Settlement in alleged Ponzi scheme in the works
A settlement could be reached in the coming months between two sides in a civil suit that alleges Aaron E. Olson of Rindge ran a fraudulent scheme that cost investors millions.
Park Construction of Fitzwilliam, owned by the Norby brothers of Rindge, and Eric Olson allege that they were all victims of an investment scam led by Aaron Olson.
Attorneys for the Norbys, Eric Olson and his son, Ted Olson, filed a “stipulation for dismissal” in the case of Park v. Eric Olson and Ted Olson on March 26. The dismissal states that all parties had “good faith” in Aaron Olson, who they believed was making legitimate investments on their behalf between 2007 and 2011.
But since filing their “stipulation for dismissal,” the Norbys, Eric Olson and Ted Olson have asked Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Larry Smukler to strike his order granting their request. In an April 10 court filing, the parties state that the “stipulation for dismissal” was filed prematurely and that it should have been held in suspension until July 8. Smukler granted the request to strike the motion for dismissal on April 18, according to court documents.
The lawsuit Eric Olson of Rindge filed against his nephew, Aaron Olson, which is scheduled for trial in February 2014, is still pending. Eric Olson had requested that the Merrimack County Superior Court consolidate his lawsuit with a suit Park Construction filed against Eric Olson in June 2012, for the purposes of hearing the two cases together. The court granted the request for consolidation in November 2012.
The Norbys, Eric Olson and Ted Olson entered into an agreement on Feb. 20, according to court records. “Among the terms of the stipulation is a provision requiring that it be held for a period of 90 days, from the date of recording of certain mortgages, prior to submittal to the court for approval,” wrote their attorneys. The dismissal does not specify which mortgages.
The Norbys filed suit against Eric Olson and Ted Olson in June 2012, alleging that they and Park Construction lost more than $15 million in their investments with Aaron Olson. One month later, Merrimack County Superior Court Judge Richard B. McNamara awarded Park Construction a $15.2 million attachment against Eric Olson and Ted Olson, ruling that the father and son were in partnership with Aaron Olson and profited from the gains.
In September 2012, Eric Olson filed suit against Aaron Olson, claiming he had no knowledge of his nephew’s investment scheme. And, shortly thereafter, Eric Olson requested that the Superior Court consolidate the lawsuit Park Construction filed against him with his suit against Aaron Olson. The two lawsuits were consolidated for the purposes of discovery and trial dates, according to court records.
Eric Olson’s lawsuit is the first to come to light that seeks recompense from Aaron Olson for KMO’s failed investments. Eric Olson’s suit alleges that the investment firms of AEO Associates of 44 Butternut Lane in Rindge — the address of Aaron Olson’s residence — and KMO Associates of Fitchburg, Mass., were “alter egos” of Aaron Olson that enabled him to defraud the people closest to him.
“Preying on the love and affection of family members and the esteem and friendship of his other victims, Aaron induced them to invest with him,” Eric Olson’s suit reads.
Park Construction’s attorney, Peter S. Cowan of Manchester-based Sheehan, Phinney, Bass & Green P.A., would not comment Friday on the recent developments in the suit. Attorney for Eric Olson, Ralph F. Holmes of the Manchester-based McLane, Graf, Raulerson, & Middleton, P.A., and attorney for Ted Olson, Thomas J. Pappas of Manchester-based Primmer, Piper, Eggleston & Cramer, did not return messages left Friday by press time.
News of a pending settlement between Park Construction, Eric Olson and Ted Olson comes a year after news broke that the N.H. Bureau of Securities is investigating Aaron Olson and his investment practices, including KMO Associates and AEO Associates — the investment firm Aaron Olson reportedly operated prior to KMO. The State Bureau of Securities has declined to comment on its investigation as it is ongoing.
Since April 2012, investors have reported to the Ledger-Transcript personal losses ranging from $10,000 to a few million.
Aaron Olson and his wife, Kim Olson, are currently pursuing plans to reopen the Webb Hill Quarry in Fitzwilliam, and Monday night they sought a rehearing before the Select Board on a failed petition warrant article they submitted prior to the March election. The petition calls for quarry reclamation in Fitzwilliam’s residential/rural district. The quarry could be home to millions of dollars worth of granite, according to state environmental officials.