Tuesday, March 16, 2010

9/11: WTC settlement protester widely quoted by the media, has extensive criminal record and is not even a plaintiff

Source: Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, LLP

Avelino Montalvo, an individual widely quoted in the media as negatively portraying the World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation settlement since it was announced Thursday has been found to have an extensive criminal record. Montalvo is not even a plaintiff in the World Trade Center litigation and is therefore not eligible to take part in the proposed settlement.

On March 13, Montalvo was featured in a National Public Radio segment by Robert Smith. Montalvo claimed, "[t]hey're going to have to get 95 percent of us to agree [with the settlement]. That's not going to happen." Montalvo falsely claimed there to be one of "us" (i.e., one of the plaintiffs that the settlement concerns) even though he has not filed suit in the litigation. Montalvo further said "[w]e would prefer this to go to trial. We prefer this to go to -- we'll hold off another seven, 10 years if we have to. But we're not going to give in to this. It's not fair to us." It appears that Montalvo got the attention of the press by making a scene as explained by Robert Smith: "Avelino Montalvo stood outside the federal courthouse and heckled the city's lawyer as he tried to speak to reporters."

In a March 12, 2010 New York Times Article by Mireya Navarro, "Hurdles Still Remain for Ground Zero Settlement," Montalvo "said that he would not accept the settlement in view of its size and the high number of plaintiffs." The New York Times has since removed Montalvo's statements; however, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which carried the Times' story on March 13, 2010, continues to exhibit Montalvo's misleading comments.

In a March 12, 2010 article by NY1 reporter Bobby Cuza, "Judge Asks WTC Workers to Weigh In On City's Settlement," Montalvo opined that the settlement does not offer enough money.

Research indicates that Montalvo has pled or been adjudicated guilty of serious crimes including battery and grand theft in the third degree, a felony charge. Montalvo has also been adjudicated guilty or has pled guilty to a myriad of offenses bearing on his credibility, including: Fraud-insufficient funds check, obtained property for worthless check, worthless check and others. A "fugitive warrant" has been issued against him in Florida.

In light of the foregoing, we request the immediate retraction or correction of any and all reporting concerning comments, statements and/or quotes from or about Montalvo regarding the WTC Litigation -- a matter in which he is not a party. In addition, we request that news organizations forbear in further utilizing this publicity-seeking fraud as a news source in any way regarding the litigation.

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