Monday, July 20, 2009

Herb Greenberg is Alive and Visible

If you're reading this, Herb, hello.

My name has from time to time become involved in controcversies over "naked short selling," or "phantom shares" and the like. I covered such contentions for my former employer, and under the moniker of Christofurio I sought to ensure that Wikipedia articles touching on the point were accurate.

One result of this was that I came to know, slightly, the CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, who sees himself as a crusader in the anti-nakedness cause. Another result was that I also came to know, very slightly, Herb Greenberg, now a research analyst, formerly a prominent journalist and columnist, and among those who expressed skepticism that nakedness was actually a problem.

One key component of the skeptical view is that complaints about the nakedness of shorting generally come from the managements of failed or corrupt companies, like AremisSoft or CMKM Diamonds. What is a predatory practice from the POV of the crusaders is a red herring from the POV of the skeptics. Here is Floyd Norris blog entry that will get you up to speed if you are new to all this.

Anyway, the reason all this comes to mind is that the website Deep Capture, a forum for Patrick Byrnes and his knights, recently ran a lengthy article about a company named Dendreon, which back in 2007 sought financing throguh a PIPE deal that was to be arranged by Acqua Wellington Asset Management. Then the sentence that caught a few eyes, including my own:

Acqua Wellington is controlled by a “prominent” investor named Isser Elishis. In an otherwise flattering article, Herb Greenberg – a journalist whose entire career was devoted to granting “courtesies” to hedge funds in the Milken network – described Elishis as the “banker of last resort.”

Herb, who disappeared from public sight after he was exposed by Deep Capture, now owns a company that ostensibly sells financial research to hedge funds in the Milken network (or, arguably, merely receives payment from them for the extensive string of “courtesies” that Herb extended while working as a journalist).


That Herb had "disappeared" seemed like distressing news. Like in Chile during the Pinochet era? Or like a magician's assistant rendered invisible by a wave of the wand? Actually, of course, he didn't disappear. He stopped writing his blog for MarketWatch last spring. But in that final blog posting he provided the URL for the website of his new concern, and he can be contacted through that website by anyone keen on doing so.

William Wolfrum valiantly went in search of Greenberg, and reported results after an arduous four seconds.

Greenberg reported: “I am Currently living in a cave in Bolivia. I FLED San Diego after having been humiliated and revealed by the Pulitzer Prize-bound journalists of Deep Capture, and the fear that they would reveal that my entire career was devoted to granting courtesies to hedge funds in the Milken network.”

I am amused, and will follow Wolfrum's blog more closely in the future.

4 comments:

Nancy said...

You wrote, "One key component of the skeptical view is that complaints about the nakedness of shorting generally come from the managements of failed or corrupt companies, like AremisSoft or CMKM Diamonds."

Check your facts, wiseguy.

July 03, 2009 05:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time

CMKM Diamonds, Inc. Announces New Joint Venture

http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090703005316&newsLang=en

Christopher said...

Nancy,

Yes, CMKM has been reborn. I don't mean to impugn the new company under that name, which is the one that has entered into the joint venture to which you allude. I wish them all the best.

But I would like to draw your attention to a statement on the new CMKM's website's home page.

"The Company has recently taken a number of steps to encourage the DOJ, FBI, and the IRS to finally issue indictments and commence criminal proceedings against former CEO Urban Casavant and insider John Edwards and their cohorts, who blatantly stole $250 million from the Company and its shareholders."

The Casavant/Edwards crowd according to the skeptical view of Norris, Greenberg, and for the most part yours truly, typifies the source of much of the concernm with naked shorting. And there are reasons for that.

Christopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christopher said...

Nancy,

Also, when I click on you name in the comment above I get a page that says "Profile Not Available"! You couldn't be somebody's sock puppet, could you? An associate of Larry Bergman, perchance?