Friday, August 13, 2010

Bishop Sigillito, Low on Funds, Represents Himself in RICO Suit as Judge Bows Out

Posted By on Fri, Aug 13, 2010 at 10:25 AM

click to enlarge Sparks are flyin' in the civil case vs. Sigillito! - IMAGE VIA
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  • Sparks are flyin' in the civil case vs. Sigillito!
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.

Sigillito 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:
"the 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.  

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