Ex-Edward Jones FA Sues Firm Over Fake Sex Ads
A 15-year Edward Jones rep who was fired in December 2014 is suing the firm and two former colleagues, alleging they perpetrated a smear campaign against him that included fake gay sex ads on Craigslist, the Sacramento Bee writes.
Dalas Gundersen was overseeing $150 million in client assets when Edward Jones fired him for allegedly violating the company’s policy of confirming trades with his clients who placed the trades with his non-registered branch office administrator, according to the Bee.
Gunderson, who couldn’t take his client list with him due to contractual obligations and only kept his old phone number for his clients to reach him, set up a financial planning practice in an office half a mile away from his former Edward Jones office in Willows, Calif., a community of just 6,000 people, the paper writes. But nine months after he was let go, according to the lawsuit filed in Glenn County Superior Court, his former coworkers began planting bogus Craigslist ads, which listed that phone number and his physical description, seeking sex with men, according to the Bee. The aim of the smear campaign was to ruin Gunderson’s reputation in the small community, the suit alleges, apparently out of spite and retaliation for a client who defected to Gunderson, the paper writes.
The lawsuit names former Edward Jones advisor Paul Betenbaugh and current advisor Lisa Rodriguez, whom Betenbaugh had recruited to the brokerage, according to his sworn declaration from March 2016 cited by the Bee.
Edward Jones fired Betenbaugh in February 2016 after he had admitted to placing two of the ads, the paper writes. Rodriguez, meanwhile, denies any role in the Craigslist ads, according to court papers filed by Keesal, Young & Logan cited by the Bee.
Lawyers representing Edward Jones and Rodriguez say that many aspects of the case are baseless, and a company spokesman tells the paper that Betenbaugh was terminated as soon as the firm found out about the ads but declined to talk about the case.