JACKSON — A Nevada man filed a civil complaint against the Bank of Jackson Hole, accusing the bank of fraud and negligence, but the bank says the case is without merit.
Richard Friedman, the trustee of the “Jackson Hole Bank Fraud Litigation Trust,” said the bank made a false financial claim in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case originally filed by Robert Lane in April 2011. Lane was living in Wyoming at the time of the bankruptcy filing and has also lived in Arizona, according to court documents.
At issue are millions in bankruptcy settlements to the Bank of Jackson Hole and its attorneys. The bank had entered into a $15 million line of credit agreement in March 2007 with the Boulder Investment Trust. Lane and his family are beneficiaries of Boulder, which is also the majority owner of Windriver Corp. of WY LLC, a Delaware company.
“This alleged false claim illegally subjected the Boulder Investment Trust’s and Windriver’s liabilities and assets to the bankruptcy procedure,” Friedman wrote in the complaint, filed in June in the U.S. District Court of Nevada.
“We believe that this case represents an extreme example of greed by a bank and attorneys, and we intend to fully prosecute the case to see that justice is done,” Friedman said.
He demanded a jury trial in the case.
But the court ruled in July that Friedman can’t represent the trust because he isn’t a licensed attorney.
“Plaintiff is advised that a trust cannot represent itself and must be represented by an attorney,” U.S. Magistrate Judge C.W. Hoffman Jr. wrote.
In a motion to dismiss the defendants said filing such a case without licensed representation is a crime.
“It was not my intent to violate federal or state statute or to practice law without a license,” Friedman wrote in his response.
Friedman then asked the court to dismiss the case without prejudice so he could refile it “in full compliance with the applicable law.”
In the motion to dismiss the defendants cite half a dozen reasons as to why the court should toss the complaint.
“This case is the latest of Lane’s repeated attempts — in multiple fora throughout the country — to collaterally attack final non-appealable orders entered over six years ago,” the motion states. “Lane has been sanctioned repeatedly and sent to prison for his litigation conduct, and every single one of his successive bites at the litigation apple has been dismissed. This case fares no better.”
Friedman said that as a result of the bank’s “alleged false claim,” the beneficiaries of the Boulder Investment Trust, including a 66-year-old man living on Social Security and a disabled 20-year-old, were damaged by $13,039,656.02.
The defendants countered that Lane “tried mightily” to hide assets from creditors, including luxury homes in Jackson and Montecito, California; securities; millions of dollars in gold and silver; and art and wine collections. Some of the assets were held by Windriver Corp.