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Eviction Watch ’15: The Family Martoma

Does NOT want to be thrown out into the cold Florida winter (not depicted).Matthew Martoma has, for the foreseeable future, a place to stay in South Florida. His wife and three children may not be quite so lucky.

Last year, Rosemary Martoma made the reasonable argument that she gave up her lucrative career as a pediatrician for the equally-lucrative career of stay-at-home mom with the expectation that she’d get half of whatever her husband earned, like, for instance, $950,000 worth of their $1.9 million Boca Raton house. Prosecutors have responded, just as if not more reasonably, that quitting one’s job does not entitle one to half of money earned in nefarious ways by someone else. So, while preparing her retort to that unquestionably incisive response, Mrs. Martoma might want to start looking for more modest digs and a man with a van. Read more »

Opening Bell: 1.13.15

Jim RogersJim Rogers claims Russian ‘consultant’ tried to extort him (NYP)
The globetrotting tycoon — known for his spiffy bow ties as well as his investing acumen — has accused a San Diego woman of attempted extortion in a business deal gone bad, The Post has learned. In civil court papers filed last week, Rogers alleges that Laura Alexis, “a self-professed ‘media consultant’ of Russian descent,” threatened his health and reputation as she demanded that he fork over “large sums of money.” Alexis failed to deliver on a deal to create a Web-based investing channel for Rogers — and then told him in a testy e-mail that her Russian computer programmer friend “Victor” would be “justified for whatever he will do” unless Rogers coughed up $37,000, according to the suit…In response to questions from The Post, Fink said Rogers and Alexis met “in person a grand total of three or four times over six years. The only time they met in person was when he was speaking — once in Alabama, once in Colorado and once or twice in the Big Apple.” Fink added that there was “no sexual relationship whatsoever” between Alexis and Rogers, who is happily married and living in Singapore with his wife and daughters.

S.& P. Nears Settlement With Justice Over Inflated Ratings (Dealbook)
After S.&P. mounted a two-year campaign to defeat civil fraud charges — portraying them as retaliation for cutting the credit rating of the United States — the ratings agency is now negotiating with the Justice Department to settle the case, according to people briefed on the matter. For S.&P., which is accused of awarding inflated credit ratings to mortgage investments that spurred the financial crisis, the delay in settling may prove costly. The Justice Department and more than a dozen state attorneys general are demanding that S.&P. pay more than $1 billion to settle the case, the people briefed on the matter said, a penalty large enough to wipe out the rating agency’s entire operating profit for a year.

Ethical Questions Of Investing In Pot (Dealbook)
Public pension funds and university endowments are increasingly shying away from putting their money in so-called sin industries and focusing on more “socially responsible” investments, but it’s unclear where marijuana falls on this spectrum. Is marijuana closer to the health care industry, given its benefits for certain ailments, or should it be lumped into the same category as cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, guns and, in some quarters, fossil fuels and sugary soda? […] The nation’s biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America — thus far refuse to allow marijuana companies to set up accounts. Even smaller local banks refuse to provide services to the industry. Geoff Lewis, a partner of Mr. Thiel, who is a longtime libertarian [and invested millions of dollars in a marijuana company, said he thought the industry was misunderstood. “If I thought it was a sin industry I would not have made the investment.”

As Oil Slips Below $50, Canada Digs In for Long Haul (WSJ)
In the escalating war of attrition among top oil-producing nations, Canada’s biggest oil-sands mines have a message for the market: Don’t look to us to cut production. Long the unloved stepchild of so-called unconventional crude production, the oil sands have lured some of the world’s top energy producers to a remote corner of Northern Alberta where the heavy oil deposits are richest. There, they have plowed billions of dollars into building up a sprawling industrial complex amid the surrounding forests.

Two New York universities make list of fastest growing Sugar Baby Schools of 2015 (NYDN)
A list of the fastest growing universities where comely coeds use Sugar Daddies to afford their tuition fees has been unveiled by the world’s largest Sugar Daddy dating site — showing two New York City universities among them. New York University and Columbia University were recognized by SeekingArrangement.com this week as the third and 11th fastest growing “Sugar Baby Schools” of 2015, just behind first place’s University of Texas and second place’s Arizona State University. Between the two Big Apple schools, 585 students seeking a financial donor enrolled with the dating site which brands itself as “where beautiful, ambitious people graduate, debt free.” It boasts an average of $3,000 per month in allowances and gifts provided to students from their so-called Sugar Daddies who are independently matched by the site’s users using online profiles. “It’s a dating site just like any other,” Seeking Arrangement spokesperson Brook Urick described the process to the Daily News. “Both come to it knowing what they want from a relationship. They are open and honest,” she said. “So when you join the site, there is a space you can list your desired allowance.” “The average debt for graduate students has more than quadrupled since 1989, which is a problem since the fastest growing careers for the coming years require these degrees,” said SeekingArrangement.com’s CEO and Founder, Brandon Wade. “It’s not only undergraduates, but those pursuing their Masters are turning to the site.” Read more »

Write-Offs: 1.12.15

$$$ Starting her debut hedge fund without a staff of analysts to help choose investments and relying too much on one investor’s money helped lead Whitney astray, according to a person with direct knowledge of her firm. [Bloomberg]

$$$ Congress Again Clashes Over Financial Regulation [WSJ]

$$$ BATS fined $14M to settle HFT favoritism probe [NYP]

$$$ Obama Treasury choice withdraws; faced opposition [AP]

$$$ Accused Drunk Driver Intoxicated On Vanilla Extract: Cops Read more »

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  • 12 Jan 2015 at 7:02 PM

S&P Positively Verklemmt About The Germans

Getting excited.All is not well in the German Empire European Union. The Greeks may be about to do something extremely regrettable. The bloc’s economy stubbornly refuses to recognize the wisdom and effectiveness of Angela Merkel’s austere medicine. But while the Czechs have succumbed to all of the unpleasantness (JFK-Prague airfares are looking very reasonable right now, for what it’s worth), the Germans couldn’t be steadier. At least according to S&P. Read more »

wells fargoThe way former Wells Fargo research analyst Gregory Bolan sees it, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s suit against him and a former colleague– Joseph Ruggieri– isn’t just about alleged insider trading. Oh sure, it’s about that, too, but take a couple steps back and you’ll see that this thing is so much bigger. Bigger than them, bigger than you, bigger than all of us. At its heart, it’s about the regulator trying to silences the bros of the world from emailing their office bros to say broisms re: bro-work. It’s about wanting to take away that which bros hold so dear– the right to call other guys bros, to write things like “crush it,” to not use apostrophes, to generally be bro-y. And that’s something for which Gregory Bolan, Bro, will not stand. Read more »

Bill GrossBill Gross said he was fired from Pacific Investment Management Co., the first time he has publicly stated that he was dismissed from the firm he co-founded in 1971…Gross said he visited a neighbor, a retired air force general, after his exit from Pimco. As he was leaving, the retired general said Gross should have visited six months earlier because he could have taught him the first rule of the military. “I said, ‘what’s that?’ and he said: ‘watch your back,’” Gross said. [Bloomberg]

Who wants some?Well, if its Leninist prime minister-to-be can’t be reasoned with, the country might just find itself absentmindedly, accidentally outside of the Eurozone one day soon. By which they mean, they’ll put it in a position where it will be forced to print Monopoly-money drachmas because it won’t be sending those pretty euros to its banks anymore. Read more »

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 1.59.42 PMTiffany & Co and the would-be recipients of your generosity are hurting, too. Read more »