NEWARK — New Jersey’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against the organizer of an upcoming post-superstorm “reconstruction summit,” alleging the man has violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and has created the false impression that the summit is government-sanctioned.
Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa filed the suit late Friday against William S. Loiry, claiming Loiry was operating under the unregistered business names of United States Leadership Forum, NY/NJ Restoration Leadership and Ultimate Events LLC, and engaging in false advertising for an upcoming “Superstorm Sandy Reconstruction Summit” in Trenton.
“While individuals and businesses affected by Sandy are desperately seeking the means to rebuild and recover, we allege that William Loiry hatched a scheme to profit from those suffering in New Jersey,” Chiesa said. “We are sending a clear message to any and all out-of-state or homegrown con artists, of all stripes and varieties: New Jersey is not a state to mess with.”
Loiry has addresses in Florida. Reached by email, he said he was shocked by the lawsuit, felt it “has no merit whatsoever” and plans to “vigorously fight it.”
“I care about helping people and making the world better, which is why I do what I do,” Loiry said. “Since 1996, more than 45,000 local, state, national and international leaders have participated in my highly-regarded events, which are designed to help speed solutions for our most urgent problems.”
The suit claims Loiry has created the false impression that his organization and summit is quasigovernmental, even alleging the use of a presidential seal and a quote from President Barack Obama on one of his websites, court papers state.
Chiesa said an investigation by New Jersey consumer fraud officials into Loiry’s background showed about 20 outstanding legal actions against him, some of which relate to money owed from prior disaster summits, including in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina, court papers show.
Records show Loiry filed personal bankruptcy in September 2011, but the filing was opposed by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee on the grounds that Loiry had allegedly made one or more false oaths or accounts, Chiesa said.
Chiesa said Loiry already had collected registration fees of $175 per person from 30 people and $1,000 per business from two businesses for the New Jersey event.
The suit seeks to stop Loiry from holding the Dec. 17 Trenton summit and force him to return any money he’s collected from registrants.