Edgartown lawyer Edward W. (Pete) Vincent Jr. has resolved two lawsuits alleging he misappropriated more than $600,000 in client funds. A $700,000 mortgage loan from Michael Kidder, an Edgartown resident and longtime friend of the Vincent family, allowed the lawyer to repay the funds he had withheld from clients in separate real estate transactions. Mr. Vincent still faces arraignment on criminal charges.
In a brief telephone conversation Friday afternoon, Mr. Kidder said he would make no comment beyond a brief prepared statement.
“My wife Pat and I have known Peter and Melissa Vincent for a number of years,” he said. “We decided to make a secured loan to them so that those who are owed money can be repaid more quickly.”
“And that’s it,” he added.
Mr. Kidder moved to Chappaquiddick in 2000 from Keene, New Hampshire.
According to Dukes County registry records, land on Old Oyster Pond Road in Edgartown, owned by a trust of which Mrs. Vincent’s wife is a beneficiary, is encumbered with a mortgage for $700,000 to Mr. Kidder.
In 2006, Mr. Kidder was a partner in a plan to create a nine-lot luxury Edgartown subdivision, later abandoned in the face of neighborhood opposition and after referral to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission.
Asked if he could fairly be described as a developer, Mr. Kidder said, “I’m not a developer, I never developed anything. Mullen Way hasn’t ever been developed. I’ve only done work on my own private homes.”
Mr. Kidder has provided generous support to the community. In 2005, he purchased a building located at 7 Beach Road, formerly the studio of artist Travis Tuck and donated it to the Island Housing Trust. The house was later moved to a new site and used to create affordable housing.
He was one of the founders of the Farm Institute and heads a charitable foundation worth more than $8.5 million. Recent grant recipients have included Martha’s Vineyard Hospital and the YMCA, according to tax filings.
On April 14, the Dukes County Superior Court and Suffolk County Superior court dismissed the separate lawsuits, which charged that Mr. Vincent had failed to disburse funds from his law office account to parties in separate real estate transactions, according to court documents and land records.
All attachments and liens on Mr. Vincent’s property and bank accounts, imposed by the court at the request of the complainants in the civil suits, have been released.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) and First American Title Insurance Company agreed to dismiss the lawsuits and attachments after they were paid the amounts entrusted to Mr. Vincent during real estate closings in February.
The dismissal of the civil lawsuits does not settle the criminal charges Mr. Vincent faces in Edgartown District Court.
Following his arrest on April 8, Mr. Vincent appeared in district court on April 11, where a judge postponed until May 19 his scheduled arraignment on charges of fiduciary embezzlement and larceny.
The arrest came after an investigation opened by Edgartown Police on March 9, in response to information from the MSPCA, according to police reports.