Judge will mediate stockbroker case

An elderly Chico man who charges that he lost his life savings due to shoddy stock-brokering is banking on a different forum—mediation—to get some of his money bac0k.

Charles Ferrier’s case against First Associated Securities Group and stockbrokers, including its former president, Carl Martellaro of Chico, was set to be heard in Butte County Superior Court on June 11, but instead the parties agreed to have retired Judge Ann Rutherford mediate the claim.

Martellaro was head of FASG and later First Securities USA when those firms were targeted by several multimillion-dollar lawsuits. He was fined several times by the industry and just last month regained his license to solicit stocks. (See “Carl’s Crash,” CN&R, March 8.)

Ferrier’s Paradise attorney, Joe Earley, said he’s hopeful mediation will work. But if that doesn’t result in an agreement, Earley said, they’ll be back in court.

Earley said that Martellaro’s attorney, Patrick Baldwin of Menlo Park, once offered to settle the case, but for only $10,000. Ferrier lost $35,000, but Ferrier’s case calculates that had his money been invested responsibly by the defendants—rather than placed in high-risk ventures—he would have had $100,000 by now.

Baldwin did not return a call from the News & Review for comment.

Meanwhile, Earley acknowledges, Ferrier isn’t getting any younger and Martellaro has much more in the way of resources.

"I trust that the truth will be seen," Earley said. "What was done to Mr. Ferrier was so obvious."