Settlement agreement reached in DeWaay investment dispute
Lawsuits seeking to represent a potential class of up to 6,000 investors would be resolved under a $3 million settlement agreement with Clive-based DeWaay Financial Network LLC and its founder, Donald DeWaay, that was filed earlier this week in Decatur County District Court.
Under the agreement, DeWaay would pay nearly $1 million into a settlement fund, with the balance picked up by insurance carriers.
The lawsuits were filed in January in an attempt to collect on real estate and oil exploration investments touted by DeWaay and his agents. DeWaay Financial Network estimated at one time that it had sold $46.3 million in private placements to 590 clients.
Those funds were placed with DBSI Inc., an Idaho-based real estate investment trust that has gone bankrupt. Disputed claims involving DBSI range to $4 million, lawyers for DeWaay Financial Network have said in court filings.
Court documents have placed the size of the class affected by investments in DBSI and other companies at several hundred to 6,000. Those documents list more than 100 individual funds in which DeWaay Financial Network encouraged clients to participate.
DeWaay Financial Network also persuaded clients to invest in oil exploration companies.
The settlement would relieve DeWaay Financial Network from negotiating individual settlements with investors, many of whom were scheduled to have their claims arbitrated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA).
Meanwhile, the firm also has lost key personnel, including former president Matthew Stahr, who recently was named president of a financial services company in Texas.
As part of the settlement agreement, a forensic audit will be conducted of DeWaay’s finances.
It is also expected that some investors will challenge the agreement in an effort to negotiate individual settlements. Those investors, or intervenors in the state court lawsuit, have lost an appeal of a judge’s earlier ruling that blocked FINRA arbitration hearings.