The founder and former chief executive of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust in Coral Gables, Fla., has sued the bank for fraud and breach of contract after it fired him in 2012, according to the Miami Herald.
Steven Hayworth is seeking damages of $40 million, the Herald reported, citing a lawsuit filed on Friday in federal court.
Hayworth claims that the $1.6 billion-asset Gibraltar forced him out after the settlement of several of lawsuits related to a Ponzi scheme involving the attorney Scott Rothstein. Hayworth solid Gibraltar in 2005 to Boston Private Financial Holdings, then repurchased the bank in 2009. Rothstein participated as an investor in Hayworth's capital raise to finance the repurchase.
Rothstein was convicted in 2010 of running a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Hayworth alleges that the Gibraltar board used him to negotiate a $10 million settlement for investors in the Rothstein litigation.
"Essentially, they needed a scapegoat," Hayworth's attorney, Andrew Hall, told the Herald.
Hayworth is now vice chairman of the $1.3 billion-asset Seaside National Bank & Trust in Orlando, Fla.
Gibraltar did not return a call from the Herald seeking comment.