Clayton attorney and American Anglican bishop Marty Sigillito stands
accused of running a $45 million Ponzi scheme that fleeced both regular Joes
and members of the St. Louis Racquet Club. He's currently
under federal investigation. See last week's feature, "White Collar Crime."
Marty Sigillito is attempting to fight off his accusers in federal civil court, but he'll have to do it solo AND in front of a different judge.
Yesterday, the honorable Donald J. Stohr recused himself
from hearing the matter any further, without giving specifics (Daily RFT
suspects it had something to do with his colleague, judge Henry Autrey
, whose clerk happens to be married to Sigillito.)
As for the bishop, he'll be going it alone henceforth because, according to a filing
from his erstwhile attorneys, David Helfrey
and Doug Roller
Mr. Sigillito does not have sufficient funds to pay [us] for the work already done on his behalf nor for future representation.
Sigillito's first foray onto the battlefield was a motion
to at least
get the allegations against him clarified -- after all, he wrote, the
complaint contains various "misstatements" and alleges he was behind
hundreds of phone calls, faxes, e-mails and packages but doesn't specify
any dates or recipients.
"It is virtually impossible to answer
the complaint the way it is drafted," Sigillito writes, adding that he
only "has access to sporadic loan agreements" because the FBI seized all
his files back in May.
He's also moved
to get the case thrown
out for lack of jurisdiction. Why? Backstory: the main beef of the
plaintiffs is that Sigillito arranged for them to loan money to a
real-estate developer in the U.K. Now, the American plaintiffs aren't
getting paid back and it's unclear where the money all went.
is arguing that the plaintiffs haven't even submitted any of the loan
agreements into evidence (which is true). The only loan agreement to
which he has access clearly states that any dispute arising from the
transaction would need to be handled by English courts. Because his
accusers haven't proved the rest are any different, he argues, the case
should get thrown out or moved across the Atlantic.
Here's an excerpt from the incredulous response
filed by opposing lawyer, Sebastian Rucci
complaint against Martin Sigillito is not a breach of contract from
England, but about racketeering in the United States....To suggest that
the American victims must proceed in foreign soil is simply absurd.
Under this logic, every defrauder could simply create some connection to
a foreign country and deny the American victims their rights to
compensation in an American court. It's [a] wonder that Martin Sigillito
did not offer to sell land in Cuba in order to deny the plaintiffs any
rights at all."
Rucci has further moved to depose Martin Sigillito. We'll see what the next judge decides to do about all this.