Lawsuits

As those of you who keep close tabs on the trials and travails of La Familia Falcone know, one of the biggest mistakes Phil made in the last several years was the time he borrowed $113 million from a gated investor fund to cover personal taxes, for which he had failed to set aside enough cash. Falcone learned the hard way that clients don’t take kindly to these sorts of things– even if you pay them back, with interest– and that the Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t either. Point taken, all that jazz. In retrospect, it might even make sense to Phil re: why people got upset. Having said that, there is no way he, or anyone for that matter, could have predicted anyone would get their panties in a twist over this: Read more »

  • 20 Feb 2014 at 1:23 PM

Martin Scorsese Goes Too Far

Back in December, a movie called the Wolf of Wall Street was released on the big screen. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It was based on a book by the same name, penned by a man named Jordan Belfort while he was doing time for ripping off thousands of people via his boiler room operation, Stratton Oakmont. And while Belfort himself has offered glowing reviews of the film and the lengths Leonardo DiCaprio went to really capture his hooker-banging, Quaalude-snort essence, one man is not as pleased.

Andrew Greene is suing Paramount Pictures and others associated with the film, arguing that he…was unfairly depicted as morally bankrupt by actor P.J. Byrne. “The motion picture contains various scenes wherein Mr. Greene’s character is portrayed as a criminal, drug user, degenerate and/or devoid of any morality or ethics,” the suit states. “The motion picture’s scenes concerning Mr. Greene were false, defamatory, and fundamentally injurious to Mr. Greene’s professional reputation, both as an attorney and as an investment banker/venture capitalist, as well as his personal reputation.” Greene’s lawyer, Aaron Goldsmith, said Greene was actually one of the few responsible workers at the now-infamous stock firm for which he and Belfort worked. “Andrew Greene worked diligently to create an environment of regulatory compliance and oversight at Stratton Oakmont,” said Goldsmith, who is handling Greene’s case with lawyer Stephanie Ovadia. “He was the driving force behind the implementation of several such procedures.”

Whether these procedures were successful or not is beside the point. Also beside the point are Greene’s complaints about being a degenerate. If Scorsese wanted to portray him as such for entertainment value, fine. That’s his prerogative as a filmmaker and really, what can be said about a man’s professional reputation that has not already been said by having the title “Chief Compliance Officer” and “Stratton Oakmont” on his resumé? But when Martin Scorsese made the decision to make a mockery of Greene’s toupée, in not one but several scenes, he went too far. Much too far. Read more »

Reuters reports that earlier today, U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero greenlighted a lawsuit seeking to hold Jon Corzine and the upper echelons of MF Global management responsible for the late firm’s difficulties. But before customers’ lawyers got around to high-fiving and slapping each other on the back, Marrero had some words for them too. The short version: You assholes are on thin ice, too. Read more »

Back in 2010, a Glencore trader named Andrew Kearns was fired for what management perceived as a drinking problem, which they believed was affecting Kearns’s ability to do his job. Kearns denied that his drinking was a problem, and filed a wrongful termination suit, seeking $1.2 million. Last month, a judge ruled no dice on the $1.2 million; yesterday he rejected the remaining piece of the claim, which sought a mere $20,000. Where did things go wrong for Kearns? Ultimately, it came down to not seeing eye to eye with his superiors on a number of booze-related issues. Among them:

A debate over the line between being a fall down drunk and merely mixing it up with clients.

  • Kearns, who earned about $500,000 a year “regularly consumed excessive amounts of alcohol,” which meant he was late for work or unable to function effectively, Seymour said in the written decision. Kearns argued during the trial that Glencore’s claims weren’t true and that he had been doing his job by socializing with clients. He denied having an alcohol problem and said the company singled him out because of a disagreement with managers.

The proper way to stage an intervention, and the appropriate response to such a thing.

  • Cohen told the judge that when Glencore offered to help Kearns see an addiction expert, he responded by spending an afternoon in the pub.

Read more »

Martin Klotz, the attorney representing Cohen,* has thrown himself at the mercy of the court and asked, for the umpteenth time, that suit brought by Patrica Cohen– the ex-wife that could– be dismissed. Klotz made the request of U.S. District Judge William Pauley who, if you’re keeping track at home, is the second judge to preside over this case, while the plaintiff is on her third lawyer. Read more »

James Dondero is the founder and CEO of Highland Capital Management, a Dallas-based hedge fund. In addition to his duties at the firm, a portion of Dondero’s time is currently being spent on two legal matters. One is his divorce from Becky Dondero, who he’s been battling in court for over two years. The second is his lawsuit against former Highland PM Patrick Daugherty, who the firm described as a “megalomaniacal” manager known for engaging in “abusive tirades” that “dehumanized employees.” Perhaps coincidentally, the suit against Daugherty was filed two weeks after he testified on behalf of Becky Dondero, claiming that over drinks, James told him of a plan to “get his net worth down and pay [Becky] as little as possible.” Daughtery also alleged that Dondero asked him to lie on the stand, and to try remember a time when Daughtery regarded Becky as “a whore.”

Anyway, it wouldn’t be too crazy to think that all of this might be slightly distracting to Dondero and occupy at least a small portion of the attention he might otherwise devote to his day job at Highland. Even Jimmy recognizes that it’s a reasonable assumption to make. But, he assures you, it is an incorrect one. Rather, Dondero can expend unlimited energy on both making investors top dollar AND making sure his estranged spouse gets nada while at the same time making his sworn enemy look ridiculous. The reason we know this is that Highland has released a nearly 1,000-word press release saying as much. Read more »

Andrew Kearns: I was fired on the false claim I have a problem with alcohol. Glencore: We can’t risk having an employee who might come back to the office 10-sheets to the wind, face-plant into his keyboard, and accidentally buy 700.1333333333 million barrels of crude oil. Read more »