TAMPA, Fla. (FOX 13) - A Tampa hedge fund company may be in legal trouble after the firm that was holding its money was sued by a lawyer who claimed "gross negligence" caused the fund to lose tens of millions of dollars.
James Cordier, the head of optionsellers.com, which has an address in Tampa, was near tears when he recorded a ten-minute applogy in November. Since then, numerous YouTube users have posted it online.
"I am so sorry for not managing our ship," he said in the video.
He listed several of the 290 who lost over $150 million in his hedge fund at optionsellers.com. One of those is lightning owner Jeff Vinik.
"The biggest hockey fan in the world," he said of Vinik. "All I wanted to do was sit with you and watch a game."
He told clients a "rogue wave" had taken down their portfolios, invested in options that turned upside down when the price of natural gas spiked in November.
"Cry me a river," said Cleveland attorney John Chapman. "He has just taken a wrecking ball to the financial security of almost 300 investors."
Chapman is suing FCStone, holders of Option Sellers' fund. He said it was no rogue wave, but unreasonable risk that piled up after Option Sellers made unrealistic promises to prospective investors.
"They are required to do their homework, to study the numbers, to see what's happening," said Chapman. "They sat there and twiddled their thumbs and did nothing as the risk levels in these accounts spiked and spiked."
Jeff Vinik isn't saying how much he lost. Those who Chapman represents - twelve in Florida - lost a total of $10 million.
He says one in Tampa Bay lost $450,000 and now owes another $125,000.
"They got lots and lots of mom and pop accounts," Chapman said. "They got IRA accounts. They got people who would not normally invest in commodities."
Neither Option Sellers nor FC Stone responded to our requests for comment.
FC Stone is being sued for $9.5 million.
Chapman says Option Sellers may face legal action as well.