Oops, this is not good for the biglaw firm. Attorney Seawright is looking at potential life in prison if convicted.
Jon Seawright, a partner whose practice focuses on health care and tax law and who also happens to be on the firm’s board of directors, and Brent Alexander, a senior public policy advisor and a nonlawyer lobbyist at Baker Donelson, operate an investment company, Alexander Seawright LLC, apart from their work at the law firm. That LLC has been revealed to have financial ties to Arthur Lamar Adams and his company Madison Timber Properties LLC.
According to prosecutors, Adams operated a “sophisticated Ponzi scheme” and was able to fraudulently attract more than $100 million in investments, and that apparently includes receiving money from Alexander Seawright LLC. Adams has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and faces up to 20 years in prison.
An attorney for Alexander and Seawright, David Kaufman of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, said the pair were victims of the fraud:
“Brent and Jon are members along with others of Alexander Seawright Timber Fund I LLC. The LLC loaned money to Lamar Adams’ timber business, which turned out to be a complex financial fraud,” Kaufman said in a statement. “Brent and Jon were not aware of this fraud, and are profoundly concerned for the people who loaned money with them through the LLC.”
A firm spokesperson did its best to distance Baker Donelson from the entire affair, making clear while the firm’s name gets bandied about in articles like this one, the mess is “not a firm matter”:
“The U.S. attorney claimed Lamar Adams and Madison Timber Properties LLC created a ‘sophisticated Ponzi scheme’ with ‘false timber deeds,’ forged notarized signatures and many other false documents,” the firm’s statement said. “Baker Donelson did not represent Lamar Adams, Madison Timber Properties LLC, Alexander Seawright Timber Fund I LLC, or any lender or investor in her or his decision. While this matter is related to the personal business of employees of the firm, it is not a firm matter.”
Source: Above The Law