Bank of Little Rock Says John Rogers Misused $900K Loan

Bank of Little Rock Says John Rogers Misused $900K Loan
John Rogers

A second bank has raised questions about possible loan fraud in its dealings with North Little Rock sports memorabilia and photo dealer John Rogers.

In a claim filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, Bank of Little Rock alleges that Rogers "intentionally misused" money and defrauded the bank after taking out a $900,000 loan in December 2013.

Rogers took out the loan, which he personally guaranteed, to buy business equipment. The bank says Rogers used the money for another purpose. The bank says the loan is in default with an outstanding balance of $590,833. 

Frederick "Tripp" Wetzel III, attorney for Bank of Little Rock, declined to say what happened to the money. The business equipment was to be used by Sports Cards Plus Inc., which does business as Rogers Photo Archive.

Rogers declined comment.

"Rogers and RPA intentionally represented to Bank of Little Rock at the time of the loan transaction that the proceeds from the loan would be used for the purchase of the collateral," the bank alleges.

The bank, in alleging "fraud and conversion," says Rogers knew that the representations were false.

The two biggest ticket items listed in the "sales order" were 42 computers valued at $476,784 and photo scanning systems for the computers valued at $142,799.

The vendor isn't named by Bank of Little Rock, but the address on the purported sales order matches the Alberty Asset Management office in Beaverton, Oregon. Alberty is an independent registered investment advisory firm. Selling electronics isn't listed among its fee-only services that include retirement planning and wealth management.

The bank learned in March that Rogers didn't buy the equipment and drew up a new financial agreement with substitute collateral to secure the loan: 2.4 million photographs and 15.9 million negatives from the Salt Lake Tribune, San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times and El Paso Times.

This agreement included a personal guarantee of Mac Hogan, an investor who helped bankroll Rogers and his business ventures; and a signature addendum for three officers of John Rogers Partners LLC: president (John Rogers), secretary (Chris Cathey, another investor) and treasurer (Hogan).

But the signature of Rogers appears on all three lines.

In April, the bank filed a security claim on additional collateral held by another Rogers enterprise, Photo Archive Partners LLC of Mount Pleasant, Texas: Oakland Tribune, 700,000, photographs and three million negatives; St. Paul Pioneer Express, one million photographs; New Haven Register, 500,000 photographs; Berkshire Eagle, 70,000 photographs; and Denver Post, 10 million negatives.

Rogers relinquished his voting rights to Mac Hogan and any day-to-day involvement with the businesses after he defaulted last year on a forbearance agreement with First Arkansas Bank & Trust of Jacksonville.

First Arkansas also raised questions about misused loan proceeds after landing a default judgment of more than $14.5 million against Rogers on Dec. 19. The judgment was tied to four business loans.

Rogers assigned his stock ownership in the sports memorabilia and photo archive ventures to his wife, Angelica. That transfer occurred as part of the property settlement in their speedy divorce case. She filed for divorce in August and the petition was granted in October.

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