Francis Marion Allegra, mineral collector, author and jurist, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 14, 1957, the son of Mary and Frank Allegra. Mary worked as a manager for Hough Bakeries, and prior to having children she worked at the Federal Reserve Bank. Frank Allegra, worked as a traffic manager in a paper and box manufacturing company for 50 years, and is also a florist and an artist.
Fran first became interested in minerals around the age of eight. He had a Mattel rock-polishing kit which he used feverishly, and his father would drive him out to North Olmsted (15 miles or so) to a small mineral shop where he acquired his first specimens. He also bought specimens from Lee Lapidary on the west side and Fred Harvey's shop in Terminal Tower. He soon became a regular visitor to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, studying the minerals on display.
Fran graduated from St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, in 1974, then went on to study Geology at Case Western Reserve University before earning a degree in Philosophy from Borromeo College of Ohio in 1978. He received his Doctor of Law (magna cum laude) from Cleveland-Marshall Law School at Cleveland State University in 1981. Following graduation, he served as a law clerk to Chief Trial Judge Philip R. Miller of the U.S. Court of Claims from 1981 to 1982.
For the next two years he worked as an associate at the Cleveland law firm of Squire, Sanders and Dempsey, where he specialized in tax and bond work. In 1984, he joined the Appellate Section of the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, and for the next ten years he was an appellate litigator, handling many of the Tax Division's most complex cases in Federal courts of appeals throughout the country. During this period he steadily rose through the Tax Division's ranks, becoming first a Special Assistant to the Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division and then Counselor to the Assistant Attorney General of the Tax Division.
In 1994, Fran was appointed Counselor to the Associate Attorney General (the third-highest-ranking official at the Justice Department). Shortly thereafter, he was appointed Deputy Associate Attorney General. In the latter role, he worked with the Tax and Antitrust Divisions, as well as with the National Economic and Domestic Policy Councils at the White House.
On October 22, 1998, at the age of forty-one, Fran Allegra was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims. Over his judicial career, he issued more than 250 published opinions, on topics ranging from tax issues to government contracts, intellectual property, takings, and military and civilian employment. From 2003 through 2010, Judge Allegra was a member of the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Judge Allegra was an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Law Center, where he taught Litigation with the Federal Government and a seminar on sovereign immunity. In 2012, Georgetown awarded him the Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award, which is given annually to an adjunct professor who has made an extraordinary contribution to the Law Center. Judge Allegra was also a frequent lecturer at the Federal Judicial Center programs and at other programs involving intellectual property, taxes, government contracts and the use of technology in judging. He is considered an expert on issues involving electronic discovery.
In the Fall of 2013, Judge Allegra co-authored (with Daniel B. Garrie) Plugged in: Guidebook to Software and the Law.
Fran loved all minerals, but quickly realized that it was impractical to pursue every species. So, in the mid-1990s, he decided to specialize in the minerals of Dalnegorsk, Russia as his core suite (several dozen specimens). He also added occasional USA classics (amazonite from Colorado, rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home mine, pyromorphite from the Bunker Hill mine, etc.). One of his prize specimens was a clear fluorite from Dalnegorsk that he spent a week negotiating for at the old Executive Inn Show in 1998 or thereabouts -- It remains in his collection today. He enjoyed visiting and going deep underground at the Bunker Hill mine with Bob Hopper (the mine owner) a few years ago, and came away with a beautiful pyromorphite which he purchased in Bob's office. Fran's mineral collection today consists mostly of well-chosen cabinet specimens of display quality.
Fran wrote a column—"Legal Nuggets"—for the Mineralogical Record, in which he brought his long experience to bear on legal matters involving minerals, mineral collecting and mineral dealing. Fran became the go-to guy for legal advice in the field of minerals as collectibles, and he gave an authoritative talk on the subject at the first Dallas Mineral Collectors Symposium.
Fran married Regina Esposito in 1996 and has two children, Domenic 16, and Vincent 14. The boys have followed Fran's love of minerals and have a small collection of their own.
Fran passed away on August 27, 2015.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2017)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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