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A conflict of Raymond James financial brokers puts one employee in the middle

in The Bay and the 'Burg by

A former wealth management assistant is in the cross hairs of a complicated lawsuit. Sheri Nymark was fired by her boss, Pat Wheeler, in early July. After being terminated, Wheeler accuses her of contacting clients and trying to convince them to move their business from Wheeler to be managed instead by her son who works for Raymond James.

The lawsuit alleges Nymark violated her confidentiality and employment agreements, which constitutes theft of both clients and revenue.

However, emails provided in the lawsuit proving Nymark was indeed in contact with clients may help describe some of her side of the story.

In an email dated July 15, Nymark wrote to a Tom Dyer explaining the circumstances of her employment. According to that email, Wheeler was terminated by his broker, which happened to be Raymond James. It was after that contract severance that Wheeler terminated Nymark.

After he fired her, he then asked her to help him retain some of his clients. Nymark wrote that she considered his job offer but ultimately decided not to accept because he planned to retire this year. Instead she said she would be assisting her son, Jason Nymark, who worked for Raymond James.

Nymark claims she was just trying to help customers stay with Raymond James.

“In you maintaining your RJ account, it would allow me to again service you as your client liasison and have the normalcy you have become accustomed to,” Nymark wrote.

The emails do a couple of things. For Wheeler, they do indeed document that Nymark solicited clients in hopes of having her son work on their behalf. However, the emails also potentially illustrate that the clients may have already been with Raymond James making it not immediately clear who has rights to those clients.

It poses the question – is Wheeler in line by suing Nymark for soliciting those clients or does Raymond James have the ultimate authority over their patronage.

Wheeler claims Nymark’s employment agreement included a stipulation that client’s information is confidential and “further acknowledge her understanding that she is forbidden from using, revealing or divulging any client information unless it is necessary for the performance of professional duties.”

However, Wheeler does not mention his own affiliation with Raymond James in lawsuit documents.

The documents reveal that Nymark was employed by Wheeler’s staffing agency, not Raymond James. Raymond James is not listed in the lawsuit as a defendant; nor is Nymark’s son.

Wheeler seeks damages for lost revenue as well as repeal of any securities licensing Nymark holds.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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