Thursday, July 26, 2007

OLF Legal Woes: This Just In

No sooner than I posted the last update, I received an e-mail message from my source in TA-OLF informing me that the “temporary restraining order granted to the Asmara Group has been vacated as of this morning. Our (OLF’s) planned public meeting today will proceed as planned. Will update you on details of the case at my earliest convenience.”

Calls to my sources in the Asmara Group of OLF for their reactions has not been returned.

Stay tuned. Also, have your say.

OLF Legal Woes: an Update

It is to be recalled that Oromo Affairs reported the lawsuit brought against TA-OLF by the Asmara Group of OLF in a Minnesota Court. It looks like the Minnesota Court has decided on one of the four judgments the Asmara Group had applied for.

An internal source with in the Asmra Group of the OLF has informed this blogger that they have succeeded in obtaining a “temporary restraining order against TA-OLF and its members from passing themselves off as OLF and its officers or representatives pending a full hearing on the merits of the lawsuit.” (E-mail message from Source, July 25, 2007) According to this source, this judgment in effect has forced TA-OLF to cancel its planned public meeting for July 26, 2007, and that “in granting the temporary restraining order, the judge has concluded that there is a reasonable likelihood the plaintiff will prevail on its claim.”

The date for the commencement of the trial, which is expected to last for one and a half day, has been set to be August 16, 2007 at 2:00 PM.

A call to my sources in TA-OLF confirmed the trial date and the temporary restraining order, but would not confirm whether it is against TA-OLF or “some individuals.” The same source added that the judge also ordered the Asmara Group to post $25,000 bond to by noon on July 24, 2007 failing which the case will be dismissed. He believes the Asmara Group has posted the required bond which he says is “squandering $25,000 of Oromo hard earned dollars donated toward the struggle to defeat enemies of the Oromo people but are being used against Oromo nationalists.”

On the question of the temporary restraining order, according to my TA-OLF source, the US laws allow for restraining orders only in cases where monetary compensation will not remedy the complainants claimed potential damage which would ensue if the motion is denied. According to this source, this is clearly NOT the case here as the Asmara Group has already applied for $50,000 in compensatory damages in its application and therefore a restraining order is not allowed here. “Naturally, this is an order which should not have been granted in the first place and which we hope will be vacated in the next few days” said my TA- OLF source. He would not elaborate on how they plan to do this except to warn me to “Stay tuned.”

So, stay tuned!

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Asmara Group of OLF takes TA-OLF to a Minnesota Court

Just when the Kinijit legal saga seems to have come to an end, OLF’s has begun in a USA court.

Reliable sources have informed this Blogger that the Shane Gumii faction (aka the Asmara Group) of the OLF has filed a lawsuit against the TA-OLF faction on two counts: that the later group has violated the “Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act” and that it interfered with the Asmara Group’s “prospective economic advantage.”

The lawsuit, filed on July 19, 2007, lists one active and two inactive Oromo non-profit organizations, seven individuals and a “John Doe.” The three organizations are “Oromo self-help Association, Inc”, “Oromo self-help Organization” and “Oromo self help Association, Inc” all incorporated under MN law on June 3, 2005, July 8, 1999 and March 7, 1994 respectively.

The OLF split into two in 2001 over what some say differences of political strategy but others claim power struggle within the highest echelon of the organization. They have both claimed the name OLF since the split. Attempt at reconciling the two factions have so far produced no results.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants have interfered with The Asmara group’s prospective economic advantage and have “caused and/or [have] threatened to cause plaintiff [the Asmara Group] to suffer damages in the form of lost good will, lost members or potential members and loss of donations.” This being the primary fund raising season of the year for Oromo political organizations, has worried the Asmara Group who some say will not be able to raise as much funds as it has been able to in the past years due to its very unpopular alliance with CUDP (aka Kinijit.)

The Asmara Group is asking the Fourth Judicial District Court of the State Of Minnesota to enjoin TA-OLF to cease and desist from using the “trade” name OLF permanently, to award the Asmara Group compensatory damages in excess of $50,000.00 and to grant a temporary injunction against the Oromo public meeting called for July 26, 2007 by TA-OLF. The motion for the injunction request is to be heard on July 23, 2007 at 8:30 AM.

The source tells this blogger that this is nothing new and that the Asmara Group has done all it could in the last six years to sabotage Oromo public meetings called by TA-OLF. In support of this allegation, my source pointed me to an audio file at HERE in which someone claiming to be an agent of the OLF asked owners of the meeting hall which TA-OLF had rented for their last year Oromo public meeting “NOT to cooperate with the group....”

Finances collected from Oromo public with the promise to use them toward the Oromo struggle should not be squandered by using them to take another Oromo political group to court or to defend ones group against such a lawsuit. Such money is better used toward taking the Meles Zenawi regime to World Court for its crimes against the Oromo people, lobbying western governments, raising or strengthening a liberation army, or supporting families of our compatriots who are currently political prisoners in TPLF’s Ethiopia.

This is a political issue - a struggle for Oromo hearts and minds - which should be waged, and won or lost, in Oromo public court, NOT in US legal courts.

Stay tuned for more news on this. Also, don’t forget to have your say.



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