Advisor embroiled in legal spat with Raymond James kills self, police say
An advisor embroiled in an ongoing legal spat with Raymond James & Associates over his termination from the firm committed suicide, according to police.
Mark Immel, who had been an advisor for nearly 30 years, was found dead Tuesday from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in a car near Ocala, Fla., according to a spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff's Office.
Philip J. Snyderburn, a lawyer who represented Immel in an arbitration case against Raymond James, says his client had been depressed due in part to his termination and his ongoing dispute with the firm.
Earlier this year, it seemed the dispute was moving in Immel’s favor. A FINRA arbitration panel ordered Raymond James to pay him $450,000 for damages related to his termination.
The panel also rejected Raymond James' counterclaims for unspecified damages for breach of promissory note.
However, that arbitration victory was not the end of Immel's legal battles. Raymond James sought to have a Florida state judge vacate the award based on a technicality; the firm argued that the panel of three arbitrators had overstepped their authority by including in their ruling a matter decided previously. A hearing date had been set for May 18.
Snyderburn says he spoke with his client on Tuesday, prompted to do so because Immel's wife expressed concern that her husband was "acting strangely."
"After I spoke with her, I called him and Mark and I had a long conversation. It was more about life than anything else and that now was the time to look forward, not backward. I thought it was a really good call and I thought that everything was going to be okay," Snyderburn says. "When I got the call,” he said Wednesday, “I was stunned."
A spokeswoman for Raymond James declined to comment.
Immel became an advisor at Raymond James when the firm acquired Morgan Keegan, where he had been employed since 2001, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. In 2014, Raymond James discharged Immel because management lost confidence in him, according to a note listed on his CRD. Snyderburn told On Wall Street in an earlier interview that the firm provided his client no explanation for why he was fired.
Immel has 19 client complaints on his record, his BrokerCheck record indicates. Nine have been denied or withdrawn, while the rest have been settled.
Snyderburn said Immel had four client complaints in 2013, and that his employer was defending him in those arbitration cases when, at about the same time, FINRA opened an investigation into the matter. The regulator did not ultimately bring any charges, according to Snyderburn.
Several months after leaving Raymond James, Immel was hired by G.A. Repple, a small brokerage firm, according to BrokerCheck. But his dismissal and continuing battle with his ex-employer set Immel back, Snyderburn says.
"Financially, he watched the roof cave in. He was making half a million per year and it dropped to $60,000. He was draining his retirement savings accounts. He had two girls in college. It totally overwhelmed him," Snyderburn says.
He adds: "I just think it's a wakeup call that when someone is terminated from any type of a job that there can be far reaching consequences that no one anticipates."
Immel is survived by his wife of 29 years, Kim, and four daughters.
Additional reporting by Charles Paikert.