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Barred Broker and Current Ohio Township Trustee Sued by Baird

David P. Meyer, Esq.

Kevin P. O’Brien, a township trustee in Anderson, Ohio (near Cincinnati) has been sued by his former financial firm, Robert W. Baird & Co. The lawsuit, filed recently in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court accuses Mr. O’Brien of stealing over $300,000 from a client. Mr. O'Brien was a representative in Cincinnati with Baird until 2008 when he was discharged by the firm.

Mr. O’Brien was permanently barred from the securities industry in September 2009 by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for his role in misappropriating the funds. Mr. O’Brien consented to the ban without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings. (FINRA Case #2008015004001).

Baird’s lawsuit against Mr. O’Brien reveals that it settled the claim of Mr. O’Brien’s former client. Baird paid $336,175 to settle the claim. Baird is now seeking repayment from Mr. O’Brien. According to FINRA records, Mr. O’Brien misappropriated funds “by writing checks to himself and to a charitable organization for which he was treasurer, and by withdrawing cash using an ATM card.”

In November 2009, Mr. O’Brien was elected to a four-year term as an Anderson Township trustee. He and two other trustees manage the township’s finances. The lawsuit raises serious questions over his ability to handle the township’s financial affairs, overseeing an annual budget of $35 million. Voters were angered that Mr. O’Brien did not reveal his ban from the securities industry prior to the election.

Concerned township citizens have called for Mr. O’Brien to resign. Ohio law does not give them much recourse in having him removed. Criminal charges could be filed against Mr. O’Brien; however, the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s office has declined comment.