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