Remember General Wesley Clark?
He was the highly decorated Vietnam vet who ran the Kosovo War, and then spoke out against the war in Iraq, and then ran for President as a Democrat. He was a serious guy in the 2000s.
Well, fun story, Bloomberg just caught up with Gen. Clark.
These days, he’s been pitching food-truck franchises to military veterans and helping a convicted felon raise money to grow hydroponic lettuce. “We’d love it if you joined with us in an investment,” the silver-haired Clark, 70, says in a promotional video for a company called the Grilled Cheese Truck. He’s pictured standing in front of a statue of a bald eagle in a replica of the Oval Office. “We’re going to be one of the fastest-growing young companies in America.”
The grilled cheese venture is losing money and hasn’t signed any veterans as franchisees, and the lettuce operation is being sued for failing to pay its bills. They’re just two of a dozen precarious ventures with which Clark has been associated since he retired from the Army with the self-proclaimed goal—a joke, he says now—of making $40 million.
Granted, the lettuce felon seems like a weird business partner, but hey,Food trucks are super hip and there's nothing wrong with helping veterans become entrepreneurs. It's not like this American hero is doing anything particularly - or purposefully - shady.
Clark is one of many former governors, generals, and congressmen who’ve found second careers lending their name to tiny companies that are willing to pay for prestige. Since he ran for president in 2004, Clark has joined the boards of at least 18 public companies, 10 of them penny-stock outfits, whose shares trade in the “over the counter” markets, a corner of Wall Street where fraud and manipulation are common.
Well, the economy's been in the toilet and its not like Clark is going to hit 40 mil by collecting his Army pension. Sitting on boards is like arbitrage if you play it the right way...
All but one of the 10 lost value during Clark’s tenure. Three went bankrupt shortly after he left their boards, and the chief executive officer of one pleaded guilty to fraud.
Well... Umm... It's almost Friday?
Wesley Clark: The Penny-Stock General [Bloomberg]