Monday, November 17, 2008

Et tu, Cubes?

Perhaps I've let my Mavs fandom bias me, but I've always felt Mark Cuban was a decent, honorable "Joe Six Pack" kind of guy who happened to be a billionaire. His blog was regularly, refreshingly honest. How many fans wouldn't love to know their owner's thoughts and views? And how many can say they have exchanged multiple e-mails with their team's owner. So with that background, I'm a bit disappointed, but I'm not necessarily shocked or upset, by the latest.

If the allegations are true, he must have known that what he was doing was illegal. Still, I'm not overly upset. Its an interesting scenario in which the company may have shared the info in order to entrap him from selling his stocks, likely knowing Cuban wouldn't be down with the PIPE but also likely knowing he couldn't sell his massive share of their company once they told him. I'm also not shocked because no one has ever accused Cuban of stoicism and calmness, so I could see a scenario where he got so pissed about the "entrapment," or alternatively, the stupidity of the plan to approach him, that he said, "Screw it. Sell." Well, them's the breaks, and now he has to pay the PIPEr. The question is whether he should face criminal charges like Martha or just pay the heavy civil penalty. I've always hated the NBA's stupid, self interested rules protecting incompetent refs which make every game essentially a crapshoot, and I've loved Cuban's attempts to tear these down....a losing battle except from a PR stance. But the SEC is a different story, and this appears to be a losing battle from a PR stance too. The SEC's rules are there for a reason, so if the allegations are true, I'm disappointed in my man. I think he should come clean and pay the heavy penalty, but it doesn't seem prison time is warranted without a cover up ala Martha.

The ones who will truly be hurt are Cubbies fans who now may lose out on a dynamic, fan based, winning is everything owner. MLB prefers its white collar criminals to be stodgier, and this will be the excuse for Selig to neg Cuban's offer.


GammaBoy said...

I like Cuban, and his discourse lately has made me wonder if he is planning to jump into politics.

The NYT story caught my attention. The political angle seems legit - there is plenty of evidence of the Bush admin using its power for political ends.

Also, any thoughts from the lawyers on why civil, not criminal? A statutory reason or just a potentially weak case?

Yo Gabba Gabba said...

Nothing to add other than what I read in teh papers, which is DOJ only gets involved when there is perjury/coverup ala Martha Stewart. Interesting slant on the Bush thing. Cuban's blog often noted the Bush admin hated him b/c of his movies, but he'd then point out movies he also produced which were ostensibly "pro-Bush" viewpoint. I think he really got on their radar as anti-Bush when he hired Dan Rather for HDNet, but, (and this may be my bias), I think Cuban is more of an equal opportunity pest. He voted for Obama, almost unwillingly, and his blog posts on him were not that favorable.

Aztec Tomb said...

Agree with YGG on DOJ involvement.

Another critical factor is that the burden of proof is higher for criminal actions. You can prove a civil insider trading case with a good deal of circumstantial evidence. Typically, you can infer intent with a few conveniently timed phone calls to a broker. But proving intent beyond a reasonable doubt takes a bit more evidence. If during the course of civil discovery the SEC finds some emails detailing what Cuban knew and what he wanted his broker to do, then the DOJ may pick up the case.

But here's the warning. It's a violation of Federal law to lie to any Federal investigators. You don't even have to be under oath. That's what ended up cooking Stewart's goose.