A Virginia Beach attorney who was enjoined from selling stock in a boxing training camp he formed with Muhammad Ali has gone to court to stop the Securities and Exchange Commission from using information obtained from a former lawyer in his firm in other proceedings.
Richard M. Hirschfeld, 37, was prohibited by a U.S. District judge in New York last month from completing a $1.85 million public stock offering for Champion Sports Management Inc. of Virginia Beach after the SEC charged that he misrepresented the company's financial position, assets and ownership in a stock prospectus.
SEC lawyers handling that case said they conducted extensive interviews beforehand with Annamerle Z. Bellah, a former associate in Hirschfeld's Tidewater law office, who approached federal agencies in New Orleans after she left Hirschfeld's employ this summer. The SEC lawyers said much of what Bellah discussed involved companies other than Champion Sports Management, including firms for which she had done legal work.
These included Hirsch-Chemie Ltd. and Robotronix Corp., two publicly held Virginia companies formed within the last three years with close financial ties to Champion Sports Management and the boxing training camp.
Hirschfeld indicated that he believes the SEC is investigating and may soon take action against one or both of those companies.
Hirschfeld contended in a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington that Bellah's talks with the SEC violated the doctrine of attorney-client privilege and "the canons of professional ethics of the legal profession." He added that the SEC knew the information she gave them was protected by the attorney/client privilege, and never should have used it in the Champion Sports Management case filed by SEC lawyers in New York in August.
The flamboyant attorney asked that the SEC be prohibited from conducting investigations or beginning any proceedings against Hirsch-Chemie, Robotronix or other clients "in any way based upon, emanated from or result ing directly or indirectly . . . from the information, disclosures or confidences" obtained from Bellah.
Hirschfeld has now been cited three times by the SEC for alleged securities fraud.
An SEC spokesman said the agency has not filed any actions against either Hirsch-Chemie or Robotronix. He declined comment on whether the companies, Hirschfeld or other Hirschfeld clients are under investigation.