ABC15 has been investigating Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities for months. Our “Cash for Compliance?” investigation includes a lot of players and attorneys.
Watch the original investigation in the player above.
To help keep the names and faces straight, we are providing the following pictures and bios for the people connected to AID.
Peter Strojnik -- AID Lead Attorney
Peter Strojnik is the lead attorney for Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. When it comes to ADA lawsuits, Strojnik told ABC15 “I am the guy on this issue.” Strojnik was sanctioned by a federal judge in October for his conduct in an AID lawsuit. His work filing ADA lawsuits for AID is also under investigation by the State Bar of Arizona. Strojnik has past business, professional, or legal connections to AID employee Alex Callan and AID funder Greg Crane, records show.
Fabian Zazueta – AID Attorney
Fabian Zazueta is in-house counsel for Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. In October, Zazueta was sanctioned by a federal judge for his conduct in an AID lawsuit. Zazueta recently graduated from Arizona Summit Law School and was admitted by the State Bar in December 2015.
David Ritzenthaler – AID Director / Chairman / Plaintiff
David Ritzenthaler is a director and chairman of Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. In more than 500 of AID’s first lawsuits, Ritzenthaler was listed as plaintiff in the case. He is also a religious minister. Ritzenthaler said he was left disabled after a hip surgery in 2015.
Alex Callan – AID Employee
Alex Callan is an employee with Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities that identified himself to ABC15 as a legal assistant. However, AID’s lawyers have said he’s a man with “many hats.” In a press release, AID also said Callan is its “de facto representative.” On his LinkedIn page, Callan wrote he’s an entrepreneur with an “expertise overseeing and managing the day to day operations of a startup company and pushing it to profitability.” Callan has previous business, professional, or legal connections to AID attorney Peter Strojnik and AID funder Gregory Crane, records show.
Jennifer Rogers – AID Executive Director (resigned)
Jennifer Rogers was executive director for Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. She resigned in August 2016, saying her “personal ideals were not in alignment with the organization.” Once a former television reporter, Rogers also served as AID’s spokesperson.
Gregory Crane – AID Financial Supporter
Gregory Crane has given substantial financial funding to Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities. He said he has provided at least $600,000 in start-up funds to AID. Crane also said he provides the group with advice. Crane is an entrepreneur with a complicated history that involves both personal tragedy and investigations for consumer fraud. ABC15 profiled Crane’s past and involvement with AID in this report . Crane did not want to be named by ABC15. He has previous business, professional, or legal connections to AID attorney Peter Strojnik and employee Alex Callan, records show.
Not pictured: John Wilenchik, Dennis Wilenchik, Brian Hembd – Outside Attorneys for AID
Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities is facing several legal challenges that include an intervention from the Attorney General’s Office and challenges from federal judges who are asking AID to prove why it has the right to bring lawsuits. To argue these challenges, AID hired an outside law firm, Wilenchik and Bartness. John Wilenchik, Dennis Wilenchik and Brian Hembd are attorneys for the firm.