Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Ashley Madison customers revealed: Health-care exec Michael E. Stephens, the man behind one of Alabama's most expensive homes, appears at cheating Web site

Michael E. Stephens speaks at his alma mater,
the University of  Montevallo
A health-care executive, who is the man behind one of Alabama's most expensive homes, is among paying customers at the Ashley Madison extramarital-affairs Webs site, records show.

Michael E. Stephens, former executive director of Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital and founder of the Lakeshore Foundation, owns (or did own) the Resting S Ranch on Cahaba Valley Road (Highway 119) in North Shelby County. The 12,300-square-foot main house sits on 35 acres and is valued at $4.56 million. The entire 82-acre ranch had a list price of $11.65 million in 2011. The property has been on the market, but it's not clear from public records if it has sold.

From a report at

According to Stephens, the Resting S Ranch land used to be Indian ceremonial grounds. He raised Arabian horses there, and the ranch is equipped with a birthing barn, stalls, office, inside arena and outside round pen.

Stephens founded ReLife Inc., a nationwide Birmingham-based rehabilitation-medicine company, which sold to HealthSouth for $180-million in 1984. The business school at the University of Montevallo is named for Stephens.

Resting S Ranch
Why would a man who has enjoyed so much success in business fool around on Ashley Madison, a Web site that sends up enough red flags to fuel a Fourth of July fireworks show? The answer to that question remains unclear, but Stephens certainly appears, on the surface, to be the kind of distinguished fellow who would not fall for a site we now know was largely a con game.

Stephens was married to Deborah L. Stephens, but they divorced in 1992, public records show. He has been married to Nancy K. Stephens since at least the early 2000s, and their primary residence now is in Naples, Florida.

We contacted Rhonda Hoggle, who is Stephens' financial adviser and attorney-in-fact and has an office at 3230 Cahaba Valley Road, near the Resting S Ranch. We sought comment for this post from either Ms. Hoggle or Mr. Stephens, but neither has responded so far.


(1) Edgar C. Gentle III--attorney at Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, Birmingham, AL (3/8/16)

(2) Stewart Springer--attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL. (3/9/16)

(3) Richard W. "Dick" Bell--attorney, solo practice in Birmingham, AL (3/14/16)

(4) Robert M.N. Palmer--attorney and bar association president in Springfield, MO (3/15/16)

(5) Thomas Plouff--attorney, who is licensed in Alabama and has a practice in Chicago (3/17/16)


Anonymous said...

Oh, goody, more sleaze from the 1 percent. I love it.

Anonymous said...

Commenters in hysterics, coming in 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . .

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just me, but with all the stories going on around the nation...particularly in your state of Alabama, this just seems like such a waste for your blog. I care about injustice from a broken system of justice. This is just tabloid sleaze. I know LS will blister me on this, but just one mans opinion..

I Rod said...

Stephens is a big shot in banking, too, isn't he? I seem to recall reading that he was connected to a bank that had some problems.

legalschnauzer said...

Yes, I Rod, he is a big shot in banking, or at least he was. He was on the board of directors at Superior Bancorp. Not sure he's on the board now.

legalschnauzer said...

As for banking issues, Superior Bank closed in 2011, per this press release from FDIC:

The new Superior Bank N.A. merged with Cadence Bank in 2011, and I believe Cadence is the name the bank now operates under in Alabama, and elsewhere.

The FDIC sued Superior's former directors and officers in 2014. Not sure if Stephens was included in that suit. Need to research that:

Anonymous said...

Superior Bank was the biggest bank failure of 2011. In addition to the FDIC suit, the SEC also sued a number of directors and officers.

Anonymous said...

How did a story about sex--or maybe feeble efforts to get sex--turn into a discussion about banking? Come on, people, let's get back to the sex. No one cares about banking--unless it was your money that went under.

legalschnauzer said...

Here is an article about Superior Bancorp's directors, as of 2006. Michael E. Stephens was elected to another one-year term on board that year. Not sure how many more years he served. Several news reports say "reckless lending practices" were at the heart of the bank's failure:

"BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Banc Corporation
(Nasdaq: TBNC) announced today at its annual meeting that its shareholders
have approved the change of its corporate name to Superior Bancorp and that
it will begin trading under the NASDAQ symbol SUPR on May 19, 2006. In
addition, Stan Bailey, Roger Barker, K. Earl Durden, Rick Gardner, Thomas
Jernigan, Jr., James Mailon Kent, James M. Link, Barry Morton, Robert R.
Parrish, Jr., Marvin Scott, Michael E. Stephens, James A. Taylor and James
C. White, Sr. were re-elected to one year terms on Superior Bancorp's Board
of Directors."

Anonymous said...

Found this list of people associated with Michael Stephens at Superior Bank. These folks proved one thing: They can't run a bank worth a crap:

legalschnauzer said...

SEC charged 11 of Superior Banks directors and officers with fraud earlier this year. Don't see Stephens' name on the list. Maybe he left the board before things got sticky:

legalschnauzer said...

This 2007 document indicates Stephens owned more than 277,000 of common stock in Superior Bancorp. It also indicates he was not re-nominated to the board after that year.

I'm hardly a banking expert, but it looks like the bank was going through a big shakeup in 2007. It's possible Stephens did not like the new direction and decided to hit the exits. If so, that probably was a smart move.

Samantha said...

People often may continue living as married in the public eye because their families will not accept divorce, or perhaps for convenience and financial reasons. While these may still be situations with some degree of dishonesty or lacking in perfect integrity, the point is that with the giant numbers of people involved, there are likely cases that deserve a measure of compassion, and painting all members with the scarlet letter may be far more destructive than deserved.