PAGE 18A Laredo Morning Times Sunday, August 17, 2003
Retiree sues Citigroup after losing
$2 million life savings on MCI stock
BY JILL BARTON brought down by an $11 billion accounting
AP Business Writer scandal, seeks bankruptcy protection.
Shareholders must rely largely on lawsuits
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A retiree who and regulatory fines to recover some of what
lost his $2 million life savings when WorldCom they lost.
stock plummeted amid the company’s col- Shareholders also are often barred from
lapse last year has sued Citigroup for pain suing their brokerage firms because investors
and suffering. usually sign waivers agreeing to arbitration to
The lawsuit, filed Thursday against the settle disputes.
nation’s largest bank, could signal a new Amodio claims he signed no waiver because
option for thousands of Americans who lost his shares, acquired during his 26-year
their fortunes in accounting scandals. employment, were held in a Citigroup
Anthony Amodio claims that he is penniless account.
and ill with heart problems because he was He had no account with Salomon Smith
advised to keep his 23,820 shares of Barney, but Citigroup referred him to the firm
WorldCom stock amid claims that the share for advice when he repeatedly called with
price would climb to $150, even when it was concern about the stock’s plunging value.
valued in April 2002 at only $7. “They painted such a picture to me to hold
The suit would be the first to compel deposi- the shares because I was going to make my
tions from former WorldCom chief executive fortune,” Amodio said. “I looked forward to the
Bernie Ebbers, Citigroup chairman Sanford golden years and now I look forward to the bit-
Weill and its former telecoms analyst, Jack ter years.”
Grubman, said Ted Babbitt, Amodio’s attor- He retired as a national account manager
ney. executive in 1997 after spending nearly three
The suit blames the trio for recklessly and decades at MCI. He invested in the compa-
intentionally inflating claims about the stock’s ny’s stock and was required to trade it for AP Photo/Steve Mitchell
potential, making them millions while count- shares in WorldCom when it purchased MCI, SAVINGS LOST: Anthony Amodio a retiree from Delray Beach, Fla., poses at his lawyers office
less Americans lost money. according to his suit. Thursday, Aug. 14, in West Palm Beach, Fla. Amodio, who lost his $2 million life savings when MCI
“There isn’t any dispute that these people He called Citigroup and Salomon as early as and WorldCom stock plummeted sued Citigroup on Thursday for pain and suffering, possibly cre-
were doing things to the detriment of their own July 1999, when his shares would have been ating a new avenue of recourse for thousands of Americans who lost their fortunes.
clients, and yet they walk away without one valued at $2.1 million, and said he was
person being indicted, without one criminal advised that Grubman predicted the stock to
act being alleged, without one penny in civil break triple digits by the year’s end.
suits personally against them,” Babbitt said. Suing under Florida’s legal tort of “outrage,”
“They’ve gotten away with it so for. But this is his lawsuit could be the first to demand losses
going to be the key that opens the door.” for emotional distress over a financial loss,
Mary Ellen Hillery, a spokeswoman for according to legal experts.
Salomon Smith Barney, the brokerage arm of Last April, Citigroup paid the highest penalty
Citigroup that’s also named in the lawsuit, of any Wall Street firm — $400 million — to
said the company had no comment because settle charges that its Smith Barney unit
it had not seen the complaint. issued fraudulent and misleading research.
Many investors burned by securities fraud Regulators also fined Grubman, and are
have few options to recover their losses when investigating his former boss, Weill.
a company such as WorldCom, which was
Parents will face murder charges in boy’s death
LANSDALE, Pa. (AP) — Seymore were charged in overwhelmed by the chal-
The parents of a 4-year-old the June 5 death of their lenge of feeding the quadru-
quadruplet who died after son Shawn. He weighed plets and their 14-year-old
being found starving at the 25½ pounds, could not talk sister, who also has devel-
family’s squalid condomini- or chew solid food. opmental problems.
um were charged with mur- The parents were being “This is not an ideal situa-
der. held without bail. tion, but it is not murder,”
At a preliminary hearing “They cut off medical Reilley said.
Thursday, a prosecutor care,” First Assistant District The Seymores also were
accused the couple of not Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman charged with involuntary
feeding the child enough said. “It doesn’t work to say, manslaughter, reckless
and said they had not taken ‘It’s hard,’ and throw up your endangerment and endan-
him to a doctor in more than hands.” gering the welfare of chil-
two years. Defense lawyer Robert J. dren. Their other children
James and Tamra Reilley said the couple was were placed in foster care.