Chapter 16. Kathy's War

I do not admit that one can turn away: One has no right to ignorance.

Martha Gellhorn

A few weeks after California Attorney General Jerry Brown brought his ARS complaint against Wells Fargo, I received a news item from Kathy Kane, one of the more tenacious fighters in the ARS wars. The headline, published in the Orange County Register and dated April 24, 2009, was a prime example of the suffering experienced by ARS victims. Yet it also shows that while this war continues, ordinary people who are willing to stand and fight can make a big difference in the outcome.

"O.C. Woman's Complaint Fueled $1.5 Billion Suit" was the headline of the story Kathy had picked up in her daily scan of ARS events. The article was written by John Gittelsohn. Kathy sent a note along with the story. "My heart goes out to her," she said.

The article profiled the troubling saga of Johannah Markley. Ms. Markley had been diagnosed with lung cancer two years earlier and had sold her home, knowing she needed a great deal of cash for medical bills. Her banker, in this case Wells Fargo, recommended that the cancer-stricken real estate agent place her savings in ARS, according to the news article.

"They said they were 100 percent safe," Ms. Markley recalled. "I was single. I had stage three cancer. I had no money," Ms. Markley told the Register.

Informed by her broker that her savings had run into a "little issue," that the $400,000 she received from the sale of her home in Newport Coast was ...

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