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SuperClubs chairman John Issa
IN perhaps his toughest deposition before any court, SuperClubs chairman John Issa faced numerous questions about open sex and drug abuse at his Hedonism hotel, as he pursued a lawsuit in Florida, United States during 2009 and 2010.
Issa frequently appeared ruffled and argumentative, using words like "racist" and "bigot" to describe lawyers representing the defendants whom he accused of defaming him in e-mails traced to computers in that US state. His lawsuit was filed in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County.
In the deposition which started in January 2009, attorney Harley Tropin of Kozyak Tropin and Throckmorton often put Issa on the ropes with blistering questions about alleged racism, prostitution, nudity at the hotel, and a major drug find on the hotelier's boat named after his daughter Zein, who acted as her father's agent during the deposition.
Attorney Reginald Clyne of Clyne & Associates led the follow-up deposition in September, often retracing steps taken by Tropin but attempting to demonstrate that the SuperClubs boss could not show how he had been defamed in the offensive e-mails.
In one tense moment, Clyne asked Issa: "Do you think having sordid sexual activities occurring at Hedonism, does that do damage to your name?"
The Jamaican hotelier responded: "What occurs at Hedonism can only be sordid in some people's eyes. Some look at it as a way of life. I don't know who you subscribe to, but we are not the Taliban that tells people their morals and how to live. Stop trying to bring the Taliban type of thinking to Jamaica and to Florida."
Clyne: "Mr Issa, with all due respect, you're the one who says you can't have anybody saying anything negative about you."
Issa found the going not to his liking when twice Clyne got the court to dismiss complaints by him in respect of defendants he named in the lawsuit. In one case, the grounds for dismissal were that Issa's complaint had listed three named defendants and "John Does 1-10", which signified that they did not know who sent the alleged e-mails, because they were alleging anonymous, unknown senders labelled "John Does".
Issa's attorney filed an amended complaint but this too was dismissed after Clyne filed a second motion to dismiss on the basis that Issa was alleging e-mails were sent by the defendants, without properly alleging that they were in the actual locations where the e-mails were sent and were trying to join all the defendants to every e-mail by alleging a conspiracy.
Clyne argued that the evidence would show that the parties were not even in the locations where many of the alleged e-mails emanated. The court agreed with his reasoning and granted the motion to dismiss.
The deposition, always dramatic, called many well-known names in Jamaica, including Portia Simpson Miller, Bruce Golding, PJ Patterson, Gordon 'Butch' Stewart, Jaime Stewart-McConnell, Abe Issa, Oliver Clarke, Frank Rantz, Tony Ferrari, Father Richard Ho Lung, John Lynch, Mark Golding, Wilmot Perkins, Chester Francis-Jackson, Janet Silvera, the Parnells, Noel Sloley and Hugh Hart, among others.