According to a press release dated December 22, 2008, a class action lawsuit has been commenced against defendants Tremont Group Holdings Inc. ("Tremont"), Oppenheimer Acquisition Corporation ("Oppenheimer"), Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. ("Mass Mutual"), and Ernst & Young LLP ("Ernst & Young"), on behalf of all persons, other than defendants, who invested in the American Masters Broad Market Prime Fund (the "Fund") from January 1, 2003 until the present (the "Class Period"), and derivatively on behalf of Nominal Defendant American Masters Broad Market Prime Fund, L.P., to recover damages caused by defendants' violations of the federal securities laws and common law and breaches of their fiduciary duties.
Specifically, the Complaint asserts that during the Class Period, unbeknownst to investors, defendant Tremont, general partner of the Fund, concentrated over half of its investment capital with entities that participated in the massive, fraudulent scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff ("Madoff"). Investors who entrusted their savings to Tremont have suffered millions in damages and are faced with financial ruin.
This Complaint alleges that Defendants failed to perform the necessary due diligence that they were being compensated to perform as investment managers and fiduciaries. Defendants either knew or should have known that the Fund's assets were employed as part of a massive Ponzi scheme and took no steps in a good faith effort to prevent or remedy that situation, proximately causing billions of dollars of losses and possible complete collapse of the Fund.
Additionally, Defendants issued an Offering Memorandum that was false and misleading because it omitted to state that Tremont had, with no or inadequate due diligence or oversight, abdicated its responsibility and entrusted Fund assets to Madoff- run investment vehicles. Oppenheimer and Mass Mutual are named defendants as controlling persons of the Fund, and Ernst and Young is a named defendant as the Fund's auditor.
On December 23, 2008, another complaint was filed seeking to recover damages caused to the Class by Defendants' violations of Section 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as well as for common law fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty under New York State law. Defendants' representations regarding their oversight, thorough manager research, careful due diligence, risk allocation, and portfolio management were false and misleading, because Defendants either conducted no due diligence, or their due diligence was so negligent and/or reckless that they missed these and other obvious warnings signs. As a result of Defendants' wrongful conduct, including the failure to conduct due diligence into the legitimacy of Madoff Securities, Rye Select's investments in Madoff Securities have been wiped out, thereby damaging Plaintiff and the other members of the Class.
On December 31, 2008, another complaint was filed alleging violations of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act. Plaintiff, Group Defined Pension Plan & Trust ("Group Defined" or "Plaintiff'), is a limited partner in Tremont Market Neutral Fund, L.P. (formerly named, American Masters Market Neutral Fund, L.P.)("Tremont"), an investment partnership managed by defendant Tremont Partners, Inc. ("Tremont Partners"). Tremont Partners is the general partner of Tremont. Tremont Partners is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tremont Group Holdings, Inc. ("Tremont Holdings"). Tremont Holdings is wholly-owned by Oppenheimer Acquisition Corp. ("Oppenheimer Acquisition"), the parent corporation of Oppenheimer Funds, Inc. ("Oppenheimer"). Plaintiff and other class members are qualified investors that purchased limited partnership interests in Tremont. Defendant Ernst & Young, LLP ("Ernst & Young") is the independent auditor for Tremont. During the Class Period (defined below), Ernst & Young issued audit reports on Tremont's annual financial statements which were relied on by Plaintiff and other limited partners of Tremont. Plaintiff is the pension plan for Tops Personnel, Inc.
This case arises from a massive fraudulent scheme perpetrated by Bernard L. Madoff ("Madoff') through his investment firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, LLC ("BMIS"), and others, and which was facilitated by defendants named herein, who recklessly or with gross negligence and/or in breach of fiduciary duties owed to Plaintiff and other class members, caused and permitted approximately 27% of the investment capital of Tremont to be paid to Madoff to be "invested" for the benefit of plaintiff and the other limited partners of Tremont. Plaintiffs investment in Tremont, and the investment of other limited partners in Tremont comprising the Class, has suffered substantial and significant losses, as a direct result of. (a) defendant Tremont Partners' abdication of its responsibilities and duties as General Partner and Manager of Tremont and its investment funds; and (b) the complete failure of Tremont's auditor Ernst & Young, in light of "red flags" indicating a high risk to Tremont from concentrating its investment exposure in Madoff as sole third-party investment manager for a substantial portion of the Partnership's assets, to perform its audits and provide its annual audit reports in conformance with generally accepted auditing standards.
According to the Order dated March 26, 2009, the Securities Law Actions (i) Arthur M. Brainson IRA RIO v. Tremont Group Holdings, Inc., et al., 08 Civ. 11212; ii) Finkelstein v. Tremont Group Holdings, Inc., et al., 08 Civ. 11141; iii) Group Defined Pension Plan & Trust v. Tremont Group Holdings, Inc., et al., 08 Civ. 11359; iv) Silvers, et al. v. Tremont Group Holdings, Inc., et al., 09 Civ. 1111) are consolidated for pretrial proceedings into one "Securities Action" with docket number 08 Civ. 11212. Pursuant to Section 21D(a)(3)(B) of the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. §78u-4(a)(3)(B), Arthur M. Brainson, Yvette Finkelstein, and Group Defined Pension Plan 86 Trust are appointed Lead Plaintiffs in the Securities Action, and the law firm of Bernstein Liebhard LLP is appointed Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the Securities Action. The Order further consolidates the State Law Actions into one "State Law Action" with docket number 08 Civ. 11183, and the Insurance Actions into one "Insurance Action" with docket number 09 Civ. 557. Lastly, according to the Order, the docket in 08 Civ. 11117 shall constitute the Master Docket for the Securities Action, State Law Action and Insurance Action.
In the Master Docket, the plaintiffs filed a Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint on April 20, 2009. The defendants responded by filing motions to dismiss on May 20, 2009. The plaintiffs filed a Second Consolidated and Amended Class Action Complaint on February 18, 2011. According to the Order dated April 5, 2011, on February 25, 2011, the Settling Class Plaintiffs, acting on behalf of themselves, the Settling Funds, the applicable subclasses and the present limited partners and/or shareholders ofthe Settling Funds, as the case may be, entered into a Stipulation of Partial Settlement. A settlement fund of $100 million in cash ("Initial Settlement Payment"), plus interest ("Gross Settlement Fund"), is being established for the benefit of the Settlement Class. Additional monies are expected to be added to the Gross Settlement Fund from the amounts remaining in Tremont Group Holdings, Inc. after the wind down of its and its subsidiaries' operations ("Remaining Tremont Funds") and pursuant to the Settling Defendants' assignment of certain legal claims (the "Assigned Claims") and litigation interests (the "Fidelity Bond Recovery") as part of the Settlement. 8.2% of the Initial Settlement Payment, the Fidelity Bond Recovery and the Remaining Tremont Funds shall be allocated to the Insurance Subclass and the Individual Settling Insurance Plaintiffs.
According to the August 12, 2011 Order, on May 27, 2011, KPMG and Ernst & Young's joint motion for entry of judgment is granted. Judgment was entered on August 15th, dismissing the Securities Actions as to KPMG and Ernst & Young.