Six months after losing his law license for inappropriately pocketing seven figures’ worth of funds from the long-dormant LandAmerica bankruptcy estate, Bruce Matson has cut another sizable check related to the case.
The veteran Richmond attorney and longtime general counsel of now-bankrupt law firm LeClairRyan paid an additional $577,000 to the LandAmerica estate in March, according to federal court records.
That’s on top of the $2.8 million he repaid to a successor trustee in the case last year after it was brought to light that the funds had been withdrawn from the LandAmerica wind-down account and deposited into personal accounts of Matson and an associate.
While the court records do not explicitly name Matson in relation to the latest payment, they do state: “A check was received from the Former Trustee of the LFG Liquidation Trust in the amount of $577,610.00 and deposited in the SunTrust Account on March 2, 2021.”
Matson, who spent much of his 40-year law career as a bankruptcy trustee, oversaw the complex LandAmerica case from the time of the Henrico-based title insurance giant’s collapse in 2008 until its seemingly successful conclusion in 2015.
But in August 2019, it was brought to the bankruptcy court’s attention that LandAmerica’s $2.8 million wind-down fund had been emptied. Those funds were not to be disbursed until the wind-down period came to a close in 2021.
Matson eventually admitted that the funds were transferred to his and an associate’s accounts, before returning them. Matson was then removed as LandAmerica’s trustee, despite his objections, and then was disbarred by the Virginia State Bar in November because of his handling of the funds.
Matson conceded to the VSB that the allegations are true and that he could not successfully defend the claims. He ultimately consented to revocation of his license to practice in Virginia.
Veteran Richmond attorney Benjamin Ackerly, who is retired from Hunton Andrews Kurth, was appointed to replace Matson as trustee in the LandAmerica case. Ackerly’s camp continues to investigate the Matson matter.
An attorney representing Ackerly had no comment about the recent $577,000 payment.
Matson did not comment on the matter.
Matson also in recent weeks wriggled free of some of the tentacles of LeClairRyan’s ongoing bankruptcy case.
A brief court record file in that case this month shows that Matson reached a settlement for an undisclosed sum with LCR trustee Lynn Tavenner. The settlement was reached after a two-day mediation session held March 26-27.
Matson was represented in the mediation by McGuireWoods attorney Dion Hayes.
Tavenner has been in negotiations with dozens of LCR’s former attorneys to try to claw back funds they received from the firm leading up to its bankruptcy.
They’ve each received demand letters from the trustee to begin discussions and potential mediation. As is typical in such bankruptcies, if a resolution can’t be reached through mediation, the trustee may choose to formally file suit against the given attorney.
The LCR estate also continues its legal battle with legal services giant UnitedLex, which formed a controversial joint venture with the law firm leading up to its dissolution.
Tavenner filed suit last year seeking $128 million in damages, claiming UnitedLex kept the law firm alive longer than it should have in order to “improperly and unfairly extract millions of dollars from the estate, to the detriment of LeClairRyan’s creditors.”
UnitedLex has fired back in the case, arguing that the bulk of the case should be dismissed or at the very least transferred to a different court where it could have a chance to argue its case in front of a jury.
The case continues on in federal bankruptcy court.