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John Hartley named in million dollar lawsuit in Florida

Local businessman and economist John Hartley has been named as a defendant in a $4million lawsuit that was filed last month in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
The law suit is being brought by American multi-millionaire R.D Hubbard, who is also a Turks and Caicos Islands Belonger and a major investor and property owner here. It stems from a deal in which investors were convinced to come up with $4.5 million for shares in an electric car company, but they apparently got nothing for their money.
Court documents obtained by The SUN showed that Hubbard, through Edward Burger who is acting as trustee for the Hubbard Family Trust, is suing Hartley along with, John Mattera, Bradford Van Siclen, John Ray Arnold, and Praetorian Fund Limited (www.praetorianfund.com), of which Hartley is a director.
The story was even published in the Miami Herald on Friday.
According to Miami Herald, The Fisker Karma — a sleek, plug-in hybrid sports sedan — made its long-awaited debut earlier this year, and to heaping praise.
Car and Driver called the sports car, which fetches upwards to $100,000, “striking, luxurious, and easy on big-car guilt.” Popular Mechanic added: “The Fisker Karma is a standout luxury and performance vehicle, period.”
According to the court documents, Hubbard is seeking to to recover substantial damages caused by Defendants Praetorian, G. Power, Mattera, Hartley, van Siclen, Arnold and Fund blatant and fraudulent misrepresentations in soliciting Plaintiffs to invest $4.525 million to acquire shares in Praetorian and/or G. Power, based on false representations that such interests would provide indirect ownership of Series A Preferred shares in Fisker Automotive Inc. ("Fisker").
It is alleged that Praetorian, G. Power, Mattera, Hartley and van Siclen, at various times, represented Plaintiffs these shares were owned by Mattera, Praetorian or G. Power. However, after they made their investment, Plaintiffs never received the shares reflecting their membership interest in Praetorian. Plaintiffs then discovered that  Mattera, Praetorian and G. Power did not own the Fisker Series A Preferred shares.
It is also alleged that Arnold and First American participated in these securities violations by violating their duties as escrow agents to the Investors who trusted them to hold their moneys pending a proper closing of this transaction.
The court document said there is also an action for breach of fiduciary duty against the escrow agents for this transaction and an action for breach of contract against Praetorian, because Praetorian took Investors’ money but did not issue them shares representing a corresponding interest in Fisker shares and insofar as Praetorian and G. Power do not own the Series A Preferred shares in Fisker.
It is also alleged that Praetorian, G. Power, Mattera, Hartley, van Siclen and Fund fraudulently induced Plaintiffs to purchase membership interests by telling Plaintiffs that G. Power owned $20 million Series A Preferred shares in Fisker, and that through their investment, they would be purchasing an indirect ownership interest in Series A Preferred Fisker shares to the extent of their purchase.
According to the Miami Herald article, Mattera acknowledges he never owned Fisker Series A-1 preferred stock, which the investors were told they were buying. He did have a substantial holding of similar Series B stock, which he said he tasked associates Bradford van Siclen and John Hartley with selling. Mattera said van Siclen, the New Jersey-based private equity broker who is a defendant in the lawsuit along with Hartley, was responsible for misrepresenting the offer. A message left for van Siclen at his business, The Praetorian Fund, went unanswered this week.
The SUN was unable to reach Hartley for comment up to press time.
Published October 18th, 2011


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