Molly English-Bowers Feb. 17, 2016, 12:40pm


EDWARDSVILLE – A Missouri company and its owner are suing a lawyer, alleging the defendant collected a debt on the plaintiff's behalf but retained the money.

MTC 1 Inc. and Jeffrey Bauza filed the lawsuit Feb. 8 in Madison County Circuit Court against Vincent Vogler and Vogler Law Firm PC of Creve Coeur, Missouri.

In 2009, Bauza, who owns MTC 1, hired the defendant to represent him in collecting a debt totaling $708,766, plus accruing interest and costs, owed it by Star Transport Inc. The defendant agreed to represent the plaintiffs for a 12.5 percent contingent fee, the lawsuit says.

Star made payments totaling $415,625, the lawsuit states, a good deal of which was paid directly to the IRS to settle a federal tax lien and $87,500 was retained by the defendant. In addition, the complaint says, Vogler received direct payments from the debtor, which he did not account for or disclose to the client The suit adds that the total fee the defendant was entitled to for the payments is $46,925.

However, the lawsuit says, Vogler continued to receive payments totaling $87,500, an overpayment of $40,575. While the defendant was collecting those payments, the suit says, he did not make any payments to the plaintiffs, nor did he account to the client the amounts he received. In January 2015, after making repeated requests for information and not receiving satisfactory responses, the lawsuit alleges, the plaintiffs terminated the defendant.

As a result, the plaintiffs allege they have suffered losses because Vogler withheld money and, because of the defendant's actions, Bauza says he has been unable to collect the original debt owed by Star, including interest and other expenses.

MTC and Bauza seek at least $50,000, plus court costs. They are represented by attorney Ronald A. Roth of Roth Law Offices LLC in Granite City.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-176

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