U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Litigation Release No. 23581 / June 23, 2016
Securities and Exchange Commission v. MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors, LLC, et al., Civil Action No. 13-cv-12520 (E.D. Mich.)
SEC Obtains Final Judgments Against Senior Executives of Investment Adviser Accused of Defrauding Detroit Pension Fund
The Securities and Exchange Commission announced today that on June 23, 2016, the Honorable Nancy G. Edmunds of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered final judgments against Blair Ackman, W. Emery Matthews, and Alicia Diaz, former senior executives and owners of Detroit-based MayfieldGentry Realty Advisors, LLC.
According to the SEC's complaint, Chauncey C. Mayfield, the founder, president, and CEO of MayfieldGentry, misappropriated $3.1 million from the Police and Fire Retirement System of the City of Detroit to purchase two strip malls in California and title them in the name of a MayfieldGentry affiliate. Other executives at MayfieldGentry, including Ackman, Matthews, and Diaz, gradually became aware that Mayfield had siphoned money away from their biggest client. Rather than come clean about the theft and risk losing the sizeable business the firm received from the pension fund, the other defendants instead devised a plan to secretly repay the pension fund by cutting costs at the firm and selling the strip malls. Their plan ultimately failed when MayfieldGentry could not raise enough capital to put the stolen amount back into the pension fund.
Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, Ackman, Matthews, and Diaz agreed to settle the case against them. The final judgments permanently enjoin each defendant from violating Sections 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, order Ackman and Matthews to pay civil penalties of $50,000 each, and Diaz to pay a civil penalty of $40,000. Mayfield, MayfieldGentry, and MayfieldGentry's former COO, Marsha Bass, previously settled the case against them. The settlements announced today completely resolve the SEC's litigation.