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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, author Graham Cook shares the experiences with the legal and banking systems that inspired him to write his memoir, 11 Oak Street.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author Graham Cook about his life and career, the experiences with the legal and banking system that inspired him to write his new book, 11 Oak Street, and his creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
11 Oak Street is the true story of how the exclusive then Queen’s bankers, Coutts & Co, sent two large cashier’s cheques to a Urie Walsh, Graham Cook’s lawyer in San Francisco. Graham Cook came from an impoverished back ground and had started and sold two large companies for a lot of money and shares to conglomerates listed on the London Stock Exchange by the age of 32, and you have to be very rich to have a Coutts account, Back to Coutts and the envelope they had sent had the wrong address on it (11 Oak Street instead of 1111 Oak Street) The cashier’s cheques were to pay Urie Walsh’s legal fees and the mortgage on a condominium in Pacific Heights, San Francisco which Graham Cook had paid for with is own money. When the envelope did not turn up, Coutts wired replacement funds and Coutts & Co did not tell Graham Cook of their mistake. Then, later by chance, the original envelope containing the two cashier’s cheques turned up at Urie Walsh’s office. Urie Walsh then deposited the lost and knowingly cancelled cashier’s cheque into his trust account and, as a consequence, some of Urie Walsh’s trustee cheques bounced.
To cover his tracks, he told all and sundry that Graham Cook had bounced a cheque on him. Urie Walsh then illegally sued Graham Cook, who was living in England at the time, at the San Francisco Municipal Court for money later proved not owed. As to further make life difficult for Graham Cook, Urie Walsh was serving moving papers to an address that Graham Cook did not live at. Urie Walsh also, again illegally, obtained orders to sell the condominium in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, jointly owned by Graham Cook and his former wife, using an illegally obtained Deed of Trust and Promissory note. This set off a chain of events that led to the abduction by Graham Cook’s former wife of their three-year-old child from Bristol, England, to the Republic of Ireland to Napa, California, via San Francisco. Graham Cook’s former wife’s intention was to try and stop Urie Walsh from selling the condominium in Pacific Heights.
Although Urie Walsh was no longer Graham Cook’s lawyer he subsequently appeared in Graham Cook’s divorce action, telling the judge that Graham Cook had bounced a cheque on him, thereby making the divorce judge hostile to Graham Cook. As to the condominium, that went into foreclosure. It was subsequently bought by the then Chairman of the State Bar of California Ethics Committee. When Graham Cook successfully sued Urie Walsh, in the course of the proceedings, it turned out that Graham Cook did not owe Urie Walsh any money whatsoever and in fact Urie Walsh had been overpaid. Every single thing Urie Walsh did from the day Graham Cook met him turned out to have been illegal and in direct violation of every applicable California State Bar rule. Urie Walsh refused to return Graham Cook’s files in which there was a letter stating Graham Cook’s Bristol home was his. The reader will be astounded as to the lengths that Urie Walsh and his legal malpractice lawyers went through to unsuccessfully try and defeat Graham Cook’s legal malpractice action. After the abduction, when Graham Cook saw his former wife at the San Francisco Superior Court, the first words she said to Graham Cook were, “If you had not bounced a check on your lawyer none of this would have happened.” At this time Graham Cook was ordered to surrender his British passport to the court because his former wife falsely claimed he had threatened to abduct his son back to England. The judge gave an undertaking to Graham Cook that he could have his passport back at any time, as long as he told his then wife’s lawyer he had requested it back.
Months went by and Graham Cook was going nowhere and when, due to the abduction, he was no longer rich and did not meet the criteria of a Coutts client, so they illegally refused to send any more of his unencumbered money to California. As a result, Graham Cook’s second lawyer abandoned him and he ended up sleeping in a car for three weeks. Without a lawyer or his files, Graham Cook asked his then wife’s lawyer to agree that he could have his passport back. The conditions my then wife’s lawyer demanded before Graham Cook could have his passport back were contrary to the undertaking given by the judge, and under no circumstances could Graham Cook agree to his former wife’s lawyer’s terms.
Graham Cook had to appear at a hearing with no lawyer or papers before a hostile judge and to get his passport back Graham Cook had to agree to probably the most egregious and unlawful terms of an order ever issued by a family court judge in the history of the State of California. A reader of 11 Oak Street would not believe what Graham Cook had to agree to, and because he had no money, the British government flew him home on a Friday. On the following Monday at the very first thing, an English solicitor named Norman Roberts phoned Coutts to demand that they let Graham Cook have his money, which they agreed to do and Graham Cook got his money that day. By now it was too late as the damage had been done.
Graham Cook’s nightmare went on for another 12 years and, as a consequence, thanks to Urie Walsh and Coutts, Graham Cook lost everything on this earth and ultimately access to his three children, went to jail because of his own brother’s actions (the charges were ultimately dismissed), made bankrupt and, as the reader will see, Coutts had not finished with Graham Cook. If Graham Cook had not gone to Coutts Bank and hired Urie Walsh, none of the foregoing would have happened, let alone what happened in the future. As to the manager of the Coutts Bristol branch Graham Cook in his opinion he would have got more compassion from the former Commandant of Austwich than the Bristol branch manager.
The story is so appalling it took many years of treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome for me to.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I could not find anyone to publish my book so I did what every entrepreneur would do I started my own book publishing company which is www.writersworld.co.uk which is considered to be the gold standard in the United Kingdom.
What made you want to write 11 Oak Street?
To expose the corruption in the San Francisco Superior Court system and the Napa County legal system in California. All the named or identifiable persons in my book were sent copies of my book and nobody has even threatened to sue me for libel. As you know you cannot sue on the truth.
What were your biggest challenges with writing 11 Oak Street?
Reliving horrifying memories.
What was your research process for 11 Oak Street?
Court documents personal experience and as I rebuilt my wealth I hired a San Francisco private investigator to look into the back ground of some of the crooked judge and was astounded at what the private investigator discovered.
How did you plan the structure of 11 Oak Street?
I did not plan the book out the memories were so painful I wrote the book in chunks and with the use of two copy editors we meet on a Friday in a small conference room in Woodstock, England and put the book together.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did 11 Oak Street need?
I used three of my own copy editors.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Do not waste your time and money sending a transcript to a mainstream book publisher your chances of them publishing your book are as about as my chances of marrying the late Queen of England.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Yes, I am very proud of the book which is being used as an example as to required changes in the law to prevent what happened to me happening to someone else. It should be noted that 13 lawyers related to my nightmare. Were either disbarred or resigned with charges pending on unrelated matters. As to one judge, she was publicly disciplined for lying to one of my lawyers in open court.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Buy the book – UK:
Buy the book – US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1904181007
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