Michael Shames owes more than $100,000

Former UCAN head sued for defamation, lost

Michael Shames
  • Michael Shames

Superior-court judge Ronald S. Prager has ruled that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), owes $104,609 in fees and costs to the parties he unsuccessfully sued for defamation and related transgressions.

Attorney Mike Aguirre, who represented whistleblowers in the long-running UCAN imbroglio, will get $20,765 in legal fees and $185 in costs. David Peffer, one of the whistleblowers, will get fees of $37,474 and costs of $185. UCAN gets fees of $40,000 and $6370 in costs.

Shames had been ousted by UCAN because of financial irregularities and other offenses.

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CORRECTION: Peffer asked for fees of $37,474.00 and costs of $185. The court, however, granted him fees of $12,500 and costs of $185. This would bring the amount Shames owes below $100,000. I am sorry for the error. Best, Don Bauder

It looks like Shames destroyed himself in his quest to destroy UCAN. He all but made himself the target of what may turn out to be a criminal indictment. None of his actions make any sense. His decision to file a libel suit he obviously could not win raises questions about his judgment. Even if he won his libel suit it's doubtful Peffer could pay. Shames is on the path to self-destruction. This situation is just bizarre and the game plan isn't clear.

Burwell: Shames's actions have been bizarre, to say the least. They came on slowly. Employees saw signs of questionable behavior -- for example, he was seldom around, and paid big bucks to friends to whom he subcontracted UCAN work.

Peffer and Langley led the internal revolt, which in turn led to the revelations that criminal authorities have been looking into. He told people he was an heroic, starving lawyer making only $70,000 a year, but it turned out he was raking in far more than that. Best, Don Bauder

Don, thanks so much for the update. It does seem like Mr. Shames, like former congressman & SD Mayor (& councilmember, Co. Supervisor?) Filner, also is having mental health issues. I believe this issue has been brewing for a long time. But because he doesn't, like Filner, did not have, a good strong alliance of good friends, the issue went undisclosed or treated. I do hope Mr. Filner is taking his medication and seeking counciling so that he can contribute to community again. I wish the same for Mr. Shames, he, like Filner were a good advocate for the constituents at one time.

Sincerely yours, [email protected] [email protected] ceo dMb Enterprises & Freedom Please Org Walk with Him (facebook), walkwithhimFcbk {twitter}

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