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Late Wednesday, Vista Bank issued a statement to KAMC News defending its president and CEO, John Steinmetz, against allegations made in a federal court filing.

In a federal bankruptcy court document that went public on Wednesday, the Reagor-Dykes chief restructuring officer (CRO) alleged that Vista Bank CEO John Steinmetz worked behind the scenes with former Reagor-Dykes CFO Shane Smith.

Last year, Smith pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge related to the RDAG check-kiting and floorplan fraud scheme that caused Reagor-Dykes’ bankruptcy in August 2018.

The Reagor-Dykes chief restructuring officer also alleged that Steinmetz personally enriched himself by receiving below-market deals in leasing five vehicles from Reagor-Dykes.

Wednesday evening, Vista Bank put out a statement defending Steinmetz, calling the filing and accusations a "last ditch attempt to shake down Vista Bank" before a February bankruptcy court hearing.

Vista Bank denied the allegations about Steinmetz enriching himself with leased vehicles, adding it "refuses to be extorted by the criminals who ran Reagor-Dykes."

The bank also noted it filed a lawsuit last month against Reagor-Dykes to defend itself against these claims. Steinmetz has not been charged with any crimes. In addition to being the president and CEO of Vista Bank, John Steinmetz is also a Texas Tech regent.

The Reagor-Dykes Auto Group, before its bankruptcy, was based in Lubbock and had dealerships in Lubbock, Dallas, and across West Texas.

Here is the complete text of the statement issued by Vista Bank on January 29th, 2020:

After over a year and a half in bankruptcy, three failed attempts to reorganize, and racking up over $5 million in unpaid legal fees for the Chief Restructuring Officer and his lawyers, today they filed a complaint in a last ditch attempt to shake down Vista Bank for money before their upcoming February 12, 2020 bankruptcy hearing where they face potential forced liquidation.

As conclusively established by the twelve (12) criminal felony guilty pleas (with more surely to come) in addition to the overwhelming record of the pending criminal, bankruptcy and litigation proceedings involving the Debtors:

  • the Debtors and their insiders perpetrated the frauds causing the Debtors’ insolvency and bankruptcy resulting in harm to Vista Bank as well as the Debtors’ other third-party creditors; and
  • as detailed in its filed proofs of claim, Vista Bank suffered at least $13 million in damages as a direct result of this confessed fraud.
  • Mr. Steinmetz paid over $120,000 in lease/buyout payments for the noted vehicles. Even if that was a ‘good deal,’ West Texans have too much common sense to believe Mr. Steinmetz would have sold his bank out to the tune of millions of dollars in order to save a few thousand on a couple of cars.
  • Not a single bank or banker has been implicated in any of the RDAG guilty pleas.

For the CRO’s legal counsel to file this complaint is akin to a thief robbing someone, getting caught, pleading guilty to the felony, and then suing the victim to pay for it all. Vista Bank refuses to be extorted by the criminals who ran Reagor-Dykes. For that reason, last month Vista Bank sued RDAG to preemptively defeat its frivolous claims.