Sarasota County to Receive 23.75 Million in Securities Lending Lawsuit

SARASOTA, Fla.--()--Wells Fargo has agreed to pay Sarasota County $23.75 million to settle claims that its predecessor, Wachovia Bank, mismanaged the county’s securities lending portfolio in 2007-2008. Sarasota County filed suit in 2010, alleging that Wachovia was negligent when it invested county funds in Lehman Brothers bonds and a complex “collateralized debt obligation” issued by Altius Funding. Wells Fargo assumed the liabilities Wachovia when that bank came close to failing in the midst of the financial crisis that peaked in late 2008.

“I think this is a very good settlement. The settlement resolves the litigation and brings in almost $24 million for the citizens of Sarasota County.”

The county’s lawsuit was initiated by Karen Rushing who, as Clerk of Court and Comptroller of Sarasota County, contracted with Wachovia in 2006 to enhance the performance of the county’s working capital. She said, “I think this is a very good settlement. The settlement resolves the litigation and brings in almost $24 million for the citizens of Sarasota County.” Rushing alleged that Wachovia failed to follow the county’s extremely conservative investment guidelines when it invested in Lehman and Altius. Wells Fargo denied those allegations. The county was represented in the two and one-half year lawsuit by lead counsel Drew Clayton, a Sarasota-based attorney, and co-counsel, Rick Elbrecht, who is deputy county attorney for Sarasota.

The county’s lawsuit was scheduled for a trial in federal court in December, 2012. In March, 2012, the City of St. Petersburg succeeded in persuading a jury in Tampa to find Wachovia acted improperly when the city lost $10 million in Lehman Brothers bonds. That case is presently being appealed by the bank.

About the Clayton Law Firm, P.A.

The Clayton Law Firm, P.A. ("Clayton Law") was established in 1996 by W. Andrew "Drew" Clayton, Jr. in Sarasota, Florida for the purpose of concentrating its practice in the representation of aggrieved investors, resolving business disputes, and periodically engaging in probate and trust-related litigation. Clayton Law is a partner in a partnership of professional associations known as "Johnson, Browning & Clayton."

Clayton Law concentrates its practice in the representation of investors who have disputes with brokerage firms, investment advisors, and issuers of securities. Investment disputes are often the subject of FINRA securities arbitration proceedings, involve claims of fraud, negligence and unsuitable investment recommendations arising from the recommendation of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, options, and other securities. The law firm is also engaged in business and estate-related litigation and arbitration.

Drew Clayton, who is admitted to practice in Florida, New Jersey and New York is rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and was designated by Thomson Reuters as a Florida “Super Lawyer” in 2012. Both of these honors are a result of independent surveys of the bar and judiciary. Mr. Clayton is also certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a circuit civil court mediator, and is available to help attorneys and others to settle their disputes.

The Clayton Law Firm website is located at


The Clayton Law Firm, P.A.
Drew Clayton, 941-951-0707