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Elder Abuse, Sex Offender Amp Up The Bizarre in Barrel Stop Bankruptcy

Check as filed with court, from Ignace Rothschild as down payment for Barrel Stop Winery Purchase offer from the Gladden Corp. (suspended by California from legally conducting business.)

The Barrel Stop/Dominari bankruptcy has grown more bizarre with Wine Industry Insight’s  discovery that the winery owners were found guilty in 2010 of elder abuse and that a registered sex offender with Rothschild and Opus aspirations is deeply involved in the already strange attempt to buy the winery out of bankruptcy.

Those new revelations top Barrel Stop’s previously unusual nature in which a woman with at least two personal bankruptcies is trying to purchase the insolvent winery using a defunct corporation with an address listed at the Burlingame Hyatt Regency. (Barrel Stop Gets Offer, Buyer Background Raises Viability Doubts).

Those circumstances prompted Barrel Stop’s senior secured creditor, Mechanics Bank to oppose the sale. (Bankruptcy Trustee Appointed For Barrel Stop Winery, Bank Opposes Sale).

The bankruptcy court has also appointed a trustee to manage the remaining assets, agreeing with Mechanic’s Bank that the current owners, Marie and Jurgen Schutz, were not competent to accomplish that task.

$421K ELDER ABUSE JUDGEMENT OUTSTANDING AGAINST MARIE AND JURGEN SCHUTZ

A judgment against Marie and Jurgen Schutz for $421,399.34 was handed down by the Napa Superior Court on Oct. 8, 2010. (Premium subscribers of Wine Executive News click here to access the full legal complaint.). The court found the Schutzes had taken at least $382,842 from the trust fund of Viola V. Debb. The judgment included additional amounts for attorney’s fees, interest and court costs.

This image combines the non-duplicative portions of the two-page judgement filed with Napa Superior Court

According to the complaint:

“Vi is an 86-year-old widow in frail health who requires constant in-home care. At all times mentioned herein, Defendant Marie stood in a position of trust to Vi in that: Defendant Marie performed paralegal services for Vi, including preparation of leadings and other documents to collect a loan Vi made to a third party…

“Marie held herself out to Vi as having superior knowledge of legal and financial matters. Vi believed Marie had superior knowledge of legal and financial matters and relied upon Defendant Marie’s supposed expertise. Marie visited Vi often and Vi believed Defendant Marie was her trusted friend.”

Beginning in mid 2001, the court records said that, Marie and Jurgen Schutz,  “Engaged in a series of transactions to appropriate, obtain and retain funds from Vi for  wrongful use and/or with the intent to defraud.”

That, according to the court complaint, began a series of loans to the Schutzes. The court papers said that they obtained further loans from Ms. Debb’s trust after falsely telling her  that previous loans had been repaid.

“The true facts were that Defendants Schutz did not  pay all interest, late charges and, in some cases, all of the principal that was due. Defendants Schutz knew these representations were false when the representations were made.”

According to court records and legal sources, the judgment is still outstanding.

SEX OFFENDER “FRENCH” ARTIST FROM MISSOURI WITH ROTHSCHILD & OPUS ASPIRATIONS

Ignace J. Rothschild (one of several aliases) appeared on the Barrel Stop Winery bankruptcy radar on March 30 when his name appeared on a $100,000 check (image at top of this article) submitted with the updated purchase agreement from the Gladden Corporation. That company was suspended in 2007 by the state of California and, thus, prohibited from conducting business.

A number of Wine Industry Insight’s sources emailed to ask the same question: “Who writes a check for $100,000 to back a bid by a corporation operating out of a hotel room in Burlingame that can’t legally do business?”

Snapshot of Ignace Rothschild with a friend

From his web site, Rothschild’s biography describes himself in his own words:

“Native French-European and educated at British universities in both economics and astrophysics, Jean-Pierre was originally an international banker operating in the  Pacific Rim and Europe.  Having learned from studying the European Masters, he today draws from diverse international influences and inspirations to create  vibrant abstract  and impressionistic subjects, helping to create a strong “optimistic and uplifting” mood while embracing the modern world of accelerating  technology, the internet and Global socio-environmental crisis.

“As a rising star on the contemporary art scene, Jean-Pierre divides his time between the Studios in San Francisco and France where he has become popular among  “nouveau monde contemporary” thinkers, with a distinctive style that evokes forward movement, bold lines, and an explosion of vibrant colours that is affirming and life awakening!”

WII’s extensive investigation reveals a number of additional details. We relied on court records, law enforcement records, legal sources and intensive internet forensics.

Wine Industry Insight emailed a series of questions Wednesday to both of the email addresses on Mr. Rothschild’s web site. We asked — among other things — about his birthplace, college degrees, and his offices for investment banking, but did not received a reply. No data exists to verify his claims about astrophysics, economics, investment banking, being French-European or being educated at British universities.

However, after we sent him the emails, a number of significant pages on his web site, specifically those dealing with people he claimed to know or be related to, were pulled down and cannot currently be visited. Prior to contacting Mr. Rothschild, we extensively archived the site and have been able to illustrate images and text that were originally on the site.

In an attempt to elicit corrections, comments and other information, we emailed a draft of this article to the Schutzes and to Mr. Rothschild on Thursday And got no response.

INDECENT EXPOSURE CONVICTION IN SAN MATEO COUNTY

According to Hillsborough Police records, Ignace J. Rothschild of Burlingame, 53, was convicted in 1996 for indecent exposure for an incident they say occurred near Edgewood Road and Interstate 280.

Additional official sources confirmed that the charges arose when he was observed jumping out of bushes along a San Mateo County jogging trail and frightening female runners.

“At six-foot-four and over 200 pounds, he’s an imposing man,” said an investigative source familiar with the case. “Add to that the fact that he was buck naked and yelling like Braveheart.”

Rothschild was  living in Burlingame at the time of the 1996 offense.

Hillsborough police said he was arrested again in 2010 for failing to register as a sex offender and living less than 2,000 feet from a school.

This most recent case occurred after he was involved in a minor auto hit-and-run case in 2009. The victim followed Rothschild to an address in Hillsborough and called police who subsequently determined he was a sex offender who had not registered.

 POSSIBLY LIVING IN NAPA BUT NOT REQUIRED TO BE ON MEGAN’S LAW WEB SITE

Rothschild has recently listed a Vichy Avenue address in Napa as his residence and has worked to establish himself with the wine country art scene. His web site lists local exhibits including at least one at the Barrel Stop/Dominari Winery.

Law enforcement officials would neither confirm nor deny that he lives at the Vichy Avenue address or if he has registered with them.

A Napa County law enforcement source told Wine Industry Insight that Rothschild is not required to be listed on the state Megan’s Law website. That service, he explained, is reserved “for those convicted of felony or more serious misdemeanor sex offenses…. however, those offenders are required to register annually (or when they relocate, etc.) with local law enforcement.   Law enforcement officials are prohibited by law from disclosing any additional information to the public than that which is on the public Megan’s Law website.”

THE ALIASES

One investigative report received by Wine Industry Insight lists 27 aliases and variations of Ignace J. Rothschild’s name.

But perhaps the clearest summaries of the names come from deeds filed in San Mateo County. On a Quitclaim deed dated Dec. 30, 1996, he signs as grantor: Ignace J. P. C. De Rothschild. And eight years later on March 30, 2004, he signs an  Intersposal Transfer Grant Deed as Ignace J-P Callewaert de Rothschild.

Multiple documents confirm that the J.P most often stands for Jean-Pierre, although sometimes it stands for Jean-Paul. And the J in “Ignace J. Rothschild” most probably stands for James.

Significantly, the earliest name found ( from motor vehicle record sources ) is Ignace J. Callewaert of Kansas City, Missouri. This may possibly be his original name.

ROTHSCHILD AND OPUS ASPIRATIONS

While WII has learned little about his life before his art and Rothschild era in California, there are indications that he may have worked for Financial Systems & Equipment in Springfield, MO. That company provided software to banks as well as hardware such as ATMs, check scanners, coin & currency counters, document scanners, shredders.

Click image to go to Ignace Rothschild's web site

In California, Rothschild worked at his own online business, Opus Enterprises and as a network manager for a Burlingame garden center.

Rothschild seems to have ventured into the art business in 2004 when he launched a web site — Opus Art — at his current web site address: derothschild.com. That name (but not the web address) changed to Opusphere when he registered that as a business name in San Mateo County in 2007 and developed it into a web site for his artwork.

This image (two photos)from Ignace Rothschild's web site shows a photo of the Baroness Phillipine de Rothschild and below that an image represented as Rothschild's family. This screen capture was taken from a page that was taken down after we emailed questions for this article.

Some of the many stock photos of the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild

Google search indicating that the image from Ignace Rothschild's web site is not his "Rothschild-fam" as indicated. This image -- of a Vanity Fair photoshoot of period costumes is not of Rothschilds at all. It was on a web page taken down after WII contacted him about this article. Click to see one of the sites with this image on it.

NO CONNECTION, SAYS OPUS ONE

Wine Industry Insight contacted Opus One to inquire about Ignace Rothschild’s implied and explicit connections with Opus One and its half-owner, the Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.

Stock photo images of her, Opus One and the Rothschild family are sprinkled about Ignace Rothschild’s web site in ways that imply a connection.

To the left of this paragraph is an excerpt from a web page that disappeared from Rothschild’s site after we first contacted him via email.

These photos, available on the web, are used in ways that imply a familial connection.

And the vineyard image in the web site header implies an Opus One connection as do photos on other pages.

A high-ranking Opus One source said that despite their intense familiarity with the Rothschild family,  they had never heard of Ignace Rothschild or Jean-Pierre or any of the other aliases.

Further, the source told Wine Industry Insight that he was concerned about the use of the Opus One brand in Opusphere and said it would be referred to the company’s trademark attorneys.