Seaview Insurance Company / Aladdin Bail Bonds
According to records with the California Secretary of State, since 2002, Aladdin Bail Bonds and Two Jinn, Inc., and Triton Management Services have contributed a total of $490,253.90 to 38 different campaigns and committees in the state. In addition, Seaview Insurance Company only made one contribution in the state totaling $150,518.11.
According to records with the National Institute on Money in Politics, Two Jinn Corp DBA Aladdin Bail Bonds reported a total of $1,023,630 in state-level lobbying from 2003 to 2014, and Triton Management Services spent a total of $60,000 in lobbying from 2015 to 2017. Two Jinn Corporation was the third largest lobbying spender from 2009 to 2017 in a report published by the National Institute on Money in Politics examining “how the sprawling bail bond industry has sought to influence state-level politics.”
According to records with the California Secretary of State, since 2003, Triton Management Services, LLC has spent a total of $791,125.76 on lobbying in the state. Over this time, lobbying firms employed by the company in California included Ellison Wilson Advocacy LLC, Broad & Gusman LLP, and Sloat Higgins Jensen and Associates. Entities lobbied included the California State Legislature, Governor’s Office, and Department of Finance.
Aladdin Bail Bonds, the largest supplier of bail bonds in the state of California, is owned by the private equity firm Endeavour Capital, which also owns Seaview Insurance Company, the surety underwriting Aladdin's bonds, a prime example of the vast financial web behind many of the bail industry storefronts.
“In 2012, Endeavour Capital invested in Triton and owns almost two-thirds of the company, according to 2017 state filings. It owns a similar stake in an affiliated insurer, Seaview Surety, which underwrites the bail amounts. The Triton bail companies operate under the name Aladdin, and last year, the Aladdin companies put up about $700 million in bail in California, according to post estimates that are based on insurance filings.”
- Private-equity money backs an effort to overturn California law intended to help the poor. The Washington Post
Seaview’s ownership structure includes a private equity firm based in Oregon and several individual investors. However, Seaview is also affiliated with two other entities: Triton Management Services and Two Jinn, Inc. Seaview Insurance Company is the surety for Two Jinn, Inc.’s bail bonds - the largest bail bond agency in California - Aladdin Bail Bonds.
As of December 2012, the ownership structure of Seaview Surety Holdings, LLC, which owned Seaview Insurance Company, is shown in the flow chart below. This chart also shows Seaview’s connections to Two Jinn, Inc. For instance, a 2019 class action complaint filed against several bail bond companies notes that Seaview Insurance Company is the surety “for Two Jinn, Inc.’s bail bonds, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Seaview Surety Holdings, LLC.” Two Jinn “owns and operates the largest bail bond agency in California – Aladdin Bail Bonds.”1
In August 2012, the California Department of Insurance approved Endeavour Capital’s acquisition and control of Seaview Surety Holdings, the direct parent of Seaview Insurance Company. The chart above shows that ownership of Seaview Surety Holdings is split between the majority holder Endeavor Capital Fund VI, LP (62.7%) ; Endeavour Associates Fund VI, LP (0.8%); and six individual investors who control 65.5 percent, the largest of which is Robert H. Hayes (15.7%).
According to an October 2018 Washington Post article, “Endeavour Capital invested in Triton and owns almost two-thirds of the company, according to 2017 state filings. It owns a similar stake in an affiliated insurer, Seaview Surety, which underwrites the bail amounts. The Triton bail companies operate under the name Aladdin, and last year, the Aladdin companies put up about $700 million in bail in California, according to Post estimates that are based on insurance filings.”
As the ownership chart above shows, in 2012, Robert H. Hayes was listed as a 15.7 percent owner of Seaview Surety Holdings, LLC, the immediate parent company of Seaview Insurance Company, based on records with the California Department of Insurance. He was also listed as a 44.2 percent owner of Two Jinn, Inc., which in turn owned 35.2 percent of Triton Management Services. Hayes also serves as a director for Seaview Insurance Company, based on corporate records, and he was listed as CEO of Two Jinn in a 2019 class action complaint.2
According to a June 2015 article in the San Diego Source, “After starting his own successful legal firm, Robert Hayes spotted great opportunity in the highly fragmented bail industry, so he established Two Jinn Inc., which acquired Aladdin Bail Bonds in 2004. Peter Botz, who was a partner at Hayes’ law firm, joined him to overhaul the claims process and develop systems to capture and use data to control losses. Herbert Mutter came aboard in 2005 to focus on the optimization of finance, accounting and corporate operations. Together, their mission is ‘Bail, Done Right.’” In 2012, Two Jinn “vertically integrated with Seaview Insurance Company.” His firm also “developed the Bond Management Application, a proprietary IT system, which tracks bail bond transactions from cradle to grave.” At the time, Two Jinn was “the largest bail bond company in the United States.”
Furthermore, “Acknowledging that their business has two customers -- the accused person and the legislative and regulatory organizations, where defendants appear -- Hayes established relationships with key legislative and regulatory personnel to change the image of the business,” based on the San Diego Source article.
According to corporate and insurance registrations in California, officers and directors of Seaview Insurance Company are listed below.
- Patrick J. Kilkenny, President & Chief Executive Officer
- Francis E. Lauricella, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Secretary & Treasurer
- Allison M. Sterett, Controller & Assistant Secretary
- Robert H. Hayes, Investor & Director
- Herbert G. Mutter, Chief Business and Financial Officer of Two Jinn, Inc.
- Leland M. Jones, Managing Director of Endeavor Capital Fund
Please Stop Filing Complaints
In April 2018, the Los Angeles Times reported that the California Department of Insurance saw “complaints against agents and companies more than tripled between 2010 and 2012, from 62 to 225 cases. In 2017, the number of complaints was 131, accounting for 10% of all violation allegations sent to the department's enforcement agency, even though bail makes up less than 2% of the insurance market.” Furthermore, “figures could be even worse,” as state bail associations “have told their members to stop filing complaints against other agents and companies while legislative debate is pending, according to a spokeswoman for the Insurance Department.”
ACLU Criticism of Private Equity Fueled Expansion
In July 2018, the ACLU wrote a letter to Endeavour Capital “to express deep concern about Endeavour Capital’s investment in Aladdin Bail Bonds and Seaview Insurance” and to ask for a meeting with Endeavor to discuss the investments. The letter stated, “Since it acquired Aladdin in 2012 and merged it with Seaview Insurance, the company has expanded from three states to seven and has sought regulatory approval to expand further. Aladdin has become the dominant bail bond agency in some counties. For example, Aladdin far outstrips competitors in California, writing around half of bonds posted in San Mateo County over the last two years, and nearly 40 percent in Santa Clara County in 2015.” In addition, the ACLU noted how “Aladdin has actively opposed efforts to reform the bail and criminal justice systems. For example, Aladdin led efforts by the bail industry to oppose the 2014 passage of Proposition 47 in California, which reduced penalties for low-level drug and petty theft offenses—offenses that bail industry representatives called the ‘bread and butter’ of the bail industry.”
Indebted After Charges Dropped
According to an article in KQED, in 2015, Carlos Valiente “was arrested on a number of charges” in San Francisco, “for which his bail was set at $70,000. As a construction worker making $14 an hour, he couldn't afford to bail himself out. Instead, he called one of the bail bond agencies whose fliers he saw inside the jail, Aladdin Bail Bonds.” His mother contacted a bail agent at Aladdin and “scraped together enough money” to pay $1,000 towards his bail premium to get Valiente out of jail, with “about $6,000 more to be paid in installments—or 10 percent of the total bail amount, the standard fee.” However, Valiente’s case “was ultimately dismissed,” but he still owed “Aladdin more than $6,000, which he said he will have to pay off over the next four to five years.”
In another case also described by KQED in September 2018, “Tre’Vonn Doakes said that, a year and a half ago, his life was on the right track. In his early 20s, he had a good job working for Alcatraz Cruises. He was taking college courses, providing for his two young daughters and had another baby on the way.” However, in April 2017, “he got in a fight with a family friend who came to his house, and when Doakes called the Oakland Police Department, he ended up getting arrested.” He recounted that he was charged with “two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of domestic violence,” and he waited “in a holding cell in Santa Rita Jail for 12 hours, worrying about his fiancee and his daughters.” While in jail, his father contacted Aladdin Bail Bonds, which “agreed to sign a $75,000 bond in exchange for the 10 percent fee that bail companies charge to guarantee a defendant shows up to court.” The problem was that “Alameda County prosecutors never filed charges against Doakes, and he said he never had to go to court,” leaving Doakes wondering, “why am I having to pay a bail bond?” While Doakes was “free and clear of any criminal case,” by September 2018, “he said he is still struggling to pay back the $3,000 he owes Aladdin.”
Endeavour Capital Investor Supports Extremist Organizations
According to an August 2018 call to action by Seattle Indivisible, a local chapter of the progressive, grassroots Indivisible movement, “One of the repeat investors in Endeavour Capital, a Pacific Northwest-based private equity firm, has given millions of dollars to extremist groups that campaign against a wide variety campaign of civil rights and womens' reproductive rights' issues. Murdock Charitable Trust's donations have supported groups that campaign against LGBTQI rights, promote “gay conversion therapy,” provide false medical information to women seeking reproductive health services, and that use aggressive and misleading tactics to undermine public employee unions.” The call to action added that “Endeavour also invests in companies like Aladdin Bail Bonds, which profits from our unjust cash bail system, and New Seasons, which called in union busting consultants to intimidate their employees in Portland.”
Seattle Indivisible specifically found that the Murdock Trust had donated $975,000 to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which supports LGBTQ conversion therapy, fights marriage equality, and promotes anti-transgender discrimination bills. It also donated $1,547,200 in funding for “pregnancy crisis centers” and $765,000 to the Freedom Foundation, a group that “seeks to eliminate paid sick leave and opposes minimum wage increases for low-wage workers.” Furthermore, the Freedom Foundation opposes same-sex marriage and attacks Planned Parenthood, and its blog states, “doom-and-gloom scenarios about climate change are based on a combination of political agendas and junk science.”
Center of Alleged Bail Bond Cartel Price Fixing Conspiracy
In February 2019, Stephen Breux, Shonetta Crain, and Kira Serna filed a class action suit against several different bail bond insurance companies in the U.S. District Court for Northern California. The class in the case included all “individuals in California who, between February 2004 and the present (‘Class Period’), paid, in full or in part, for a commercial bail bond to bail out him/herself or another in California.”3
Overall, the complaint alleged that these “companies have been engaged in a long-standing and ongoing collusive and anti-competitive conduct by conspiring to keep bail bond premiums higher than they would be had the bail-bonds market in California functioned competitively.”
According to the class action complaint, “Aladdin Bail Bonds, the largest bail agency in California and one from which Plaintiff purchased a bail bond, and its surety, Defendant SIC are at the center of the anti-competitive conspiracy. Like other bail bonds agents, Aladdin claims that its fees are standards and nonnegotiable. On its website, Aladdin advertises ‘Standard Premium Rate’ and provides that ‘[a]ll insurers who work with vail service providers are required to file their premium rates with the Department of Insurance. In California, Aladdin Bail Bonds is authorized to offer an 8% rate in addition to the standard 10%.’ These statements are misleading in that they conceal the fact that Aladdin and other bail bonds agents have the ability to offer discounts through rebates or may file for a lower maximum rate with the CDI.” Furthermore, Aladdin was authorized by CDI to charge an eight percent premium rate.
Death Caused by Bounty Hunter
According to a July 2017 article in The News Tribune, in June 2017, members of the family of Kathryn Jeanette New filed a civil suit against Two Jinn and a bounty hunter/bail bondsman who fatally shot New in 2016.
Kathryn New’s son had been “charged with malicious mischief and violating a no-contact order” and was out on bail that was posted by Aladdin Bail Bonds/Two Jinn when he missed a court date. In response, “the bounty hunter and two of his colleagues looking for New’s son went to her home.” According to the complaint, as recounted in the article, “The three bounty hunters arrived early in the morning, visibly heavily armed with weapons, and forced entry into the home without authority and without first even attempting to provide notice or obtain permission. [...] Kathryn, likely in fear for her safety and the safety of her family at the site of three heavily armed men forcing entry into her home, went into her bedroom and grabbed a zipped case that contained a non-functioning, unloaded .22 pistol.”
In the account of the shooting provided by the prosecutor’s office, “New pointed the gun at the bounty hunter, who told her to drop the weapon at least 10 times, and she did. Then his colleague used a stun gun on New, and the first bounty hunter later told investigators he fired as he saw New raise the firearm again.” The New’s lawsuit claimed that "New was hit with the stun gun seconds after she left the bedroom, as she was struggling to get the pistol out of its case. The bondsman shot New as she fell to the floor.” She later died at the hospital. However, the bounty hunter was not criminally charged in New’s death “because Pierce County prosecutors said they couldn’t prove the shooting wasn’t self-defense.”
Furthermore, the New family contended in their lawsuit that “the shooter shouldn’t have been allowed to work for Aladdin in the first place,” citing three previous arrests “for three domestic violence incidents against his girlfriend” and a conviction of “domestic violence harassment for one of them.” The bondsmen also didn’t have an active concealed pistol license at the time of the shooting, didn’t get a new one until over two weeks later, and he failed to “tell local law enforcement of the plan to enter New’s home, as required by state law.”
Illegal Payments to Inmates for Referrals
In April 2017, KQED published an article about various “predatory bail schemes” that were perpetrated in Santa Clara County jails, including a practice known as “bail capping” where bail agents pay inmates “to drum up business” in jails. KQED found evidence “that at least 30 inmates in Santa Clara County jails were involved in bail-capping schemes. Those recruiters controlled access to the phones, threatened other inmates or promised cheap bail to pressure inmates to sign contracts with certain bail agents.” Guards were also involved, allowing some bail agents to visit inmates multiple times per week and outside of visiting hours.
According to the case file for one Aladdin bail agent implicated in the scheme, Aladdin employees facilitated three-way phone calls for inmates to save them money. The agent stated, "I believe this alone can be a motivating factor for an inmate to assist Aladdin Bail Bonds employees in soliciting bail."
Arrest of Previous Aladdin Owner
According to a July 2004 article in the Los Angeles Times, the California Department of Insurance had been “investigating alleged corruption in the industry that could bring charges of perjury, conspiracy, obstruction of justice and unlawful business practices.” One of those investigations led to a June 2004 plea deal by Robert Spencer Douglass, then-chief executive of the parent company for “Aladdin Bail Bonds, the state’s largest bail bond firm.” He had pled guilty “to illegally paying inmates to send business his way from behind bars. As part of a plea deal, he agreed to forfeit his bail bond license and sell his company. He was sentenced to three months of house arrest.” Prison Legal News further reported that Douglass “was ordered to pay $425,000 in penalties.” Given this timing, it appears that the plea deal was how Robert Hayes acquired Aladdin Bail Bonds in 2004.
3 Pacer.gov, Case No. 3:19-cv-00717-JST