'Painful decision' as WJB shutters B-D operation

Wall Street outfit closes institutional brokerage; lawsuit against CEO immediately filed by investor

Jan 3, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

WJB Capital Group Inc., a Wall Street firm with more than 100 employees, is shutting its brokerage operations amid “financial issues,” according to its main attorney. The move to close the B-D immediately triggered a lawsuit against WJB.

“A decision was made -- and I might say it was a very painful decision -- that it would terminate its broker-dealer operations, and it has done so,” said Mark Skolnick, general counsel for the company at law firm Platzer, Swergold, Karlin, Levine, Goldberg & Jaslow LLP. The firm has some non-brokerage operations and is exploring “other possibilities,” he said.

WJB Capital was “unable to resolve its financial issues in a manner that would have allowed it to continue its operations under the current economic climate and the constraints that would've been placed on the corporation and its investors,” he said.

Following the announcement, the firm was sued in New York by an investor over fraud allegations.

WJB Capital and chief executive officer Craig Rothfeld were accused of fraud, breach of contract and other claims over a $250,000 investment in the company, according to a lawsuit filed Dec. 31 in New York State Supreme Court.

James McNally said that in exchange for a $250,000 investment he was promised “compensation for the duration of the investment.” WJB Capital failed to pay and used the money “for fraudulent purposes,” according to the complaint.

Rothfeld didn't return a message seeking comment.

WJB Capital, founded in 1993 with two agency brokers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, has offices in five cities across the U.S. and operates live trading desks for all of the nation's major equities and options exchanges, according to its website. The New York-based firm expanded from 10 employees to more than 100 in the past 10 years, the website says.

Public brokerage records on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's website lists nine owners and executive officers, including Chief Executive Officer Craig A. Rothfeld and founders Michael N. Romano and William J. Bonfanti.

--Bloomberg News--

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