SURETY COMPANY DATA:

Bail USA

Political Contributions

According to the California Secretary of State, from 2014 to 2019, Bail USA has contributed $151,920.07 to campaigns in California.

Lobbying

According to the National Institute on Money in Politics, Bail USA spent $90,000 on lobbying in Colorado, and was also registered to lobby in Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota from 2009 to 2015.

According to the California Secretary of State, Tokio Marine HCC spent $187,500 on lobbying to derail bail reform legislation from 2017 until the first quarter of 2019, while the company still owned Bail USA.

Ownership

Bail USA is owned by Crum & Foster, after being sold by Tokio Marine HCC, Japan’s largest property and casualty insurer with nearly $40 billion in revenue globally, in 2019. (bailusa.net, accessed January 29, 2020; bailusa.net, accessed January 29, 2020)

"Crum & Foster is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada-based Fairfax Financial Holdings, 'a nearly $10 billion global insurance and financial empire.' Fairfax also 'owns multiple bail insurers." (aclu.org, May 2017)

Leadership

Director

Title

Michael Ziemer

President

Karyn Hermann

Secretary and VP of Bail Operations

Dirty Laundry


California Lobbying Violation

In 2012, Bail USA, Inc. was registered as a lobbyist employer in California, with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP as its lobbying firm. However, during this time, Bail USA did not report any lobbying expenditures with the California Secretary of State.

In February 2013, the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) sent Nicholas Wachinski of Bail USA notice that a non-filer had alleged that the company violated lobbying reporting provisions of the Political Reform Act. After completing its investigation, “the FPPC found that Bail USA Inc. failed to timely file Form 635” for the fourth quarter of 2012. However, since the firm did “not have a history of violating the Act,” the FPPC closed the case with a warning letter. Nevertheless, “information in this matter will be retained and may be considered should an enforcement action become necessary based on newly discovered information or future conduct.” Violations carried monetary penalties up to $5,000.


Wrongful Death Lawsuit

According to a November 2010 article in Courthouse News Service, a Missouri appeals court ruled that “parents of an innocent bystander killed by bounty hunters can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the bounty hunters’ employer and two companies that allegedly acted as principal.” Charges were filed against Sharp Bonding Agency, Bail USA, and Seneca Insurance by Emily West and William Grant after “bounty hunters suffocated and killed Tamar Grant in 2002 while trying to apprehend Grant’s brother, Anthony West, for ignoring a traffic ticket.” According to procedural background in the case, one of the bounty hunters, Michael Iiams, “was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his role in killing Tamar.”1

The three bounty hunters involved “worked for Sharp Bonding, but Bail USA and Seneca convinced the trial court in Jackson County to dismiss the claims against them, as they weren’t partners with Sharp Bonding or its employees.” However, in overturning that decision, the Missouri Court of Appeals found that “Seneca and Bail USA authorized Sharp Bonding to act as their bail bond agent in a 1998 contract” and were “liable because the contract gave Seneca and Bail USA ‘the right to control’ Sharp Bonding.” 

Furthermore, the appeals court pointed out that Bail USA and Seneca received 18 percent of every bail bond premium collected by Sharp Bonding. The decision stated, “A jury could reasonably conclude that Sharp Bonding's acts were performed to serve the business interests of Seneca/Bail USA.”2

 

1 LexisNexis Cases, Case No. WD72434
2 LexisNexis Cases, Case No. WD72434