When Susan Stanford filed for divorce in 2007, her husband was one of Forbes’ richest Americans. Now, of course, he’s known as the perpetrator of the second-most famous Ponzi scheme of the financial crisis and his assets are frozen.
This makes securing a significant divorce settlement difficult, forcing Mrs. Stanford to explore other avenues.
Bloomberg: Susan Stanford, the estranged wife of accused Ponzi scheme mastermind R. Allen Stanford, is suing her former divorce lawyer for failing to tell her of a verbal offer to settle her divorce for $200 million last year.
Susan Stanford wants lawyer Nancy Rommelmann to pay her that amount now for alleged negligence and breach of fiduciary duty for not passing along the offer at a January 2008 hearing. Stanford is asking for “$200 million plus” in damages, interest and attorneys fees in a complaint filed yesterday in state court in Houston, according to the court’s Web site.
“If the plaintiff had been made aware of the substantial sum offered as settlement in her divorce proceedings, she would have readily accepted,” Susan Stanford’s current attorney, Michael P. Mallia, said in the complaint. By the time his client learned of the offer, “the substantial community property assets at issue in her divorce proceedings” had been seized or frozen,” he said.
A responsible attorney should of course always pass on settlement offers to her client, and if Rommelman didn’t do so, well, that’s bad. We wonder, however, why any attorney would fail to tell their client about such an offer. (Divorces can’t be on contingency, so maybe it slipped her mind? Not likely.)
Either way, this one isn’t likely to play well in the court of public opinion. A lot of people lost a lot of money to Stanford, and arguably any of the $200 million Stanford would have received had the settlement occurred would not have really been his to give.
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