The Ethics of Corporate Elites

The REAL Sassoon

Sassoon Saleem Sassoon's Story
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By 1969 Sassoon Saleem Sassoon had built a chain of four salons.  He also had  trade marks, hair products, clothing, hair accessories and more.  Beginning right out of Cosmotology School after graduating from Fairfax High School in 1963, he had worked hard mastering his skills.      EARLY LIFE & FAMILY

Yet a man who had never been licensed to cut hair in the United States, including California, and had no legal claim to the name, 'Sassoon,' was conspiring with a major corporation to deny to him his property and his right to use his own name.  That man's name was Vidal, who had begun using the name while learning the craft of haircutting in England because two of Sassoon Saleem Sasson's cousins, had been knighted by Queen Victoria and their success in business and wealth provided the status which, otherwise, Vidal knew he would never achieve the fame and iconic status for which he hungered unless he could associate himself with the famous and titled Sassoons. But it wasn't just the 'o'.  He realized Sassoon Saleem Sassoon was the real thing, a descendant of the Sassoon family line, of David Sassoon and through him a descendant of Sheikh Sassoon.  This would have to come out unless he destroyed Sassoon Saleem Sassoon and his siblings, denying them the right to use their own name and earning a living in their profession.  

As you view Sassoon Saleem Sassoon's earlier family you realize through his close linkages of cousins, this had been their chosen work for hundreds of years.   From the time the family left Baghdad they had sold fine fabrics, clothing, jewelry, and set fashions and standards of appearance.  Cutting hair was a logical extension of this heritage.   How could Vidal compete with that depth of understanding and accumen? He could not.  Vidal Belinsky Sasson had to steal and negate the dollar value of that generational good will and reputation earned by this, specific, line of the Sassoon family.   

The year was 1969.  In June of that year Sassoon Saleem Sassoon received this letter from attorneys Franklin and Weinrib.  Exhibit 1

Vidal Belinsky's promptly received a copy of the REAL Sassoon's Birth Certificate

What follows is the beginning of a story which, today, remains unresolved.  

Early in 1975 Vidal Sassoon filed a $1,500,000 lawsuit against Sassoon Sassoon, who was prospering and working hard in his chosen profession, hairdressing. The lawsuit claimed damages, infringement of trademarks and trade names even though Vidal had never filed for any trademarks at the time of this lawsuit. Vidal 'Sassoon' filed fraudulent claims to eliminate Sassoon Sassoon as competition and steal his growing product line. Silverberg, Leon and Rosen were retained. The firm abruptly dropped the case.

The case was quickly refiled by Schreiber and Feller, deemed far less than reputable by those who knew the law in Los Angeles and were watching events unfold.  

The charges formed the basis of a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Sassoon Sassoon and his name of birth.

Judge Lawrence Rittenband of the Santa Monica Superior Court granted a preliminary injunction against Sassoon Sassoon. The injunction is entirely unsupported by any evidence.

This injunction (Hallmark & Landmark Case) not only prohibited Sassoon Sassoon from the use of his own birth name in his hair salon and hairdressing services, it prohibited him from using his previously granted federal copyrights and his state and federal trademarks in six major classifications or goods. He had created a growing array of hair products, hair care & services area. The same injunction prohibited him from producing art sculptures, publishing books on pyramids, etc. He was dead in the water.

(Injunction, Hallmark & Landmark Case)

Gene Arant, a well known attorney, moved by the enormity of injustice taking place, went into court to defend Sassoon Sassoon. His amicus curiae was ignored.

All the principles applying to trademarks and business were ignored. Sassoon Sassoon had been in business first, had done business in his own name in California since 1963 and was licensed as a hair dresser. Vidal was not.

(Amicus curiae, Gene Arant)

The action caused crucial and irreparable consequences, injuries which continue to mount to this day. The amount owed in damages has now reached a trillion dollars.

Beginning in 1979, after using the court to destroy Sassoon Sassoon Vidal, who cannot produce proof he had a natural claim to the name, Sassoon, filed for his federal trademarks in the United States. “Vidal Sassoon” then began marketing his entire hair care products line

(Record of Vidal filing)

Immediately after the first round of litigation Sassoon Sassoon filed a Writ of Prejudice in Santa Monica Municipal Court and other charges against the judicial performance of Judge Rittenband with the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Bar of California. He notified local Congresspersons. The Writ of Prejudice was denied, as was his appeal.

The railroading continued in Judge Rittenband's Court.

It was then transferred to the court of Judge Raymond Choate. Sassoon Sassoon was never
informed as to why or how the change of venue occurred. Judge Choate continued enforcement of all decisions and orders of Judge Rittenband.

On January 7, 1979 Sassoon Sassoon was summoned to court on a variety of contempt charges. The scope of the preliminary injunction granted demanded Sassoon Sassoon prove to the court his total release, abandonment and relinquishment of all his federal trademark registrations and sign them over to Vidal Sassoon.

On the morning of the contempt proceeding. Sassoon Sassoon was told to come in at 8am, an hour before the hearing. He was taken to a quiet corner, alone. Judge Choate was present and told Sassoon Sassoon, “that's a nice white suit you are wearing. It would be too bad if you would have to wear it to jail.” Sassoon Sassoon responded, “That's all right your honor, I can always have it dry cleaned.”

Sassoon Sassoon told the court that he refused to be coerced into signing in the presence of. his attorney, Don Levinson, and the opposition's James P. Schreiber, and Richard Feller.

Judge Choate temporarily took the matter off calendar. Immediately, Sassoon Sassoon was ushered to the outer lobby where he was informed he would be arrested for contempt immediately and jailed for 30 to 90 days without bail if he did not agree.

Standing in the outer lobby, “Vidal Sassoon's” attorneys told Sassoon Sassoon their client had no interests in going into the various areas he, Sassoon Sassoon, had registered by trademarks. Signing over his trademarks was intended only to maintain the “status quo” Again, if he resisted he would be jailed immediately.

(Get Donald Levinson Letter) (Minute Order and Docket Sheet. )
Sassoon Sassoon telephoned attorney Roger Blakeley, who he had retained, explaining the nature of the hearing. Blakeley advised Sassoon Sassoon that he might prevail but there is no bail possible in this instance. Unable to afford to lose time at work Sassoon Sassoon was forced to surrender all federal trademarks registrations under his own name, Sassoon Sassoon, in the classifications of jewelry, prints and publications, tobacco products, food and food ingredients, clothing, and cosmetics.

The order issued by the Santa Monica Superior Court prohibited him from further proceeding with any claim in any state or with the federal government regarding the questioned trademarks and copyrights.

It was plain extortion and conspiracy on the part of the parties involved, including the judges, Vidal and counsel.

Reeling from shock, Sassoon Sassoon learned Bob Carmer, and Lee Landrum, his counsellors, had failed to advise him of a 14-day time frame within which he could file for a jury trial. This resulted again in contempt-proceedings in front of Judge Choate.

(Milton Wasserman Letter)

Sassoon Sassoon immediately requested an extension of time to retain competent counsel, and even though there were six months remaining before the statute of limitations to start the trial ran, Judge Choate set the trial date for May 6, 1980.

Sassoon Sassoon met with attorney Lee Landrum, who represented hairdressers who successfully sued Warner Brothers for copyright infringement. Their claim was having copyrighted their story, which became Warren Beatty's movie, Shampoo. They reached an agreement for representation. A few weeks before the trial commences Landrum excused himself because of his wife's recent or upcoming SIDDs surgery.

On May 5, 1980 Sassoon Sassoon discussed his case with attorney Fred Flam. Flam attended the first day of trial in the capacity of "amicus curia," friend to the court, in order to assist Sassoon Sassoon.

The request Flam submitted for a continuance was denied.

On May 6, 1980 the trial began in the Court of Judge Loring with Sassoon Sassoon forced to represent himself.

On May 7, 1980, the second day of trial, attorney Milton Wasserman filed a written declaration with the court saying he was familiar with Sassoon Sassoon's case and found the decision to be unconscionable and void. Mister Wasserman further stated Sassoon Sassoon did not wish to represent himself in such a complicated matter and allowing the hearing to countinue would be a miscarriage of justice. Mr. Wasserman asked for a recess so he could represent Sassoon Sassoon after the close of a trial in which he was then involved. The railroading continued.

Judge Loring denied his request; Sassoon Sassoon was forced to represent himself for approximately 2½ days.

On June 19, 1980 Judge Loring entered a $240,000 judgment against Sassoon Sassoon with a permanent injunction against him and the use of his own birth name.

(copy of judgment and injunction)

The two attorneys Sassoon Sassoon hired strictly for the appeal of the judgment and a request for a new trial, let the time frame lapse. Sassoon Sassoon was forced to attempt to file an appeal by himself. His motion was denied because of a defect in failure to follow certain rules with which he was unfamiliar.

Standing there, unable to speak, Sassoon Sassoon, was eviscerated because his evidence, including his own birth certificate, the 1969 letter from Vidal's counsel admitting his right to use his own name, a sample of his first hair spray, his license to do business, and sample products, were ignored.

The appeal was denied and the judgment enforced.

An abstract lien of judgment for $240,000.00 was placed on the Sassoon family's Bel-Air home. The home was in the name and title of Sassoon Sassoon's parents Hannah and Ezekiel Sassoon who had absolutely nothing to do with the lawsuit or judgment.

Sassoon Sassoon's only remaining asset was the house he had signed over to his parents to ensure their loans to him would be repaid. With no creditors but the illegal lien in place,  Sassoon Sassoon filed bankruptcy to protect the family home.

Because of the $240,000 judgment a lien was put on the family home by “Vidal.” A request for injunction against any foreclosure sales from mortgage holders was then filed by “Vidal” for time to have the property assessed. Access for this purpose was demanded, “because of their interest in the property.” “Vidal” was to post a bond to protect the interest of mortgage holders. He failed to conform with is order of the court. The railroad continued.

“Vidal” knew he had to remove the asset represented by the equity in the house to destroy Sassoon Sassoon's ability to fight for his name, his livelihood, and his life.

During this time Sassoon Sassoon's father died. “Vidal Sassoon” did not for a moment abate his attacks on the grieving family.

Owed on the house were $100,000 to the first holder, a second mortgage was owed $35,000 - $40,000, and the third of was owed $25,000. Payments were in arrears 6 months. Moved by his plight Sassoon Sassoon's entire family had loaned him money to defend his name. They lost everything.

Sassoon Sassoon intended to refinance and continue the fight and Vidal knew this. The actions of the court and Vidal's attorneys prevented Sassoon Sassoon from using the $200,000 in equity in the house, to continue the fight.

By order of the court hearing on March 10th, appraisers were allowed on the property.

Homes in the neighborhood were then valued at between a half a million and slightly over. The value set on Sassoon's home by appraiser Lila Lee,was $160,000.

Telegrams from three different attorneys to challenge the action of the court to take the house were sent on behalf of Sassoon Sassoon. There was no response.

Sassoon Sassoon came home on March 29th and the locks had been changed, the home and his personal property stolen.  The loss included his legal records, necessary to continuing his fight and also his original copies for his trademarks and other proofs. These, he was forced to rebuild.  

No actions had been filed. Notices of ejection from the property were posted on the door Friday night, just hours before they were evicted. One was posted for Sassoon's mother, another for Sassoon. The property had been sold out from under them to a William Little who was, Sassoon Sassoon later discovered, the least ethical shark in a sea of sharks.

Personal property lost included antique furniture, electronic equipment, original art work, legal papers, priceless family heirlooms and jewelry.

Sassoon Sassoon was in shock. Within 30 days the house was flipped for $350,000. His home was gone, he was on the street and facing more owed on the same judgment against him.

He did not give up, despite suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the direct result of the frauds perpetrated against him and his family, he looking for help so his war against injustice could continue.