M. David Howell Jr. Estate Probate Case Set To Stretch Into 11th Year

Seeing the late M. David Howell Jr.’s name in the history of One Bank & Trust reminded us to check on his probate case, the one that had its 10th birthday last October.

It’s safe to say that the convoluted case will celebrate its 11th in a few weeks.

Stuart Hankins, the Sherwood lawyer representing the Howell’s estate and its administrator, said he received a letter from the Internal Revenue Service last week requesting “seven categories of documents” that he assured would take some time to collect and remit.

Then he’ll wait for the IRS to rule on whether the estate still owes any taxes. (Hankins thinks not.) How long that will take is anyone’s guess.

But only after the IRS makes its determination can the estate make a final distribution. At last accounting, about $500,000 was left to distribute to 59 approved claimants, but continuing legal fees and any taxes will cut into that.

The claimants have previously received pro-rated shares of about $2 million.

For the kiddies who may not remember: After his banking career fizzled, Howell supported himself in style for several years as an investment guru, paying his investors impressive returns until October 2002. When his business plan, ultimately revealed to be an $84 million Ponzi scheme, began to crumble, he disappeared for several weeks before being found dead of a drug overdose in a Beverly Hills hotel.

Gone but Not Forgotten

Speaking of Howell and One Bank, we’re told that Bob Fellinger was hired as president and CEO in the early days after First American Bancshares was purchased in 1986 and transformed into One Bank.

However, Fellinger’s tenure only lasted a few months.

“You paid way too much, and this is not going to go,” one banking executive recalls Fellinger telling Howell. “He and David didn’t play well together.”