Martha Stewart

Its two previous tenants have been arrested. It’s got a secret, illegal stairway sealed up behind sheetrock. The interior—from private foyer, to huge living room leading into a skylighted bedroom—sounds like the place Al Pacino called home in the Devil’s Advocate. You can almost smell the brimstone and see the mouldings moving in time with the crooked deals that were certainly made there.
So it’s not exactly surprising that it took a while for Sam Waksal’s old apartment to find a new buyer. Waksal is the co-founder of ImClone who peaded guilty to insider trading, securities fraud and tax evasion, and is serving out an 87-month sentence. The place was picked up by an earlier buyer a couple of years ago, and has been on the market ever since.
And its not just Waksal’s ghost that haunts the place. We imagine you can probably feel the spirits of the not-yet-dead but caught-up-with-Waksal/ImClone folks like Martha Stewart, Carl Icahn and Peter E. Bacanovic. In fact, maybe we should ask the new buyer, Blackstone real estate adviser A.J. Agarwal, if DealBreaker can have a tour of the place.

Disgraced ImClone Founder’s Penthouse Sells for $7 M., Despite Offbeat Build-Out
[New York Observer]

Guess who isn’t getting invited to Martha Stewart’s pumpkin carving party this year?

Peter E. Bacanovic, his gall rising, could not believe it. But there it was in print. “I honestly don’t remember exactly what I was prosecuted for,” Martha Stewart is quoted as saying in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
“It’s a very striking comment to make, I mean she is on probation,” Mr. Bacanovic said of his former friend, client and fellow convict, as he sat down for lunch last month at Sette Mezzo, just around the corner from his Manhattan town house.
“I was indicted not because I was the biggest criminal on the block or the biggest insider trader in history,” he said. “I was indicted simply to bring a case against my celebrity co-defendant. I was a device.”
His grievances [for Stewart] are many. They range from not being among those who received a Christmas card from her while she was in prison, to her legal strategy. He claims that she turned down offers from the government to settle charges, which would have resulted in no trial and perhaps no prison term. He also blames her for the $75,000 fine he recently paid to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle insider trading charges.
Mr. Bacanovic’s feelings for his former client are complicated: there is resentment fueled by what he sees as the unfairness of his lot relative to hers, yet one that is tempered by warm memories of their shared love for chow chows and of Christmases spent together in the kitchen of Ms. Stewart’s home in Westport, Conn.

The Broker Who Fell To Earth [NYT]

Was The Stewart Settlement An Admission of Guilt

Martha.jpgProfessor Bainbridge points out that Martha Stewart’s settlement with the SEC was pretty much a total capitulation on Stewart’s part. She can smile about it all she wants but she basically avoided trial by submitting to the maximum punishment. We guess she saved some money on attorney’s fees.

First, she’s paying the maximum possible dollar penalties. Second, she’s agreed to significant limitations on her abilities to function at her eponymous company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. She won’t be able to go back on the board of directors or resume her position as CEO. So this is a very big win for the SEC – they couldn’t have gotten much more by going to trial and winning. Query whether it’s a big enough loss on Stewart’s part as to amount to an implied admission of guilt?

Stewart Settles

Martha.jpgLooks like Martha wasn’t kidding around when she told the Today show that she was close to a settlement with the SEC two months ago. Today news broke that the home-maker media mogul settled an insider trading probe by agreeing to pay $195,000 and to be banned from serving as a director, CEO or financial officer of a public company for five years.
Stewart had been convicted of lying to federal prosecutors in a related investigation into 2001 sales of ImClone stock. Her Merrill Lynch broker, Perter Bacanovic, also settled with the SEC, agreeing to pay $75,000.
WIth the ImClone case finally behind her, Martha can get back to giving her full attention to being annoyingly well-organized about more important matters like holiday cookie recipes. And, to be fair, running a media company based on those recipes.

Martha Stewart to Pay $195,000 to Settle SEC Probe

Stewart To Settle?

Martha.jpgGawker reports that on the Today show this morning Martha Stewart claimed she is not fighting the SEC’s civil suit against her.

While Stewart looked none too pleased to have her domestic lesson interrupted, she did indulge: contrary to every published report we’ve seen, Stewart is not fighting the second round of insider trading charges. “We’re close to a happy settlement,” she said. How nice to see a negotiation so full of mirth.

Looks like we’re going to have to change our viewing habits if we want the latest business news. So long SquawkBox. Hello to the Today show.

Martha Stewart to Settle With SEC

Martha Stewart: It’s Getting Hot In Here

So take off all your clothes?
We’re not sure exactly how this got started but this video of Martha Stewart showing a half-naked man how to fold shirts at last week’s D4 conference is beyond weird.
What a fab way for Martha to celebrate her decision to fight the SEC civil suit against her.

Martha Will Fight!

Martha.jpgCourt papers filed on behalf of Martha Stewart yesterday indicate that she will fight the SEC’s civil charges of insider trading related to her sale of ImClone stock in 2001. The decision to contest the charges surprised some observers who expected Martha to attempt to avoid another public trial. Someone familiar with the case, however, tells DealBreaker that Martha instructed her lawyers to turn down any settlement offer that involved an admission of wrongdoing.
Fortunately, the first hearing is not scheduled until November so Martha’s summer schedule is intact.
Stewart to fight insider trading charges [Bloomberg in Chicago Tribue via

Meanwhile, In Other White Collar Crime News

We’ve been so wrapped up with our EV Day coverage that we haven’t mentioned today’s other big White Collar Criminal news. Today is the deadline for Martha Stewart to respond to the three-year-old SEC civil suit claiming she engaged in insider trading when she sold shares of ImClone in 2001. Stewart’s responses to investigators during the investigation into that sale eventually led to her conviction for obstruction of justice, serving jail time and having to wear a really ugly device around her ankle.
There is speculation that Stewart will settle the case with the SEC. Her lawyers were reportedly still in settlement negotiations yesterday with lawyers for the SEC.
The Return of Martha Stewart, the Civil Case