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On the Town: Noted attorney brings color to Oakmont League; YMCA ballroom dance lessons

February 04, 2014|By Ruth Sowby
  • Joining attorney Mark Geragos (left) at the Oakmont Country Club are Carolyn Beaton and son R.J. Beaton.
Joining attorney Mark Geragos (left) at the Oakmont Country… (Photo by Ruth Sowby )

This year, the Oakmont League of Glendale celebrates 75 years of service to the community.

The first event in the group's Diamond Jubilee year was a recent dinner meeting at the Oakmont Country Club. These gals can never be accused of inviting staid guest speakers. Quite the opposite. Some 60 members and guests gave their full attention to the sometimes controversial, always colorful, criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos.

Geragos is known for defending such well-known clients as superstar Michael Jackson, actress Winona Ryder and politician Gary Condit. His book "Mistrial, An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works" hit the best-seller lists.

But at this event, there was a local connection. Glendale resident Glady Kabateck's parish priest married Geragos' parents in 1950 in Fresno. She and husband, Jack Kabateck, sat front-row, center as Geragos described his relationship with the Kabateck family. Their attorney son, Brian, gets into the act, having worked on some of Geragos' cases over the years.

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A connection to Glendale's Armenian population is Geragos' family name, shortened from "Geragosian" at Ellis Island at the turn of the century.

Utilizing his legal background, Geragos won a case involving the descendants of Armenian genocide victims.

In the early 1900s, insurance companies marketed to Christians in Turkey, a primarily Muslim country. Geragos was able to successfully sue two insurance companies for policies issued in another country over insurance premiums that had stopped being paid in "occupied Armenia" with its many small villages.

This practice "wiped out" many Armenians, according to Geragos.

Geragos' cases have earned him guest spots on TV and radio shows.

"The most dangerous place in America is between me and a mic," Geragos said. The garrulous attorney has appeared on NBC's "Today" show, ABC's "Good Morning America" and the 20th anniversary of "The Larry King Show" on CNN.

A La Cañada Flintridge resident, Geragos began his working career with three paper routes and was a singing waiter at Emily's, now the Parkway Grill in Pasadena. After those humble beginnings, Geragos started a short-lived career in concert production. But it was law that called to him.

Geragos is active in the local chapter of the Armenian Committee of America and has been praised by the National Armenian Committee of America.

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