Mr. Benink was admitted to the California Bar in 1997. He received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst in 1992 and a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degree from the University of San Diego in 1996.
In 1997, Mr. Benink began working in the Enforcement Division of the Department of Corporations (now the Department of Business Oversight), California’s securities, commodities, franchise, and finance and mortgage lender regulator. He investigated dozens of illegal stock offerings, private placement frauds, illicit brokerage practices, and Ponzi schemes; and brought civil and administrative actions against the perpetrators. He also worked closely with criminal agencies in their prosecution of violators of laws under the jurisdiction of the Department.
In 2002, Mr. Benink joined Krause & Kalfayan as an associate and in 2005, became a partner in the firm, which was renamed Krause Kalfayan Benink & Slavens, LLP (KKBS) and then renamed to Benink & Slavens, LLP in 2019. He represents consumers, businesses and shareholders in securities, consumer fraud, business litigation, in actions in state and federal court. He has prosecuted consumer and business litigation cases against Wells Fargo Bank, Sprint, Ticketmaster, Fleet Bank, and Apple Computer. He has represented hedge funds in securities actions.
Mr. Benink is the author of The Model State Commodities Code, A Regulator's Perspective, published in the Law Enforcement Reporter, Winter 1999. He has testified as a securities expert witness for the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and has been appointed by the California Superior Court as a receiver in five securities/investment fraud cases (three civil and two criminal). As a receiver he has seized and liquidated assets, including bank accounts, securities accounts, vehicles, and real estate; initiated adversary proceedings against third parties on behalf of the receivership estate; developed and implemented victim distribution plans; and prepared reports to the appointing courts. In December 2018, the San Mateo Superior Court (Judge Ayoob) appointed him a receiver, pursuant to Penal Code section 186.1,1 in People v. Gamos, et. al., Case No. 18SF014404AB.
Mr. Benink is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association, the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, a graduate of LEAD San Diego, and former President of the Old Mission Rotary Club (2009 - 2010) and current member. He is a former member and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the George G. Glenner Alzheimer’s Centers, Inc. He has been a contributor to the Trial Bar News, a publication of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego. He is a member of the Art Pratt Foundation which funds charitable causes throughout San Diego county. He was designated a Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine in each year, 2014 - 2019.
Mr. Benink acted as lead counsel in Shames v. City of San Diego, (San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIC 831539), a class action that recovered $40 million for residential sewer customers for violations of Proposition 218. He has also prosecuted numerous class actions cases, including but not limited to: Soto v. STI Prepaid, LLC (San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIC868083) (violation of prepaid calling card statute); Neborsky v. Redem Technologies, Inc. (San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIC GIC804280) (securities fraud); Milne v. Ticket Innovations, Inc. (breach of fiduciary duty to shareholders) (Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC 311258); Ruffalo v. En Pointe Technologies, Inc. (United States District Court, Southern District of California, Case No. 3:01-cv-00205 BEN-AJB) (federal securities fraud); Rivera v. Sprint International Communications Corp., (San Diego Superior Court, Case No. GIC799868) (international phone over charges); and Horn v. Commercial Lending Capital, Inc., (Riverside Superior Court, Case No. RIC10019819) (illegal lender advance fees).
His focus today is in the representing ratepayers and taxpayers in cases alleging illegal utility fees and taxes imposed by local government in violation of Proposition 218 and Proposition 26 and has presented Proposition 218 to civic organizations. Some of the cases he has prosecuted and/or is currently prosecuting include:
Eck v. City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BC557082 (co-lead counsel in class action securing $52 million in electric ratepayer refunds and $243 million in injunctive relief);
Milo v. Coachella Valley Water District, Riverside Superior Court, Case No. PSC1600403 (class action obtaining $2 million in water fee credits based on violations of Prop. 218);
Glendale Coalition for Better Government v. City of Glendale, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BS153253 (obtained writ of mandate re: City’s water rate structure for violation of Prop. 218);
Hobbs, et al. v. Modesto, Stanislaus Superior Court Case No. 2019186 (class action alleging illegal taxes disguised as electric rates);
Mahon, et al. v. City of San Diego, San Diego Superior Court Case No. 37-2015-00014540 (KKBS appointed co-lead counsel in class action alleging illegal taxes disguised as electric franchise fees);
Lejins v. City of Long Beach, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS165724 (settlement providing $12 million in return of transfers of water and sewer fees from City’s general fund);
Shames v. City of San Diego, San Diego Superior Court Case No. (settlement restoring $40 million to residential sewer rate payers);
Lopez-Burton v. Town of Apple Valley, San Bernardino Superior Court Case No. DIVDS1725027 (challenging solid waste fees that embed "franchise fees");
Rooney v. City of Pasadena, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS145352 (challenging transfers to City’s general fund (settlement restoring $7.2 million));
Moreno v. City of Riverside, Riverside Superior Court Case No. RCI 1210249 (challenging water fee transfers to City’s general fund (settlement restoring $10 million));
Spencer v. City of Burbank, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BS145021 (challenging transfers to City’s general fund (settlement restoring $1.5 million));
Jackson, et al. v. City of Lincoln, Placer County Superior Court, Case No. SCV0039384 (settlement restoring over $1 million to water rate customers);
Spencer v. City of Burbank, Los Angeles Superior Court, Case No. BS162779 (obtained writ of mandate ordering City to cease imposition of 6.5% surcharge embedded in electric rates);
Sacramento Taxpayers Assoc. v. Carmichael Park District, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 2014-80001869 (challenging legality of property assessments);
Monroe v. City of Sacramento, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 2018-00243701 (challenging property and business improvement district assessments);
Horizon Capital Investments, et al. v. City of Sacramento, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 2017-80002661 (obtained ruling invalidating Mello-Roos special tax to fund street car operations); and
Pearson v. Rodeo Hercules Fire Protection Dist., Contra Costa Superior Court Case No. MSN14-1137 (challenging legality of fire assessments).