Two Women Break Silence About Secret Rams Head Bathroom Recordings

By: Christie Ileto (WJZ News Team), Published July 28, 2015 – WJZ-TV Broadcast

SAVAGE, Md (WJZ)– A story of violation. Two women break their silence to WJZ, talking about the day they learned that the president of Rams Head Group had secretly recorded women going to the bathroom in one of his restaurants–a bathroom they say they used.

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Inside a popular Maryland restaurant, a hidden camera was secretly recording unsuspecting women going to the bathroom for three years.

Kyle Muehlhauser admits he did it.  He’s the former president of Rams Head Group, which owns popular clubs and restaurants from downtown Baltimore to Annapolis to one in Savage Mill.  Muehlhauser confessed to hiding a camera under the sink aimed right at the toilet.  His admission was a shocking revelation to women who suddenly realized they were probably on that tape.

Two of those women are speaking out only to WJZ.  “When I saw it I was just shocked and I couldn’t believe that. We thought it was a nice facility,” said one woman.

They didn’t want to show their faces, but both tell WJZ they used the bathroom inside the Savage Mill location.

Ileto: “How often had you been at that restaurant?”

“A friend and I were meeting there for business meetings every month for at least seven to eight months, so we were there hours at a time,” said one woman.

Police say because the camera didn’t show faces, it’s difficult to identify the women or count the number of victims. Still, she’s filed a lawsuit against Muehlhauser and Rams Head Tavern in Savage Mill.

Her attorney, Russell Donaldson, represents nearly three dozen others.  “When you use the restroom, particularly in a public facility, you have a very reasonable expectation that that facility is going to be private and clean and decent and all of these women have suffered a significant violation of their dignity and their privacy,” said Donaldson.

The 37-year-old pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent, landing him 90 days in jail.

“I feel that the victims are being victimized yet again. It was one thing when we thought it was a few months, 90 days may have fit into that, but to know that he admitted to three years of violating the trust of his customers, 90 days is not sufficient,” said one woman.  “The way the world is today with the Internet, I don’t know where those pictures are today. I don’t know when they will pop up,” said another woman.  This woman says she visited the Savage Mill location once in December 2014, but that one trip to the bathroom means forever fear.  “I will always be affected by this in my lifetime. When I go into the restrooms now, I’m always looking around, fear that maybe someone else could do it,” she said.

Authorities say some of the confiscated video is recorded over or deleted, but that’s little comfort to the women who say they used the restrooms at Rams Head.  “They get to continue making money, taking peoples’ money and flourishing while there’s how many women out there that now have to always be looking behind their back,” said one woman.  Muehlhauser has three years’ probation following his 90 day sentence, during which, he will be required to submit his computer equipment for random inspections.

Homebuyers’ lawyers file second suit alleging settlement kickbacks

By: Steve Lash (Legal Affairs Writer), Published August 5, 2014 – The Daily Record

Lawyers for Maryland homebuyers have filed a second federal class-action lawsuit alleging an undisclosed illegal kickback scheme between The Creig Northrop Team P.C. and Lakeview Title Company Inc.

           G. Russell Donaldson, Esq.

While the first class action covers clients from 2008 forward, the action filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore seeks to push that date back to August 2001.

It cites a letter between the two companies that one lawyer for the class called a “smoking gun” — evidence of the alleged agreement to kick back as much as half the title insurance premiums Lakeview received from the Northrop Team’s clients.

The plaintiffs have brought the claim under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, which prohibits giving or accepting gifts for referrals of settlement services.

The Clarksville-based Northrop Team and Lakeview Title deny the allegations.

In January, U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. permitted the first lawsuit to proceed as a class action. However, Quarles limited the class to homebuyers who used the Northrop Team and Lakeview since Jan. 1, 2008, the year that that Lakeview and the Northrop Team entered an exclusive marketing agreement that allegedly served as a kickback conduit. Even so, the plaintiffs’ attorneys estimated the class size at 1,500 to 2,200 people.

The second suit seeks class-action status for clients who used the Northrop Team between 2001 and 2008 and, like the first, seeks damages of $11.2 million, which “shall be” tripled to $33.6 million under RESPA.

Both lawsuits allege that Carla Northrop — Creig’s wife and a vice president of both the Northrop Team and Columbia-based Lakeview — served as the linchpin of the plan. The Northrop Team used Carla’s position, as well as a subsequent “sham” marketing agreement, to disguise kickbacks of $1.3 million Lakewood paid Northrop for funneling title work to it, the lawsuits allege.

According to the complaints, Carla was given a no-show position on Lakeview’s payroll as early as 2000.

In the first lawsuit, though, Quarles focused on the marketing agreement, which designated Lakeview as the exclusive settlement and title company of the Northrop Team in exchange for monthly payments of $6,000, according to the lawsuit. Lakeview, however, paid the Northrop Team up to $12,000 per month despite “no actual record or measure of any real joint marketing or services,” the lawsuit stated…read more

Court of Special Appeals (CSA) Revives Couples’ Mortgage Fraud Claims

By: Danny Jacobs (Legal Affairs Writer). Published June 29, 2014 – The Daily Record

A state appellate court has revived a mortgage-fraud lawsuit brought against one of Maryland’s largest real estate groups.  A unanimous Court of Special Appeals panel found “genuine disputes of material fact” as to when the plaintiffs knew of the fraud allegedly committed by The Creig Northrop Team P.C., making it a question that should go to a jury.

“It puts us back on track to go to trial in a case that has shocking evidence to support the mortgage fraud allegations,” said Gregory T. Lawrence of Conti Fenn & Lawrence LLC in Baltimore, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Timothy G. Casey, a Rockville solo practitioner and a lawyer for The Northrop Team, did not respond to a request for comment.

While the court reversed Howard County Circuit Judge Richard S. Bernhardt’s ruling dismissing the claim, it agreed with his decision that the case could not proceed as a class action.

The plaintiffs, three married couples, purchased new houses between 2006 and 2007 with the help of The Northrop Team, which has five offices across central Maryland and is part of Long & Foster Real Estate. The plaintiffs allege they were advised of a loan program allowing them to buy their new homes using equity pulled from their current homes, a transaction not contingent upon selling their current home. But the loan did not exist and “would have violated significant underwriting policies” if it had, according the plaintiffs’ appellant brief…read more

     G. Russell Donaldson Esq. and Gregory T. Lawrence Esq.

Kickback Case a Class Action

What is now a certified, federal class-action lawsuit alleging a kickback scheme involving one of Maryland’s largest real estate groups began with a discovery request in Howard County Circuit Court.


The plaintiffs’ legal team includes, from left, Russell Donaldson and Rachael E. Breen of Donaldson’s law firm, and Gregory T. Lawrence and Hannah Kon of Conti Fenn & Lawrence LLC. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Lawyers in the Howard County suit against The Creig Northrop Team P.C. issued a subpoena for documents from Lakeview Title Company Inc. The Northrop Team and its parent company responded with a request for a protective order because some documents mentioned compensation to their employees — including Carla Northrop, who is also vice president of her husband’s firm.

The plaintiffs lost the Howard County mortgage-fraud suit — it is now on appeal — but the disclosure led to the separate action brought by the same lawyers in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

The federal lawsuit alleges the Northrop Team used Carla Northrop’s position at Columbia-based Lakeview, as well as a subsequent “sham” marketing agreement, to disguise kickbacks of more than $500,000 Lakewood paid Northrop for funneling title work to it.

U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles Jr. last week granted class certification to the plaintiffs, who are seeking more than $11 million in damages…read more