FINRA Complaints Pile Up On Hugh ‘Hobby’ Barndollar at Crown Capital Securities

Crown Capital Securities - Hobby Barndollar

Hugh “Hobby” Barndollar is the esteemed Branch Manager and President of Barndollar Financial located in Land O’ Lakes, Florida. Since 2013, he has been associated as a registered broker with Crown Capital Securities in the same location.

Hugh Barndollar, commonly referred to as “Hobby Barndollar,” is a seasoned registered investment advisor and a former broker. He last served at Crown Capital Securities, L.P. (CRD#: 6312) in Land O’Lakes, Florida, until his voluntary departure on December 31, 2021.

Professional Background:

  • Previous Employers:
    • J.P. Turner & Company, L.L.C. (CRD# 43177) in New Port Richey, FL.
    • Newport Coast Securities, Inc. (CRD# 16944) in Odessa, FL, which was later expelled by FINRA on June 25, 2018.
    • Calton & Associates, INC. (CRD# 20999) in Ocala, FL.

Barndollar embarked on his career in the financial sector in 1998.

Roles and Activities:

  • Beyond his tenure at Crown Capital, Barndollar also served as an investment advisor representative (IAR) at a registered investment advisory company (RIA), where he provided asset management services.
  • He recommended investments in ten private offers of alternative financial products and participated in 28 unapproved private securities transactions, amassing a total of $1,418,108.00 for 18 clients. Notably, 12 of these clients were associated with Crown Capital.
  • Despite notifying Crown Capital of his external business engagements, Barndollar failed to provide advance written notice of these alternative investment private placements. This was in violation of Crown Capital’s written policy.
  • From 2018 to 2021, Barndollar falsely claimed on his annual compliance questionnaires that he always sought and received company permission before engaging in private securities transactions.
  • In May 2020, Crown Capital heightened its supervision over Barndollar, which included a prohibition on selling alternative investments. Despite this, he engaged in 13 transactions worth $742,048.

Disclosures on Record

According to the Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck, Barndollar has faced two significant disclosures:

Client Disputes: Between 2010 and 2021, eight clients lodged disputes, leading to multiple FINRA arbitrations against Barndollar. Some notable claims include:

  • April 14, 2021: A client alleged unsuitable recommendations and lack of due diligence concerning alternative investments. This was settled for $35,000.
  • August 28, 2020: Accusations of unsuitability, negligence, and misrepresentations related to non-traded REIT investments led to a $25,000 settlement.
  • August 11, 2020: Two claims were filed on this date. One, still pending, involved allegations of unsuitability and misrepresentations concerning alternative and variable annuity investments. The other, settled for $82,500, contained similar accusations.
  • July 22, 2020: A claim alleging lack of due diligence and misrepresentations regarding a non-traded REIT was settled for $36,000.
  • June 9, 2020: A client sought $125,000 in damages for alleged unsuitability and breach of fiduciary duty related to illiquid alternative investments. This was settled for $45,000.
  • May 13, 2020: A claim, settled for $160,000, revolved around the marketing of underperforming alternative investments.
  • April 9, 2020: A client sought $100,100 in damages for unsuitability and breach of contract related to two alternative investments made in 2018. This was settled for $37,500.
  • July 18, 2019: A client claimed $100,000 in damages for alleged negligence, unsuitability, and breach of fiduciary duty. This was settled for $30,000.
  • 2010: While at Newport Coast Securities, Barndollar faced similar allegations before FINRA’s expulsion. He was one of four respondents in a FINRA arbitration hearing related to the sale of unregistered securities. The clients were awarded $47,500 in damages, despite initially seeking $124,800

Financial advisors and their supervising FINRA-registered brokerage firms are obligated to recommend suitable investments and oversee investment-related activities. Breaches in these duties can lead to potential investment loss recoveries for customers.

Peakstone Realty Trust: Name Change, Conversion and Loss Recovery

Peakstone Realty Trust, previously known as Griffin Realty Trust, is a publicly registered, internally managed real estate investment trust (REIT). Their primary focus is on owning and operating a portfolio mainly comprising single-tenant industrial and office properties.

In March 2023, the company underwent a rebranding, changing its name from Griffin Realty Trust to Peakstone Realty Trust. This change was in preparation for its anticipated listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). By April 13, 2023, Peakstone Realty Trust had successfully listed its shares on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “PKST.”

However, Griffin Realty Trust has recently come under scrutiny. A number of investors have lodged complaints, alleging that their financial advisors and broker-dealers misrepresented the REIT as a conservative, short-term, and liquid investment. As a result, many investors have reportedly suffered losses and are now seeking legal avenues to recoup their investments.

Key Points:

  1. Background: Peakstone Realty Trust, previously known as Griffin Realty Trust and even earlier as Cole Office & Industrial REIT (CCIT II), Inc., has faced challenges. Notably, Griffin Realty Trust suspended its share redemption program and its distribution reinvestment plan, leading to investor dissatisfaction and a surge in complaints.
  2. Net Asset Value Decline: In 2022, Griffin Realty Trust reported an 18% decrease in its net asset value (NAV) per share, dropping from $9.10 to $7.37. This decline was attributed to a decrease in the value of office properties.
  3. Financial Advisor Complaints: Despite the inherent risks, Griffin Realty Trust was reportedly recommended to investors as a conservative and liquid investment. This has led to a significant number of legal claims against brokers and brokerage firms.
  4. Risks with Non-traded REITs: Non-traded REITs, like Griffin Realty Trust, pose various challenges for investors, including lack of liquidity, transparency issues, and potential regulatory changes.

For investors who have experienced losses with Peakstone Realty Trust, legal firms like Haselkorn & Thibaut offer assistance. We specialize in assisting investors nationwide and have a 98% success rate in recovering investments.

The GPB Capital Saga

For those invested in GPB Capital funds, the journey has been tumultuous:

  • 2017-2018: Litigation in a New York state court unveiled allegations of a Ponzi-like scheme.
  • Summer 2018: GPB received a Subpoena from the U.S. Attorney in the Eastern District of New York, leading to a joint investigation by the FBI and the NYC Business Integrity Commission (BIC). By February 2019, the FBI and BIC had raided the GPB offices in New York City.
  • October 2018: Ascendant Alternative Strategies, LLC (manager of the GPB funds) received an SEC Subpoena.
  • July 2019: Massachusetts state court litigation presented similar Ponzi-like scheme allegations related to GPB.
  • Late 2019: The indictment of Michael Cohn, former Chief Compliance Officer at GPB Capital, further tarnished GPB’s reputation.

Recent GPB Capital News

On January 31, 2020, a Delaware state court complaint reiterated prior allegations against GPB. This is likely just the beginning of a long legal battle for the plaintiffs.

Advice for GPB Capital Holdings Investors

If you’re a GPB investor, consider your options:

  • Wait and See: Be aware of potential limitations and impacts on potential claims.
  • Class Action or Derivative Action: These cases are typically against GPB and its associates. They are lengthy and complex.
  • FINRA Customer Dispute Private Arbitration Claim: This is a quicker, more efficient alternative to traditional court litigation.

For senior, elderly, and retired investors, it’s essential to ensure investments align with their needs and circumstances.

About Haselkorn & Thibaut, P.A.

Haselkorn and Thibaut, P.A. is a renowned law firm with a focus on investment fraud and securities arbitration cases. With offices across the U.S., the founding partners boast 50 years of legal experience.

The firm has filed numerous FINRA customer disputes related to issues like those mentioned above. These cases are typically handled on a no-recovery, no-fee basis.

For a free consultation, reach out to the experienced attorneys at Haselkorn & Thibaut, P.A. Call 1-800-856-3352 or visit www.investmentfraudlawyers.com.

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