A motion to consolidate more than a dozen lawsuits filed against Grover Beach financial services owner Al Moriarty into one trial was met with skepticism Thursday.
Fifteen separate lawsuits have been filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court in the past six months against Moriarty, owner of Moriarty Enterprises, for unpaid loan payments on promissory notes totaling more than $2.5 million.
Kirby Gordon, Moriarty’s attorney, said his intention was to manage the cases into one with the hope of reaching a “global settlement.”
Gordon said without the cases being consolidated, Moriarty would likely be forced to file for bankruptcy.
Judge Charles S. Crandall delayed making a decision on the consolidation request Thursday, saying he needed more time think about it.
“As much as I like to create order out of chaos, I’m not certain this case is amenable to it,” said Crandall.
The claims, which vary in amount, allege fraud, elder abuse and breach of contract by not repaying loans as promised and a lack of required security licenses needed to make investments.
Gordon said Thursday that Moriarty’s only remaining assets were a few insurance policies.
Several attorneys said Thursday that a forensic accountant was needed to make it clear that no additional assets were at hand.
Moriarty, 79, who has been in the private money business for 25 years, said his downfall was because of the Great Recession. A firm believer in the value of gold and real estate, Moriarty made a name by investing in both.
But when the real estate market declined and banks began to pull credit lines he had once relied on, his found himself unable to make payments due on the promissory notes.
The majority of the lawsuits are based on the same premise: Individuals signed a promissory note with Moriarty that guaranteed them 10 percent annual interest paid back over five years through monthly payments.
The principal of those loans, and any interest, would become due in full if Moriarty defaulted on a payment, according to the lawsuits.
Crandall is expected to make a ruling on the consolidation request next week.