The Iron Order Trial

April 3, 2018

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The Iron Order Trial

The Iron Order Motorcycle Club’s days seem numbered.

What will probably kill this strange, recent parody of motorcycle clubs will be a civil suit titled Brenda L. Bollinger, Administratrix of the Estate of Tonya M. Focht v. Iron Order Motorcycle Club a/k/a Iron Order Motorcycle Club, LLC, et al. The suit is scheduled to go to trial June 25 in Philadelphia.

The suit results from a seemingly premeditated attack on a man named Mark Groff at Anna’s Bar-B-Q Pit in Lower Heidelberg Township, near Reading, Pennsylvania on June 19, 2015 by patched members of the Iron Order. In the course of that assault, a convicted child molester, and the Iron Order “Kameraden Chapter” sergeant at arms, Timothy “Munch” Martin, threw Groff’s fiancé, Tonya Focht under a car. Her head was crushed and she was pronounced dead at the Reading Hospital and Medical Center. She was a student at Alvernia University and her survivors include two children.

In July 2016 a local attorney named Timothy Daly filed suit against the Iron Order for damages as a result of Focht’s death.

Less than a week after the lawsuit was filed the Berks County District Attorney’s Office and the Lower Heidelberg Police Department issued a joint statement that accused Mark Groff and Tonya Focht of being “the initial aggressors in a conflict that began in the patio area of the BBQ Pit.” Martin was charged with disorderly conduct and Groff was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of brass knuckles.

Kingpins

Eventually, lawyers with the Philadelphia firm McLaughlin & Lauricella became the lead counsels in the case. McLaughlin & Lauricella has previously, successfully sued on behalf of sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia and abuse victims of Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Throughout the case, the Iron Order and various individual defendants have been represented by John C. “Shark” Whitfield, an attorney with offices in Madisonville, Kentucky and Nashville, Tennessee. Whitfield is the “Director of the Division of Legal Affairs” for the Iron Order.

Donald Charles Davis, the author of this page, The Aging Rebel, and this report has participated as a consulting expert for McLaughlin & Lauricella for more than a year and intends to testify against the Iron Order Motorcycle Club at trial. Ray “Izod” Lubesky, a founder and former president of the Iron Order has also consulted with McLaughlin & Lauricella and will also testify against his former club.

Recent filings in the case by the complainant argue that “in early 2014, the Iron Order’s culture all began to change.” The suit, relying on statements made by Lubesky, alleges that the club began to “fracture” and “a small group of members” including current Iron Order president Patrick “Brit” Ward, vice-president Michael “Cgar” Crouse and Whitfield jointly conspired to have Lubesky expelled from the club. The complainant calls them the “three kingpins who run the Iron Order.”

Shark

Because the plaintiff’s attorneys plan to call Whitfield to testify as a material witness in the case, they have been trying to disqualify him as the Iron Order’s visiting counsel of record since February 5. They have argued that the club’s local attorney, Philip L. Blackman of the Philadelphia firm Schwartz & Blackman, “has been a part of this litigation since the very start of the case, has attended motion hearings and conferences, is on the e-filing distribution list for this matter, and is on all counsels’ distribution list, so he has been kept up to date on the status of what has gone on in this case for the past two and a half years. There is no reason that he cannot assume the role of trial counsel in this case.”

The matter of whether Whitfield is a witness or a defense lawyer is still at issue. But an 18-page brief filed with the court yesterday strongly argues that Whitfield is one of the dogs in this fight rather than merely an advocate.

According to the brief, “Shark’s influence within the Iron Order gained momentum when he was given the official title of ‘Director of the DLA,’ and continued to grow up through the time that Brit and Cgar took over. In either late 2009 or early 2010, Shark acquired the Iron Order’s trademark, and had ownership transferred into his own name. He also became one of two named members of the Iron Order Motorcycle Club, LLC. Because of his position as ‘owner’ of the trademark and the organization, Shark exercised complete decision-making authority and supreme power within the Iron Order.”

“Over the next few years, Shark’s influence and involvement in every aspect of club business grew tremendously – from reviewing membership disciplinary (OIB) actions, to developing policies and procedures, overseeing elections, and monitoring the website (including having the ability to pull/delete a post if Shark did not like it). Shark’s authority was very apparent during International Board meetings. There were many occasions when items were tabled for further discussion simply so that Shark could have private discussions with the International President and the International Vice President. Shark’s position on any subject was always accorded deference.”

“One of plaintiff’s theories of liability against the Iron Order is that the club promoted a culture of violence and misogyny, which directly and substantially contributed to Tonya Focht’s death. As set forth above, Shark is the most powerful of the three Iron Order leaders/decision makers.”

According to a witness in the case, Whitfield has claimed, “the DLA runs the Iron Order, and I am in charge of the DLA.”

$350,000

The brief also argues that the Iron Order can afford to hire another lawyer.

“The Iron Order is hardly without means,” the brief says. “For the Iron Order’s 2014 International Rally, which was the last rally under Lubesky’s leadership, the Iron Order spent more than $350,000.”

“Expenses for the event were approximately as follows: Three Dog Night $45,000; The Guess Who $30,000; Bag Lady Sue $8,000; Flaunt Girls Dance Troupe $8,000; Hornit $7,000; Sound Stage $26,000; Fairgrounds $ 8,000; Transportation & lodging for performers $15,000; Beer $22,000; Food $65,000; Operations – Fuel, tents and tables, port-a-potties, hotels, radios, golf carts, trash, shower trailer, flood lights, filming, clean up, insurance, ice trailer, and other entertainment. $116,000.”

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81 Responses to “The Iron Order Trial”

  1. Paladin Says:

    @ stroker;

    If our paths should cross, the beer’s on me.

    Paladin

  2. stroker Says:

    @Paladin:
    I’ll give you that:

    “I think your statement had more validity back in the day. Today? I’m not all that sure.”

    No offense taken.

    But I’ll stand by what I said (after all, just my opinion)…..I think my analogy fits, because this may be where claiming territory might have started, even if nowadays, newer club members don’t understand the concept, and why it was so important at one time.
    Was simply trying to explain one possible scenario to the FNG.
    I do agree the major clubs sometimes bring heat themselves.

    You and I both go back a long ways on Rebel’s page. I always like to read your comments.

    Long may YOU ride.

    CTL

  3. oldskewl Says:

    This one time, in band camp.

  4. Paladin Says:

    stroker Says:
    April 9, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    “Why you ask? Because if this new club starts causing problems by letting testosterone fly, and running a little amuck, John Q. Public may not know who they are, and when he reports having some sort of negative encounter with this new club, and can’t remember the patch, many times the cops will “suggest” that maybe it was the 16, or maybe 81, or whatever club has been around the area longest. See? The cops don’t know this new club, but they do know the older club, and all of a sudden the older club’s catching heat generated by these upstarts in the “pop-up” club.”

    With all due respect to you, I’ve been reading and posting on Rebel’s page for a while now and with very few exceptions, Rebel’s articles involve one or more of the major clubs. Based on Rebel’s reporting, the major clubs seem to do a pretty good job of bringing the heat on themselves.

    I’m not trying to pick a fight here, but I think your statement had more validity back in the day. Today? I’m not all that sure.

    Long May You Ride,

    Paladin

  5. 10G Says:

    Paul,
    I can read fine, I just don’t believe you. You insult someone who was insulting IZOD and then argue with everyone on here…why you would be interested and doing research about ANY “club” when you have so much “disdain” makes no sense. Especially considering your age and proported affluence. Over the nine or so years I’ve been coming here we have had hundreds of Budweiser drinking, America loving, apple pie eating, football watching, average good Ol boys come here to tell us how great this or that club is even though, golly geez, they don’t have a dog in the fight. Nobody buys it
    10G

  6. stroker Says:

    Paul…..I will thank you for mollifying your tone slightly. We are not (necessarily) your enemies on this page.
    Coupla things:
    Whatever notions you have about COC’s, seems in error to me. COC’s are the brainchild of a lawyer named Richard Lester. He and his son (Joey)sponsor many meetings of COC’s nationwide. There are no monies paid to the top dog club(s) in ANY area. There are yearly dues, paid to the COC, used for running COC meetings: stamps, paper, trips for officers to NCOM etc. That’s it. 1% clubs do not collect “support” money at COC meetings. These meetings are for letting the MC world know of pending legislation against them, for promoting camaraderie with other clubs in the given area, and learning how to protect themselves from LE, courts, and how to interact with society (to some extent).
    You’ve been around the MC world for a while. Great. So have many on this site. I began riding dirt bikes in the 60’s, and graduated to Triumphs then Harleys. I’m old. I claim some experience here too, and I still ride with my club.
    What’s not being talked about here, and I’ve said this at least 3 or 4 times over the years on this site, is WHY respect for existing clubs is expected, and maybe demanded by top clubs in any area.
    It all has to do with a pop-up club (term used for a club who’s started up out of no-where, with no contact to any other clubs in the area) …suddenly “popping up” in a town or city, and it’s like: “WTF? Who are these guys? Where’d they come from? Who’d they talk to?”
    These are all good honest questions the existing clubs may have. If a new club doesn’t present itself to the older, perhaps bigger or stronger club in any given area, it’s a slap in their face. Why you ask? Because if this new club starts causing problems by letting testosterone fly, and running a little amuck, John Q. Public may not know who they are, and when he reports having some sort of negative encounter with this new club, and can’
    t remember the patch, many times the cops will “suggest” that maybe it was the 16, or maybe 81, or whatever club has been around the area longest. See? The cops don’t know this new club, but they do know the older club, and all of a sudden the older club’s catching heat generated by these upstarts in the “pop-up” club. THAT’S why a little respect goes a loonng way in ensuring cordial relations between top clubs and newer clubs.
    I’ve seen MANY new clubs “pop-up” and 2 years later they’re gone. They either didn’t play by the unspoken rules of respect, or they didn’t have the heart from the git-go. But all ANY wannabe club has to do is approach the top club in the area, and say: “Hi. we’d like to be a club around here. What do we have to know or do?” That’s the start right there. Usually a simple request for advice will generate the beginning of a workable relationship with the top club, and indeed, all the other clubs in the area.
    Clubs that don’t do that, are disrespectful IMHO….for the reasons stated above.
    Now, I realize I’m simplifying a lot of this, but I’m hoping you and other readers will understand a little bit of WHY respect for older clubs is important.
    The IO doesn’t and didn’t do that. They are/were all about “FUCK YOU….we do what we want.” Why should they have any respect?!
    They don’t, and won’t.
    This is the culture. This is the MC world. If anybody doesn’t take the time to learn the rules, or take the time to show a little respect for those that’ve been carrying the torch in any given area for years, they deserve nothing, and are, in fact, a danger to the riders who’ve been there before them.

    CTL

  7. rocco151 Says:

    @10-Pin +1

    I got interested in motorcycles and riding after talking to a 1%er in a club in Illinois. He helped me along and his only request was that I kept my mouth shut and be extra polite around his brothers but I was free to ask him any questions in private. I’ve never had a problem at a party or on the road with this guy or his club because I always kept his advice in mind !

  8. Neuro Says:

    Paul is not a youngster. He is about to turn 60. He raises some valid points.

  9. 10-Pin Says:

    If a young man is interested in the MC world but doesn’t already have direct contacts, here would be my advice FWIW…

    – First, be 21 years old. No club I know will entertain anyone under 21 in any “official” capacity. They might let a kid unofficially “hangaround”, but most won’t even let someone under 21 be an “official” hangaround, much less prospect or probate.

    – Track down and attend the local COC meeting as an Independent. See what’s out there. Meet some people, talk to them. Be respectful. Listen more than you speak. Learn. Become invited to attend some events/runs/parties, and then do so.

    – When you attend the events, be respectful. Listen more than you speak. Learn.

    – When you find a group that seems to fit well, and that you would fit into well, ask if there is anything you can do to help. Be respectful. Listen more than you speak. Learn. Provide any help you can that is asked for.

    – Be respectful. Listen more than you speak. Learn.

    The pattern should be coming into focus by now… Good luck.

  10. Sieg Says:

    Just for reference, shark, or paulie, or whatever the fuck your name is, I’m older than you are, been riding longer than you have, been in both 1% and non-1% Patches, and don’t have to brag about who I’ve fought and what I’ve done. Rebel, you oughta put all this shit in a special section, so all of these fkn retards could stay in it and leave normal people alone.

    http://www.agingrebel.com/?s=Iron+Order

    FTF/FTP
    TOSIAR
    KROTN

  11. Gandalf Says:

    I respect all Clubs on principle but The Boozefighters stand out as a great bunch of guys from the little I know and have seen. I know 2 of them… both stand up guys. I would trust them both.

  12. Paladin Says:

    @ Paul;

    There are plenty of Legit MCs for your grandson to consider joining if that’s what he chooses to do. Very few MCs have problems with other clubs for the simple reason they don’t pretend to be something they’re not.

    With few exceptions, if people would show others the same courtesies they themselves would like to be shown, the world would be a far less dangerous place in which to live.

    Long May You Ride,

    Paladin

  13. Tommy Jr. Says:

    @Paul

    Tell him to look into the Boozefighters if hes intetested in a non outlaw MC. Boozefighters are a solid 99% club that has no problem coexisting along side other clubs. They dont seem to beef anyone and never seem to get in much trouble. Plus, they were also one of the Hollister originals. So thats kind of cool too.
    They also have a ton of chapters all over. So if travel is on his to do list, he’ll have plenty of brothers in other areas that will put him up for a weekend.

    I guess thats more the general outlook on things.. there are respectable options out there for guys that dont want or cant go 1%.
    I mean damn.. there are Boozefighters, vet clubs, and all kinds of legit MC’s out there a guy could join that have been around a long time that would never put a guy in a position of disrespect toward any other club.
    So, the notion that a guy would rather start up yet another club, or join one that was started out of spite toward another club is a move in bad taste when there are already a bunch of respectable options out there.

  14. Paul Says:

    @Paladin & Shovelhead You guys are right, I have let my anger get the better part of me. What I started out on this thread for and what it has gone to are way off from each other. I bought a new bike last year(don’t know what to think of a water cooled Harley yet, being winter in PA haven’t had much road time with it yet) but I gave my last bike to my grandson when he turned 18. I had the privilege of going on his first ride before the weather fucked it up. Johnathan has a serious love for the motorcycle world and has some interest in the MC world. He knows my history with the Pagans and doesn’t seem to be interested in them, but not every kid is smart. Whenever I go back to Cali I visit Mike, it’s fucked up to see him in the shape he is ever after all these years. It scares the hell out of me that could be my grandkid. He was younger when I first heard of the IO and I had hopes they might provide a better haven if he wanted to go the MC route and they turned out to be horrible. I’ll back off because things have gone out of control, there’s no sense in it. I pushed things further than needed even if there are more than a fair share of dick heads here.

  15. Gandalf Says:

    @Paul. Half Stepping is a dangerous habit. You, the IO and your brother in law all half stepping. (I stay seated these days) If you are not prepared to play by the rules you can’t expect to win. Read the directions… it’s in the box. It’s a blank piece of paper.

    “Assault, theft and destruction of private property is somehow an honorable action? This was some example of respect? No, simple criminal behavior for no justifiable reason…” LOL

  16. Tommy Jr Says:

    @Gandalf

    Your post nailed it.

  17. Tommy Jr Says:

    @Neuro
    I had looked forward to it as well after he offered to come teach me a lesson. But it looks like i was right about him. He was another tough guy online with no follow through to his promises.
    Imagine that..

  18. The Kraut Says:

    @Paul; You can try to teach a pig to sing…

    But, all you’ll likely do is waste your time…

    And, piss off the pig.

    Move on…hope you donated, your waste of Rebels bandwidth needs to close.

    Respect to those who warrant respect

    The Kraut

  19. Shovelhead Says:

    Sorry to disappoint you Paul. I’m not pissed in the slightest. Only one person here is having a temper tantrum…that’s you. I’m just having fun egging you on, but your too juvenile acting to know when someone is fucking with you. lighten up will ya?
    Tomorrow I’m gonna go to work on my bike, shoot the shit with some Brothers after,
    and Believe me, nothing you say here will matter. Your postings do not have any affect on me and I’m sure anyone else here what so ever. So just keep rambling on, I hear some bikes pulling up, so gotta go.

  20. Paladin Says:

    @ Paul;

    So; what’s up with you? You’ve got nothing but disdain for the lifestyle many here live and you freely admit that. That said, why post on this page? According to your prior posts, you’ve gone to great lengths throughout your life to avoid those that live a life in a counter culture you hold in contempt.

    It may surprise you to learn that you’re not the first person to come through the door, complaining about life’s inequities. It may further surprise you to learn that no one here really cares what you think.

    Look; it’s a really nice day, at least here in SoCal. Why not light up your bike, go for a ride and keep riding? Please be courteous. Don’t slam the door on your way out.

    Paladin

  21. Paul Says:

    @Shithead….I mean Shovelhead would you have the same opinion about not need to know the rights and wrongs of motorcycle clubs if I had tons of stories of LE clubs doing wrong. If I changed my history from the Pagans to Blue Knights would you have a problem? I doubt it, I have watched this blog enough to know that anytime LE acts up or the IO let’s out a breath you can turn it into hundreds of comments. I think you are just pissed that I don’t have the OMC sheep mentality most of you have

  22. Shovelhead Says:

    Paul,

    Give it a rest will ya? No one here needs to be told the rights & wrongs of motorcycle clubs. Like I said before…It is what It is, don’t like it? No one cares.
    Christ, you make your life sound like that old Billy Jack movie “Born Losers”
    You & George Christie should get together and compare notes and see who lived the craziest life…well, at least how You remember it!!

    Respect to the real 1%

  23. Paul Says:

    @Gandalf I did not talk shit to the guy in the bar. We were discussing what had happened to my brother in law’s club and how I thought it was bullshit. How I did not agree with anyone believing they could control others. If you consider smack talk anyone having a different opinion then you probably a probably constantly offended sort. I looked over to motion for another beer for both of us and when I turned my head back I caught a left hand to the face, not only had we not argue a about anything I was being nice enough to buy him a beer because it was a generally nice conversation. So you think deception on his part and a surprise sucker punch is more honorable then me stating an opinion on action I disagreed with probably. Over my years I can say that a 1 pc Patch with a separate cube is an odd design but the idea of it being an insult is stupid as shit. 16’s never talked to these guys about any problem they had, they literally kicked in the door and started swinging. they even parked down the road and walked up for an ambush. These guys didn’t want to be outlaws, color combination and design didn’t come close to the Pagans. Assault, theft and destruction of private property is somehow an honorable action? This was some example of respect? No, simple criminal behavior for no justifiable reason but you also probably have a fit anytime the cops come down on bikers. It is shit like what I described is why cops aren’t your friends but it’s all their fault instead of a reaction to decades of outlaw bullshit.
    @david I never said the government was not at fault all the time. In my case I was attacked first but even then I couldn’t entirely justify the level of violence. He hit me and I hit back, he went down like a sack of potatoes, could have been the end of it but I did use steel toe boots to give a couple of follow up kicks to the guts of a guy laying on the ground. He did lie on the stand how the first happened with his word vs mine

  24. david Says:

    @ Paul. The “all powerful and can do no wrong” government prosecuted you, with the aid of many shit-head attorneys, remember?

  25. Gandalf Says:

    BTW; @ Paul. Fear comes from within. Sure Cops, 1%ers and spiders might use fear as an advantage of sorts but to get upset and cry about them because of who YOU are seems wrong 2 me. Heck, my wife fears Clowns… It ain’t the Clowns fault.

    How to deal with Cops 101: Try not to break the Law, Don’t run or fight, Remain silent and be able to afford bail and Lawyers. (BTW: Go into a cop bar and tell them what you think about them… (talk smack) It’s a free country. See how that works out for you.)

    How to deal with 1%ers 101: Try not to get involved or imitate them, Don’t fight BUT run.(LOL), Remain silent and STFU about their business and Club.

    How to deal with spiders 101: Step on them.

  26. Gandalf Says:

    I’m thinking Clubs just want to be left alone. It doesn’t matter if your a Mom and Pop Club or the Kiwanis Club or a Cop or a Librarian. The way to respect them is to do just that. Your brother in Law’s Club had a MC patch? Like the 16? Were they completely unaware that their Club might be an insult??? They MUST have known but did it anyway. You were talking smack about a Club to a stranger? Another Biker? Were you not aware the 16 don’t usually fly colors??? Or did you just not care… Like your brother in Law? I gotta wonder what your Brother in Law (& Co) was slinging? If you think walking into Harlem with a KKK uniform, getting stomped… Makes you a “Victim” because God never gave the Hamsters the right to Harlem. Your Fucking delusional.

    “God did not come down from the mountain top and grant their right to exist.” No He didn’t… Tell that to Israel (God gave it to Moses) and every other Country EVER. You have completely missed the fact that ALL land on earth is taken and controlled by force and NOBODY has a God given right to it. Not Moses OR George Washington.

  27. Paul Says:

    @Tommy Jr I laugh whenever I see the 1% world and supporters make the give respect, get respect line because it is utter bullshit. They may have those like you who respect them because you drank the kool aid but for the rest of the world their idea of respect is really fear and intimidation tactics, pushing others around. You say they had to step up and take control because things were getting out of hand but it was them who made it that way. The claim of honoring those who fought and died for those colors ignore who they fought. They were fighting each other for control of something that wasn’t theirs to control. You call clubs like iron order, punishers, kinfolk and others pop up while ignoring the history of older clubs that came together same as the clubs today and POPPED UP, God did not come down from the mountain top and grant their right to exist. Their shit of control goes further than just 3 pc clubs, my brother in law and his buddies had a 1 pc patch with an mc cube, the Pagans beat them with axe handles, destroyed the older bikes and stole the 2 newer ones and destroyed the clubhouse, not only shitting and pissing all over the place the damage was so complete it condemned the fucking building. When the word of the first COC came around, this idea of something that was to help mediate disputes, turned to a method of control. I have covered many miles and heard many accounts of clubs trying to form and following the protocol bullshit to be told no, under threats of violence often, or told they could if they wore a support patch and paid for them to exercise their rights. They had their own vision but designs, phrases even bylaws were changed to be given the ok. MC’s often seek to deny other their rights but any time they believe their rights are in jeopardy they certainly make use of the justice system and the courts, a couple of OL just did it in FL but they want to claim it’s different.

  28. Paul Says:

    @10g learn to read as I have stated I am not part of any club. I have an American Flag Patch and the flag of Italy in honor of my heritage

  29. Paul Says:

    @Paladin I know you were being a wise ass but for the hell of it I will fill in what happened afterwards in broad strokes. Yea I lost my job sitting in jail and it was rough going just after getting out, but it was a blessing almost in disguise because I landed another job that pushed me into a better life, went back to school and worked hard. I am approaching 60 and I may not be rubbing shoulders will bill gates I have enough money to live in a good house, with a couple of nice cars and 2 motorcycles. My kids never went hungry and I put both of them through college nad my grand kid is getting ready to start his college experience soon. I am a Million mile rider having been in 44 states plus a nice 2 week vacation in Europe that was done entirely while riding, hell of a good memory. I am willing to admit the Pagan that rolled on me hid that fact from his brothers not only because he was still in the club 4 months after sitting on the stand he didn’t send others to rat pack me for winning our fights

  30. 10G Says:

    Paul,

    So much, “disdain for the MC world and it’s shit.” But you still want to dress like one? What the fuck is wrong with you? I’m sick of you turds.

    10G

  31. Neuro Says:

    I wanted to fly to Dallas or wherever you held the bout. Sounds like it is cancelled.

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