Granite Spire Law Group is a consumer-rights law firm founded in Spring 2019 — for the purpose of representing clients referred to the firm by Timeshare Exit Team.
Unbeknownst to the firm’s clients, Granite Spire stores all confidential client information on computers and servers that belong to a consumer debt collector.
William Weinstein’s Delaware Re-Organization
In 2019, William Weinstein fundamentally re-organized his debt-collection empire.
Weinstein had operated a hedge fund that was focused on consumer-debt enforcement since January 2007. The hedge fund’s name was Ophrys, LLC, and it was a Washington company.
In February 2019, Weinstein changed the hedge fund’s name to Oak Harbor Capital, LLC. Weinstein also converted the hedge fund into a Delaware company.
In April 2019, Weinstein launched Oak Harbor Management, LLC. Oak Harbor Management was launched as a Delaware company.
Finally, in June 2019, Weinstein launched Oak Harbor Holdings, LLC. Oak Harbor Holdings was launched as a Delaware company.
When the re-organization was complete, William Weinstein was the owner of Oak Harbor Holdings, which was itself the owner of both Oak Harbor Capital and Oak Harbor Management. All three companies were domiciled in the State of Delaware.
In the midst of his re-organization of his debt-collection empire, Weinstein launched a consumer-rights law firm named Granite Spire Law Group. Granite Spire was founded on March 11, 2019 — less than two weeks after Oak Harbor Capital was converted into a Delaware company and less than one month before Oak Harbor Management was founded.
Oak Harbor Management
William Weinstein testified in September 2020 that he launched Oak Harbor Management to provide “back-office support” to multiple different companies. According to Weinstein, back-office support includes information-technology services.
Weinstein testified that Oak Harbor Management provides back-office support to at least four different companies: (1) Weinstein & Riley, (2) Oak Harbor Capital, (3) the Better Business Bureau, and (4) Granite Spire Law Group.
Weinstein & Riley is Weinstein’s debt-enforcement law firm. Weinstein & Riley represents many of the nation’s largest banks, credit unions, and other consumer lenders. It also represents Oak Harbor Capital. In 2009, Weinstein testified that Weinstein & Riley is “the largest firm representing creditors and creditor-rights matters in the United States.”
Oak Harbor Capital is Weinstein’s hedge fund. Oak Harbor Capital owns approximately $600 million in consumer debt. These hundreds of millions of dollars are distributed across more than twenty different investment funds — each of which is itself owned and controlled by Oak Harbor Capital.
The Better Business Bureau is a non-profit entity that claims to “promote an ethical marketplace where buyers and sellers trust each other.” Consumers regularly turn to the Better Business Bureau when deciding whether to trust a particular company.
Granite Spire Law Group is a law firm that was founded in Spring 2019 for the purpose of representing customers of Timeshare Exit Team. According to the firm’s website, Granite Spire represent consumers who have been treated unfairly by timeshare developers and debt collectors.
Weinstein is the sole owner of Weinstein & Riley and Oak Harbor Capital. He is one of two owners of Granite Spire Law Group.
Weinstein doesn’t own the Better Business Bureau. He is the organization’s lawyer.
Computers and Servers
Within weeks of its founding, Oak Harbor Management was the leaseholder of commercial-office space located on the third floor of a building located near Seattle’s Pike Place Market, at 2003 Western Avenue.
On June 1, 2019, Oak Harbor Management sub-leased Suite 345 to a consumer-rights law firm — Granite Spire Law Group.
Under the terms of the lease, Oak Harbor Management agreed to provide Granite Spire with more than office space. Oak Harbor Management also agreed to provide Granite Spire with “back-office support” that was defined to include “hardware and network support.” Oak Harbor Management specifically agreed to provide Granite Spire with “use of its computers, servers, and network architecture.”
Nothing in the lease agreement restricts the use or dissemination of the confidential client information that Granite Spire stores on Oak Harbor Management’s computers and servers.
During a February 2020 deposition, Granite Spire employee Jeremy Wang identified the specific location of the computers and servers that Granite Spire uses. According to Wang, the computers and servers are located in a small room that is part of Granite Spire’s office space.
Wang also described Weinstein as having standing authority to enter Granite Spire’s office and to access the confidential information of Granite Spire clients. Wang testified that he had never been instructed to take any step whatsoever to prevent Weinstein from entering the firm’s office or from accessing a client file.
2003 Western Avenue
Oak Harbor Capital and Granite Spire Law Group share office space — with each other and with Oak Harbor Management.
Oak Harbor Capital’s office address is 2003 Western Avenue, Suite 340.
Oak Harbor Management’s office address is also 2003 Western Avenue, Suite 340.
Granite Spire Law Group’s office address is 2003 Western Avenue, Suite 345.
Suite 340 and Suite 345 appear to be different office spaces. To a person standing in the third-floor elevator lobby of 2003 Western Avenue, the door to Suite 340 and the door to Suite 345 appear to open into two different office spaces.
In reality, both doors open into the same office space. In reality, the door to Suite 340 and the door to Suite 345 both open into office space controlled by Granite Spire.
Colin George is Granite Spire’s managing member. George claims that he “doesn’t know” why his consumer-rights law firm shares office space with a hedge fund that focuses on consumer-debt enforcement.
Access to Information
If it is true that Colin George doesn’t know why Granite Spire Law Group shares office space and computer servers with a consumer-debt collector, it is only because George has closed his eyes to reality and shut his ears to the truth.
Granite Spire shares office space and computers with a consumer-debt collector because the arrangement gives William Weinstein ongoing access to the confidential information of thousands of middle-class and working-class consumers.
Today, William Weinstein and Colin George claim that Weinstein can ethically own a consumer-rights law firm because Colin George is Granite Spire’s managing member. According to Weinstein and George, Weinstein has nothing to do with client representation. Weinstein claims that his role at Granite Spire involves nothing more than “strategic and logistical support.”
Even if that were true — which it is not — Weinstein’s level of access to Granite Spire client information would be unchanged. Weinstein doesn’t need to participate in the representation of Granite Spire clients to secure their confidential information.
As the owner of Oak Harbor Management, Weinstein controls the company that provides Granite Spire with back-office support, which includes Granite Spire’s right to use computers, servers, and network architecture that belong to Oak Harbor Management.
The truth is that William Weinstein can secure the confidential information of Granite Spire clients simply by reviewing the files and other digital information that Granite Spire maintains on computers and servers that are under Weinstein’s direct control.
The reality is that Granite Spire was founded for the illegitimate purpose of providing Weinstein with ongoing access to the confidential information of timeshare consumers.
At the same moment in time that Weinstein founded Granite Spire, he also began and completed a fundamental re-organization of his debt-enforcement empire.
When the re-organization was complete, Weinstein owned a consumer-rights law firm that was leasing office space from a company that belongs to him, and that was storing the confidential client information of the firm’s clients on computers and servers that were under Weinstein’s control.
Granite Spire appeared to be an independent law firm that was operating independently of Weinstein — in Suite 345. Granite Spire’s office space appears to be under the firm’s exclusive control.
In reality, Granite Spire had made arrangement to store the confidential information of the firm’s clients on computers and servers controlled by William Weinstein — in Suite 340.
The Duty of Undivided Loyalty
This blog first discussed a lawyer’s duty of undivided loyalty to his clients more than one year ago — on May 24, 2020.
To speak with a lawyer who is loyal to his clients, click this link.
This blog post isn’t legal advice.
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