Lester hearing pushed back two weeks | TheUnion.com

Lester hearing pushed back two weeks

The preliminary hearing into the evidence against Ellen Lester, the wife of Gold Country Lenders CEO Philip Lester, has been postponed for two weeks.

The hearing was originally scheduled for this morning but has been re-scheduled to Nov. 20 after her court-appointed attorney requested a continuance.

The hearing is expected to last just one day, in contrast to the three- to five-day estimate for the hearing for her co-defendants — Philip Lester, Susan Laferte and Jonathan Blinder.

The California Attorney General’s office has alleged Gold Country Lenders engaged in a pattern of theft and fraud for over eight years, bilking investors of more than $2.3 million.

Philip Lester and Laferte have been charged with 66 felony counts of elder abuse, securities fraud and conspiracy. Ellen Lester has been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy and securities fraud, and Blinder has been charged with four felony counts of securities fraud.

In Nevada County Superior Court Monday afternoon, California Deputy Attorney General Maggy Krell said she had no problem with continuing Ellen Lester’s hearing for two weeks so that her attorney, David Alkire, had adequate time to prepare.

She took the opportunity, however, to fire back at statements made by Alkire in his motion to continue the hearing. The week before, Alkire told Judge Candace Heidelberger that he had received an “evasive” response to a request and added that an assertion by Krell that the CDs of discovery she provided were searchable was untrue.

“The statements counsel made in his declaration are misleading, untrue and unfair,” Krell said. “I’ve acted as a discovery help desk … I’ve been as responsive as I can. I take issue with constantly being maligned and accused of wrongdoing.”

Krell pointed out that none of the defendants’ attorneys has filed motions to compel her to produce discovery and added they would have no grounds to do so.

“I have no plans to deviate from taking the high road,” she assured Heidelberger.

Alkire requested a promised list of evidence to be presented at the preliminary hearing, and Krell agreed to email it by Nov. 15.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4229.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User