Jury Awards Wausua, Wis. Company $50 Million in Damages

A jury has awarded a Wausau, Wis., company $50 million in damages in a lawsuit filed against Chicagobased Baker Tilly Virchow Krause. Aqua Finance (FY11 net revenue of $242 million), a consumer lender that finances water-treatment systems, accused its former accounting firm of negligence and breach of contract for failing to immediately disclose problems with its loan loss reserves in 2007. Baker Tilly withheld for one year that the loan losses were improperly calculated and did not meet industry standards, according to court records. Aqua Finance contends the lack of disclosure resulted in huge losses for the company while Baker Tilly blamed the losses on the economy. Bob Chadwell, who founded Aqua Finance in 1986, was quoted in the May 31 Wausau Daily Herald: “This is an opportunity to right a wrong. What happened should not have happened if common sense prevailed.”