Dustin Johnson adviser accused of embezzlement
Friday, August 29, 2014
Nat Hardwick, a board member for the Dustin Johnson Foundation, has resigned from the Atlanta law firm of Morris Hardwick Schneider after accusations of embezzlement and fraud related to his former firm's ownership of LandCastle, a title-insurance company.
According to the civil complaint filed by MHS and LandCastle in the Superior Court of Fulton County in Atlanta on Aug. 25, Hardwick, a friend and adviser to Johnson, directly oversaw trust accounts for his law firm and LandCastle and systematically depleted both accounts for personal benefit in excess of $30 million.
According to a statement by Hardwick’s attorney, Ed Garland of Garland, Samuel & Loeb, Hardwick is not guilty of any improper, illegal or unethical conduct.
“Nat became aware of a problem with the accounting earlier this summer and immediately alerted his partners and initiated a review by outside auditors,” the statement said. “Anybody who knows Nat knows that he loves the law firm, its employees, the attorneys and the firm’s many loyal clients. He would never knowingly or intentionally take money he was not entitled to or harm the firm or its clients in any way.”
According to Garland's statement, Hardwick only took money from the firm and its related companies that was properly distributed to him as his share of firm profits.
Hardwick’s former firm paints an entirely different picture of Hardwick’s financial dealings, including using misappropriated funds to purchase a $3 million luxury condominium at The St. Regis Atlanta in February 2013. He is also accused of diverting $6.3 million to the holding company Divot, which is solely controlled by Hardwick, $1 million for private-jet services, $645,000 for losses in connection with failed property investments and $4 million in wire transfers to casinos.
Hardwick no longer is listed as a board member on the Dustin Johnson Foundation website. Calls to the other board members to confirm Hardwick’s status were not returned.