News Column

Son of Peregrine Financial Says He Doesn't Want Pity

Feb 1, 2013

Jim Offner

Russell Wasendorf Jr. remained quiet as the company his father owned vanished in a financial scandal that led to the father's suicide attempt, bankruptcy and subsequent arrest. The younger Wasendorf remained silent as the assets of the company he once ran for his father were sold at auction.

But on the eve of his father's sentencing, Russell Wasendorf Jr., who served as chief operating officer of Cedar Falls-based commodity-trading firm Peregrine Financial Group Inc. until the company unravelled last summer, issued a statement via email through his Chicago-based attorney, Nicholas Iavarone, after having rebuffed numerous requests for comment.

"I am reluctant to respond as I feel it may seem like an attempt to seek sympathy; I do not want pity." the younger Wasendorf said. "There have been so many who have been damaged by the poor choices of one person."

Wasendorf Jr., who moved with his family to Orlando, Fla., in the wake of PFG's sudden closure and bankruptcy last summer, said he has cooperated with authorities through a "devastating" process.

"I have attempted to help and have cooperated with investigators and attorneys," he said. "I wish I could somehow fix what he did but it is impossibly large and the damage too immense."

It's time to move on, he said.

"I realized recently that I must move forward if I am to take care of my wife and kids," he said. "This tragedy has been devastating in every way. It has shattered my family, ruined my reputation, fractured my marriage, separated me from my oldest son and close friends many of which I worked with and knew their families and goals."

Wasendorf Jr. also discussed the personal damage his father's actions inflicted on him.

"Mentally and emotionally it has torn me apart and left me battling to stay strong and optimistic all while feeling sad and betrayed," he said. "It has destroyed me financially and has left me on the edge of bankruptcy. I built a 25 year reputation in the industry as hard working lead by example leader with a strong moral compass and integrity. I educated myself everyday on how to run a successful business and make the best possible trading environment by teaching people to build wealth with sustainable investing."

Wasendorf Jr. said he had thought all the ingredients had been put in place for PFG to prosper in the coming years.

"I believed that the next 20 years were going to be the time when I built something truly great," he said. "I had brought together some of the best people in the business and developed an environment that used multiple assets for investors with equities, metals, foreign currency, short term foreign currency interest rates, commodities using a managed futures structure rather than focusing on speculators and speculation."

Wasendorf Jr. said his priority is to protect his family.

"Now I am focusing on my wife and kids and making sure that they are protected and safe," he said. "Using my knowledge of technology and marketing I am focusing on the local market and build small successes. I am taking one step at a time and starting a new life at the beginning of what I know will be a marathon."

The son has largely remained out of the limelight in the wake of the implosion of PFG, the arrest of Russell Wasendorf Sr. and the legal proceedings and sale of PFG assets that followed.

There was one brief exception, when Wasendorf Jr. and his wife filed a suit against U.S. Bank and a bank employee in September, claiming the bank didn't tell them about his father's finances when they signed agreements to back construction for PFG's headquarters in Cedar Falls.

However, in October, the son's attorneys, Iavarone and Scott Buchanan of Algona filed to dismiss the lawsuit.


Distributed by MCT Information Services

Source: (c) 2013 Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (Waterloo, Iowa)

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