(CN) – Allen Stanford’s wife sued her divorce lawyers for $200 million, claiming they never told her that her husband offered to pay her that much for her share of the community property in January 2008. Susan Stanford says that by the time she heard of the offer, in February this year, her husband’s attorneys had withdrawn it and the SEC had frozen her husband’s accounts as it pursued him for his alleged $7 billion Ponzi scam.
Susan Stanford sued The Law Offices of Nancy Rommelman, and Pavlas, Brown & York, in Harris County Court, Houston.
Stanford says she filed for divorce from her husband, after 34 years of marriage, on Nov. 5, 2007. She retained Rommelman to represent her. She says Rommelman “further engaged” John Pavlas of Pavlas, Brown & York to assist her, “likely as a result of the very large value of the marital estate.”
Stanford says she had “no express contract” with Pavlas, Brown & York, but that Rommelman either had a contract with them, “or they were operating as a joint enterprise.” Stanford says Rommelman’s Houston office “is contained inside” the Pavlas, Brown & York offices.
Stanford says a hearing on temporary orders was conducted in her divorce case in January 2008. “At the hearing, plaintiff was specifically represented by Ms. Rommelman and Mr. Pavlas,” according to the complaint. “During the course of this hearing, Mr. Stanford’s attorney, Bucky Allshouse, made a verbal offer of settlement to Ms. Rommelman and Mr. Pavlas. The offer of settlement was for Mr. Stanford to pay plaintiff $200 million dollars for her share of the community property estate. Plaintiff was not only unaware that such offer was made, but she was never apprised of the offer by either of her attorneys.”
Stanford says that on Feb. 20, 2009, Allshouse sent a letter to Rommelman withdrawing the settlement offer. “Shortly thereafter, plaintiff became aware of the offer, questioned why it was never disclosed, and terminated defendants as her counsel,” the complaint states. “Unfortunately, by the time plaintiff became aware of the offer, the substantial community property/assets at issue in her divorce proceedings were seized and/or frozen by the Securities Exchange Commission.”
Stanford says she if she “had been made aware of the substantial sum offered as settlement in her divorce proceedings, she would have readily accepted. Because she was never afforded such opportunity, much less even told of the offer’s existence, and because all her community property assets are now at the mercy of the SEC, plaintiff has suffered significant damages.”
She demands $200 million, alleging negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. She also wants her legal fees back, and costs. She is represented by Michael Mallie with Vickery, Waldner & Mallia.