Real Estate Agent Sues After Attorney Cleans House

Real Estate Agent Sues After Attorney Cleans House

It looks like Cupid missed his shot between a Little Rock attorney and the business owner with whom he had a personal relationship.

The business owner, Cara Lafferty, and her companies have sued Little Rock attorney Jason A. Stuart, accusing him of improperly withdrawing at least $115,000 that belonged to her companies and breach of fiduciary duty.

Lafferty asked for — and received — a temporary restraining order last week preventing Stuart from keeping or disposing of any of the money he withdrew from Lafferty’s companies, according to the order from Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Tim Fox. A hearing to decide whether to keep the order in place was set for Friday, which was after Whispers went to press.

Stuart filed an entry of appearance in the case last week, saying he will represent himself. The filing also suggests that he will file a counterclaim against Lafferty. But he didn’t return a call or email from Whispers.

The relationship between the two dates back more than a decade. In 2006, Lafferty hired Stuart to do some legal work for her company, Caraco Inc., which is a day care business. Stuart also did legal work for her other companies, which included a laundry and dry cleaning enterprise. And she also owned Four Gables Construction LLC, which buys and sells houses.

Stuart also represented Lafferty in a prenuptial agreement in 2010. But before that marriage, Stuart and Lafferty “developed a personal relationship that included sexual relations,” according to Lafferty’s lawsuit, filed by attorney Teresa Wineland of Little Rock. “Immediately after Lafferty’s wedding ceremony, Stuart declared his love for Lafferty.”

(Lafferty is now being represented by Tré Kitchens of the Brad Hendricks Law Firm in Little Rock.)

Stuart represented Lafferty in her divorce in 2014, and a year later, he moved in with her. Lafferty said that in early 2017 Stuart began taking over the management and operation of some of her businesses, which included adding his name to the companies’ bank account.

The lawsuit didn’t say what caused Lafferty to break up with Stuart last month. But allegedly in retaliation, Stuart, “while continuing to act as an agent of Lafferty’s companies, withdrew at least $115,000 cash from the companies, depleting the bank accounts,” Wineland wrote in the suit. “As Stuart well knows, this left the companies without sufficient funds to pay their obligations, including payroll and taxes.”

According to the suit, Stuart said he’s repaying himself for “undocumened ‘loans’ that he made to the companies.”

Stay tuned.