Scooter Stuart's Tainted Assets Draw More Fire

by George Waldon  on Monday, Sep. 1, 2014 12:00 am  

Ownership of the 14711 Cantrell Road branch has joined the disputes surrounding Scooter Stuart. | (Photo by Jason Burt)

This year’s number of new lawsuits surrounding the controversial business affairs of the late Layton “Scooter” Stuart indicates the rancor is only growing.

The battle over assets seized by the federal government recently escalated with the U.S. Treasury asserting a claim for up to $51.9 million.

The number represents a treble damage claim on $17.3 million that flowed to Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust through the Treasury’s Capital Purchase Program.

As the controlling executive at the bank, Stuart allegedly diverted $6.6 million of the CPP funds to non-capital uses.

About $2.2 million of that allegedly was used by Stuart to “repay” the bank for money he improperly obtained for personal taxes and expenses.

Although $10 million of the CPP funds flowed to One Bank’s capital, Treasury is making its more expansive claim under the False Claims Act.

That Aug. 7 filing in the forfeiture action against Stuart in Little Rock U.S. District Court joins a string of 2014 lawsuits in federal and state court involving his estate.

Stuart was ousted as chairman, president and CEO of One Bank by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Sept. 28, 2012.

He died on March 26, 2013, as federal investigators were building a case of rampant self-dealing by Stuart and others at the bank.

Allegations of criminal conduct extend beyond Stuart to other bank officers as well. The battle over money is the focal point of the various civil actions.

During the past few months, One Bank & Trust opened new fronts in Pulaski County Circuit Court with cases against Stuart’s estate, several of his ventures, the bank’s former chief financial officer, Tom Whitehead, and one of Whitehead’s ventures.

As part of the litigation, One Bank even sued its parent company: OneFinancial Corp., which Stuart allegedly used to aid his self-dealing. The holding company owns the bank, and Stuart owned 99.9 percent of OneFinancial.



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