Monday, December 07, 2009

Mark Cuban, Being Mark Cuban, Throws Away Moral High Ground

Ever since the SEC filed some very very weak insider trading charges against Mark Cuban, the latter has struggled for the moral low ground, trying his case on his blog and coming across as sleazy as hell. He should have just shut his mouth and let the SEC's weak case speak for itself.

I'm no fan of Cuban since he announced his odious "trading before publication" Sharesleuth stock tip sheet, but the insider trading charges were so shaky that I felt a bit sorry for the guy. That lasted for a few hours, until he opened his big mouth.

Most defendants in such situations would seek to demonstrate how classy they are, but nosireee, not Cuban. Having won the case, which the SEC is appealing, Cuban could have emerged smelling like a rose. Instead, he is reaching harder than ever for that elusive moral low ground by pushing a vindictive motion for discovery, which he won today, and seeking attorneys fees. He's now waging a jihad against the SEC a la Patrick Byrne, pursuing discovery to determine if the SEC acted in bad faith.

Baloney. Its case was weak, but these were just bureaucrats being bureaucrats, wasting the public's money. That's the message you'd think Cuban would be trying to promote in this situation. Not this guy.
“To the extent that he views it as the agency having tweaked him, he wants to tweak back,” Jacob Frenkel, a former SEC lawyer now in private practice, said of Cuban’s fee quest. “Is this likely to meet with success? No. Is that likely to stop him? No. Many who are accused by the SEC are pleased to take a dismissal and ride off into the sunset.”
I think the SEC was wrong to appeal the ruling. I still feel that way. But if he loses, I will definitely have no trouble sleeping at night.

© 2009 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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