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Ex-S&L; Chief Sahni’s New Suit Claims 3 Men Planned to Ruin Him

Times Staff Writer

The former chairman of defunct American Diversified Savings Bank in Costa Mesa has stepped up his litigation battles with federal regulators by filing a $10-million racketeering lawsuit accusing a thrift regulator and two managers hired to run the bank.

Ranbir S. Sahni, already embroiled in numerous court fights with regulators, claims that a federal agent and two managers conspired to ruin him financially “for the purpose of rendering (him) financially unable to engage in litigation.”

The accusation is similar to ones he has made in other litigation against regulators since they seized his savings and loan in February, 1986, and ousted him and nearly two dozen top officers. The litigation has cost regulators and the S&L; more than $12 million in legal fees.

But Sahni claims in the lastest suit filed in the U.S. District Court branch in Santa Ana that the actions of the three defendants constituted a pattern of wrongful conduct that violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations law.

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The Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp., in one of its pending lawsuits against Sahni, accuses him of racketeering under the same law.

“I’m giving them some of their own medicine back,” Sahni said.

But one of the defendants, Kenneth C. Bovard, called the allegation “interesting terminology.” Bovard was a lawyer at Pacific Savings Bank in Costa Mesa when regulators hired a management team from that S&L; to run American Diversified. He headed the team.

The suit claims that Bovard and his successor, Thomas J. Haupert, conspired with Scott Shultz of the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco to ruin Sahni. The suit alleges that they refused to pay Sahni his share of profits from a company run by the S&L.;

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The suit further charges that they misled investors in 39 limited real estate partnerships about the status of potential buyers for the properties and refused to negotiate with Sahni over his request to buy the properties, setting him up for a $3-million tax liability.

Bovard, now in private practice with an Irvine law firm, said he “definitely denies” any attempt to ruin Sahni financially. He also said he knew of no intent by anyone else to withhold any benefits from Sahni.

Haupert and Shultz could not be reached for comment.


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