Housing Woes Plagued Cash-Strapped Martha Shoffner

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jun. 3, 2013 12:00 am  

Unnamed in the official criminal complaint, mulitple sources point to Steve Stephens as being a part of the bondsmen team who did the most business with former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner.

Before St. Bernard, the two worked at Little Rock’s Apple Tree Investments Inc. When they left Apple Tree in May 2009, their former employer, CEO Steve Kiefer, made a pitch to Autumn Sanson in an unsuccessful effort to retain the Treasurer’s Office as a client.

“I appreciate your quick response to my phone call and hope that we can do business in the future,” Kiefer wrote in an email dated May 7, 2009. “If not, I wish you and your family well in everything you do. You have been a straightforward, honest person when dealing with us, and I appreciate that. If Martha decides to continue our business relationship, you will deal directly with me from now on. I won’t allow anyone else to handle the account.”

(At the time, Kiefer was under investigation by the Arkansas Securities Department for fraudulent mutual fund sales practices, and in December 2009 he would agree to a $50,000 fine and a 14-day suspension of his broker’s license.)

The careers of Steve and Steele Stephens meandered separately through the investment community until spring 2002. Since then, the two have worked at the same firms.

Steve Stephens is no longer a bond broker as of April 20, according to security records. Steele Stephens resigned from St. Bernard on May 21, the same day Shoffner resigned from office. The Treasurer’s Office announced it would no longer do business with St. Bernard on May 22.

Shoffner’s resignation made a Little Rock home unnecessary. Her arrest, job loss and need to pay for a legal defense have made Shoffner’s Newport home an asset to liquidate.

Jackson County sources report that her 1.6-acre residential spread west of the Newport Country Club is being shopped around for a buyer.



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