ELLSWORTH — A Camden law firm representing the Phyllis J. Poor Trust is suing Bar Harbor Trust Services in an 11-count civil complaint alleging, among other accusations, fraud, negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in the handling of Poor’s $6.7-million trust.
An attorney representing the bank said the allegations are “meritless.”
Camden Law attorneys Sarah Gilbert and Christopher Maclean have filed suit in Maine’s Business and Consumer Court in Portland.
“The bank was co-trustee with Kenneth Lindell, who stole millions,” Gilbert said. “The long and short of it is he got convicted.”
Lindell, 54, a former Maine legislator, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for over a dozen counts of securities fraud, evasion of Maine income tax and failure to pay Maine income tax, according to the Portland Press Herald.
“The bank, here, at least from our perspective, is absolutely at fault as well,” Gilbert said.
Bar Harbor Trust Services is a division of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust. Attorney Eric Wycoff of Pierce Atwood in Portland represents the bank in this matter.
Wycoff has filed a motion to dismiss. That motion is scheduled for a hearing on Aug. 7.
“About two months ago, the plaintiffs in that lawsuit filed their second amended complaint, in which they added Bar Harbor Trust Services as a party and added numerous claims against Bar Harbor Trust Services,” Wycoff said in an email seeking comment.
“Bar Harbor Trust Services feels very strongly that it has at all times acted appropriately, not done anything wrong, and that the claims contained in the second amended complaint against it are meritless,” Wycoff stated.
Lindell is also named in the suit along with his ex-wife, Althea Latady, and Barbara Gray of Dayton, Ohio, who Phyllis Poor had named co-personal representative on the estate. Poor lived in Belfast.
Cumberland Foreside attorney John Simpson represents Latady.
Simpson said Latady was not involved and that she herself is a victim of her former husband.
“My client knew nothing about the fact her husband was stealing,” Simpson said Wednesday. “He stole $100,000 from her; he said he was investing it and he spent it.”
“This lawsuit seeks to take her last asset, her house, which was bought way before this case began,” Simpson said. “And there’s not a shred of evidence she did anything wrong.”
The American could not find contact information for Gray before press time.
Gilbert said there is more than $3 million missing from two “sizable trust funds” set up by Phyllis Poor.
“Each trust was supposed to get a third of her estate.”
One of the trusts was established for the care of Poor’s son, who is a disabled Vietnam veteran.
“The bank never checked to see if the accounts were equally funded,” Gilbert said. “They did not do due diligence.” The bank did not check on Lindell, who “proceeds to steal millions,” she added.
The firm has requested a jury trial, Gilbert said.
Other counts alleged in the complaint include conversion of assets, constructive trust/accounting and restitution, unjust enrichment, punitive damages, fraudulent conveyance, civil conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, according to a copy of the court filing.