Monday, September 28, 2015

TAKE A NUMBER, MARTIN CRANDALL! Detroit Law Firm Clark Hill Seeking $360,371.81 Judgment Against Steven & Deborah Ingersoll For Outstanding Legal Fees



On September 21, 2015, Detroit-based law firm Clark Hill filed a breach of contract complaint in Bay County's 18th Circuit Court, seeking payment of an outstanding $360,371.81 legal fee balance for representing convicted felon Steven Ingersoll during his recent federal fraud trial.
After executing a retainer agreement with Clark Hill on October 21, 2013, Ingersoll agreed to pay a $25,000 retainer, of which $15,000 was held in trust until the final payment.

With an professional rate of $460 per hour, Martin Crandall began his defense of Ingersoll during the federal case's grand jury investigation phase, beginning in late October 2013. Steven Ingersoll and his wife, Deborah, were both indicted by the federal government on April 10, 2014. (Clark Hill only represented Steven Ingersoll.)

After paying Clark Hill fees exceeding $154,000 between October 2013 and early March 2015, official Bay County 18th Circuit Court records reveal Ingersoll stopped paying the firm for Martin Crandall's efforts just as his federal fraud trial swung into high gear, leaving a debt exceeding $360,000.

On February 13, 2015, Steven Ingersoll agreed to amend the first retainer agreement to account for the outstanding balance owed by he and wife Deborah and further agreed to provide additional security to Clark Hill PLC.

The second retainer agreement and the amendment to retainer agreement, both dated February 13, 2015 include the following language:

“As security for, and to guarantee payment of, the current outstanding amount of fees and additional fees incurred in the future in connection with services rendered in our representation of you in this matter, you have offered to provide Clark Hill with a first priority mortgage lien on the real property commonly known as 1514 Center Avenue (above, Ingersoll's personal Bay City residence)...and further secured by a guaranty executed by Webster House B & B, LLC. The Guaranty will be secured by, among other things, a first priority mortgage lien on the real property owned by the Company (Webster House) commonly known as 900 5th Street."

But here's the thing: a check with the Bay County Register of Deeds office reveals neither property has a "first priority mortgage lien" registered in favor of Clark Hill. 

And although Deborah Ingersoll did indeed sign the "guaranty" (witnessed by Roy Bradley's daughter — and Bay City Academy employee — Kristy Wyson) on February 20, 2015, there's absolutely no record of any new liens on either property.

I've reached out to a Clark Hill attorney named in the September 21, 2015 complaint for comment, and will bring further information as soon as it becomes available.

NOTE: Both 1514 Center Avenue and the Webster House at 900 5th Street were among a group of seven properties securing the collateral interest of another Ingersoll attorney, Jan Geht, and his Traverse City-based law firm, Bowerman, Bowden, Ford, Clulo & Luyt, which funded a $250,000 future advance mortgage — a line of credit advanced to Ingersoll and officially recorded with the Bay County Register of Deeds on February 10, 2015.


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