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Lawsuit: FMP's mistake cost Spiezio $425,000

Former baseball star sues financial management agency over money lost in divorce

Published: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 7:11 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Jan. 4, 2013 3:47 p.m. CDT

A local baseball star is taking a legal swing at a financial management agency that apparently mishandled his money.

Scott Spiezio, a former professional baseball player and a native of Morris, filed a three-count civil lawsuit Friday, Dec. 28, in Grundy County Circuit Court against Financial Management Partners Corporation, also known as FMP. The suit accuses FMP of a “mistake” that cost Spiezio approximately $425,000 in the settlement for his second divorce.

“They had a responsibility to manage his money wisely and make his money grow,” said Morris attorney Randy Gordon, who is representing Spiezio in the lawsuit. “Through their actions, they caused him to lose money he should not have lost.”

FMP, which has offices in Clayton, Mo., and Denver, Colo., was responsible for Spiezio’s financial planning and money management. The firm has clients throughout the United States.

According to court documents, FMP was to prevent “co-mingling” of marital and non-marital funds during the time Spiezio was married to his second wife, Jennifer Spiezio, formerly Jennifer Pankratz.

FMP is accused of negligence in handling and segregating money that Spiezio earned from his contract with the Seattle Mariners. He signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Mariners in December 2003, and he played with the team during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

Spiezio’s suit claims FMP joined non-marital funds with marital funds by placing them into the same account for “a very short period of time,” according to court documents. Once the mistake was discovered, FMP removed money from the marital account and placed it into a separate account.

Gordon says it is not exactly clear how the mistake was made.

“If it was there for five seconds, it was there for five seconds too long,” Gordon said.

Gordon says Spiezio was not aware of FMP’s negligence until during the divorce process. The couple officially divorced on Dec. 30, 2010, after five years of marriage.

As result, FMP’s negligence resulted in the non-marital money earned from his contract with the Seattle Mariners being classified as marital property.

“During the second divorce, it became very obvious,” Gordon said of the mistake. “It became obvious to both attorneys and the judge.”

The lawsuit alleges FMP’s mistake cost Spiezio approximately $425,000 in what should have been classified as non-marital money.

Spiezio’s suit officially accuses FMP of negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of oral contract.

Court documents indicate Spiezio is seeking damages in excess of $50,000, but Gordon acknowledges Spiezio is seeking to recoup much of the $425,000 he lost due to the mistake.

“Once we get into the case, we will determine how much it is,” Gordon said. “It’s well in excess of $50,000. It’s probably closer to that $425,000.”

“We’ll get the documents served, and we’ll go from there,” Gordon added about the next step in the lawsuit.

Spiezio, a standout baseball player at Morris Community High School, played with the Oakland Athletics, Anaheim Angels, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals. He played from 1996 through 2007, and is most remembered for his clutch hitting with the 2002 World Series champion Anaheim Angels.

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