Would Mr. Belvedere do it for you? Principal Belding? The kid from Silver Spoons? For Thornwater investors, Mr. Spock and his eyebrows were lure enough
Wall Street bad boy Ross Mandell was the mastermind behind a decade-long scheme to pump unwitting investors for money to fund pipe-dream companies -- and then blew the profits from the fraud on a swinging lifestyle, including birthday parties, strip clubs and prostitutes, a former business partner and pal of the former Sky Capital CEO testified yesterday. "He was the man. He was in charge," Robert Grabowski, a former Sky stockbroker, told jurors at Mandell's fraud trial in Manhattan federal court.
Grabowski said the scheme started in 1998 when Mandell came up with a plan to raise money to expand their then-brokerage firm, Thornwater. The expansion included a move to take a company called TicketPlanet.com public. TicketPlanet.com, which never got off the ground, was marketed to investors as a rival to successful Priceline.com, which at the time had wooed William Shatner as its spokesman.
To compete, Mandell told potential investors, according to Grabowski, that TicketPlanet was going to get Leonard Nimoy as its spokesman. Nimoy, as Spock, was a popular co-star alongside Shatner's Capt. Kirk on "Star Trek." "He said we're gonna do one better," Grabowski said, of Mandell. " 'We're gonna get Mr. Spock.' "
Just something to consider if you're having trouble raising funds.