Trenk still running on empty

By Linda Bentley | May 13, 2009

‘The smear campaign launched against my family and myself is proof of the worthiness of my ideas …’

Adam TrenkCAVE CREEK – The runoff election is in the final stretch and, as of Monday, Maricopa County Elections reported 1,639 early ballots have been requested with 911 returned so far.

Adam Trenk’s campaign signs increased in both size and numbers as he headed into the May 19 runoff election against Jim Bruce, a retired attorney serving his second three-year term on the planning commission, currently as chairman, and Councilman Thomas McGuire, a retired science teacher, running for his third term, to fill two remaining council seats
While Bruce and McGuire are running on their respective records, Trenk, 25, says he’s working hard on “name recognition … getting my name out there.”

When asked about Arizona Shredders, LLC, a company Trenk formed with Stephen Carr in June 2006, Trenk said it was a document shredding business that never got off the ground because they couldn’t obtain financing for the $110,000 shredder truck.

Trenk was, however, able to plunk down $550,000 cash to buy his house in January 2008, and says real estate has been very good to him, which is another puzzler.

Although he has quit-claimed deeds back and forth between himself and his grandfather Alvin Trenk and refinanced previously purchased property, Trenk’s not sold any property and he’s not a licensed realtor.

In mid 2007, Trenk, a second-year law student, teamed up with Barry Hart, a former attorney who lived on Spur Cross Road at the time, to form H&T Investments, LLC.

Hart, who had been accumulating annual federal and state payroll and income tax liens since 1990, earned his status as “former attorney” in November 2002 when the Arizona Supreme Court ordered his license to practice suspended for two years with two years of probation. Hart was also ordered to pay restitution to two clients, the state bar’s costs and expenses, plus interest.

The court found Hart failed to diligently represent his clients, adequately communicate with his clients, provide an accounting when requested by a client, take the steps necessary upon termination of representation to protect his clients’ interests, mishandled trust account funds, commingled personal funds with clients funds in his trust account, failed to keep accurate trust account records and failed to respond to bar counsel’s inquiries during the investigation.

In August 2004, Hart’s license was transferred to “disability inactive status” for an “indefinite period and until further order of the Supreme Court.” It’s never been reinstated.

Hart’s bankruptcy pro-ceedings were well underway at the time he teamed up with Trenk, with an IRS Proof of Claim totaling $709,572 and a statement regarding Hart’s failure to file federal income tax returns for the years 2000 through 2005.

Hart’s Spur Cross home was sold in February 2008, the proceeds of which were applied to outstanding tax liens.

Trenk apparently did not find any of this problematic in a business partner.

In Sonoran News’ quest to find out what Trenk represents, while he fancies himself a “businessman,” he’s come up zero for two as a businessman and entrepreneur.

And, the name recognition he seeks seems besieged by what he refers to in his recent mailer as “all my family’s dirty laundry” and the “irrelevant alleged misdeeds of those who have shown me nothing but love and moral support throughout my life,” while claiming, “The smear campaign launched against my family and myself is proof of the worthiness of my ideas, and the desperation of those unable to articulate their own vision for Cave Creek.”

However, those “misdeeds” are neither alleged nor irrelevant.

His uncle Jeffrey Trenk, who lives in Scottsdale, pled guilty in 2001 to a felony count of “conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government,” stemming from a 1996 SEC investigation that resulted in 22 cease and desist proceedings against 29 stock promoters, including Trenk, in which promoters paid kickbacks to individuals they believed to be registered securities dealers, to entice them to purchase the common stock of various issuers for the accounts of customers.

He was sentenced to five years probation, fined $2,000 and ordered not to possess a firearm. As a special condition of probation, he was ordered to serve eight months under home confinement.

Last Friday, Trenk’s father Steven, who’s been fighting enforcement of an IRS summons served nearly four years ago relating to $5.2 million in what the IRS says appears to be an “abusive tax avoidance scheme,” was ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Mary Cooper to appear and testify before an agent of the IRS, while his motion for a stay pending appeal was denied.

Cooper stated, after examining 11 withheld documents during evidentiary hearings held in 2007, the court concluded “the crime-fraud exception applied to the documents.”

Responding to Trenk’s blanket assertion of his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination to resist enforcement of the summons, Cooper stated the Fifth Amendment privilege must be asserted individually, as appropriate, on a question-by-question and document-by-document basis, while appearing before the IRS agent.

She also didn’t buy Trenk’s argument that the crime-fraud exception didn’t apply to certain documents because they were prepared after the alleged crime or fraud occurred, and said the alleged fraud was in the “continued use of abusive tax schemes to avoid taxation of the income,” not only in the year 2000, but in each subsequent year, since, as the government noted, no federal income tax has been paid to date on the $5.2 million.

“Thus,” Cooper wrote, “the fraud alleged in this case was not completed … but is ongoing …”
Candidate Trenk states he has run a positive campaign with a “proffering of innovative ideas to get our community back on track.”

One such innovation is supplementing every real estate contract with an addendum telling buyers Cave Creek residents “will always love and protect its open space, western lifestyle and commitment to art and tourism.”

A realtor who attended his campaign rally objected to adding more pages to an already lengthy contract that no one reads.

Besides, Cave Creek already does that through action such as incorporating, its general plan, zoning ordinances, Spur Cross Ranch, trail connectivity, the Film and Arts Festival and, now, through annexation, 4,000 acres of open space.

A lot of long-term planning went into making Cave Creek that special place Trenk became enamored with when he moved to town a short time ago.

So, as Trenk seeks name recognition for himself, without his family’s “dirty laundry,” of which there is plenty more, he is still running on empty.

While he says he’s “cutting his teeth” in the “game” of politics, which he refers to as a “blood sport,” Trenk has poked the first gouge at town hall by creating mountains of busy work for employees with a broad request for copies of “all notes, agreements, voice mails, e-mails, cell phone records, telephone logs and written correspondence” between Town Manager Usama Abujbarah and Councilman Thomas McGuire and between Abujbarah and Planning Commission Chair Jim Bruce from March 2, 2009 to April 27, 2009.

Trenk has also requested all similar types of correspondence between Dyrek or Abujbarah and Maricopa County Elections Department from March 2, 2009 to April 30 2009 and all correspondence between Dyrek and Abujbarah pertaining to the information received from county elections.

Not to cut into the surprise element for Trenk, but when Dyrek forwarded the daily ballot return numbers from county elections to Abujbarah in an April 30 e-mail, she commented, “WOW … good turnout so far!”