MIAMI — The attorneys at Carlton
Fields Jorden Burt find themselves being sued by FT Consultants, the
liquidators for Rural International Bank, a failed bank in the Bahamas.
Rural International is active in the
Bahamas with an office in Sandyport. When the bank failed, Maria
Ferrere and Alison Treco of FT Consultants were appointed to liquidate the company by the Florida Supreme Court.
International Bank Limited v. Carlton Fields Jorden Burt PA et al., filed in the U.S.
District Court for the Southern District of Florida last May, alleges that Carlton Fields Jorden Burt and attorney Robert B.
Macaulay committed “legal malpractice” when they were representing the bank.
Consultants alleges that Carlton Fields Jorden Burt billed Rural
International Bank fees in excess of $1 million for work that was
actually done for others. The company also claims that Carlton Fields Jorden
Burt had advised Key Financial Investment Group, which subsequently
borrowed $13 million from Rural International Bank — money that
the firm has yet to repay.
As a result, FT Consultants has filed a
separate suit against Key Financial Investment Group and the company
that has since purchased it, Geofinance Ltd.
pursue wherever they can to try and get funds back into the entity
they are liquidating,” Robert J. Angerer Jr., an attorney at
Igler-Pearlman, P.A., told the Florida Record.
liquidation cases, according to Angerer, it is a standard practice
for the liquidator to review all of the expenses involved and assess
which ones may be able to be recuperated.
The case is complicated
by what FT Consultants alleges is Carlton Fields Jorden Burt's
conflict of interest in its representation of Rural International
while also providing advice and representation to Geofinance.
December 2015, Macaulay drafted and sent a letter to Rural
International Bank’s legal counsel in the United States. In the
letter, he outlines why he thinks the liquidators are making the wrong
decision in attempting to reclaim money from his firm. This letter
has become one of the arguments that FT Consultants has used against
Macaulay because he copied the counsel for Geofinance on it.
its part, Carlton Fields Jorden Burt has requested that the case be
dropped citing its belief that no harm had been done to Rural
International as well as a failure to show that any work the law firm
produced was below standard.
“In what I could see, they (Rural
International Bank) paid so much to the law firm, and there are
questions as to what those funds were for, so they must feel like
there is a case to get some of that money back,” Angerer
“It’s their fiduciary responsibility,” he said.
International Bank is owned by the Brazilian banking group Banco
Rural. It was placed into liquidation in 2013 amid a political
David P. Ackerman, Scott J. Link and E. Raul Novoa Jr. of
Ackerman Link and Sartory P.A. are representing Carlton Fields Jorden
Burt, according to www.law360.com.