Estate of Layton Stuart Still in Dispute Across Two Courtrooms

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 16, 2013 12:00 am  

The legal tug of war over assets associated with the late owner of Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust continues in state and federal court.

In Pulaski County Circuit Court, One Bank continues to press its argument that Richard Torti can’t simultaneously be the executor of Layton “Scooter” Stuart’s estate and the trustee of the Stuart Family 1997 Trust.

The family trust was the designated recipient of his life insurance payout that topped $17 million. Stuart’s wife, son and daughter are the sole beneficiaries of the trust.

The bank also questions whether the trust is valid and claims it is a sham because Stuart exercised full dominion and control over its assets in violation of the trust agreement.

Through its attorneys, One Bank goes on to question whether insurance proceeds can be exempt from creditors, as is usual, because of Stuart’s allegedly fraudulent conduct.

The timetable for resolving this dispute is unknown.

While this back-and-forth continues, a decision is expected by the end of the month on Torti’s emergency petition in federal court to release $1.5 million seized by federal agents.

He said the family needs the money to cover the necessities of life and pay legal expenses.

You might recall that Torti argues that the value of the assets seized by the government exceeds its claims against Stuart by at least $4 million.

Torti also is pursuing regulatory approval to exercise control of One Bank’s holding company (One Financial Corp.) on behalf of Stuart’s estate. Exercising control of One Financial Corp. would give Torti legal access to financial information that hasn’t been forthcoming from One Bank.

On top of all of this, talk lingers of some sort of global settlement to resolve the many issues between, the bank, the government and Stuart’s estate and his family’s trust.

The specter of civil-criminal charges against One Bank’s former leadership and associates remains intact but with an equally undetermined timetable.



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