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Attorney who sued Bank of America says Sink had nothing to do with securities fines

by Jeff Ostrowski | October 6th, 2010

Tampa attorney Jonathan Alpert takes full credit for turning the feds onto a NationsBank securities fraud in the 1990s, a case that led to a class action settlement and a $6.75 million fine for the bank.

But Alpert says Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink had no role in the scheme, which led investors to believe they were buying no-risk savings accounts rather than mutual funds and stocks that could and did lose value. In a phone interview this afternoon, Alpert blasted Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott for campaign ads blaming Sink for the fines.

“Those orders came down from (NationsBank’s headquarters in) Charlotte, not from her,” Alpert said. “It’s not a legitimate issue, because she didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Sink became the head of NationsBank Florida in late 1993. The misleading securities sales occurred from early 1993 to early 1995, Alpert said.

“I had no authority or control at all,” Sink told the Post’s editorial board this morning. “In fact, it was not legal for me as a traditional commercial banker to have any authority or control over that separate subsidiary company.”

Scott’s campaign isn’t backing down from its accusations. Scott spokesman Brian Burgess noted that Alpert is a registered Democrat who has donated to the campaigns of Bill Nelson, Hillary Clinton and other Dems. And Burgess noted that NationsBank tellers marketed the securities.

“Her company was fined precisely because NationsBank blurred the lines between the banking and investment operations,” Burgess said. “As Alex Sink says, it wasn’t legal for them to be involved, but they were.”

But Alpert, who blew the whistle on the practice and won a class action settlement for investors, said Scott’s ad is a lie. (Alpert said he voted for Sink by absentee ballot.)

“The only word is despicable, because the truth will never catch up to a TV commercial,” Alpert said.

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5 Responses to “Attorney who sued Bank of America says Sink had nothing to do with securities fines”

  1. Martin McHugh Says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I’m not surprised that Rick Scott would pervert a 15 year old issue attributed to another division to try and make Alex Sink look as crooked as he is.

    What about Rick Scott’s current and past medicare fraud issues? His company, Solantic, is currently under investigation.

  2. Unreal Says:

    Scott is attacking Sink as a way to defend himself. Clearly someone at the top of a big entity does not always know everything going on below them, particularly where you have many divisions. Sink’s denial of knowledge, or lack of culpability is the same argument Scott has been using. Kind of justifies his statements when he applies it to her.
    Either way a negative campaign is not telling the public what the candidates WILL DO and this voter is sick and tired of it.
    Last night I watched the Senate debate, and while i won’t be voting for Meek, he was direct and stayed on message and did not stoop to the level of Charlie or Rubio.
    Like the Governor and AG race, I can’t see a candidate that i can vote for or accept. What a tragedy politics is.

  3. Fred Guber Says:

    Thank you for a n enlightening interview.As someone who was confused by the negative add campaigns, I now am a supporter of Alex Sink. Could I suggest that the interview be published for the benefit of other voters. Naturally you would also publish Rick Scott’s interview if he is courageous enough to reply to your questions

  4. chuck causey Says:

    if you hold Rick Scott responsible for the actions of people in his company, WHY DO YOU NOT USE THE SAME STANDARDS WITH ALEX SINK

  5. Lamar Says:

    I love how a trial lawyer is now trying to get in the good graces of a Democratic politician. Nicely played, Alpert.

    The truth is that Sink’s campaign made regulatory oversight a central theme of the campaign. “Rick Scott’s company defrauded Medicare” she said…over and over. The worst she can honestly say is that Rick Scott didn’t properly oversee his company, and that lack of oversight allowed the fraud to occur.

    But that’s the problem with Sink as well. The “orders came from Charlotte” for Alex Sink’s employees to contribute to fraud (at least the SEC determined that her branch employees contributed to fraud). That sounds a lot like the same “lack of oversight” problem Sink thought was such a silver bullet. I’m sorry, Alpert, but your defense of Alex Sink is a disingenuous deflection of the real issue.

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