Posted Oct 15, 2007 11:00 am CDT
The wife of environmental litigation partner John Guttmann of Beveridge & Diamond is claiming in divorce proceedings that her husband forged her signature on a 401(k) loan while a trustee for the retirement plan.
“He took money out of our account without my consent,” the wife, Nancy Lasater, told Legal Times. “I don’t know where that money went.”
Guttmann is paying his legal fees with money borrowed from Dean “Holly” Cannon, a partner at the firm with whom he began an affair six months before filing for divorce, the legal publication reports. Lasater, a nonpracticing lawyer, says he is claiming the money as a loan to “reduce both his obligation to support his family and to negate his equitable obligation to reimburse my legal fees.”
Lasater has filed a separate fraud suit against her husband that claims he has stashed money in a secret bank account. The case has been stayed until after the divorce, which goes to trial on Oct. 29.
Court documents show Guttman’s net worth at $1.6 million. He makes about $45,000 a month.
Guttman maintains he signed his wife’s name on the loan with her consent and the money has been repaid in full, with reasonable interest. A law firm investigation found that the lawyers overseeing the retirement fund did not violate any laws.
Guttmann’s attorney, Mark Carlin, told Legal Times that Guttman denies Lasater’s allegations. “The only fair inference is that incomplete and misinformation was given to the Legal Times in a deliberate effort to embarrass Mr. Guttmann and to extract a larger settlement for Ms. Lasater,” he said.