Sterne Agee, a Birmingham, Alabama-based broker-dealer, is suing ex-CEO James Holbrook for using company assets for personal use.
“Sterne Agee has filed lawsuits to recover property, compensation, damages and costs related to Mr. Holbrook’s actions,” the company said in a statement provided to ThinkAdvisor late Thursday. “Mr. Holbrook not only failed to observe proper governance standards, but also failed to disclose to the board his interest in transactions at issue in the lawsuits.”
The lawsuit – which was filed earlier this month in Jefferson County, Alabama, claims Holbrook used a corporate credit card for spending on fishing boats, a yacht, a vacation condo and ownership in a luxury ski chalet, and that he relied on company assets to join a marina and golf club in Key Largo, Florida, according to Bloomberg News.
“This action addresses Mr. Holbrook’s misappropriation of corporate assets for his own personal benefit, and follows both federal and internal investigations into Mr. Holbrook’s use of holding company assets,” Sterne Agee added.
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According to the complaint, Holbrook did not employ any assets that belonged to Sterne Agee clients or vendors.
FINRA Broker-Check records indicate that in late May, Sterne Agee was notified that Holbrook was being investigated by the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Justice for the possible misuse of holding company assets; the company then terminated his employment.