In an apparent bid to protect himself from fraud charges brought against him in Panama, Isla Solarte developer and mega-shyster Shepard Johnson has filed a lawsuit (document here) with the Sacramento Superior Court against an apparent total of 251 people, including his former right hand man Monte Watson. Isla Solarte is, if you remember, just another example of one of those Panamanian real estate developments that keep an army of lawyers busy sorting the mess out, with money missing, roads that were never built, land titles that never existed - the usual Scam-R-Us circus. Johnson alleges a conspiracy against him, defamation, interference with contract and business relationships, assault, extortion, emotional distress - to name just a few.
What happened? Did aliens try to abduct him? Bocas Black Helicopters circle his house?
According to the complaint, Johnson admits there are problems with Isla Solarte. But, he says:
"Rather than seek a judicial determination of what is essentially a contract dispute, Defendants instead banded together and launched a barrage of deliberate falsehoods and engaged in wrongful conduct against Plaintiff Shepard Johnson aimed at upsetting and intimidating him, destroying his reputation and business, disrupting relations with other lot owners and discouraging prospective purchasers."
Aha! Johnson is upset that people are angry with him because he ripped them off, and he is intimidated by fraud complaints filed against him being actively pursued by the Panamanian authorities for a change. Johnson also alleges that he felt intimidated or threatened by what he calls "bogus warrants" against him in Panama. Muhahaha! But wait, it gets better as the complaint turns into the script of Scarface:
"On or about May 19, 2006, Defendant Jack Waldrep entered Plaintiff Shepard Johnson's home (a $1.6 million property allegedly financed with Isla Solarte funds - editor) located at Granite Bay, in Placer County, California, without invitation or permission through the front door, walked through the entire house to the back door, and exited through back door and at said time and place confronted said Plaintiff in his own backyard and engaged in the following statements and threats:
"Don't fuck with me. If you think I'm bluffing, check my past.";
"For every stick you touch on my house you're going to lose two sticks", thereby pointing at Plaintiff's house which was just in the process of completing construction;
"Don't fuck with me or I'll get you. I'm serious. Man to man, I'm going to get you. Check my record."
And the guy walks through the house again, leaving through the front door.
It all makes for great entertainment by a clearly delusional Shepard Johnson who apparently believes that a California Court will sort out a myriad of allegations and cases relating to land ownership in Panama, Right of Possession land, island ownership rights and so on and so on. Somehow we are not convinced. A Sacramento Court just may have better things to do than replace Panamanian judges.
His former right hand man, Monte Watson, meanwhile declared in a sworn statement that Johnson indeed did not comply with contracts with his investors:
"I worked with the company TROPICAL ISLAND PROPERTIES INC and on the project of Isla Solarte for a period of almost eight (8) years in and out of the Republic of Panama, specifically on the sales area. In this sense I can be certain that in relation to the project TROPICAL ISLAND PROPERTIES INC and Mr Shepard Johnson they sold properties to the sum of $4,500,000 (FOUR MILLION FIVEHUNDRED THOUSAND US DOLLARS) on properties, with a value of approximately $30,000 THIRTYTHOUSAND US DOLLARS per lot with a total of approximately ONEHUNDREDANDFIFTY 150 lots, money that must destined mainly for the creation of the infrastructure (streets, aqueducts, electricity, telephone lines etc) of the project on Isla Solarte, as a part of the promise and in accordance with the clients, investors, and buyers, of the project, to the best of my knowledge these investments have not been realized."
And what is Shepard Johnson doing for a living these days? Muhaha! Developing real estate of course! He's now the developer of something called "North End Lofts." The website carefully avoids mentioning Johnson's capers in Panama and his legal troubles: "Mr. Johnson’s experience also includes international land development, custom home design and construction, and commercial projects."
"A proven track record", so to speak. In swindle and failure. Muhaha!