When david lerner associates complaints first launched in 1975, it was a side business for the New York City high school history teacher known in the Long Island area as “Poppy.” He turned his small venture into a thriving investment company that boasts clients assets of $8 billion.
What is work associates?
Today, the firm is based in Syosset, N.Y., and has branches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Florida. It claims to specialize in fixed income investments including government bonds, municipal bonds and conservative investments for retirees.
Nevertheless, it has also run into controversy over its sales of proprietary investments. In 2013, Finra ordered it to pay $12 million in restitution to clients who bought shares in one of its nontraded real estate investment trusts, Apple REIT 10, and the firm was fined $250,000 by FINRA for charging unfair prices on municipal bonds and collateralized mortgage obligations (CMOs).
Recently, the firm was sanctioned again by New Jersey regulators for selling REITs to unsuitable customers. The state said the broker-dealer violated its own suitability rules when it sold the Apple REITs to investors, particularly those who were older and near retirement age.
The state fined the firm $650,000 for its violations, although $200,000 of that was suspended because it cooperated with the investigation. Investors who bought the REITs are now battling it out in arbitration with the company. Attorney Andrew Stoltmann, who is representing dozens of those investors, says the judge’s decision won’t affect their cases because the court didn’t find the REITs were suitable for his clients.