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DivorceCORP - behind the scenes

A little history on the Divorce of multimillionaire Joe Sorge.

I worked with the original director on the documentary, "Divorce Corp" for one reason:  To feature the section on the high-tech devices that would end family related murders.  That's it.
But it turned out Joe didn't want feature the solution.  So that part, as well as my interview of the legislator who thought it was a great idea, was cut.  See two news clips on that, here.
 Also: creative editing.  My part describing frustration in getting the police to take family crimes seriously, was edited to look as if I was on the side of the father's rights groups complaining about "false allegations."

Actually, my take was the same as John Nazarian.

The short title for John Nazarian is “security expert.”

Morphing from a private investigator base, John additionally specializes in rectifying dirty deeds stemming from business and love partnership failures. Like most failures; breakdowns and breakups are often precipitated by a single, or series of multiple, dirty deeds. In that regard, John is a dirty deed, excavator. A kind of growly, happy warrior.  Not because John loves righting wrongs.  He does.  But mostly, John likes doing what he does for people who don’t mind writing big checks.

Because John’s a “big check” kind of guy.


I met John Nazarian by telephone after seeing a “rough cut” of DivorceCORP.  While not happy with the turn the movie made (including eliminating the high-tech solution to family crimes and false allegations, after James Scurlock departed as director a year prior), I was pleased the camera focused on John, who essentially said in ways more colorful than anyone, everything documented on Familylawcourts.com for the past 13 years.  At least until arriving at the big picture, solution: Endfamilycourt.com  (Feel free to make a donation, here.)

Seeing the rough cut, I noticed the focus began to narrow towards John.  Joe Sorge recognized what every movie must have:  The mysterious “It” factor.  John has the “It” factor, and likely a high “Q” score.

So I called John to tell him I was happy to see his contribution towards the film. (This was a year after shooting. I think he’d forgotten about it.)  John asked what I did (Personal public relations, sometimes for attorneys, sometimes for litigants) and we had a nice, brief conversation comparing notes. John was gracious.  After a few minutes we said good-bye and went our separate but equal, ways.

It’s Showtime!

However, when DivorceCORP debuted it was clear John’s role had been further expanded.  John became the delightful crux between scorched litigants and the suits and robes trying to explain away their high fees and election funding sources as reasonable.

I appreciated John’s star turn, including his delivery of what had to be the best line of the movie.  Artfully, and with just the tiniest wisp of a whine to explain his high fees, John said,

“I need to put gas in my Rolls Royce”


and drew the biggest laugh of the night.  Joe Sorge was smart to use John’s short, humorous takes to capture the divorce and custody industry in a nutshell -- and in full.  (Which made me think my time would have been better spent honing my comedic skills instead of the 13 years documenting the insanity of family court, here.)

 It became a dark and stormy night.


Then, a dark, strange, turn.  John began racking up death threats.  The threats underscored how truly crazed some people become during breakups. Business or marital.  However, the threats also reinforced of course, the need for guys exactly like John. 

I mean, have you seen John?   



(The above photograph was taken of John at one of his favorite places in the world: where America buries her war heroes.)

It’s hard to imagine anyone dumb enough to make a death threat against a tank.  Much less a tank equipped with high-tech everything, and an army of police friends.

That’s just felony stupid.

Much like family court.

The delicious secret – come on – you know there had to be one

After the initial wattage, John and I chatted and discovered mutual friends.  This allowed me a peek over the wall and into the private life of John Nazarian. 

Inside the walled garden lives in full measure, the straightforward life of a complicated man.  Behind the gruff, underneath the scowls, lives a cook…and gardener!  A man who fiercely protects family and friends.  Like so many people who previously worked in law enforcement (myself included) John understands the entire, sometimes ugly, face of human nature. I suppose it helps that while in law enforcement in San Francisco, John first came out as gay, just prior to the AIDS epidemic. 

However, after John lost so many of his friends he had to get out.  Literally. For his emotional well-being John recognized he had to leave San Francisco.  So John left what was left of his friends, and moved to LA.  LA - where the ratio of private investigators is about equal to grains of sand on Venice Beach.   However, not all private investigators are created equally.

Or put another way, in a field of private investigators on the beach; look up.  That's John sitting in the lifeguard's chair.

Because it follows that those who understand human nature are much better equipped to right wrongs. That’s the reason behind John's success.  Well, that and a great sense of humor.

Having seen the dark side from early on (John was adopted) John limits his emotional investments to his very tight circle of family, employees, and trusted friends. 

Best for last!

John is also an expert in something any number of his clients lack.  Love. 

The proof is Hollywood delicious, and comes with a twist.  Actually, a great twist.

Both of John’s adopted sons (did I mention John adopted the boys decades before...oh, everyone?)

Back to the twist. While John has earned his wealth from addressing the hateful acts of others, the reality is, he lives in love.

Now for the twist. John's adopted boys grew up to be fine men, and John is now a grandfather to two more little boys. 

Both grandsons are named after him.

How many parents can make that claim?