May 30, 2024

Investment Funds File New Suits Over Lighthouse Insurance Collapse in 2022

Three investment firms connected to some of the best-known names on Wall Street have upped the ante in a legal dispute over now-insolvent Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp., based in Tampa.

Fortinbras Enterprises, the managing partner of which is the well-known Ben Black; two Silver Rock funds, once affiliated with famous fund manager Michael Milken; and HT Investments last week filed a new lawsuit against former Lighthouse CEO Patrick White and his father, Lawrence White, alleging that the Whites misled the investment firms about the extent of Lighthouse financial trouble after Hurricane Ida hit Louisiana in 2021.

In a separate lawsuit filed in New York, the investors charge that TigerRisk Partners, now part of Howden, the global insurance brokerage, also misled investors in an effort to raise capital shortly before Lighthouse was put into receivership in 2022.

The legal actions come six months after the funds charged that One Florida Bank had insider connections with Lawrence White when it loaned Lighthouse $19 million in 2019. The bank was repaid but the investment funds lost much of their $65 million investment, the suit argues. That suit is still pending in Orange County, Florida, Circuit Court.

The Whites and TigerRisk were not named as defendants in the 2023 lawsuit, but the complaint goes into detail about their alleged deceptive actions and lack of communication. The new complaint against the Whites reiterate the allegations and the Florida complaint asks a judge to place a “constructive trust” over family trusts managed by Patrick White.

Patrick White declined to comment about the latest suit, except to say that the plaintiffs have little to stand on. The funds already were assigned some of the remaining assets of Lighthouse after it was deemed insolvent in 2022. The trusts may be tied up in the receivership, he noted.

“They’ve got nothing, really,” White said.

The defendants have yet to file an answer or motion to dismiss in the latest lawsuits. In the One Florida Bank case, the bank’s attorneys said the suit is misguided, and that the investment fund managers knew all along that the bank would be repaid on its $19 million loan.

“Plaintiffs rolled the dice: They made a risky bet by investing in struggling insurance entities in the wake of a major hurricane,” a defense motion reads.

Fortinbras Enterprises last week took the unusual step of sending out a press release on the latest lawsuits, charging that the Whites worked with TigerRisk to misrepresent and obscure facts about the Lighthouse losses and that the insurer had quietly been placed into conservatorship by Louisiana regulators before the investment deal was inked.


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