WJB Shuts Brokerage After Hiring Citadel Bankers

Jan 4 2012 | 2:09am ET

Less than a month after landing new jobs, a pair of former Citadel Investment Group bankers are out on the street once again.

Bryan Maher and John Newman joined broker-dealer WJB Capital Group last month after stints at Citadel Securities, the hedge fund giant's investment banking group. Citadel all but shuttered that division in August.

Unfortunately for Maher, Newman and A.B. Mendez, a former analyst a GreenCrest Capital who joined WJB at the same time, their new firm was on shaky footing. The ground fell out from under it yesterday, when New York-based WJB told its employees that it would close its brokerage operations after it failed to find affordable capital.

WJB's non-brokerage operations are exploring "other possibilities," general counsel Mark Skolnick said. The firm does not plan to file for bankruptcy, he said.

WJB was "unable to raise capital in a manner that would have allowed the firm to continue its operations given the current climate and the constraints that would have been placed on everyone," CEO Craig Rothfeld told Bloomberg News.

WJB had about 100 employees, some of whom had lend the firm money.

Just days ago, WJB was sued by James McNally—who called himself an investor in the firm but who WJB says was merely a lender—for fraud and breach of contract. According to McNally, who also named Rothfeld in the suit, the firm misused his money and failed to pay him as promised.

Rothfeld denied the allegations, telling Bloomberg that McNally received monthly interest and that his claims are "baseless and without merit."

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