SEC Homes In on Lehman, ‘Funds of Funds’ [WSJ]
“The Securities and Exchange Commission’s investigation into the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. is zeroing in on an accounting maneuver used to give the appearance that the company t levels, according to people familiar with the situation.
Agency officials also are probing whether former Lehman executives failed to adequately mark down the value of the huge real-estate portfolio acquired in the securities firm’s takeover of apartment developer Archstone-Smith Trust or to disclose the resulting losses to investors, these people said.
The narrowing probe could move the SEC closer to bringing civil charges related to Lehman’s collapse in September 2008, though a decision doesn’t appear imminent.”
Study Says Directors Favor Themselves, Not Shareholders [FINS]
“A new study found that directors who field whistleblowing claims are likely to discount charges that could threaten their board seats and will assign fewer resources into investigating such claims.
In weighing hypothetical charges, 83 veteran directors at large U.S. corporations said they would allocate 42% fewer resources on average to fraud tips that might ultimately cost them their board seats.”
Dubai World reaches $24.9 billion debt deal [Reuters]
“State-owned conglomerate Dubai World DBWLD.UL on Friday reached a formal deal to restructure around $24.9 billion of liabilities, partly easing recently heightened concerns over the Gulf emirate’s debt woes.
While Dubai World’s agreement with most of its creditors is seen as a positive step for Dubai, the announcement comes just days after a unit of Dubai Holding, the conglomerate owned by Dubai’s ruler, said it will delay repayment on a $555 million loan, the second time it has failed to meet a repayment deadline.”
Huguette Clark’s multi-million-dollar fortune remains in hands of her financial managers [NYDN]
“Millionaire recluse Huguette Clark’s $500 million fortune will remain in the hands of financial managers who are under investigation, a Manhattan judge decided Thursday.
Judge Laura Visitacion-Lewis tossed a request by Clark’s relatives to appoint an independent guardian to oversee her finances and property, including Fifth Avenue’s biggest co-op apartment.
The judge called the family’s concerns about Clark’s health and state of mind “speculative” and “insufficient” to merit wresting control from her lawyer, Wallace Bock, and accountant, Irving Kamsler.”
Control Freak Q&A With Caleb Newquist [Control Freak]
Approva’s Control Freak blog asked me what I liked about being “control freaky.” Check out this post for the answer and more bits of wisdom from Adrienne’s favorite blogger.
Trump Offers to Buy Out Islamic Center Investor [WSJ]
“Mr. El-Gamal, founder of SoHo Properties, is one of eight investors who paid $4.8 million for a building two blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The statement came following reports that real estate mogul Donald Trump was offering to buy one investor’s stake in the property.
In a letter to Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born Long Island businessman and a major investor in the project, Mr. Trump offered to buy his stake for 25% more than Mr. Elzanaty paid for it.”
Former GE Unit Executive Says He Was Pushed Out for Questioning Accounting [Bloomberg]
“General Electric Capital Services was sued by a former executive who claims he was forced out for questioning the company’s treatment of an asset.
Edward Gormbley, who worked for GE Capital from 2000 until he quit in September 2009, filed his suit today in state court in Stamford, Connecticut. The complaint also names parent General Electric Co. and its chief executive officer, Jeffrey Immelt.
Gormbley said he was punished for challenging the valuation of silicon-maker Momentive Performance Materials, an investment asset. GE Capital overstated Momentive’s value in December 2008 to improve its own balance sheet, he said. Valuing the asset correctly would have reduced ‘GE Capital’s earnings 100 percent,’ in the fourth quarter that year, according to the complaint.”
“Wally” Bock isn’t sure what you want from him, MSNBC, New York Post, Daily News et al. He’s trying to run a half billion dollar fortune of a lady who doesn’t want to leave the friendly confines of Beth Israel Hospital.
He can’t be bothered with trivial matters like whether Irving Kamsler pleaded guilty to sending porn to adolescent girls. And besides! It wasn’t even his call.
In his statement to appease the haters, Bock wrote, “I was never in any position to fire Mr. Kamsler; that decision was Ms. Clark’s alone. I did insist that he disclose his conviction to Ms. Clark, which I understood he did.”
How about that for an awkward conversation? It’s not like going door to door in North Hollywood telling everyone you’re a pederast but explaining to a 100+ woman that you sent porn to some teenage girls might make for a few uncomfortable silences. But Bock claims Clark was cool with it, so you best not get all judgey about it.
Plus, he got to keep his CPA. Although the past has show that the New York Office of Professional Discipline isn’t really too concerned with timely action.
Young Women’s Pay Exceeds Male Peers’ [WSJ]
“The earning power of young single women has surpassed that of their male peers in metropolitan areas around the U.S., a shift that is being driven by the growing ranks of women who attend college and move on to high-earning jobs.
In 2008, single, childless women between ages 22 and 30 were earning more than their male counterparts in most U.S. cities, with incomes that were 8% greater on average, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data released Wednesday by Reach Advisors, a consumer-research firm in Slingerlands, N.Y.
The trend was first identified several years ago in the country’s biggest cities, but has broadened out to smaller locales and across more industries. Beyond major cities such as San Francisco and New York, the income imbalance is pronounced in blue-collar hubs and the fast-growing metro areas that have large immigrant populations.”
Burger King to be bought out at $24/share – CNBC [MarketWatch]
Whopperland’s stock is up 20% on the news that private equity shop 3G will shell out $24 a share.
KB Home says SEC investigation over [Los Angeles Times]
“Shares of Los Angeles-based KB Home soared on Wednesday after the home builder said an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into the company’s accounting and disclosure procedures had concluded and no enforcement action would be taken.
The company said in a statement Wednesday that it had received a letter from the commission closing the investigation, which began in October. Details of the inquiry weren’t disclosed. KB Home closed at $11.45, up $1.14, or 11%.
‘We are glad to share with our investors and employees that the matter is now behind us, as we continue to focus on restoring the sustained profitability of our home building operations and generating future growth’ KB Home Chief Executive Jeffrey Mezger said.”
Heiress’ shady visitor [NYP]
“An accountant being investigated for his handling of 104-year-old Huguette Clark’s vast fortune has visited the hospitalized heiress in the past several days trying to get her to sign legal documents, The Post has learned.
Sources said they did not know if the accountant — convicted sex offender Irving Kamsler — obtained Clark’s signature on the documents after going to see her at Beth Israel Medical Center, but speculated that those files include a last will for the copper heiress.”
Bloomberg Stands By “Cowboy” Remark in State Cigarette Tax Dispute with Seneca Tribe [Tax Foundation]
Hizzoner isn’t apologizing to the Seneca Tribe after suggesting Governor David Paterson get a ‘cowboy hat and a shotgun’ to enforce New York’s cigarette tax. The Seneca Tribe wants an apology. Bloomy says it isn’t happening.