Richard Torti Fights Layton Stuart Battle on Two Legal Fronts, County and Federal

by George Waldon  on Monday, Nov. 11, 2013 12:00 am  

Seized assets totaling $18 million linked with former One Bank & Trust CEO Layton “Scooter” Stuart remain in federal hands.

How the cash and cars are distributed among various claimants is still a point of contention, too.

Stuart’s tangled financial affairs have only grown worse since his death seven months ago.

“A lot of people ask me why I got myself into this,” said Richard Torti. “To assure comity, fair play. Scooter Stuart is dead. Bury all of his sins with him, but his family is innocent.”

Complicating matters are allegations that the seized assets are tainted by criminal self-dealing by Stuart.

Torti accepted the charge to look out for the Stuart family’s interests as a trustee and executor.

He is engaged on two legal fronts in Little Rock to exercise his authority in both roles and extricate money from federal authorities for the benefit of Stuart’s wife and two children under the trusts and Stuart’s creditors through the estate.

In Pulaski County Circuit Court, Torti is battling to perform his duties as executor of Stuart’s estate. Jerry Pavlas, Stuart’s replacement CEO at One Bank, signed off on a legal challenge to Torti acting as both trustee of the Stuart family trusts and executor of the estate.

Judge Collins Kilgore will decide whether a conflict of interest does indeed exist as claimed by One Bank.

In U.S. District Court, Torti is battling to claim assets seized by federal authorities. The biggest asset is $17.7 million from a life insurance policy on Stuart.

Federal authorities prevented the payout from flowing to the Stuart family trusts and forced John Hancock Life Insurance Co. to turn the money over to the U.S. government for safekeeping.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest to quit fighting over the money, and let’s sit down at a table and figure out how to make this thing work,” Torti said. “If they don’t want to settle, I guess it’s going to be up to a judge. And even then, any decision probably will be appealed.”



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