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Nicolas Marsch, onetime La Jolla socialite and wealthy real estate developer, is apparently writing a book about his nemesis, Florida-based big builder Lennar Corp.

Up until recently, Marsch had a website touting his purported book, "Billion Dollar Lies: How Lennar Corporation Swindled Pensioners, Lenders, and Partners and Undermined the Foundation of Our Justice System."

There are several problems with this. First, on the website, he misspelled Lennar (to wit: "Lenner"). Second, he recently took down the website. Now, if you go to billiondollarlies.com, you see a message that the "Website is coming in January." (The original website touting the book was retrieved on googlecache.com.)

There is a third problem — a serious one. Back in the 1990s, Marsch and Lennar formed a partnership to develop a golf community in Rancho Santa Fe. The relationship became bitter. Marsch sued for damages and lost — a judge said he owed Lennar $54 million, not the other way around.

Barry Minkow

Barry Minkow

YouTube

Marsch hired con-man/born-again minister/conman Barry Minkow, who proclaimed publicly that Lennar was run like a Ponzi scheme. Lennar stock tanked on Minkow's claim. (Minkow, who had run an enormous Ponzi scheme in Los Angeles, then got religion in prison, was pastor of San Diego Community Bible Church while running the Fraud Discovery Institute on the side.)

Following a flurry of court actions, Minkow was sentenced to five years in prison (his second confinement), and Marsch was told to pay more than $1 billion to Lennar, which didn't expect to get a nickel because Marsch and his company had gone into Chapter 7 (liquidation) bankruptcy.

In the lawsuits, Marsch was called untruthful by four San Diego judges and one in Florida. When I found out that Marsch was advertising his book in which he calls Lennar a bunch of liars and then took down the website, I wondered if Lennar had threatened to sue Marsch if such a book came out. Or did Marsch have second thoughts, realizing the courts had slapped him down thoroughly?

I asked Lennar if it had made threats against Marsch and whether it had seen the book, and if so, what it thought of it. I got a written statement from a Lennar spokesperson: "Since Nick Marsch first commenced litigation against Lennar eight years ago, three separate state court judges in California and Florida and one federal bankruptcy court judge in California have found Mr. Marsch was not truthful in court proceedings and have awarded Lennar over $1 billion in damages. These court decisions speak for themselves."

Marsch, meanwhile, didn’t respond to two calls.

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Comments

shirleyberan Jan. 7, 2015 @ 7:44 a.m.

These guys should have known thieves don't make good business-ponzi partners. You know its not a good book when the title is that long.

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Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2015 @ 8:45 a.m.

shirleyberan: Good books can have long titles -- but seldom as long as this one. One point: we used words like "reputedly" and "purported" because we have no idea if such a book will come out or even exists, or is actually planned. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Jan. 7, 2015 @ 3:09 p.m.

Wow... That Mr. Ryan sure is verbose. Don are you all aflutter with such attention focused on you and The Reader? You know he is a graduate of one of your favorite law schools...the Thomas Jefferson school here in San Diego and he has his own firm too!

Guess all those Judges from those previous cases just didn't understand his client.

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Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2015 @ 8:18 p.m.

JustWondering: In the first column I did about Marsch/Lennar/Minkow, Marsch blamed prejudiced Florida judges for his problems. But four California judges stated that his testimony was dishonest, and only one in Florida did. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2015 @ 8:20 p.m.

Ray Ryan: Todd Macaluso had absolutely nothing to do with this item. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 7, 2015 @ 8:54 p.m.

Good grief, Ryan, you are one stupid, unprofessional attorney. Making public accusations in a social networking forum while representing a client (a subject in this story) while the case is still open. And to use extortion against a journalist? Ryan, you're the poster child of what give attorneys a bad name. Judging from your "law school" alma mater, I'm not surprised. Lawyers should be smarter than to try their own cases in the press. Obviously, it is my opinion that you, Ryan, are not very bright. "Fool for a client" is when someone represents themselves instead of hiring a lawyer. You, Ryan, have a fool for a client by asking you to represent them.

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Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2015 @ 9:34 p.m.

Ponzi: Mr. Ryan asked if I had gone over all 150 bankers boxes of documents regarding the Marsch/Lennar case. I did not. A number of journalists covered this story and I doubt that one of them went over all 150 boxes. I did, however, view the opinions of the four California judges who said Marsch was not credible. Best, Don Bauder

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Daniel_Torres Jan. 9, 2015 @ 9:50 a.m.

Mr. Bauder, Young Ryan is correct using young. His facebook page is full of himself. I read an average of 20 news articles a day in three major cities on all outlets. If I want the truth I know I can depend on you. Don't know anything about this article. Your readers mentioned all the correct reasons why this young man should not air his laundry in a public forum. If I am one of the twelve readers he mentions, good for me! Thank you for your integrity Mr. Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 11:29 a.m.

Daniel_Torres: Many thanks for the kind words. Ryan is as free to express himself in this forum as all contributors are. Best, Don Bauder

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rayyoungryan Jan. 8, 2015 @ 12:03 p.m.

Dear Ponzi,

Casting judgment and hurling personal insults while shielded by anonymity is cowardly. Contrary to your negative remarks, many fine lawyers have come out of TJSL and have become judges and leaders in our community. Your personal attacks and insults directed towards TJSL and myself were overly aggressive and totally disrespectful. Further, my comments were made within ethical considerations contrary to your erroneous accusations of impropriety. You should also look up the legal definition of extortion before you embarrass yourself by using it incorrectly in the future. I have two words for you: Anger Management.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:07 p.m.

rayyoungryan a.k.a. Ray Ryan: Speaking of looking up definitions, you should look up "vendetta," of which you accused me of having against your client. A vendetta is basically a long-running feud. I have never met Marsch, and had never heard of him until the Lennar matter came up. I have written about the Lennar case very little. I have talked with Marsch once. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 8, 2015 @ 6:33 p.m.

Ray Ryan, "extortion; the practice of obtaining something... through force or threats.." You have now removed your Facebook post. However, I found it to sound threatening. It sounded to me like you were asking (threatening, yes) Don Bauder to remove his story, or ask The Reader to suppress his story. Or to stop writing about you or your client in the future. If it quacks, it's a duck.

As far as TJSL, you'll have to admit it's not Yale or Harvard, or USC or USD. It's probably the easiest law school to be admitted to in San Diego (fog a mirror). The class of 2012, only 28.8% of it's graduates are employed in law full time today. Around only 50% of their graduates pass the California Bar. Did you think you were in exceptional academic company while you were there?

As far as judges, please cite their names and positions? I know of none. Enlighten me.

As far as being disrespectful, I have been know to be that from time to time. But I responded to your comment because I found it disrespectful to a long-time well respected journalist that started his craft before you were born.

Now that you have removed your post from your Facebook account, you are darn close to anonymous too now. Why did you decide not to share your rant with your Facebook buddies?

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 6:10 a.m.

Ponzi: I don't do Facebook, so I don't know if Ryan removed his post from it. It is certainly probable that some very good and respectable lawyers came from Thomas Jefferson School of Law, but it is also true that some bad ones have. There is no question that the statistics on Jefferson's bar passage rate are quite low. I have reported on those stats several times. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 7, 2015 @ 9:05 p.m.

Hysterical legal effrontery Ray. Nice one Don, touched a sensitive nerve, again.

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Don Bauder Jan. 7, 2015 @ 9:35 p.m.

shirleyberan: That's what we are here for: to touch sensitive nerves. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 8, 2015 @ 6:43 p.m.

Yes, subjects of stories, particularly those crafted by an investigative journalist, have to have thick skins. What’s published may irk people, but that’s a fact of life in our democracy.

Lyndon B. Johnson once said “If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: 'President Can't Swim.'”

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 6:12 a.m.

Ponzi: I have heard that Johnson story, but the subject was different: it was about the press commenting on Nixon walking on the water.

You are right on. One has to have a thick skin to stay in this game. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 8, 2015 @ 12:29 p.m.

rayyoungryan - what is cowardly is making idle threats. Do something or don't, or sit there sounding out. We will be the judge. Looks like the judgement is Not on your client's side and now as you wish, not on yours either. We know Ponzi provides one of the wiser commentaries. Ray, admit it, you are on the loser side.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:10 p.m.

shirleyberan: Certainly the judges who have ruled on cases in this long-running saga have not been on Marsch's side: they have said he has not told the truth in testimony. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 8, 2015 @ 12:43 p.m.

Is it just me, or are the above comments made by the lawyer reminiscent of the late johnnyvegas/surfpuppy619?

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:20 p.m.

danfogel: I have no reason to believe that Ray Rice is the fellow who wrote under the name johnnyvegas or surfpuppy. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 6:15 a.m.

danfogel: Note: I have discovered definitively that Ray Rice is not JohnnyVegas/Surfpuppy. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel Jan. 9, 2015 @ 7:44 a.m.

don bauder, I was being facetious/sarcastic. You know, the whole lawyer calling people names, hurling insults, making thinly veiled treats thing. Although now that I think about it, johnnyvegas/surfpuppy619's threats weren't really al that veiled. Anyway, I know that johnnyvegas/surfpuppy619 went to LS in Michigan, or at least claims to have. The only place I know of where he posts now is on the LA Times under the name WildGurl, complete with picture of scantily clad woman. Actually, it was another Reader commenter whom I know personally who pointed it out to me a few months ago.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 11:34 a.m.

danfogel: Johnnyvegas/surfpuppy is commenting in the LA Times under the name WildGurl? That is news to me. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 8, 2015 @ 12:44 p.m.

Don - is this another assault on human intelligence? Morons get no sympathy from me when they do it to themselves. Change has to be made for the better or they earn no respect. What's the difference between stupid and dumb? Dumb is forever and believes they're not stupid; they will defend to the end abuse and criminal behavior.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:24 p.m.

shirleyberan: Of course, one of the definitions of dumb is lacking the ability to speak, or mute. There is no evidence of that in this colloquy. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 8, 2015 @ 2:48 p.m.

Donnie - when you're digging up dirt, there's some left on your nose. That's probably a good thing cause you breathe better if you cover one of your nostrils with a finger and breathe in hard, alternately. I did that in the 80's. See Dr Oz web. Dr. Weil has healthy breath exercise too . Get lots of Oxygen Don. When you think about it, there's no way of knowing who's on drugs.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:26 p.m.

shirleyberan: I've been professionally digging up dirt for 50 years. My nose should be well-coated with dirt. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 8, 2015 @ 3:04 p.m.

Don - I think guys like these are a classic example of what is wrong with corruption vs. anything honest in America.

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Don Bauder Jan. 8, 2015 @ 4:29 p.m.

shirleyberan: We have been batting this case around and haven't mentioned Barry Minkow -- nee Rev. Minkow -- who went back to prison for his role in this matter. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 6:17 a.m.

Chuck Radloff: I appreciate the comment, but you leave out truth-tellers such as the Reader's Matt Potter and Dorian Hargrove. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 9, 2015 @ 11:28 a.m.

Is Minkow "Predator from the Pulpit" in prison right now? Did Ray Ryan represent? I'm telling you, some people can't learn. Brain Damage!?

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 11:37 a.m.

shirleyberan. I believe Minkow is still in prison. I could check that out online but I am in a hurry to get back to something else. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan Jan. 9, 2015 @ 3:12 p.m.

That's okay. Just wanted to clarify if Ray Ryan is Jr, apparently so. Also read where he advertises his firm (looks very ambulance chase) he sometimes doesn't get paid to help his friends. I don't think he would have been so upset if Minkow wasn't a good buddy.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 7:35 p.m.

shirleyberan: I don't know of any relationship between Ryan and Minkow. Ryan says he is an attorney for Marsch on a marginally related matter. Best, Don Bauder

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swell Jan. 9, 2015 @ 5:15 p.m.

"As a result of his latest sentence, Minkow's earliest possible release date is now June 6, 2019." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Minkow . Fascinating story.

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Don Bauder Jan. 9, 2015 @ 7:36 p.m.

swell: That saves me some work to look it up. Best, Don Bauder

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