Benjamin Finbar Lagerstrom-Irish is an American writer, producer and promoter, and a signatory to The Unity Agreement between The United States of America and The Dominican Republic. Singed in February of 2017, The Agreement made a significant alteration to the diplomatic governance in the region. He is a consideration for United States Ambassador to The Dominican Republic and it is often speculated that he is a future Presidential Candidate in the country.
Dominicans refer to him with the Spanish pronunciation of his name, Ben-ha-meen. He has campaigned for Ambassador in a highly unusual way, as a populist and by public support. He has organically grown a massive following in the country, with millions of visits to his social media pages from within the nation of ten and a half million. Dominicans have regularly sent emails to President Trump requesting his appointment as U.S. Ambassador. Some of his more controversial social media posts have shown approval ratings of 85% or higher.
His filings with The United States Department of Justice state his mission in-part being "to defeat communism" in The Caribbean States. He has regularly discussed "creeping communism", where communist nations toy with capitalist practices to calm their angered populations and prevent uprisings, as a trend in impoverished parts of The Dominican Republic along it's border with Haiti. He cites what he calls a "trifecta" between Cuba, Haiti and Venezuela to bring communism to The Caribbean States.
He has weighed-in on the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and urged the Dominican Government to deny political asylum for dictator Nicholas Maduro, and sought refuge for oppressed Venezuelan Judiciary members. In May of 2017 Benjamin published an incendiary article about Maduro linking him to drug trafficking crimes and released court documents that show him in control of foreign bank accounts linked to his own bogus lawsuits. He urged the Venezuelan military to overthrow the dictator. Venezuelan intelligence, in a comical blunder, released a national alert claiming Benjamin was a U.S. Navy commander of a different name and demanded his arrest. They posted photographs of Benjamin and a man twenty years his senior side-by-side on TV as "evidence" it was the same person.
In his public filings he has stated the need for a New York Mayor to be in alliance with U.S. policy in the region. "The New York region represents 85% of private remittances to the Dominican Republic", according to Benjamin. He has campaigned with New York Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl in The Dominican Republic. Dietl is an Independent party candidate.
Lagerstrom - Irish has notably argued Congressional Intent of Title 18 to the Second District Federal Court and docketed an undecided (handwritten) Mandamus Writ in The United States Supreme Court, both as a Pro Se. He is also a unique part of U.S. Federal case law. On December 18, 2015 in an Order from the United States District Court (2nd Circuit), the court determined he could represent himself in a business dispute Pro Se. The Order has been cited as paving the way for former Attorney General Sally Q. Yates directive on white-collar crime prosecution guidelines requiring "flesh and blood" individuals to commit crimes, as opposed to non-liability via corporate status.
He is a member of the United States GOP and a U.S. Foreign Business Agent as-lobbyist. He is a former registered Democrat. He joined the Republican Party in 2016. He cites the reason he joined the Republic Party was primarily because he would send his daughter in a foreign country a remittance every week and watch people on welfare cashing in their benefit cards.
"Hillary Clinton told these people to vote for her, that nobody will touch the welfare money, because it's 'their money'. Nonsense. It's my money, it's your money. We pay taxes so huge numbers of Americans can cash in welfare, not work, smoke dope and drink beer. That's the Democrat legacy in America, a welfare state. I work two jobs just to feed my children, because the standard deductions pay for this nonsense. I would like to be able to decide wether or not I want to commit that money to my kids BEFORE committing it to people who will waste it. We're talking thirty percent of wages, it's absurd. I say drug-test these people, and deny them welfare if they are using it for this nonsense.
Latin America and The United States as The Last Saviors of Christianity
In Latin circles he is noted for his continual reference, especially in Churches, to the adage "There is no such things as problems, just situations and solutions." He has at time changed the wording of this statement to "I do not believe problems exist" instead of "there is no such thing". He has also added to the statement in closing "...and there is no situation God gives us that he does not give us the power within ourselves to find a solution for." These statements have regularly received standing ovations in Dominican Churches. They are variations of Catholic and Evangelical catechism, and were made popular by American philosopher Wayne Dyer in recent times. Benjamin is a Catholic.
In a grasping statement in 2016 to a Telemundo affiliate in Santo Domingo Benjamin stated "I know the difference between Spanish and Latin, who here knows the difference? The Spanish come from Spain, the Latins are descendants of the Indians. From Argentina and Chile to Canada, Native Americans were here... Now, if you are native to the land, where does that place you in the spectrum of the U.S. deportation argument?"
He proceeded to say: "So if you ask me what I equate myself to, well, when Columbus landed in Hispaniola and started slaughtering the Native Americans, they lost two thirds of their population. Why? Because many refused to kill, to murder other human beings, even when being attacked. They committed suicide. They would rather die than take a life by their own hands. So as a Catholic born in The United States, I equate myself to that heritage. I am an honorary Dominican by blood because it is in my blood."
He later claimed that Haitians do not fit into the category of Latin Americans or Spanish by ancestry, and took a controversial stance in a 2017 video that many illegal Haitians in The Dominican Republic are "terrorists". He has chided Haitian Voodoo as akin to extremist Islam and refers to both as "a cult, not a religion." (Haitians descend from Africa and France.)
Some political pundits have claimed his statements are "dangerous". Nevertheless, in 2017 Haitians began to cross the border they share with The Dominican Republic by force. Benjamin claimed their military training came from Cuba.
His affiliation with sports entertainment in The Dominican Republic led to his celebrity in the nation. His documentary film about wrestler Jack Veneno is considered to be the most watched film made in the country.
He has called for economic growth, increased wages, enhanced security and repatriating Haitian illegals as his agenda to The Dominican Republic. He has also issued two directive promises as Presumptive Ambassador, a wide-ranging education initiative and a landmark anti-discrimination initiative for labor that would hold U.S. corporations criminally responsible for illegal discriminatory acts under The United States Corrupt Foreign Practices Act.
A public fight with the former Ambassador...
Benjamin is engaged in a heated public argument with supporters of the former Ambassador to The Dominican Republic James "Wally" Brewster, an openly homosexual public figure who resigned in 2016 amid scandal. Brewster supporters have claimed Benjamin attacked him because he is gay, which Brewster was attacked for constantly in the Dominican Media. In an August 2017 article Benjamin responded by stating he did not "call-out" Brewster for his homosexuality, but because "he was the worst Ambassador in the history" of The Dominican Republic.
On July 26, 2017, in an unaired interview for SIN Noticias outside of a Church in Santo Domingo, Benjamin responded to the scandal surrounding Brewster, in which he is alleged to have presented his husband to Catholic school students to call for the legalization of gay marriage in a 95% Catholic country, stating Brewster "owes the country an apology." He stated he was "offended as a Catholic" by Brewster's actions and said "I would rather not have him back here." He also made the statement "I think he lost his mind" regarding Brewster during his term in office.
The argument derives largely from a March 2017 speech by Benjamin that discusses Brewster in-part. The video, heavily edited and spoken in Spanish, derides Brewster for his public actions while Ambassador. It pictures Brewster and his husband raising the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, over U.S. embassy grounds and displays a picture of Brewster in a pool arm-in-arm with other men drinking beer. There are no women in the photo and the men are shirtless. The photo was taken in the Dominican Republic during Brewster's term as Ambassador. In the video, Benjamin does not discuss Brewster's homosexuality directly but makes mention of Brewster's public attacks on The Dominican Government as being insubordinate by an Ambassador.
Brewster supporters have claimed foul over Benjamin's use of a Bible parable to define Brewster's accusations against the Dominican Diaspora, Benjamin having misstated a quote from Matthew 7:3 as "you should not discuss the splinter in your neighbor's eye when you have a log in yours."
(The New Living version of The Bible translates the statement as "Why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?" Eight different versions of the Bible make reference to the parable using the word log or wood, including the 1977 New American Standard version, a widely distributed text, that uses the word log.)
Brewster's antics while Ambassador led to a large portion of Dominicans believing he was pursuing a homosexual agenda that challenged the church in a country of Catholics. This strong sentiment may have led many to support Benjamin, who carries a baseball bat with the word Ambition printed on it and is a former sports entertainer, in his bid for Ambassador.
In August of 2017 Benjamin made the first direct reply to the claims made by Brewster supporters against him in his own editorial. He derided them as liberals and responded to those who claimed he was a racist, stating it was "ridiculous" and "my children are all the colors of God's earth, and I love each part of them equally." He flatly accused Brewster of being responsible through his acts while U.S. Ambassador as the cause for a downgrade of Dominican bonds to a BB rating. He stated repeatedly that Brewster was "insubordinate" as Ambassador and that his attacks on the Dominican Diaspora were improper and opposite of his role as Ambassador.
He responded to the anti-homosexual claims stating he was instead concerned with wartime matters, disease and the economy and said: "To think that I care about what Wally Brewster does in his bedroom behind closed doors is absurd. I don't have time for that nonsense. I have lives to save."
A Controversial Endorsement...
In July of 2017 Dominican celebrity and former politician Jack Veneno endorsed Benjamin and New York Mayoral candidate Bo Dietl in a video message. Standing between the two, Veneno spoke in a local dialect of Spanish, as if he were delivering a wrestling promo, as he is a former NWA champion. In ending the promo Veneno stated "Estos dos es la pareja perfecta, no fighting here." ("These two are the perfect pair, no fighting here.") When it aired many Brewster supporters claimed it sounded like "These two are the perfect pair, no faggots here." The people involved in the filming of the endorsement and other local Dominicans claim the word Jack used was a common word in the Santo Domingo dialect that sounds like the word "fighting" does in English and means just that. They claim it is very similar to other interviews and statements Veneno made over the last 40 years, especially as relates to the wrestling business. Benjamin claims Jack delivered the statement ad lib in English and "that's just the way he speaks". Benjamin says "I stood next to him the entire time, we worked together for years, I know what he said, he said in English 'no fighting here' and that's the end of that. This is another example of people who have made careers for themselves out of making trouble, creating an issue where none exists. Wally Brewster and the gay lobby were never mentioned in any part of the endorsement. Why do they have to make everything about their being gay? So what already? Ja. Enough. Nobody cares that they are gay. They are making fools of themselves."
"Deep State" at the U.S. Embassy...
Benjamin has claimed that Democrats in the United States embassy in Santo Domingo who are Hillary Clinton supporters have fed false information to The Dominican Government to stalemate the U.S. mission there as a "deep state" protest. He has regularly linked them to "New York professional politicians" who he claims promised their voters "the earth, moon and stars" for contributions to Ms. Clinton's failed Presidential bid. He has renewed his requests for "the 90%", a term he uses for the poor in the Dominican Republic, to email Washington to show support for him as Ambassador.
Benjamin as candidate for a non-elected appointment is not totally unique. A good amount of politics is involved in the nomination of United States Ambassadors. Unlike most other nations, U.S. Ambassadors also have to pass Senate confirmation. In recent times individuals like Benjamin have acted as go-between figures in foreign policy where no official was appointed or present, such as Dennis Rodman's travels to North Korea or Stephen Spielberg's trips to Cuba. The selection process is described in great detail in the book "The Best and The Brightest" by David Haberstam (1969). It is also the subject of a 2007 work "Unofficial Ambassadors, American Families Overseas and the Cold Wars" by Donna Alvah.
Benjamin faces opposition from several other candidates, most notably Robin Bernstein, a Florida real estate mogul and co-founder of Donald Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Dominican officials have been vexed by a series of articles and statements that proclaimed knowledge of her as the nominee. Rolling Stone Magazine published an article about Bernstein alleging ties to business affairs in the nation that would prevent her from serving as it's Ambassador. As of August 17, 2017 President Trump has not nominated a U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to The Dominican Republic.
Benjamin has stated a failure by Dominican officials to understand the lobbying aspect behind these appointments as a cause for the success of a "deep state" Democratic stalemate in the process. "In Dominican Republic the President just appoints who he wants, there is no inner-lobbying process. President Trump will carefully make his choice on his own criteria. Bernstein is a great Republican, we just have very different sets of experience."
Benjamin as candidate meets a unique marker through his not being represented by an official lobbying firm. "I did not engage in the nonsense of buying this person dinner or asking somebody to mention to a friend that I 'might make a good Ambassador'. I know I am the very best for the job and I said just that to The President. That's how you do it." He has often referred to his process as "cutting through the bullshit", which has led to establishment members calling him foul-mouthed. "I don't think inside the box, people like that are conformists." He retorts.
Acts of Diplomacy in Latin America...
During his handling of the request by Venezuelan judiciary members to flee the country in April 2017, Benjamin reached out to Florida Senator Marco Rubio for help in removing the marked-for-death judges and their families.
Benjamin held talks with multiple members of the Dominican Diaspora beginning in October 2016 concerning the crisis of then-Ambassador Wally Brewster coming under scrutiny, most notably from The Dominican Catholic establishment. Benjamin claims the talks about Brewster's scandal were critical of the ill-effects it was having on the Dominican economy.
As a precursor to the United States Presidential election, the sitting Dominican Vice President, Margarita Fernandez de Cedeno, released a video of herself in October 2016 urging Dominicans in New York for vote to Hillary Clinton in part because "Donald Trump does not respect women." In 2015 Benjamin had endorsed Ms. Fernandez as a Presidential candidate during a TV interview in Santo Domingo. Although appearing as spontaneous, many felt the endorsement was scripted. Mrs. Fernandez is married to former President Leonel Fernandez, and her video is believed to have been a pivotal swerve in U.S.-Dominican relations.
Benjamin has often claimed between October of 2016 and February of 2017 that "the phone lines between Washington and Santo Domingo we're cut-off."
In May of 2017 he traveled with Democratic leaders from New York to intercede in a brewing argument between Dominican police and the unregistered political party La Marcha Verde, which in Spanish means "The Green March", as they prepared for an event in the city of Azua. Benjamin claimed that NY communists were funding the Green March and it had gotten out of control. He met twice with leaders from their movement to call for peace. He claims local leaders called for his assistance as tensions flared in the days prior to the event. "They introduced me to the woman they wanted to run for President, and I told her, your movement is filled with communists and is out of control. But what I really was doing was showing the Dominican Government how New York politicians were subverting their authority by propping up a dangerous game. Cuba had a hand in that movement. I feel sorry for those poor kids. They don't understand what communism is all about, that you need an economy as a means of advancement. You need cars and trucks, construction equipment to build infrastructure, technology and credit. You can't have that with communism. It's not allowed."
Benjamin is a rare American who has a long history of living in the Dominican Republic as a private citizen inside of it's population and economic system. He has a daughter in the country and is considered by some to be a foremost American expert on it's modern culture and structure.
He has often engaged leaders on what the real statistics of matters like the economy, population and employment are. He has designed a "true test" immigration identification model that he claims will help to account for what he says are 1.7 million Dominicans living in The United States. Dominican authorities claim the number is just slightly over 1 million. Benjamin also frequently cites the Central Intelligence Agency report of 10.5 million as the true population number. Many Dominican officials have claimed it as 8-9.5 million in recent times. Benjamin has stated a true census is absolutely necessary for economic growth. "When your loan figures are structured around a population that is illegitimately calculated, you have a terrible time meeting the true economic demands." He says.
Born June 14, 1979, son of Patricia and William, he is a third-generation American. His grandfather Walter Small, a construction laborer, worked on famous New York structures including The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center and The New York City Subway. His father's parents were refugees from Germany following World War I. His family traces it's roots to Northern Europe and is believed to have made several trips by sea across the Atlantic, the earliest being in the mid-1800s and the latest being in 1939. There is evidence pointing toward the mother's family having used the name Barnett. Historical records attach the earliest American members to the construction of New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral, through a family Bible approbated by John Hughes.
His family is mostly Catholic, however it is believed there is a Protestant heritage in some part. Religion is particularly central to his belief system that Latin America, in-majority a Catholic stronghold, is "the last great savior of Christianity." (In the Dominican Republic the word for Catholicism is Christianity. Latin America often refers to Catholics as Catholic-Christian.)
His Irish heritage is discussed as largely "Black Irish", hence Nordic.
He attended New York public schools and was a child-actor, his most notable roles being in off-Broadway versions of serious dramas "The Death of a Salesman" and "Conversations With My Father." He performed in a children's play called "Alfred the Dragon", which had several versions.
He practiced Judo and Jujitsu at The Buddhist Academy in New York City. The Harlem academy was the dojo of Allan Collage, who was infamously denied a Judo gold medal based on race. Collage would later become wrestler Bad News Brown.
Benjamin would regularly attend wrestling matches with his father at Madison Square Garden. He was introduced to the wrestling business by Jason Knight, who invited him to practice at a club called "The Lower East Side Wrestling Gym." The club was something of legend in the wrestling business, as it had a ring wedged in between two walls in the basement of a New York City housing project. The gym was "totally illegal" according to Benjamin, who stated a large number of wrestlers from Mexico and Japan regularly paid visits there. He cited Osamu Nishimura as receiving training at the facility. Some of his first matches (as a teenager) were with Chris Canyon (second version), who is now deceased. He later went on to own and operate three New York area gyms.
He worked for a period of time selling merchandise for the World Wrestling Federation at TV Tapings, a concession run by Arnold and Betty Skalland. "Two of the nicest people I ever met. Mrs. Skalland paid me more than others because she said I would sell the merchandise during the matches, while other vendors would stop and watch the show." Said Benjamin.
During this time he promoted events with "Fat" Frank Iadevaia under the banners of The Northern States Wrestling Alliance and Northeast Wrestling. Their shows would prove to be a much needed outlet for fledgling talent to receive their first matches during a hard time for the industry. Among performers who appeared on their shows were Osamu Nishimura, Big Dick Dudley (as "Alexander The Great"), Devon Dudley (as "The A Train"), Danny Inferno, Crowbar (as Dangerous Devon Storm), Ace Darling (as Mr. Motion), Twiggy Ramirez (as "Bobby Decker"), Chuck Williams (as "The Rocking Rebel"), Joel Gertner, The Blue Meanie (as Brian Rollins, his real name) and others.
The partnership between the two disbanded amid a legal battle in 1998 and they never spoke to each other after that. "Right before he passed away, there was a discussion about us sitting down and putting the water under the bridge. He had asked for it, and I had thought about it, but before that could happen he died suddenly. Nobody cared about the insurance claim he made, which is what the legal battle was over. We stopped being friends because our lives took two different paths. I took a path of healthy living, he got into unhealthy living. I made the right choice, after all, I am alive. He had a massive heart attack."
Benjamin coined the phrase "NDNDNDNBS", which stands for no drinking, no drugs, no drama, no bullshit. He maintains a steady diet of white meat, fish, vegetables, and does not drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or put chemicals in his body. He does not drink soda or eat fried foods. He does not eat red meat. He states he was able to overcome a serious illness by eating only steamed fish and steamed vegetables for two years. He is a proponent of regular exercise.
"I'm not a professional politician..."
Benjamin's political catchphrases echo those of wrestler-politicians before him. His constant statement that he is not a "professional politician" is a term used in 1997 by wrestler turned Governor Jesse Ventura and is a central theme of Donald Trump's Make America Great Again campaign. The term is often thought to come from the U.S. Independence Party, and is considered to represent a meaning that most American politicians from the big two political parties have never held a private sector blue-collar job, and therefore are not suited to properly represent the needs of the working classes.
Experiences in The Dominican Republic...
Benjamin first traveled to The Dominican Republic in 1997 and by coincidence was staying in Puerto Plata as an American wrestling show came through the region. In the documentary "Jack; La Historia de Jack Veneno" Benjamin describes teaching a girlfriend's cousin to wrestle and drawing a large crowd for their impromptu practice session. It would be two days later that he was asked to substitute on three shows for American performers that did not arrive as scheduled.
In 1998 he led an exploratory committee to bring various forms of entertainment to the nation. During a meeting with the Secretary of State the subject of regulation and insurance for boxing and wrestling was discussed. For years prior TV wrestling episodes in the country presented an actor as "The Commissioner of Wrestling." Shortly after the discussion boxing and wrestling promoters were required to obtain a license from The Secretary of Sports. In 2007 Jack Veneno was appointed the sports secretary for wrestling by then-President Leonel Fernandez. "I just recall mentioning to Musa (the Secretary of State) at the time that in lots of the ghettos people were tying ropes between telephone polls and having bare-knuckle boxing matches." Benjamin lays the claim that he urged the government to prohibit MMA matches, a relatively new sport at the time. (Unreleased scene, "Jack; La Historia de Jack Veneno".)
Benjamin, through his affiliation with Veneno, is said to be the cause-effect in part of several other changes in law in The Dominican Republic, most notably the regulation of the film production industry and what is called "life rights" concerning public historical figures in the nation. After completion of the Veneno documentary producers were required to obtain permits to film in public places and it was proclaimed that footage of historic events was property of the State and could not be bartered with by the public figure for who it features. This type of "collateral law effect" is common in Presidential countries.
In the 3 years prior to the changes in film regulation, the nation saw an up tick in production work, most notably widely viewed features such as Yuniol, Hanky Panky and La Novia es de Madre; in the year following there was a significant decrease in production work, although such is no longer the case.
The public figures life rights law appears to be designed based on the discovery of the only known copy of Veneno's match with Ric Flair, in which he won the NWA Wrestling Championship in a highly publicized event in 1982. The match is a part of the country's history.
According to Benjamin, Veneno issued him a group of 3/4" video cassettes that had been sitting in a box in Veneno's backyard for 27 years in Santo Domingo, where climates regularly reach 100 degrees. The tapes were covered in mold and unplayable. After physically cleaning and repacking the video tapes with isopropyl alcohol, the only known copy of the match was recovered.
The film was delayed in it's release for seven years for a number of reasons. It's initial release was shrouded in controversy. During it's editing process a trailer was released in The Dominican Republic showing clips of the Flair-Veneno match. The trailer generated significant YouTube viewers in a country with limited Internet service at the time. Piracy is a huge street industry in the nation and the match was highly sought-after by the black market.
In a follow-up documentary on 2014 called "Buscondolo Jack Veneno" ("Searching for Jack Veneno") Benjamin spoke of an attempt by the mafia to steal a copy of the film from his office. There were a series of contracts and implied contracts issued for the rights to display the film in The Dominican Republic. According to legend the film aired as part of a wrestling tour in Puerto Rico. "Makes sense." Said Benjamin, although he claimed no knowledge of it actually occurring. "There were many claims that people had watched the film, but who knows... I doubt it. The match itself, yeah, it's possible, because it was copied to digital. The video file was out there."
Benjamin states the film wasn't released because he underwent life-saving surgery in 2009. "I just stuck it in a closet and kept working in New York, rebuilding my life back up." He says he released the film in 2015 because of a phone call from a family member of Relampago Hernandez, a heel wrestler who was featured in the film, that had passed away. "This girl calls me in the middle of the night, after he had passed, and asked if I would show her the footage of the film. It was literally at 3 a.m. I remember the next day I began to put it out there. The content in the film, by Hernandez, was very special."
As it turns out Hernandez requested a level of creative control for his role in the film. He agreed to appear only if he could mention his family in New York, which he does in the beginning of his scene. He stated in the film that while they have not seen each other for many years, that he loves them very much and prays for them every day.
The film is widely attributed to Veneno's resurgence of celebrity in the country after 2007.
The film is said to be the most watched movie made in The Dominican Republic. Facebook logged over 600,000 views as of June 2016. In a country believed to have one computer per every sixteen households, some estimates have speculated that approximately half of the country watched the film. A statement was released in December of 2016 proclaiming viewership has passed 2,000,000.
It is debatable if the film was used for political purposes in the country prior to 2016. Following its teaser in 2007 Jack Veneno began to endorse candidates for public office including for the Nation's presidency. The film re-appeared in 2015 alongside the endorsement by Benjamin of Margarita Fernandez de Cedeno. The film holds an attachment to a video featuring Benjamin, who spells out a strategy for national development.
During National Crises events, such as hurricanes and floods, Dominicans are encouraged to watch the film and its counterpart videos while in wait of relief.
During a hurricane in 2016 the film raised concerns that wireless Internet service was unmeasured and a larger factor in the Nation's day to day economy than previously understood, the reason being that large numbers of households without power or a dedicated Internet signal watched the movie and uploaded distress videos seeking relief through the film's Facebook page. It was then discovered that a significant mesh network of Internet service existed in the country previously unknown.
There is also a unique cultural tradition to the documentary, making it a cult film in the Nation. Viewership soars between Christmas week and the New Year as fans watch Veneno's match with Ric Flair. For many years the match between the two was shown on television during the holidays, almost as if it were a Christmas present. In the late 1990s, during one such showing, the match went off the air early and was never seen again until 2007 in the film. This "Christmas Show" viewership, which has reached as many as 500,000 people, often equates the film as a Dominican version of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."
The Jack Veneno documentary had given Benjamin a desire to make movies and he began cutting his teeth in 2011 by filming music videos and developing scripts into scenes.
He assembled a film crew in late 2011 to shoot scenes for a movie called "Thanks For Nothing." While uncompleted, the single-camera work earned Benjamin significant attention in production circles, most notably for a fight scene filmed on the New York City subway. The film featured professional wrestling star Malta The Damager and Sabrina Alamonte.
Benjamin would continue to film in a bare-bones style and frequently claimed his work "made something from nothing." Other works include the music videos "Talk it Out" and "Love Me" featuring recording artist Hookz Morris. He was awarded a first place tie for best product promotion video in 2014 from the TechStar Technology Company for "Then There Was Light".
Legal battle with CBS and "Margarita's Millions".
In 2014 Benjamin entered into a contract to film a TV pilot with a producer named Joseph Frye. Frye, an employee at the time of CBS division Showtime Television, cut a deal with Benjamin that allowed Benjamin to display footage from the production as "an example of (his) work" the world-over.
The production, "Homeless: A Love Story", featured an actress under representation by Benjamin named Margaret Germosen, who took the stage name "Margarita Dominguez".
According to court records on the Federal Docket, a dispute arose between Benjamin and producer Frye over tortious interferences in business practices that Benjamin alleged against Frye. The parties negotiated an implied contract to make the pilot into a series for Showtime for around two million dollars.
The wayward project would highlight initmidation tactics used in the entertainment industry in a way the public had never before seen and bring about a series of legal battles that would test Benjamin's mettle, see him falsely arrested, and later found unanimously not guilty on all counts. He would prove in Criminal Court that the producer of the TV pilot, Joseph Frye, conspired with the actress Margaret Germosen, to have him imprisoned on false charges to gain economic advantage in a Federal Civil lawsuit.
Benjamin began the website MargaritasMillions.com, and advises those falsely accused by their exes how to counter attacks he calls "Divorce Rape" and "Break-up Rape".
"If you sleep with somebody for something other than love, if you sleep with them to get ahead, to be famous, or for financial gain, that does not mean you were raped, it does not mean you have been sexually assaulted, or that you are a victim. It means you are prostitute, man or woman, simple as that."
Despite fighting to prevent evidence of her role in these violations of Constitutional Rights, criminal court judges allowed such to be presented at trial, and Germosen cracked on the stand, explaining how she collaborated with Frye to have Benjamin falsely charged.
Showtime Television and The Pilot Controversy...
Ms. Germosen's contracted appearance in the film included that she perform a scene where several men attempted to gang-rape her. She later cited in an affidavit that she agreed to the performance because it was for Showtime Television. Benjamin had negotiated a contract with Frye that stated the edited version of the scene would make the rape unsuccessful, and that she escapes her attackers. The script for the pilot was rewritten for this purpose.
When the pilot was completed Benjamin aired the rape scene and other portions of the project on various social media outlets without charge. He cited that he was issued a contract that allowed him to do just that.
Court records show that Ms. Germosen had knowledge and gave permission to air the footage as well, despite the strong nature of the content.
In November of 2014 Showtime executives made the claim that the production was unaffiliated with their Network, despite Frye's standing in the company.
Around this time Ms. Germosen began to level accusations of sexual and physical abuse against her former business managers. She requested protection from these individuals and filed reports that she released publicly by agreement, some with the FBI and multiple police departments.
As the dispute continued with Showtime, Benjamin and Ms. Germosen entered into a series of agreements to both litigate against the network and to film an expose of what they felt was fraud committed against them by the company. The documentary, Margarita's Millions, began filming in December of 2014 and was completed in February of the following year.
The film, and later the book, "Margarita's Millions" was made a part of the United States Federal Docket. In the film Ms. Germosen describes her previous work for Showtime Television in a movie called "Just Another Story". She discussed in great detail her career as a bodyart model and concert pianist, and describes how her business managers tried to control her. "It was like they wanted to put a chain around my neck" she states in the film. (Years prior she appeared in a photo shoot draped in chains, one of them around her neck.)
The film is unique in that it details in very straight-forward fashion the intent of Benjamin and Ms. Germosen to sue the corporation for fraud.
Before the film or it's trailers were released, Ms. Germosen made similar accusations against Benjamin, which resulted in his arrest and release, in March 2015. In response Benjamin released the trailers of the film to show a motive for Ms. Germosen's claims, which he claims are bogus. Almost immediately CBS banned him from their properties and sent him correspondence claiming he was a threat to the then-CEO of their Showtime division, Matthew Blank.
Benjamin had delivered a letter to Blank's New York residence on Christmas Day of 2014, asking for him to pay actors from the production "in the spirit of human kindness." Months later, in April of 2015 CBS Vice President Tom Cruthers claimed this warranted a threat to Blank.
During this period Benjamin began to fight with Blank publicly accusing him of supervising a business model based on fraud. Blank made television appearances on Bloomberg TV discussing how would "aggressively protect" his "intellectual property" acquirement model. During this period he sent a series of documented emails to David Nevins, a CBS executive. Blank was replaced by Nevins and removed as the company CEO during this time period. Benjamin claims in court records that he gave Blank "a promotion-demotion" and had him "removed as CEO". Joseph Frye ceased working for Showtime as well.
Frye sued Benjamin on his own in July of 2015 with an attorney named Danny Jiminian, who Benjamin claims is a childhood friend of Ms. Germosen's. Before he could file a counter-suit he was arrested a second time on claims he was in contempt of court by Ms. Germosen. Again he was released the next day.
Benjamin counter-sued Frye and named thirteen other defendants in his civil rights lawsuit including CBS TV, Matthew Blank, Tom Cruthers, Ms. Germosen and attorney Jiminian. The $104 million dollar claim is based on violations of Title 18 U.S.C. 241 (Conspiracy to Violate Rights).
During the litigation Benjamin authored and published a book about the saga, which he claims was an intentional set-up to cover up an investment scam. The book, with the same name as the documentary, "Margarita's Millions", was released at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books in April 2016.
During the festival Benjamin gave a series of interviews displaying evidence of what he says was a set-up against him by the people he had sued to cover their crimes. He displayed emails and court records that showed Germosen, in fear she would be exposed at trial, enlisted the help of one of the men she made abuse claims against before, to threaten Benjamin and his family "with guns and bombs" and taint the misdemeanor prosecution by repeatedly calling the District Attorney's office. (The Pulse, L.A. Times Book Festival at USC, April 2015.) It was discovered that the man making the threats, Jonathan Baram, was a CBS talent agent.
The book opens a Pandora's Box...
The book reveals a unique practice of the television network, proof that the company was in fact producing the almost identical television pilot in several versions with different production teams. "Homeless: A Love Story" was variously called "Homeless Love" and "Shelter".
The script for "Homeless: A Love Story" was submitted in 174 comparison photographs on the Federal Docket to Shelter, another CBS-owned production featuring Jennifer Connolly, which was filmed during the same time as the Frye production, also in New York. The storylines and even the photo work and shot sequences are almost identical.
Upon the discovery of "Homeless Love", Benjamin had a discussion with a writer and actress, Marilinda Rivera, who he has stated in court papers he believes is the original author of the script. That production, filmed in Los Angeles, was directed and promoted by another CBS producer named Nelle Teare.
Benjamin summed up his case to the Federal Court by alleging CBS engaged in a practice of seducing producers to film pilots for little or no pay on a promise of large production contracts, and then "bait and switch" them and ask them to give or raise money to promote the pilots so it can be sold in an eventual payoff. He has alleged that during the course of production Frye, the company representative, had repeatedly stated the actors "would be seen on the side of busses across the country." He submitted a video to the courts that shows Frye discussing the advertising pitch during a photo session in New York's Central Park.
Coincidentally, Frye's office at Showtime was affiliated with a division inside CBS called "CBS America's Corporation." The mission of the division is to sell advertising "on the sides of busses".
Benjamin claims that Frye asked him for investment capital to fund a film festival tour of the pilot. He presented evidence that Frye's supervisor and initial attorney in the copyright dispute, Andrea Simon, sat on the board of the main festival Frye asked for money to promote the pilot on. Simon represented Frye for the purpose of demanding Benjamin cease stating Showtime was involved in the production, and made material statements that Showtime did not use its resources to make the pilot.
Benjamin countered by showing Internet protocol addresses proving the agreements and communication came from a server inside Showtime's New York offices. Simon later ceased representation of Frye.
Benjamin has made statements that he is the reason Viacom backed out of a merger deal with CBS at the last minute.
The parties Benjamin sued made various claims that he had no legal standing under the statute he sued them under. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that to challenge a no-standing motion Congressional Intent must be argued. In April of 2017 Benjamin submitted to the Federal Court his congressional intent argument citing the law's original version and reports from The Senate and The House. (There are only two versions, the first and the current.) Title 18 is a Federal Code replacing the 1909 Criminal Code and it's original version applies the statute Benjamin sued under, 246 Conspiracy to Violate Rights, as applying to private entities. (Namely financial institutions.) He argued there is no material change to such, as changes are recorded as a matter of law in House debates records, and those made were purely grammatical and did not effect the intent of the law, as stated in the law.
On September 29, 2017, following a rapid jury deliberation, Benjamin was found unanimously not guilty on all counts brought against him by Margaret Germosn a/k/a Margratita Dominguez, the wayward actress who testified on the stand that she fabricated similar type claims and did so with the premise and while in collaboration with the CBS/Showtime producer Joseph Frye. In his closing statements, the prosectuor in the matter, Dino Lithorgous noted Dominguez "is probably not a very good actress" and that she wouldn't be invited to my house for dinner." He referred to Jonathan Baram, the gun-toting CBS talent agent as "a scumbag... who preys on women." CBS/Showtime was a central, intregral part of the Queens case from the very start, the motives of Dominguez as related to her bogus claims being influenced by a want for financial gain, her testimony revealing the sordid truth behind her plot.
On case, three courts...
Benjamin filed a handwritten Extraordinary Writ of Mandamus with The United States Supreme Court. Mandamus Writs are used for two purposes: 1) To free a prisoner from jail and 2) To have ordered by the Court a public official to perform a routine task of government. Benjamin filed for the later purpose and the writ entered the docket, which sought The Queens County District Attorney's office review evidence of the set-up as promised, which was not completed at the time.
Mandamus Writs of this nature are somewhat rare. Famous writs include the Lincoln-Merryman Writ and a Mandamus Writ filed by former Vice President Dick Cheney. Perhaps the most widely-read Mandamus Writ was filed in Miranda v. Arizona, the cornerstone legal mechanism which gives Americans Miranda Rights, named after Ernesto Miranda, who filed the writ claiming his Constitutional Rights were violated upon arrest. (He was later convicted.)
Benjamin's Writ was never closed from the docket. It arrived to the Court during the period of transition following Justice Anthony Scalia's passing. Its extension motions were decided by Justice Ruth Bader Ginzburg.
During court proceedings, some of Benjamin's adversaries constantly taunted him and the courts, one such rant from the talent agent Jonathan Baram, which resulted in a motion statement by Benjamin that is often accredited as high-water mark in United States Civil Rights arguments, it reads:
"Jonathan Baram has made it a point to let us know his impetus behind his vindictive prosecution in this matter is because I am poor and he is rich. He has stated such in documented text messages and emails, displaying his belief that American Justice is only attainable to those who own "millions in real estate" and not those who come from families that are "broke". For that he has shown his firm belief that poor people deserve less than equal protection including the rights against criminal activity and being falsely imprisoned. This is the antithesis of Freedom, Your Honor, and sanctioning an economic hardship of this nature, including against exculpatory evidence, would send a painful shock to the public, but I am one-million percent confident in this Court's judgment in that regard."
Verdicts, Orders and The Wheels of Justice Spin...
Benjamin made the case in Queens County Criminal Court with the legendary attorney Robert Hantman representing him, that Germosen and her associates from Showtime and CBS had engaged in a setup against him. The strong and undeniable evidence that the starstruck actress had colluded to taint the prosecution's case, inflict Constiutional RIghts violations and secure econmic gain resulted in a Jury finding Benjamin unanimously not guilty on all counts in under one hour on the first day of deliberations.
During a two-week trial the courtroom would continually fill-up with spectators and judiciary members as attorneys unraveled the dramatic scandal and constantly caught Germosen in blatant lies on the stand. At one point Germosen was ordered to read a statement she made to police about being the victim of a rape and kidnapping in which she was threatened with firearms, and based on previous testimony, note which parts of her claims were true and which were outright lies. The judiciary sat in shock as Germosen admitted she fabricated large portions of the claims, and cried in apology to her alleged attacker.
Germosen and Frye had a significant affect on The U.S. Justice System, which they likely regret. Findings of Fact were made in The Federal Civil Jurisdiction based on denials, on the record there, by Frye and Germosen that they had conspired to imprison Benjamin to exert pressure and gain judicial advantages. "It's straight perjury and abuse of process." Said Ben.
In September of 2017, while the Queens Trial unfolded in drama, Judge Naiomi Reice Buchwald issued rulings based on a lack of evidence that found Benjamin had no legal cause to display the footage of the pilot in the manner he claimed he did, as Freedom of Speech in protection of a legitimate threat against his life. While she was ruling, Germosen was on the stand in the opposite jurisdiction exposing how her and Frye, and their associates, hid this evidence from The Federal Court and comitted what Benjamin says is perjury.
"Now the Federal Court has been bound to an order issued under false sattements. Justice was compromised by these leeches, but thankfully I was exonerated just in time. The federal Court rulings found in September of 2017 that my usage of footage from this scam pilot had no redeeming social value and was not newsworthy footage, as per The First Amendment. Well, I think that has been proved otherwise, and I am delighted to say these liars, these losers who think it is okay to actually destroy a human life to make a little money, have finally been caught. It's funny how they cry to the Judge to censor me from speaking about them. Guess they couldn't take somebody fighting back. And that's what this is all about, FIGHTING BACK."
Prosecutors in the New York Criminal case even derided Germosen, their own witness, at one point stating she is "probably not a very good actress" and that she was not welcome for "dinner at my house."
"These people are going to face me in every legal arena there is. If they think I am just going to let them get away with this, they are crazy. Justice will be served."