The not-exactly-wireless-internet company continues to excel at the only business it’s ever really been in, which is losing money; it’s set $1.8 billion on fire since it went into bankruptcy not quite two years ago, to cover interest payments and to keep the pipes from freezing.
Well, Phil Falcone (‘s investors) dumped some $2.9 billion into the thing, and he seems pretty determined that not a single dollar of that amount will be left when the desiccated hull of LightSquared winds up in Charlie Ergen’s daughter’s college fund. Read more »
Phil knew that this was more than just a threat. In all the years they’d been living together, he’d never seen her so mad, not even after she’d discovered he’d been hawking her vintage Hermes scarves for cash last summer. No, she’d really had it with him this time. It’d been more than three years since she’d been able hold her annual Christmas party, the social event of the season that people had done unspeakable things to score an invite to in the past and her patience had long since whittled down to that of a toothpick.
If she wasn’t able to throw it the way she liked– Swarovski-encrusted invitations, go-go dancers dressed as Romans flanking the pool room, ice sculptures done in the family’s likeness, individual raw-bars at dinner, a ‘Maids-a-Milking’ themed after hours– then she wasn’t going to throw it at all. Better to make ‘em wait and come back with a vengeance then serve up a watered down, less hot version of what she was capable of. So they’d agreed on a deadline: Christmas 2014. She’d started working on preliminary plans in August and, yet, as of last month, not one penny had been deposited into her ‘Travel and Entertainment’ fund.
She’d sent emails about it marked ‘high importance,’ pestered his secretary, and finally stormed his office earlier in the week, where she found him doing little more than raking sand back and forth on of those desk trays, rather than hustling to get the money together. She exploded then and she exploded this morning, following him to the front door of the townhouse in her robe and shouting in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t come home with the money that night, he needn’t come home at all. And, honestly? As of lunchtime he was trying to figure out if he had any buddies left who’d let him sleep on the couch, just for a night or two until he’d found something more permanent. And then he remembered something. Page 741 of his employment agreement. Not with Harbinger Capital Partners. Not with HC2. Not with LightSquared. But with the Harbinger Group. Read more »
Phil Falcone is sticking with his narrative for a little debacle called LightSquared: First, GPS companies started using his spectrum without permission, and then said that if Phil started to use it to provide 4G all over this great country, it would be a great country littered with airline wrecks. This planted a seed in the twisted mind of the wickedest man in the whole wide world, Charlie Ergen, who is trying to buy the entire electromagnetic spectrum so that anyone with entertainment needs will have no choice but to come to him and his Dish Network empire. Now, being a man absent of moral fiber, Charlie Ergen thought nothing of buying up as much LightSquared debt as he could on the cheap, even though he more or less explicitly wasn’t allowed to. This “fraudulently deprived Harbinger of control of LightSquared when it was needed most,” so that Charlie and Dish could swoop in and buy the precious if not entirely usable spectrum for nothing. Which, whether you buy Phil’s story or are partial to Charlie’s “it was for my daughter’s college fund” angle, is pretty much what happened.
Like maybe now that he’s got all this free time on his hands, he should lace up his skates and whip the New York Islanders into shape? With his afternoons unoccupied for the next four years and his old Harvard game plans already dug out of the attic, the three-time Ivy League hockey champion is ready to teach these NHL underachievers a thing or two about working a puck. As for his consigliere Wilbur, she wouldn’t be caught dead in Minneapolis, but is happy to entertain offers to tickle the ivories in Brookklyn as Barclays Center organist. See Phil for dressing room demands. Read more »
Remember, back in 2009, when Phil Falcone loaned himself $113 million from a gated investor fund to pay state and federal taxes? Initially his chief operating officer, Peter Jenson, had tried to convince the Harbinger Capital founder to borrow the money against assets like his townhouse, artwork, St. Barts estate, and interest in the Minnesota Wild.
Unfortunately for Jenson, Falcone decided he’d rather be banned from the securities industry than jeopardize his beloved hockey team and told the COO to look into the just-borrow-from-investors option, ultimately deciding it was the wisest idea. It was at this point that Jenson probably should’ve bowed out instead of going along with the plan, which he’s now paying for. Read more »
A year ago this August, we noted that a brow-beaten Falcone, on a time out from the securities industry and putting out fires daily with regard to his passion project, LightSquared, was just going to start suing everyone. Which he kind of has! In the last 11 months alone, the hedge fund manager has filed lawsuits against: Read more »
Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners is again suing Dish Network Corp. DISH +0.78% and Chairman Charlie Ergen, this time under the federal racketeering statute. Harbinger is suing both Mr. Ergen and Dish for at least $1.5 billion, saying Mr. Ergen violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act when he acquired the debt of LightSquared—the wireless venture controlled by Harbinger—as Dish was making a bid for the company. Harbinger says Mr. Ergen’s purchases caused it to lose money and control of the LightSquared board. Mr. Falcone and other Harbinger officials resigned from the board as part of negotiations for a bankruptcy court restructuring. “Ergen and his fellow RICO Enterprise members pursued their abusive scheme through wire, mail and bankruptcy fraud, abuse of process, tortious interference with contract, and obstruction of justice,” Harbinger lawyers said in a filing with U.S. District Court in Colorado. Under RICO, originally designed to prosecute organized crime, parties can seek more damages than is typically allowed. [WSJ, related]
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