hedge fund managers

  • News

    Great News: Hunting Guest Of Louis Bacon Not Permanently Blinded By Bullets To The Face

    His throat and arms, also hit, are okay, too.

    The chairman of auction house Sotheby’s has been shot in the face during a grouse shoot. Henry Wyndham would have been blinded had he not been wearing glasses when the accident occurred last Monday, the first day of the grouse shooting season. The Old Etonian was standing at his post – referred to in the shooting world as a grouse ‘butt’ – when a neighbouring gun was accidentally fired towards him, spraying shot in his arm, throat and face. Mr Wyndham was airlifted to hospital from the Scottish moor where the incident took place. He was treated for 52 lead pellet wounds. The accident took place on a hired estate on a shoot organised by American hedge-fund manager Louis Bacon, 56.

    Sotheby’s Chairman Henry Wyndham Shot On Grouse Moor [Bloomberg]
    Sotheby’s chief airlifted from grouse shoot after being blasted by 52 pellets [DailyMail]

    / Aug 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM
  • News

    Greenwich, Connecticut Nobody Threatening To Dethrone Area Hedge Fund Manager As Biggest Middle-Aged Superhero Fan In Town

    Exhibit A:

    Friday morning at AQR, August 10. Cliff Asness glanced pensively at a candy-colored array of Marvel superhero figurines lined up along his east-facing window. Spiderman. Captain America. The Hulk. Iron Man. Comic book heroes of his boyhood days on Long Island.The Quants, by Scott Patterson, page 100.

    On an August morning, Asness walks to his sun-dappled office windowsill and picks up a Captain America action figure. The hedge-fund mogul owns a panoply of action heroes, from the Hulk to the Silver Surfer, and the comic books that spawned them.Bloomberg Markets Magazine, October 7, 2010

    “Hedge funds charge far too much in general by claiming to be geniuses,” says Asness, lounging on a sofa in his corner office, surrounded by foot-high plastic models of comic book heroes.Fortune, December 19, 2011

    As a child, Clifford Scott Asness gave no sign of his future as a Wall Street tycoon. He was born in October 1966 in Queens, New York. When he was four, his family moved to the leafy suburban environs of Roslyn Heights on Long Island. In school Asness received good grades, but his interest in Wall Street didn’t extend beyond the dark towers of Gotham in the pages of Batman. Obsessed with little besides girls and comic books, Asness was a listless teenager, without direction and somewhat overweight. At times he showed signs of a violent temper that would erupt years later when he sat at the helm of his own hedge fund.The Quants, by Scott Patterson, page 12.

    “His super-villains are intellectual dishonesty and ignorance,” says Jonathan Beinner, a managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and a former classmate of Asness. “When someone offers an opinion that Cliff feels is incorrect or dishonest, whether it be related to investments, politics or pizza, he feels it is his duty to stand up, even if it’s not in his best interest.” Asness admits to a superhero complex. His favorite Marvel comic book character is Captain America, who gains strength with the help of a secret serum and whose shield can be used as an indestructible weapon. Asness has an image of the shield tattooed on his left arm.Bloomberg Markets Magazine, October 7, 2010

    Exhibit B:

    The above is a rendering of a Batcave that will soon be built in the home of an unnamed Greenwich resident. When it is completed in Novemeber, the spread will include “a Batcomputer, Batmobile, Batsuits, 180 degree film screen, sound effects, gargoyles and even a Bat-themed elevator.” The problem? This guy is not only infringing on Asness’s territory as resident super hero obsessive/aficionado/scholar-in-residence/neighbor who dresses up and role-plays his character of choice but is apparently too cowardly to show his face or reveal his name so that Cliff might confront him. The other problem? Captain America doesn’t have some kind of cool underground lair setup of his own. The only recourse? Someone spends the next couple weeks writing a series of fan fiction that describes his house, and then spends $20 million to have that built.

    Greenwich Resident Building $2 Million Batcave In Home [CTNews]
    Dark Knight superfan spends $2MILLION creating home cinema replica of Bruce Wayne’s cave [DM]

    / Aug 16, 2012 at 4:28 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Who Wants To Help Jon Corzine Launch A Hedge Fund?

    According to Dealbook, the big guy is merely “weighing” whether or not he wants to […]

    / Aug 16, 2012 at 11:49 AM
  • News

    Woman Whose Ex-Hedge Fund Husband Demanded A Cut Of Her Shoes Just Rubbing It In His Face At This Point

    Back in June, hedge fund manager Daniel Shak sued his ex-wife, Beth, over assets he claimed she’d hid during the couple’s divorce. Said assets were Beth’s shoes, which Daniel alleged were kept in a “secret room” and were worth approximately $1 million, 35 percent of which he wanted. It was a bit unclear as to why he was going after the footwear collection three years after the two split (though using the proceeds to relaunch his fund was a possibility) but the heart wants what the heart wants. Anyway, today brings just a couple follow-ups on the Shaks, both of which are slightly more exciting for Beth than Dan.

    1. He won’t see a single pair of Loubs.

    A civil suit brought by poker professional Dan Shak against his ex-wife, fellow poker pro Beth Shak, regarding her extensive shoe collection was dismissed in a court in New York after Mr. Shak advised his attorneys that he didn’t want to pursue the issue any further…the opening arguments apparently doomed the case in the eyes of the male Shak. Ms. Shak testified to Judge Daniele that her shoe fetish grew as a response to repeated denials of emotional attention from Mr. Shak. “I would not call these shoes a collection, I would call them a sickness at a particular point in my life,” Beth Shak testified to Judge Daniele as she recounted how Dan Shak would refuse her attempts at romantic encounters, according to the Post.

    “I tried to get him to go to therapy with me, but it just didn’t work,” the Post quotes Ms. Shak as testifying. “I was so unhappy with my marriage that all I did was shop. There was nothing to our relationship…he and I had nothing.” Further into her testimony to the court, Ms. Shak stated that not only did Mr. Shak know about the shoes but even signed off on all the bills as they came before him. After a break following Ms. Shak’s testimony, Mr. Shak apparently had a change of heart regarding the lawsuit. His attorneys informed Judge Daniele that their client wanted to withdraw the case, which Judge Daniele quickly granted. Looking square at Mr. Shak as she dismissed the case, Judge Daniele is quoted by the Post as stating, “Well, thanks for wasting everybody’s time.”

    2. She’s going into the shoe business!

    Now that that the suit is over, Shak, who has an image of a pair of Louboutons tattooed just below her waist, is concentrating one what’s next — the launch her own line of shoes.

    Dan Shak Drops Lawsuit Against Beth Shak Following Opening Arguments [PND]
    Sexy Singles 2012: Beth Shak [Philly]

    / Aug 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Greenlight Capital Is Sick Of Ineffective European Leadership, Rival Organizations Poaching Its Talent

    By early June the market had given back all of its first quarter gains, and […]

    / Jul 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM
  • "(weddings bar mitzvahs action sports etc.)"

    Whitney Tilson’s “Blogging/Writing” Diet Not So Restrictive That He Can’t Indulge In The Occasional 1,200-Word Product Review

    June 22, 2012: To ensure that I can focus intensely on in-depth company and industry analysis, I will adopt a much lower public profile and let my investment returns speak for themselves. Specifically, I will dramatically reduce my television appearances, interviews with the media, blogging/writing, and public speaking, both in the investment and philanthropic realms. I also plan to write letters to you quarterly rather than monthly (our bookkeeper will, course, continue to send you monthly statements).

    July 23, 2012:

    From: Whitney Tilson
    Date: Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 5:43 PM
    Subject: My favorite gadgets: laptop, phone, cameras, printers

    I’m a total gadget fiend, usually upgrading my laptop, phone, pocket camera, and digital SLR camera to the latest models at least once a year. In the past month, I’ve upgraded all four to newly released models and am so blown away that I wanted to share my experience (plus two printer recommendations).

    In order of amazingness:

    1) My new laptop: the PC world FINALLY has slim, light, high-res-screen, quick-boot laptops (called ultrabooks) to rival the Macbook Air. I just bought the best of the lot, the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX31A. It’s light as a feather, boots in a few seconds, and has an AMAZINGLY high-res 13.3” screen (I don’t miss the 17” screen on my old laptop one bit). Here’s a good review of it: www.pcworld.com/article/255921/handson_asus_zenbook_prime_ux31a.html

    It’s only $1,080 on Amazon (more if you want a faster chip or 256GB of flash memory; I find 128GB is fine for a secondary travel computer): www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00863L2PK/tilsoncapitalpar

    2) My new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S III, which just became available on Verizon. A couple of years ago, I added an iPhone to my Blackberry because I couldn’t give up the keyboard and found it impossible to type on the iPhone, but I didn’t like schlepping around two devices so when Verizon came out with Android phones with 30% bigger screens (plus 4G, which is MUCH faster), I junked both the Blackberry (good riddance! I had to use one in Europe last week and HATED every minute of it; until you switch, you have no idea of how awful Blackberries are) and the iPhone for the HTC Thunderbolt. No regrets, but the Thunderbolt is thick and bulky, the screen is nowhere near as good as the new iPhones, and the battery lasted maybe 1/3 of a day, so I always had to carry a spare.

    Thus, it was with great joy that I switched last week to the Samsung, which fixes all three of these problems: it’s super slim and light (while maintaining the large screen), the resolution appears to me to be just as good as the iPhone’s retina display, and the battery lasts most of a day with normal usage (still not great, but much better).

    In my opinion, this phone is much superior to the iPhone, but if you like your iPhone I wouldn’t switch until we see what the new iPhone 5 looks like. It’s rumored to be out this fall and have a bigger screen. If it’s also 4G on Verizon AND can work overseas (none of the current Verizon Android 4G phones can), then I might switch back to the iPhone. I also wouldn’t switch away from the iPhone unless you’re reasonably technologically savvy – the ecosystem isn’t quite as seamless (for example, it was quite a pain to transfer my music, esp my playlists, from iTunes on my computer to my new phone).

    3) I have three kids and take zillions of photos, so I’ve become an amateur digital photo junkie. I find that I need two cameras (given that I hate the crummy photos that camera phones take): a super-small pocket one to take with me everywhere (for 90%+ of photos) and a big digital SLR camera for special occasions when small cameras just don’t cut it (weddings, bar mitzvahs, action sports, etc.).

    Among pocket cameras, I’ve been a very happy user for at least two years of the Canon PowerShot S90, then S95, and most recently the S100, but the new Sony DSC RX-100 blows every other pocket camera out of the water (if you’re willing to pay an extra $300). It’s maybe 5-10% bigger than the S100, but still fits easily in a pocket – and the results BLEW my mind. I thought I was using a full-size SLR: no shutter lag, amazing many-frames-per-second action shots, brilliant pictures in low light without a flash, etc. Below is the review by the NYT’s David Pogue, who concludes:

    This is an ideal second camera for professionals. And it’s a great primary camera for any amateur who wants to take professional-looking photos without having to carry a camera bag.

    Of course, $650 is crazy expensive. You can buy a full-blown S.L.R. for that much.

    But every time you transfer a batch of its pictures to your computer, you’ll understand why you spent that money. You’ll click through them, astonished at how often it’s successful in stopping time, capturing the emotion of a scene, enshrining a memory or an expression you never want to forget. You’ll appreciate that the RX100 has single-handedly smashed the rule that said, “You need a big camera for pro-quality photos.”

    And if you care at all about your photography, you’ll thank Sony for giving the camera industry a good hard shove into the future.

    The quality of the camera is reflected in its price, however: the cheapest I could find it on the internet is $605 here: www.provantage.com/sony-dscrx100-b~7SNYG07U.htm. If that’s too expensive for you, go with the Canon S100 for $335 here: http://bestpricephoto.com/h/product_info.php/canon-powershot-s100-digital-camera-p-20660

    4) I also recently upgraded my digital SLR from the Nikon D5100 to the D7000, which is the highest end amateur camera in the Nikon line. The D5100 was buggy so I was pleased to be rid of it. The key with both of these cameras is to get the Nikkor 18-200mm lens – it’s 11x with digital image stabilization built in. It’s the only lens you need, so just buy the camera body plus this lens. The best price I found for the D7000 is $889 at: http://bestpricephoto.com/h/product_info.php/nikon-d7000-162-mp-digital-slr-camera-body-p-19926. The best price on the lens is $847 at: www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=NK18200G2

    PS—I use and recommend the free Google photo software, Picasa (www.picasa.com), for cropping, editing, getting rid of red-eye, emailing photos (with the photos embedded, not attached), etc.

    Last but not least, printers:

    1) If you want to print photos, I highly recommend a specialized photo printer rather than using an all-in-one inkjet – the quality difference is HUGE. I haven’t upgraded mine in a while, but if I were to buy one, I’d just buy the latest model of my current one (the 4500), the Canon iP4920, which is a mere $80 (they get you on the paper and ink – don’t try generics): www.buydig.com/shop/product.aspx?sku=CNIP4920

    2) Complementing my photo printer in my home office is my color laser, the Brother MFC-9560CDW Multifunction Printer for $590 at: www.nextwarehouse.com/item/?999165. It’s a great scanner, copier, fax machine, and prints fast in color and B&W IN DUPLEX (two-sided), which is a must-have for me.

    / Jul 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Raj Rajaratnam Basically Has Washboard Abs Now, Says Completely Objective Third Party

    Back in December, things were not going so well for hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. For starters, he had just reported to prison to serve an eleven year sentence for insider trading, where there would be no April Fool’s day midgets or employees to tase or extra mayo to eat. Then there was the matter of the “unique constellation of ailments ravaging his body,” and the kidney transplant he was said to need. Finally, and not that there’s anything wrong with this, but if you’re a person who thinks looks matter, he was fat. It would have been enough to send Raj into an understandable a tailspin of sorrow and despair. And yet? It turns out the Galleon founder is not only doing great but looks good too. How good? While we have no photographic evidence, consider that an attorney who does not represent the guy and was ostensibly speaking to Bloomberg about a story involving Raj declining to answer questions about a tax shelter case could not help but steer the conversation to Big R’s new body.

    Rajaratnam, convicted last year of directing the largest hedge fund insider-trading scheme in U.S. history, was interviewed yesterday for about an hour and 45 minutes at the Federal Medical Center Devens in Ayers, Massachusetts. The deposition stems from a case involving a tax shelter Rajaratnam had invested in. He isn’t a defendant in the lawsuit. He refused to answer any of the more than 100 questions he was asked, invoking his right against self-incrimination under the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment, said Howard Kleinhendler, an attorney representing the plaintiffs. “He looked good,” Kleinhendler, of Wachtel Masyr & Missry LLP in New York, said today in a phone interview, adding that Rajaratnam appeared to have lost weight since the last time he saw him, in 2007. Rajaratnam, 55, has said in court papers that he has health problems including diabetes and will probably need dialysis and a kidney transplant. “He was in good spirits,” Kleinhendler said.

    You’d be in a good mood too if you could finally see your feet again. Guy could be in a Thai prison right now and he’d be happy as a clam.

    Rajaratnam Silent In Tax-Shelter Deposition, Lawyer Says [Bloomberg]

    / Jul 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM
  • Can't nobody hold me down

    Who Wants To Invest In Phil Falcone’s New Company?

    Harbinger Global Corp is coming to an exchange near you.

    Phil Falcone, the embattled billionaire hedge fund manager, has put together an unorthodox IPO that will see his hedge fund firm contribute assets valued at $350 million to a blank check company that will trade publicly. In the deal, a special purpose acquisition company that is expected to trade on Nasdaq and be known as Harbinger Global Corp., will acquire a majority interest in an MGM-branded hotel and casino development in Vietnam and a minority interest in an iron ore producer working in Brazil. Funds run by Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Management that are contributing the assets will get an ownership stake that could be as high as 96% in Harbinger Global and Falcone is slated to become executive chairman of the company. Falcone’s move to become closely involved in a publicly-traded company is audacious given that he is currently facing securities fraud charges from the Securities & Exchange Commission.

    Yeah, well, people also thought it was audacious for him to invite a burlesque dancing pig he barely knew to come and live with him and she turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to him, so.

    / Jul 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM
  • News

    If One More Person Gives Jamie Dimon Shit About The London Whale Leon Cooperman Is Just Gonna Snap

    JPMorgan disclosed on May 10 that it had a $2 billion trading loss because of […]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 4:59 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Former Paulson LP Pleased To See Her Ex Hasn’t Changed His Deadbeat Ways, Not That She Actively Looks In On Him And Would Take Him Back In A Heartbeat Or Anything

    As you may or may not have heard, the last 18 months have not been the best of times for John Alfred Paulson. His Advantage Plus fund was down fifty percent last year, he got screwed big time by a bunch of fake trees, his proclamation that 2011’s losses were but an “aberration” has not exactly been helped by the fact that AP was down 10 percent through May 2012, Morgan Stanley’s prime brokerage put Paulson and Co. on a list of firms it warns clients not to invest with, some investors ” have expressed their growing unease,” and others have called it quits. But! JP can take solace in knowing that at least one LP, and probably more, are so not over him.

    New Mexico, which stuck by Paulson through last year’s growing losses, pulled its $40 million investment in the first quarter. “From time to time, I do check on John Paulson to see whether we did the right thing,” said Joelle Mevi, the state’s chief investment officer. “And I see that we did.”

    No word on whether or not New Mexico downs two bottles of wine and then logs onto Facebook to stalk Paulson’s page and mutters “skank” under her breath when she sees JP with more attractive LPs but it seems prett-ay obvious.

    John Paulson’s Returns Falter Again; Investors Fret [Reuters]

    / Jun 28, 2012 at 2:21 PM
  • News

    SEC: Phil Falcone Has A Lot Of Wisdom To Impart, Re: How To Be A Fraud

    “Today’s charges read like the final exam in a graduate school course in how to […]

    / Jun 27, 2012 at 3:10 PM
  • News

    Securities And Exchange Commission Makes Good On Promise To Sue Phil Falcone

    And as promised, Falcone will be fighting the charges. He wants to “borrow” $113 million […]

    / Jun 27, 2012 at 2:42 PM
  • News

    Cliff Asness Wants To Be Thanked For Paying Taxes, Is Pissed Cash For Clunkers Didn’t Involve Killing Nazis

    Something you may or may not know about Cliff Asness is that by day, he is a hedge fund manager but by night he is the second coming of his hero, Captain America. Like the Captain, the AQR founder believes his duty is to defend America, only instead of fighting Axis Powers, Asness’s enemies are liberal Commie Socialists hell-bent on destroying this country. Because his shield has been in the shop for repairs for the past couple years, Cliff has been forced to use other weapons to pummel his foes, namely writing amazingly witty1 emails to his friends and colleagues about how much Obama et al suck. Most recently, Captain Asness circulated “Some Useful Definitions to Understand Our Modern Progressive World,” a little glossary of unalphabetized terms he put together sure to cut his adversaries deeply. (The Captain also helpfully pointed out in a footnote that many of the definitions were “written sarcastically as a faux left-winger, [while] some [are] just conservative/libertarian interpretations of what the left really means,” in case that was lost on his audience.) They include:

    – The 1%
    Definition: Those who pay more than 1/3 the total federal income tax and are never thanked for it. More generally, they are responsible for all evil in the world today (unless they work in Hollywood or hitech in which case they are “honorary 99%-ers” regardless of income, tax rate, and lifestyle).

    Cash for Clunkers
    Definition: What we came up to replace World War II as stimulus. Many perfectly good cars destroyed, no Nazis defeated.

    Definition: A more extreme form of “entitlement” defined above. Note that modern usage throws out
    the long tradition of natural rights only of a negative nature, that is, the right not to have something
    done to you, for rights of a positive nature, that is, the right to certain goods and services, like health
    care, Apple products, and soy milk. Since, no matter how important these items are, these modern
    positive rights must still be produced and taken from others, essentially the word “rights” now often
    stands for a system of slavery and theft.

    Some Useful Definitions [PDF]

    1Definition: …
    2The fuck?

    / Jun 27, 2012 at 2:28 PM
  • News

    Securities And Exchange Commission Still Hung Up About The Time Phil Falcone Borrowed Money From A Gated Fund To Pay Personal Taxes

    Remember the time Harbinger Capital Partners founder Phil Falcone was a little short on cash, and decided to “borrow” $113 million from a fund in which redemptions had been suspended in order to pay personal taxes? Unfortunately for Big P, the SEC does. (The regulator also recalls he time he allegedly played favorites with Goldman and allegedly manipulated some markets.)

    Philip Falcone, the billionaire founder of Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, faces a lawsuit from U.S. regulators as soon as this week over claims he improperly borrowed client funds to pay his taxes and gave preferential treatment to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to two people familiar with the matter. Falcone, 49, may also face a market manipulation claim related to trading in bonds of MAAX Holdings Inc., said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted to authorize enforcement staff to file the case, the people said.

    While perhaps not the best news Falcone has received in a while, it likely does not come as a surprise, as the SEC has been talking about the aforementioned offenses since last December (when they tried to get him banned from the securities industry). Either way, Phil, who should probably just not going home tonight unless he wants an earful, is planning to “contest to the suit.”

    SEC Said To Authorize Lawsuit Against Harbinger’s Falcone [Bloomberg]

    / Jun 26, 2012 at 3:03 PM
  • Look Into My Eyes

    Hedge Fund Manager Who Faked His Own Death Has A Few Theories About Other Famous Murders, Real And Imaginary

    Remember Samuel Israel III? For those with short memories, SI3 is a former hedge fund manager who faked his own death in June 2008 with the help of his girlfriend, Debra Ryan, who later wrote an article explaining her actions by noting that she and Israel had “a blazing sex life” that was hard to walk away from (Ryan shared colorful anecdotes that included all the times Israel would “[jokingly] sneak up on her, once while wearing sunglasses on his penis”). For Israel’s part, he had pretended to kill himself, incorporating a line from M*A*S*H into his fake suicide note, in an attempt to avoid the prison stay that was coming his way, on account of having taken Bayou Group investors for more than $450 million. At the time, he became something of a minor celebrity, whose business card, prominently featuring an egret, was auctioned off on eBay but since ultimately being sentenced to twenty years behind bars we’d heard nary a peep from the guy. Luckily, Andrew Ross Sorkin recently flew down to Butner, North Carolina for a little chat and it’s a good thing he did because Israel had a lot he wanted to get off his chest. After offering ARS an “orange Life Saver,” discussing his own version of a playoffs beard (“Mr. Israel…was wearing a tan prison uniform with his hair grown out, a mass of silver and brown curls sprouting from the sides of his bald head. ‘I’m never going to cut it until I get out,’ he exclaimed”), and talking Ponzi schemes, SI3 got down to the real matter at hand.

    About halfway through, the interview turned bizarre when Mr. Israel, on the verge of crying, announced: “I took a man’s life. I shot him twice.” I asked for more details. The story is recounted in “Octopus,” but the author, Mr. Lawson, doesn’t appear to believe it. In the supposed slaying, Mr. Israel describes himself defending a known con man, Robert Booth Nichols, who claimed to have once worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and has since died. Mr. Nichols was undertaking a secret trade at a German bank and was ambushed outside by a cockeyed “Middle Eastern guy.” Mr. Israel says he shot the ambusher in the hip and then in the head. He looked at me, shaking, and said, “I’ve seen someone with their head blown off maybe two feet back — as close as I am to you.” Mr. Israel recognized my skepticism. When I asked him what happened to the body, he said, “Bob made a couple of calls.” Again, I looked at him quizzically. “These people can do anything. They can get rid of a body,” he said. “Come on,” he added, looking at me as if I didn’t understand. “They can kill presidents.”

    I wasn’t sure what he was talking about. “The J.F.K. thing,” he said. He went on to tell me that he had videotapes of Kennedy’s assassination and that one was stolen by the F.B.I. “I know it makes me look like a crackpot,” he said. “But I know it’s real. Look into my eyes — I don’t care if people think I’m crazy.”


    A Con Man Who Lives Between Truth And Fiction [Dealbook]

    / Jun 26, 2012 at 2:34 PM
  • News

    Hedge Fund Manager Wants 35 Percent Of Ex-Wife’s Shoe Collection For Reasons Not Entirely Clear

    Daniel Shak is the founder of SHK Management, a hedge fund that reportedly “pulled the plug on its sole investment, spread trades on Comex gold futures,” last year. Daniel Shak is also the ex-husband of Beth Shak, who he divorced three years ago and is now suing for allegedly hiding assets in an attempt to cheat him out of settlement money. The assets in question? Twelve hundred pairs of designer shoes, which Shak claims his former wife “hid” from him in a “secret room.”

    The way DS sees it, the footwear collection, which includes “Christian Louboutins and other high-end designer shoes” is worth approximately $1 million and he wants at least 35 percent. The way Beth Shak sees it, this is crazy (“I’m shaking my head over this whole thing,” she told reporters. “He is saying he didn’t know the closet in our master bedroom existed”) and she doesn’t understand why her ex is going after her shoes now. At this time there appear to be a few possible explanations:

    a) Daniel is raising money to re-launch his fund (he told the Journal, after liquidating SHK in January 2011, that he’d be “trading again in a few weeks,” though it’s unclear if that happened).
    b) He’s got gambling debts to repay (“A poker lover himself, he was reached at a card table yesterday but declined to comment”).
    c) He and John Mack are going to sell them out of the back of a truck.
    d) He just really appreciates women’s shoes.
    e) Other

    Hedgie sues poker pro ex-wife over her 1,200-pair designer shoe collection [NYP]
    Related (…?): Hedge Fund SHK Liquidates, Rattles Gold Market

    / Jun 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM
  • Hedge Funds

    Chuck Schumer’s Gonna Have To Do A Lot Better Than Dinner If He Wants A Piece Of Cliff Asness

    Earlier today, Politico ran a story titled “Can Chuck Schumer win back Wall St. for Democrats?” Apparently the New York Senator recently “embarked on a fence-mending campaign with senior Wall Street executives, many of whom have grown furious with the Democratic party,” in a charm offensive that has included “holding private dinners [including one put on by Pershing Square manager Bill Ackman], organizing high-end fundraisers for Democratic candidates and quietly pressing for super PAC donations.” According to Politico, “the outreach appears to be working: Hedge fund and private-equity executives have held six different fundraisers for Democratic challengers and senators at Schumer’s request, sources say.” Some financial services employees, however, are not so easy. Take Cliff Asness for example. The AQR manager happened to read the piece and here’s what he had to say about it:

    From: Cliff Asness
    Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 01:08 PM
    To: AQR lieutenants, other top hedge fund managers
    Subject: Can Chuck Schumer win back Wall St. for Democrats?

    Good title question. Only if Wall Street is so f—ing stupid as to defy credulity, honor, and morality. So, yeah, probably.

    Best line: “Chuck Schumer is pro-business”. Yeah, ones that buy him off in explicit crony-capitalism, but he wants to regulate and tax to death ones that don’t. Don Corleone was also pro-business. You guys say this stuff with a straight face huh?


    p.s. Sorry about the multiple emails, merging lists (though that is probably not the thing that upsets people)

    While the above response should come as a shock to exactly no one, we don’t think Schumer should give up on Asness so easily. The guy just wants to be wooed. Start with some limited edition action figures, add some $700 bottles of wine, and go from there.  You whip out a Mego Elastic Batman, he’s listening. You show up with a a matching Captain America shield tattoo but instead of on your forearm it’s on your face? He’s nominating you for President. You’re welcome.

    / Jun 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    2010’s Best Performing Hedge Fund Manager’s Next Big Investment Idea Involves Becoming A Landlord

    Don Browstein is a former philosophy professor, the founder of Structured Portfolio Management (named the best performing hedge fund in 2010, after returning 49.5 percent and 134.6 percent in 2009), a guy who supposedly once told a trader “The only way you can leave this firm is in a body bag” while brandishing a baseball bat, and the person tenants will have to answer to if next month’s rent is one day late.

    Don Brownstein’s Structured Portfolio Management LLC plans to start a fund to buy and rent out homes. The firm, based in Stamford, Connecticut, may introduce the fund to investors within weeks, Brownstein said in a letter to clients dated June 12, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News. He didn’t say how much capital has been raised or targeted. “There will be a significant transformation in the way in which single family homes are owned and occupied in the United States,” Brownstein said in the letter. The strategy is to acquire homes through distressed sales and rent them out profitably, perhaps to the former owner, then “sometime in the not distant future, sell the houses and reap a profit from a recovery in prices.”

    Brownstein Plans Funds To Buy, Rent Out Homes [Bloomberg Brief]

    / Jun 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM
  • News

    Eddie Lampert Bids Greenwich Adieu

    Eddie Lampert is relocating ESL Investments to Miami, according to a regulatory filing today. The […]

    / Jun 12, 2012 at 12:48 PM
  • News

    Larry Robbins Is Off The Market, Back In Neighbors’ Good Graces

    Hedge-fund mogul Larry Robbins, founder of Glenview Capital Management, is getting married to former dancer […]

    / May 31, 2012 at 4:49 PM
  • News

    Plan D: A Hostile Takeover Of The Newark Bears

    “Major League Baseball has approved three potential buyers to review the financial records of the […]

    / May 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Yahoo! RésuméGate, Day 7: Third Point Is Not Enjoying This At All

    In fact, Dan Loeb and Co. find this “embarrassing episode” painful to watch.

    Dear Board of Directors:

    Six days have passed since Yahoo! acknowledged the fabrications in Chief Executive Officer Scott Thompson and Director Patti Hart’s resumes. Since then, the following has occurred: (i) shareholders have been told that Mr. Thompson’s errors were “inadvertent”, (ii) Mr. Thompson made a classic “I’m sorry you feel that way” non-apology without actually accepting responsibility, (iii) Ms. Hart announced she will not seek re-election to the Board presumably due to her leadership of the botched CEO hiring process but intends to serve out her term, and (iv) the Board has formed a special committee to conduct a “thorough review” into Mr. Thompson’s academic credentials.

    It appears very clear to us – and to many corporate governance experts, Yahoo! employees, and fellow Yahoo! shareholders – that Mr. Thompson’s fantasy degree was in no way an “inadvertent error”. The evidence shows he had been using false credentials for years. Mr. Thompson’s “apology” was clearly insufficient and it seems that the only thing he actually regrets is that he has been caught in a lie and publicly exposed. Without any explanation or accountability, Yahoo! has been left to flounder under a discredited leader for an undefined period. So, after six days, we must ask – what is this Board waiting for?

    It seems farcical to us that the Board will most likely spend more time deliberating over whether Mr. Thompson should be fired than it did properly vetting whether he should have been hired. The necessary investigation into whether certain senior executives and Board Members knew of Mr. Thompson’s deceptions before hiring him should not delay decisive action over his ethical breaches.

    Third Point has over $1 billion invested in Yahoo! and we take no joy in witnessing this carnage. This Board’s unchecked value destruction must stop once and for all. Therefore, we once again call upon the Board to immediately (i) place Third Point’s entire slate on the Board replacing Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart, (ii) appoint an interim CEO—we would suggest CFO Tim Morse or Head of Global Media Ross Levinsohn (assuming neither had any knowledge of Mr. Thompson’s fabrications) and (iii) allow Third Point nominee Michael Wolf to Chair the Search Committee for a new permanent CEO (Mr. Wolf will waive the $15,000 fee that Ms. Hart received for her work as Head of the Search Committee last year, which we expect she will promptly disgorge).

    This is the only way for Yahoo! to move past this embarrassing episode.

    Daniel S. Loeb
    Chief Executive Officer
    Third Point LLC

    / May 9, 2012 at 11:57 AM
  • News

    Memo To Yahoo: Dan Loeb Will Personally Shake Out ALL The Skeletons In Your Closet If He Has To

    As you may have heard, Third Point Management is currently waging a proxy battle against Yahoo, of which it owns 5.81 percent. Last September, the hedge fund and its founder, Dan Loeb, wrote a letter to the company’s board of directors entitled “The Failures of Yahoo’s Board of Directors Necessitate a Significant Infusion of Fresh Board Talent,” in November it demanded two board seats in order to rest the ship from a bunch of bumbling incompetents, and in February, it said actually, make that four seats. Unfortunately, Yahoo resisted. Which is why yesterday, Loeb and Third Point were forced to enter into the record some damning evidence showing current YHOO CEO Scott Thompson to be a dangerous, dangerous liar, the likes of which the search engine would be wise to sever ties.

    Specifically, Third Point revealed that contrary to statements made on SEC filings, Thompson? Did not graduate from Stonehill College with degrees in both computer science and accounting but only the latter. The reason Third Point knew this to be true was because it Googled Stonehill College and found that the school did not even start offering computer science degrees until 1983, well after the time Thompson graduated. So, a liar and a liar who can’t even be bothered to cover his tracks to boot. Oh, but the résumé chicanery did not stop there. Yahoo director Patti Hart, Third Point, went on to reveal, also had her own little C.V. “error” to speak of. Whereas Ms. Hart claimed to have graduated from Illinois State University with degrees in marketing and economics, in fact, merely earned a bachelors in business administration and specialized in marketing and econ.

    Yahoo, which yesterday confirmed the résumé duplicity, clearly needed no further substantiation that these two were academic frauds. Third Point and Loeb knew this much to be true. AND YET. As of 2PM today, a whopping twenty-four hours after their lies caught up to them, they remain employed by the company. So now this is happening because apparently some people need to be put on a deadline:

    Dear Board of Directors:

    Yahoo!’s initial response yesterday to Third Point’s identification of material inaccuracies in both CEO Scott Thompson’s and Director Patti Hart’s educational record was insulting to shareholders. We assume that these initial statements were attributable to Mr. Thompson and were not made with the Board’s approval. While we appreciate the Board’s statement late last night that it would conduct an investigation, unfortunately, for this Board and this Company, it is too little and months too late.

    To assert that years of inaccurate SEC filings, website biographies and, most likely, D&O questionnaires and curriculum vitae (including, presumably, the CV provided to Yahoo! when Mr. Thompson reached out for the job) were “inadvertent” is, in our view, the height of arrogance. Mr. Thompson and the Board should make no mistake: this is a big deal. CEO’s have been terminated for less at other companies. The Company’s Preliminary Proxy Statement filed on April 27, 2012 (at page 22) states that the “minimum qualification for service as a director of the Company are that a nominee possess…an impeccable reputation of integrity and competence in his or her personal and professional activities.”

    Furthermore, Yahoo!’s response “confirming” that Ms. Hart “specialized” in Marketing and Economics, rather than having earned her degree in such subjects (as Ms. Hart has asserted in filings for years) is a similar canard. A “specialty” is not a major. It is not a “minor”. We don’t know what it is, but we do know that like Mr. Thompson, Ms. Hart has been misrepresenting her actual degree to the investing public for years. Again, we hope that the Board does not accept this feeble attempt at “spin” as a justification for Ms. Hart’s misrepresentations.

    Irreparable damage to Yahoo!’s culture will continue every day that the Board allows Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart to remain at the helm of the Company after having clearly demonstrated that they lack even the “minimum qualifications for service as a director of the Company.” Mr. Thompson, in particular, cannot possibly have any credibility remaining with the all-important Yahoo! engineers, many of which earned real – not invented – degrees in computer science. Moreover, permitting Mr. Thompson and Ms. Hart to stay with the Company after apparently violating the Code of Ethics sends a message to all Yahoo! employees that a different set of rules applies at the top.

    Third Point, Yahoo!’s largest outside shareholder with over $1 billion invested, called yesterday for an immediate investigation if our assertions were true. The Board appears to have acceded to this demand. Its response must be swift and decisive. In that regard, Third Point will consider it grounds for further action if the Board does not take the following steps by Noon EDT on Monday, May 7th:

    1) Publicly reveal the process by which it vetted Mr. Thompson as a potential CEO candidate. This disclosure should include the release of all minutes of any meeting at which Mr. Thompson’s candidacy was discussed and any reports or other materials upon which directors relied to evaluate Mr. Thompson’s candidacy.

    2) Disclose whether any Board member, including Maynard Webb, who has long-standing ties to Mr. Thompson, and Ms. Hart, who headed the Search Committee, was aware of Mr. Thompson’s deception prior to receipt of Third Point’s letter yesterday.

    3) Provide shareholders with all information regarding the director nomination process, including the so-called “skills matrix” referred to in the Company’s preliminary proxy statement, which the Board purportedly used to determine the qualifications of various candidates, including Third Point’s nominees.

    4) Terminate Mr. Thompson for cause immediately given his demonstrable unsuitability to remain Chief Executive Officer and a director of Yahoo! and accept the resignation of Ms. Hart for similar reasons.

    Finally, we urge the Board to stop wasting valuable company resources and drop its resistance to placing the Third Point nominees on the Board. We are prepared to join immediately. Once on the Board, our first tasks will be to work with the remaining Board members to find Yahoo! a new leader with the qualifications and integrity to lead the Company and install best practices of corporate governance. The Company can ill afford to continue this misguided fight with its largest outside shareholder while it has so many other fires to put out. There has been enough damage already.


    Daniel S. Loeb
    Chief Executive Officer
    Third Point LLC

    So, take the weekend to mull it over and while you’re at it, consider gathering documentation of other potentially false claims such as:

    1. His first-place finish in his 3rd grade spelling bee (do you really think a future Stonehill grad would know how to spell ‘abhinaya’?)

    2. That he bought Apple stock at $76/share (RIGHT)

    3. That he can bench 285 (sure)

    4. That he graduated high school (just don’t know)

    5. His circumcision (do you want to get to the bottom of this guy or not? If he lied about comp sci, who knows what else he’d lie about)

    Third Point Demands Yahoo C.E.O. Be Fired by Monday [Dealbook]
    Loeb Asks Yahoo To Fire CEO By Monday [MarketWatch]

    / May 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM
  • News

    May 3: Soros Wakes Up To Find Horse’s Head In His Bed?

    2005-2010: George Soros has a relationship of debatable seriousness depending on who you ask with a woman named Adriana Ferreyr. (According to Ferreyr, it was a “serious and meaningful relationship,” while according to Soros, things were “on-again, off-again and non-exclusive.”) Ferrreyr is promised her “dream apartment” on East 85th Street.

    Summer 2010: Several days after the contract on the apartment is signed, Soros “heartlessly dumps” Ferreyr, which means no dream apartment for her.

    Approximately a week later: The duo “briefly reconcile for a romantic night together.”

    A few hours later: Soros “whispers in Ferreyr’s ear” that another woman, Tamikoa Bolton, is living in her apartment. Ferreyr expresses strong displeasure at this fact. Soros supposedly slaps Ferreyr across the face and attempts “to strike her with a glass lamp, narrowly missing.”

    August 2011: Ferreyr demands $50 million for broken promises re: dream apartments, makes allegations re: lamps.

    Later in August 2011: Soros strongly denies accusations, refuses to pony up squat.

    February 2012: Ferryr refuses to settle for $250,000, court date is set for early May

    April 30, 2012: OH NO, HE DI’INT:

    Billionaire George Soros made a rare public appearance with his younger girlfriend, Tamiko Bolton, hours before a court date with his ex, Adriana Ferreyr. Soros, 81, and Bolton, 39, were photographed together at a Paley Center screening of “The Intouchables” Monday night, marking the first time they’ve stepped out in public as a couple. Bolton resides in the $1.9 million apartment which Ferreyr says Soros promised her, and which she’s suing over. Soros and Bolton’s sudden public appearance, meantime, seemed like a statement (or a show of unity) the night before a hearing in Manhattan Supreme Court.

    May 1, 2012: [Guessing] Bolton shows up to the courthouse with Soros sipping coffee out of china from the apartment and wiping her hands on the monogrammed towels (“AF & GS”) that mistakenly delivered the week after she moved in.

    May 3, 2012: ???

    Soros And Gal Pal Step Out [NYP]

    / May 3, 2012 at 4:18 PM
  • News

    David Einhorn Will Just Put It Out There That A Salad Every Once In A While Won’t Kill You

    Directed at no one in particular but if a certain jelly donut-addicted Fed Chair has […]

    / May 3, 2012 at 11:46 AM
  • News

    Try This For A Financial Sanction: Phil Falcone Isn’t Going Anywhere

    But Mr. Falcone and the SEC appear divided on two crucial questions, according to people […]

    / Apr 12, 2012 at 3:56 PM
  • News

    Area Hedge Fund Manager Takes President’s Breath Away

    From the front lines:

    From: Whitney Tilson
    Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:20 AM
    Subject: My column: “A millionaire for higher taxes”

    In DC, just chatted with Obama and stood behind him at his press conference re the Buffett rule. Just published the column below on the Washington Post web site.

    As I shook his hand beforehand, I said, “Hi Mr. President, I’m Whitney Tilson of Democrats for Education Reform. We were early supporters of yours and I just wanted to thank you and Arne Duncan for the incredible work you’re doing.”

    His eyes lit up and he said, “I remember your early support. We’re making progress but we still have a lot of work to do.”

    I said, “We’ll keep fighting for you” as he was hustled out of the room to start the press conference.

    / Apr 11, 2012 at 6:25 PM
  • News

    Breaking: Person Tries To Hide Assets From Estranged Spouse In Divorce Court

    Highland Capital CEO James Dondero knows what we’re talking about.

    Highland Capital Management LP Chief Executive Officer James Dondero testified in a divorce proceeding that he’s insolvent under Texas family law, if not according to normal accounting rules. Dondero, 49, told Texas state court Judge David Lopez in Dallas yesterday that the 2008 financial crisis took his debt- investing firm “to a state of insolvency and we’ve been juggling liquidity since that.” Highland Capital assets under management fell to $23 billion by Jan. 1 from $39 billion at the end of 2007. “The last three, four years have been negative to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Dondero said. The money manager said his annual income is “a million, two.”


    Highland Capital Management LP Chief Executive Officer James Dondero testified in a divorce proceeding that he’s insolvent under Texas family law, if not according to normal accounting rules. Dondero, 49, told Texas state court Judge David Lopez in Dallas yesterday that the 2008 financial crisis took his debt- investing firm “to a state of insolvency and we’ve been juggling liquidity since that.” Highland Capital assets under management fell to $23 billion by Jan. 1 from $39 billion at the end of 2007. “The last three, four years have been negative to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars,” Dondero said. The money manager said his annual income is “a million, two.”

    Highland Capital Chief Tells Divorce Judge He’s Insolvent [Bloomberg]

    / Mar 29, 2012 at 4:10 PM