Van Tassel was never a Vice-

President of WCH. (Id., Ex. 24 [Lord Decl. of February 22, 2011, ¶6].) The By-Laws

provide that “[a] special meeting of the Club may be called by the President or by the

majority of the Board of Directors, written notice of the time, place and purpose of the

meeting shall be sent by the Recording Secretary to all voting members ten days in

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advance.” (Id., Article X, Section 4.) This did not occur in connection with the alleged

“election” of Van Tassel. (Harris Decl., Ex. 24 [Lord Decl. of February 22, 2011, ¶ 6].)

The By-Laws have detailed procedures for “Nominations and Elections.” Id., Article XI.

These were not followed in connection with the alleged “election” of Van Tassel.” For

example, there was no duly constituted Nominating Committee, as required by Article

XI, Sections 2-3. (Harris Decl., Ex. 24 [Lord Decl. of February 22, 2011, ¶6].) Further,

Van Tassel was not qualified to be a candidate for the office of President, since she had

not “served on the Board for two years previously.” Article XI, Section 4. (Harris Decl.,

Ex. 24 [Lord Decl. of February 22, 2011, ¶6].) The By-Laws provide that a “vacancy

occurring in the office of the President . . . shall be filled by the plurality vote of the

members present at a regular meeting of the Club.” Article XI, Section 9. The “election”

of Van Tassell did not take place at a “regular meeting of the Club,” since such meetings

are to be held on Wednesdays at 1:30 PM, “from October through May inclusive.” Id.,

Article X, Section 1. The alleged election was on a Saturday in June of 2010. (Harris

Decl., Ex. 24 [Lord Decl. of February 22, 2011, ¶6.].)

Review of the actions of Van Tassel and Morgan, leading to this bankruptcy,

reveals their scheme to divert the WCH assets to their own use. The Declarations of

WCH Members filed in support of this Motion are drafted by them, and lengthy.

Nevertheless, review of these materials reveals the utter bad faith and self-dealing of Van

Tassel and Morgan, and compels a conclusion that this case must be dismissed. Upon

dismissal, jurisdiction will re-vest in the Superior Court and one of three highly qualified

individuals will be appointed Receiver and a new Board will be elected for the WCH,

bringing this sordid chapter to an end.

The self dealing involved in Van Tassell deeding the WCH real estate to her

partner on the day before the filing (Harris Decl., Ex. 18), and in her submission of a

Petition listing claims in her favor ($3,900) and in favor of Morgan ($41,590 for her

“services” as “Executive Director”), when Morgan was, before the filing, working on a

volunteer basis, is utterly improper. (Harris Decl., Ex. 25-4 and 5 [Voluntary Petition,

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January 20, 2011].) Kandace Krapu was the WCH Treasurer from October 2009 until

December 22, 2010, “when I resigned due to many ethical concerns.” (Harris Decl., Ex.

14-1 [Krapu Decl.].) Indeed, Krapu detailed her concerns about the activities of Van

Tassell and Morgan. Id., Ex. 14-4. Krapu swore how, on October 30, 2010, Van Tassell,

signing as President of WCH, wrote to Morgan, thanking her “for your volunteer efforts

on behalf of the corporation as Executive Director,” and “terminating all of your services

on behalf of” WCH. (Harris Decl., Ex. 26) There is no plausible explanation for Van

Tassell’s submission to this Court, in January of 2011, of a Petition in which it is claimed

that the WCH owed $41,590 to its terminated, volunteer “Executive Director.” Indeed,

Krapu was “surprised” when Morgan appeared at a December 18 Board Meeting, “as she

had previously been fired unanimously, by the Board, and . . . given a cease and desist

letter by our Attorney Lottie Cohen requesting that Ms. Morgan not engage in any Club

business.” (Harris Decl. Ex. 14-2 [Krapu Decl.].) Indeed, according to Krapu, at the

December 18 Board Meeting, Van Tassell apparently appointed Morgan to the WCH

office manager job, “because Jennifer [Morgan] would do the job pro bono.” (Id., Ex.

14-8.) Further evidence of Van Tassell’s bad faith is evident in the Barbara Testa

Declaration of February 14, 2011, in which Testa, the holder of the second largest

“claim” in this case, $21,274 on account of advances she made to help the WCH, advises

that she does “not wish my loan to be included in this bogus bankruptcy,” since she made

the advance to help the WCH, not to create an excuse to have the entity thrown in

bankruptcy. (Harris Decl., Ex. 27 [Testa Decl.].) According to Testa, a longtime WCH

member, “this bogus bankruptcy is an attempt to stop or delay the Receiver,” and her

loan was only intended to be repaid “as the health of the bank balance will allow.” Id.

II. There Is Sufficient Cause To Dismiss The Case

Bankruptcy Code section 1112(b) provides that this Court may dismiss a case “for

cause.” It is appropriate to dismiss a Chapter 11 case for cause if it appears that bad faith

is present. Dismissal for a lack of good faith is a matter within the Bankruptcy Court's

discretion. In re Stolrow's Inc., 84 B.R. 167, 170 (9th Cir. BAP 1988). An important

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factor in determining the existence of bad faith is whether the Debtors have

misrepresented material facts. In re Goeb, 675 F.2d 1386, 1390 n. 9 (9th Cir. 1982).

Grounds for dismissal also include: unauthorized filing of the Bankruptcy Petition; self-

dealing; egregious pre-petition conduct of the Debtor; and filing solely to obtain the

automatic stay. In re AdBrite Corp., 290 B.R. 209 (S.D. N.Y. 2003). Each of these

grounds is present in the instant case.

A. The Bankruptcy Filing Was Unauthorized

The Bankruptcy Petition was signed by a person without the legal authority to do

so. Van Tassel was “elected” to her office at a rogue meeting. After a series of ultra

vires “corporate meetings,” Van Tassel signed the Bankruptcy Petition, even though she

knew that the state court had entered an order requiring the appointment of a receiver to

conduct an election based upon the 2005 WCH Bylaws. On January 11, 2011, the

Superior Court entered an Order that states in pertinent part:

The Court finds that there is GOOD CAUSE to grant Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte

Application in its entirety . . . an election, which the Receiver shall oversee,

[shall be] completed in conformance with the 2005 Bylaws of the WCH.

(Harris Decl., Ex. 22.)

Van Tassell had no authority under California law to act on the WCH’s behalf in

filing a Chapter 11 petition. Under Price v. Gurney, 324 U.S. 100, 106 (1945), a federal

bankruptcy court must look to state law to determine whether a person possesses the

requisite legal authority to commence bankruptcy for an artificial legal entity: the

“initiation of the [bankruptcy] proceedings . . . is left . . . to those who have the power of

management,” and that authority “finds its source in local law.” 324 U.S. at 104. Where

state law authority is lacking, the bankruptcy court has “no alternative but to dismiss the

petition.” Id.at 106. See In re Arkco Properties, Inc., 207 B.R. 624, 628 (Bkrtcy. E. D.

Ark., 1997) (dismissing bankruptcy where authorization to file was not obtained in

conformance with the law and rules governing corporations). A district court in passing

on petitions filed by corporations must of course determine whether they are filed by

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those who have authority so to act. In absence of federal incorporation, that authority

finds its source in local law. If the district court finds that those who purport to act on

behalf of the corporation have not been granted authority by local law to institute the

proceedings, it has no alternative but to dismiss the petition. It is not enough that those

who seek to speak for the corporation may have the right to obtain that authority. Here,

the state court ordered the appointment of a Receiver for the purpose of holding an

election of a proper Board of Directors.

In Chitex Communication, Inc. v. Kramer, 168 B.R. 587, 590 (S.D. Tex., 1994),

the court observed that a “president of an insolvent corporation had no authority to affect

the corporation’s property interests once a state court had placed it into receivership.”

Instead, the state court receiver “stands in the shoes of management.” Id. (citing SEC v.

Spence & Green Chemical Co., 612 F.2d 896, 903 (5th Cir. 1980)). Accordingly, the

Chitex court concluded that only the receiver had the authority to file and maintain a

bankruptcy proceeding. Here, the formal appointment of a receiver, the Superior Court’s

designation of one of the three nominees, was but a final, ministerial act in the process.

Van Tassel should be deemed to have been without authority to act for WCH, and this

case should be dismissed, forthwith.

B. Pre-Petition Self-Dealing and Egregious Misconduct

This case should be dismissed under 11 U.S.C. §305. Specifically, section 305

states in relevant part: “The court, after notice and a hearing, may dismiss a case under

this title or may suspend all proceedings in a case under this title, at any time if – (1) the

interests of creditors and the debtor would be better served by such dismissal or

suspension.” 11 U.S.C. § 305(a). Courts may “consider a wide variety of factors

relevant to the facts of the particular case in determining whether to abstain under Section

305.dz� In re Spade, 258 B.R. 221, 231 (Bkrtcy. D. Colo., 2001). Relevant factors include:

(a) The motivation of the parties seeking bankruptcy jurisdiction. See In re First

Financial Enterprises, Inc., 99 B.R. 751, 754 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Tex., 1989).

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(b) Availability of another forum to protect the interests, or already pending

proceedings in another forum. See First Financial Enterprises, 99 B.R. at 754; Int’l Zinc

Coatings, 355 B.R. 76, 82 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Ill., 2006); Spade, 258 B.R. at 231.

(c) Economy and efficiency of administration. See Int’l Zinc Coatings, 355 B.R. at

82; Spade, 258 B.R. at 231.

(d) Prejudice to the parties. See Int’l Zinc Coatings, 355 B.R. at 82; Spade, 258

B.R. at 231.

(e) The presence of unsettled issues of non-bankruptcy law. See Int’l Zinc

Coatings, 355 B.R. at 82.

(f) The purpose of the bankruptcy. See Int’l Zinc Coatings, 355 B.R. at 82.

Abstention is appropriate where petitioner uses a [bankruptcy] case purely as a

litigation strategy. First Financial Enterprises, Inc., 99 B.R. at 754. Further, “[i]n

considering dismissal under Section 305, it is appropriate to consider the motivation of

the parties in seeking the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court.dz� Spade, 258 B.R. at 231.

“[T]he motives of the parties can significantly influence the Court’s evaluation of other

factors and contribute to the Court’s decision to dismiss under Section 305.dz Id. at 232.

In Spade, the court found that the case was “little more than a two-party collections

dispute” between the petitioning creditor and debtor, and that “[t]here is no need for a

federal court to resolve this two-party dispute that implicates purely state law issues.” Id.

at 234-235. Furthermore, the court found that “[b]ringing this case into the bankruptcy

court would only add an additional layer of expense to the resolution of this two-party

case.” Id. at 236. Finally, the court found that other creditors would be prejudiced by

continuation of the bankruptcy case, as they would incur additional expenses. Id. at 236-

37.

In In re ELRS Loss Mitigation, LLC, 325 B.R. 604 (Bkrtcy. N.D. Okla., 2005), the

court dismissed a Chapter 7 petition under Section 303 because the debtor was generally

paying its debts as they came due, and also held that if the case were not dismissed under

Section 303, it would be dismissed under Section 305. The bankruptcy case was a two-

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party dispute, and other creditors had not joined the petitioning creditor to support the

bankruptcy petition. Id. at 634.

The pre-petition actions of Van Tassell and Morgan constitute self-dealing and

form the separate basis for dismissal of this sham filing. The deed Van Tassell granted to

her life and business partner constitutes such gross self-dealing as to justify dismissal.

The present evidence of bad faith use of Chapter 11 is clear and abundant. This is why

the State Court order granted emergency relief, based on the need to halt Van Tassell and

Morgan from their ultra vires actions, without approval of the membership.

Beginning in January of 2010, Morgan and Van Tassell began spreading false

reports that Hollywood Heritage, a preservation organization, was going to take over the

Woman’s Club and “planned to run it into the ground in order to declare Bankruptcy and

then sell the property.” (Harris Decl., Ex. 11-1 [Smith Decl.].) Morgan, Van Tassell,

Cohen, Quick, Smith, Zardeneta and other members attended the February 8, 2010,

special meeting. (Harris Decl., Ex. 10-1 [Quick Decl.]; Harris Decl., Ex. 11-2 [Smith

Decl.]; Harris Decl., Ex. 1-2 [Zardeneta Decl.].) Cohen acted as the parliamentarian and

ran the meeting at a very fast pace. (Harris Decl., Ex. 10-2 [Quick Decl.].) At the

meeting, the members were led to believe that they had to authorize Morgan and Van

Tassell to take possession over the Woman’s Club in order to save it from being taken

over by Hollywood Heritage and sold off. (Harris Decl., Ex. 10-1 [Quick Decl.]; Harris

Decl., Ex. 11-2 [Smith Decl.].) Through deception, Morgan and Van Tassell sought to

become Board Members, with Morgan as Executive Director and Van Tassell as

President. In mid-February 2010, Morgan and Van Tassell, along with a hired hand,

physically took over the Property of the Woman’s Club and changed the locks. Since

taking over the Woman’s Club, Morgan and Van Tassell have had clandestine meetings,

illegal elections, and placed strangers on the Board. (Harris Decl., Ex. 11-2 and 3 [Smith

Decl.].) The membership has not been notified of events and meetings. (Harris Decl., Ex.

11-2 [Smith Decl.].) The purposes of philanthropy, community, and the arts have all been

abandoned. (Id.) In addition, Morgan and Van Tassell have been attempting to change

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the tax status of the Woman’s Club without informing the membership who must approve

the changes. (Id.) Morgan and Van Tassell have generated many debts for the Woman’s

Club, including paying salaries for unnecessary administrative workers, and a $300 per

week petty-cash fund for Morgan. (Id. Ex. 11-3.)

The misconduct detailed above evidences Van Tassell’s bad faith use of Chapter

11 principally to prevent the implementation of the State Court’s order for appointment

of a receiver, as well as attempt to get improper/unfounded creditor’s claims on record as

valid claims against the WCH. See Chitex, 168 B.R. at 590 (bad faith found where

person filing bankruptcy petition for entity “knew or should have known” that the state

court order had stripped him of all legal authority to act for the said entity, and therefore

they knew or should have known they were controverting a state court order). See also

Argus Group 1700, Inc. v. Steinman, 206 B.R. 757, 764-65 (E.D. Pa., 1997) (bad faith

found where, in part, petition was filed 3 days before state court contempt and

receivership hearing, debtor claimed state court was not “fairly and impartially” treating

debtor, and claimed debtor was “running out funds” because of state court litigation); In

re Trident. Assocs. Ltd. Partnership, 52 F.3d 127, 132 (6th Cir. 1995) (affirming

dismissal where bankruptcy court found, inter alia, debtor filed bankruptcy to avoid

pending state court action); In re New York Trap Rock Corp., 158 B.R. 574, 576 (S.D.

N.Y., 1993) (use of court to take “new look” at a state court action is impermissible

attempt at forum shopping); In re Start the Engines, Inc., 219 B.R. 264 (Bkrtcy. C.D.

Cal., 1998) (bad faith found where evidence and prior litigation history showed filing

made to delay state court action and limit related legal fees and costs); In re Y.J. Sons &

Co., 212 B.R. 793 (D. N.J., 1997) (in upholding bad faith dismissal, court noted the filing

was an attempt at forum shopping, a litigation tactic, and debtor represented “it did not

feel it was getting a fair shake it deserved in state court”); In re Silberkraus, 253 B.R.

890, 902-903 (Bkrtcy. C.D. Cal., 2000) (bad faith to file to obstruct, delay and stay

ongoing state court litigation, to forum shop, or to obtain a tactical advantage regarding

state court litigation); In re Phoenix Piccadilly, Ltd., 849 F.2d 1393, 1394 (11th Cir.,

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1988) (bad faith for debtor to file bankruptcy the day before state court hearing for

appointment of receiver, delaying and frustrating those seeking the same).

This court should dismiss the Bankruptcy Petition filing and impose sanctions

against Van Tassel for this sham filing. Under the provisions of 11 U.S.C. § 105, this

Court, “may issue any order . . . that is necessary or appropriate to carry out the

provisions of this title . . .” or “to prevent an abuse of process.” Clearly, the Debtor has

attempted to use the protections of this Court for an improper purpose. Accordingly, this

Court should exercise its equitable powers to terminate the automatic stay.

There are scores of Chapter 11 cases in which the automatic stay has been

terminated due to the debtor's lack of good faith in filing for bankruptcy. For example, in

In re Laguna Associates Limited Partnership, 30 F.3d 734 (6th Cir., 1994), the Sixth

Circuit Court of Appeals squarely addressed the issue of whether bad faith constitutes

“cause” to terminate the automatic stay. In reaching its conclusion that it does justify the

termination of the stay, the Court commented:

Under the Bankruptcy Code, the filing of a petition automatically stays most

judicial actions against the debtor... This provision gives the honest debtor

an opportunity to protect its assets for a period of time so that the resources

might be marshaled to satisfy outstanding obligations.

Id., 30 F.3d at 737. As a number of circuits have recognized, a debtor's lack of good faith

in filing a petition for bankruptcy may be the basis for lifting the automatic stay. See e.g.,

Carolin Corp. v. Miller, 886 F.2d 693, 699 (4th Cir., 1989); In re Arnold, 806 F.2d 937,

939 (9th Cir. 1986); Matter of Little Creek Dev. Co., 779 F.2d 1068, 1072 (5th Cir.,

1986). “[B]ad faith may serve as a ground for dismissal of a petition.” In re Charfoos,

979 F.2d 390, 392 (6th Cir., 1992).

The purported WCH board authorization is not only a sham and obtained in

contravention of California law, as discussed above, but is further clear and manifest

evidence that the subject Chapter 11 filing was made in bad faith, contrary to both the

purpose and spirit of the bankruptcy code. See In re Rognstad, 121 B.R. 45, 50 (Bkrtcy.

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D. Hawaii, 1990) (Congress never intended bankruptcy for the “irresponsible,

unscrupulous or [the] cunning”).

III. Conclusion

For the reasons set forth above, Plaintiffs respectfully request that this Court enter

an Order dismissing this case or lifting the stay so the Superior Court may appoint a

receiver and imposing sanctions upon Van Tassell.

Dated: February 24, 2011 Harris & Ruble ____ /s/_______________ Alan Harris Abigail Treanor Attorneys for Plaintiffs

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DECLARATION OF ALAN HARRIS

ALAN HARRIS declares under penalty of perjury of the State of California as follows:

1. I am a member in good standing of the State Bar of California and am one of

the attorneys for Plaintiffs. I make this declaration in support of Plaintiffs’ Motion to

Dismiss. If sworn as a witness, I could competently testify to each and every fact set

forth herein from my own personal knowledge.

2. Beginning on January 20, 2011, I made numerous efforts to convince

counsel for the Bankruptcy, Michael Berger, to dismiss this case. He has refused to do

so.

3. Attached hereto as Exhibit 1 is a true and correct of the Christine Zardeneta

Declaration executed on September 24, 2010.

4. Attached hereto as Exhibit 2 is a true and correct copy of the Barbara Testa

Declaration executed on October 6, 2010.

5. Attached hereto as Exhibit 3 is a true and correct copy of the David Garrett

Declaration executed on November 4, 2010.

6. Attached hereto as Exhibit 4 is a true and correct copy of the Mars Berman

Declaration executed on November 14, 2010.

7. Attached hereto as Exhibit 5 is a true and correct copy of the Sara Van Horn

Declaration executed on November 16, 2010.

8. Attached hereto as Exhibit 6 is a true and correct copy of the Buzz McEntire

Declaration executed on November 16, 2010.

9. Attached hereto as Exhibit 7 is a true and correct copy of the Barbara Testa

Declaration executed on December 2, 2010.

10. Attached hereto as Exhibit 8 is a true and correct copy of the Rosemary Lord

executed on December 5, 2010.

11. Attached hereto as Exhibit 9 is a true and correct copy of the James Steliotes

executed on December 5, 2010.

12. Attached hereto as Exhibit 10 is a true and correct copy of the Susan Quick

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executed on December 15, 2010.

13. Attached hereto as Exhibit 11 is a true and correct copy of the Nadine Smith

executed on December 16, 2010.

14. Attached hereto as Exhibit 12 is a true and correct copy of a letter from

Alyce Morris Winston of the Jeffrey Foundation dated January 3, 2011.

15. Attached hereto as Exhibit 13 is a true and correct copy of the Velma

Montoya executed on January 3, 2011.

16. Attached hereto as Exhibit 14 is a true and correct copy of the Kandace

Krapu executed on January 3, 2011.

17. Attached hereto as Exhibit 15 is a true and correct copy of the Monica Dodi

executed on January 3, 2011.

18. Attached hereto as Exhibit 16 is a true and correct copy of the Rosemary

Lord executed on January 6, 2011. Attached as Exhibit A to the Rosemary Lord

Declaration of January 6, 2011, is a true and correct copy of the 2005 Bylaws of The

Woman’s Club of Hollywood, California.

19. Attached hereto as Exhibit 17 is a true and correct copy of the Stephen

McAvoy Declaration executed January 6, 2011. Attached as Exhibit A to the McAvoy

Declaration is a copy of a summary of his resume.

20. Attached hereto as Exhibit 18 is a true and correct copy of a January 18,

2011 Deed of Trust from WCH (executed by Van Tassell) to Carl Von Randallhoff.

21. Attached hereto as Exhibit 19 are true and correct copies of data from Lexis

showing the joint Van Tassell/Von Randallhoff ownership of various Los Angeles real

estate parcels.

22. Attached hereto as Exhibit 20 is a true and correct copy of the January 7,

2011, Ex Parte Application For An Order (1) Appointing A Receiver For The Woman’s

Club Of Hollywood; (2) Preventing Any Changes To The ByLaws Of The Woman’s

Club of Hollywood; (3) Preventing Any Changes To The Corporate Status, Structure,

And/Or Governance of the Woman’s Club Of Hollywood.

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23. Attached hereto as Exhibit 21 is a true and correct copy of the January 7,

2011, Defendants’ Opposition To Ex Parte Application.

24. Attached hereto as Exhibit 22 is a true and correct copy of the January 11,

2011, Superior Court Order finding “GOOD CAUSE to grant Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte

Application in its entirety,” and ordering “an election, which the Receiver shall oversee

. . . in conformance with the 2005 Bylaws of the WCH.”

25. Attached hereto as Exhibit 23 is a true and correct copy of the January 19,

2011, Joint List of Three Potential Receivers, with details concerning the qualifications of

Carlson, Moses and Rook.

26. Attached hereto as Exhibit 24 is a true and correct copy of the February 22,

2011, Declaration of Rosemary Lord.

27. Attached hereto as Exhibit 25 is a true and correct copy of the January 20,

2011, Voluntary Petition of WCH.

28. Attached hereto as Exhibit 26 is a true and correct copy of the October 30,

2010, letter from Van Tassel to Morgan, terminating Morgan’s “volunteer efforts on

behalf of the corporation as Executive Director.”

29. Attached hereto as Exhibit 27 is a true and correct copy of the February 14,

2011, Declaration of Barbara Testa

I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best

of my knowledge. Executed February 24, 2011, in Los Angeles, California.

/s/

Alan Harris

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INDEX OF EXHIBITS

Exhibits Nos.

1. September 24, 2010, Christine Zardeneta Declaration.

2. November 4, 2010, David Garrett Declaration.

a. December 9, 2009 WCH/Van Horn Lease

b. October 2010 Van Horn Rent Receipts

c. October 18, 2010 letter, Touceda to Van Horn

3. October 6, 2010, Barbara Testa Declaration.

4. November 14, 2010, Mars Berman Declaration.

5. November 16, 2010, Sara Van Horn Declaration.

6. November 16, 2010, Buzz McEntire Declaration.

7. December 2, 2010, Barbara Testa Declaration.

8. December 5, 2010, Rosemary Lord Declaration.

9. December 5, 2010, James Steliotes Declaration.

10. December 15, 2010, Susan Quick Declaration.

11. December 16, 2010, Nadine Smith Declaration.

a. September 25, 2010, Smith statement

12. January 3, 2011, Alyce Morris Winston Letter.

13. January 3, 2011, Velma Montoya Declaration.

a. Montoya CV

14. January 3, 2011, Kandace Krapu Declaration.

15. January 3, 2011, Monica Dodi Declaration.

16. January 6, 2011, Rosemary Lord Declaration.

a. 2005 Bylaws of The Woman’s Club of Hollywood, California.

17. January 6, 2011, Steve McAvoy Declaration.

a. Steve McAvoy Resume.

18. January 18, 2011, Deed of Trust from WCH to Carl Von Randallhoff.

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19. February 2011, Lexis Printouts detailing coownership by Van Tassel and Von

Randallhoff of numerous Los Angeles properties.

20. January 7, 2011, Ex Parte Application For An Order (1) Appointing A Receiver

For The Woman’s Club Of Hollywood; (2) Preventing Any Changes To The

ByLaws Of The Woman’s Club of Hollywood; (3) Preventing Any Changes To

The Corporate Status, Structure, And/Or Governance of the Woman’s Club Of

Hollywood.

21. January 7, 2011, Defendants’ Opposition To Ex Parte Application.

22. January 11, 2011, Superior Court Order.

23. January 19, 2011, Joint List of Three Potential Receivers, with details concerning

the qualifications of Carlson, Moses and Rook.

24. February 22, 2011, Declaration of Rosemary Lord.

25. January 20, 2011, Voluntary Petition of WCH.

26. October 30, 2010, letter from Van Tassel to Morgan.

27. February 14, 2011, Declaration of Barbara Testa.

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EXHIBIT 1

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EXHIBIT 2

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EXHIBIT 3

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EXHIBIT 4

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EXHIBIT 5

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EXHIBIT 6

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EXHIBIT 8

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EXHIBIT 9

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EXHIBIT 10

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EXHIBIT 11

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EXHIBIT 12

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EXHIBIT 13

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EXHIBIT 14

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EXHIBIT 15

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EXHIBIT 16

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EXHIBIT 17

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EXHIBIT 18

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EXHIBIT 19

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EXHIBIT 20

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EXHIBIT 21

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