Controversial serial lawsuit filers accused of not paying their own legal bills

Posted at 5:20 PM, Feb 09, 2017

The controversial group Advocates for Individuals with Disabilities (AID) filed more than 1,700 lawsuits in the Valley last year alleging disability rights violations.  

Now, AID is being sued for not paying $72,652.72 in legal bills.

“Defendant has failed and refused to pay past due amounts,” according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

FULL COVERAGE: Cash for Compliance?

The lawsuit was filed by Wilenchik and Bartness, an outside law firm that represented AID and its in-house attorneys in several matters involving the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, media outlets and federal orders.

In September, ABC15 also interviewed John Wilenchik about his firm’s representation of AIDand about the controversial group’s financial backer, who has a history of consumer fraud charges and allegations.

The lawsuit also includes several exhibits that show the firm’s billing statements and email correspondence.

The records show that AID racked up more than $90,000 in fees. After several months, the two sides agreed to set up a plan to pay off the bill at $5,000 per month.

But an email sent to AID by an administrative assistant from Wilenchik and Bartness on Dec. 29, 2016, outlines the law firm’s struggle to collect payment.

“Gentlemen – I am writing again requesting that you hold up to your agreement of at least $5,000.00 per month to get our fees paid. So far, my emails have gone unanswered. I need to hear from you today please.”

AID employee Alex Callanresponded an hour later.

“Thank you for your message. We are not in a position to make a payment at this time. We are working to make a payment as soon as possible.”

Read a copy of the lawsuit below.

Lawsuit: AID didn't pay legal bills by Dave Biscobing on Scribd

Contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at