Stanford's Media Blitz

Posted by: Matthew Goldstein on April 21

We’re not sure what to make of Allen Stanford’s “I’m not a swindler” road show. Frankly, other than Stanford’s repeated claims of innocence, occasional threats to punch reporters and blaming securities regulators for making a scapegoat out of him, we’re not learning much of anything new.

Sure, Stanford is coming off a bit more polished than his impromptu TV interview with ABC News earlier this month. If you recall, during that interview, a weepy Stanford complained about being denied use of his private jet. But it’s doubtful the interviews with CNBC, Bloomberg, Houston Chronicle, The New York Times and others will have much impact on federal prosecutors, who are said to be steadily building a criminal case against the 59-year-old native Texan.

The timing of the interviews is also curious. Stanford and his hot-shot defense lawyer Dick DeDegurin originally had scheduled the media blitz to take place nearly two weeks ago. But those interviews were mysteriously canceled without explanation. For the record, BW inquired about getting an opportunity to speak to the man charged by regulators with running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme but we were brushed aside.

No matter. We’ll just stick to doing the kind of on-the-ground reporting that helped break open the Stanford story—a week before the SEC sued him on Feb. 17. Still, we’re wondering why our colleagues in the press who did get to meet with Stanford, didn’t press him with some more tough questioning. May be the ground rules for the interview kept some subjects off limits. But since we’re not bound by any constraints, here are just a few questions we would have asked Stanford.

1) Did your offshore bank in Antigua, which is at the heart of the scandal, maintain two sets of books as is alleged by the bank’s court-appointed liquidator? BW first reported on the allegation raised by the liquidator and posted some of the documents unearthed by the liquidator on our website. The documents purport to show, in at least one case, Stanford’s bank provided Antigua regulators with inflated numbers for some of its brokerage portfolios.

2) The bank documents filed with Antigua regulators reveal that some of Stanford International Bank’s assets were held in mysteriously named accounts, such as: LAM, VCH and Medieval. Can you tell us what these accounts are and where the assets that were held in them were invested?

3) Why did you continue to use a small unknown accountant to audit the bank’s books, even as the bank’s assets grew from under a $100 million in 1987 to about $8 billion by last fall?

4) You’ve talked a lot about how securities regulators have ruined your life and the the firm you built into an international institution. But you haven’t expressed a lot of sorrow and sympathy for your investors, many of whom have lost their entire savings. Would you like to say something to your investors?

If we get the chance to speak with Stanford, we promise these will be some of the first questions we ask him.

What would you ask?

Reader Comments

Bob Sparr

April 21, 2009 11:59 AM

How do you sleep at night, or ever?

Big Al

April 21, 2009 12:15 PM

Allen,

Why did you tell people you were related to Leland Stanford? Why did you tell people your company's history went back to 1932? Why did you tell people you were knighted by the Earl of Wessex? Why did you tell people you ran a $50B empire when you only had $6B in your broker/dealer and $8B at the bank in Antigua (that's not quite $50B)? You told employees and investors you put $541 million of personal assets into the Bank in November, 2008 - What assets did you transfer that were worth $541 million? What did you know about the fraudulent returns from the SAS portfolios that the SEC mentioned in its complaint? If you name was above the door, why are you not the one ultimately responsible for the activities of the Stanford related companies?

vigilante

April 21, 2009 12:18 PM

Will you be covered under any medical insurance when the guy that lost all his retirement money kicks the snot out of you in a dark alley one of these days?

Chuck Gaffney

April 21, 2009 12:23 PM

The answer to your question Bob would probably be "On a bed made of everyone else's money." Same answer would come from SEC, AIG and other crooks.

Leonel

April 21, 2009 12:39 PM

Allen,

I know you. Do you remember when you said to me in 1990 how incredible is that people was able to risk all their money for an extra 2 points of interest?

You were not crying at that time... you were laughing.

Alex Dalmady

April 21, 2009 01:46 PM

Assuming he would actually answer with the truth...here goes:

When did the SIB become first insolvent?

When/Where did you get the money to buy the banking/investment franchises in the US/Venezuela/Panama (which were all in YOUR name) if SIB NEVER paid you a dividend?

Name everyone who was in on this. I'm not buying that it was only you and/or Davis.

What is a Moda Operada? (sic) Can't find it in my English-Texan dictionary!

Rob

April 21, 2009 01:57 PM

Sir A,

I used to work for you. I would like to know why we always had to wear that stupid eagle pin. I used to wear some nice expensive suits to work, I didnt want that stupid pin, which stood for nothing but a manufactured history anyway, puncturing the garment. The day I left, I threw mine out while I was driving home on Memorial Drive. Also, what was the deal with you and Yolanda? Were you doing her? If you weren't, it makes no sense why she would traipse around the Stanford empire like she was queen bee.

JGR

April 21, 2009 02:33 PM

How and when are you going to give back ALL money to investors who have now lost everything?. Please describe a believable and effective action plan. TELL us how and just DO IT Sir!

A Stafford

April 21, 2009 02:34 PM

Rob,
to answer I was doing Yolanda and if I had a chance I would have done your wife too

Big Al

April 21, 2009 02:41 PM

Rob -

Also a former Stanford employee. The pin was initially to identify clients from non-clients at the 5050 offices. If you worked in Houston, you know those offices were at street level. Anyone could walk in off the street during th early years. With clients in the offices, it became advantageous to know which people were Stanford employees and which were "others."

After a while, it became a marketing point that when an employee saw two people walking down the hallway, one with a pin and one without, we knew the advisor was with a client and we would be sure to say hello to the client so they we think we were extremely friendly people.

Finally, the pins were known in a number of higher end restaurants around town, so when the waiters and hostesses saw that pin, they knew the table was there to spend some money. It got tables and good service at a number of places. At the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, just wearing the pin got Stanford employees discounted room rates and free upgrades.

It was total pieces of crap like Mary Zora who became 'pin nazis' and tortured people who didn't have their pin on. Mary Zora was amazing. I have never met a human being who worked in HR who had less humanity. She represented everything that was wrong with the Stanford organization and, in my mind, with the human race in general.

Jim Barber

April 21, 2009 02:43 PM

Watch the FOX TV Show "Lie to Me", then watch Stanford's video interview with the Houston Chronicle. See how many facial "tells" you spot - biting his lip, curling his lip, touching his face, etc. Do you believe his story?

JGR

April 21, 2009 02:47 PM

Sir Al, As THE BOSS and only share holder of all stanford companies including SIB, STOP blaming subordinates for your faults. This strategy is NOT working. STOP IT!. Nobody believes you.

YOU should know by now that YOU and ONLY YOU as the TOP boss are the ONE responsible for everything that happened inside your companies!!!. STOP BLAMING OTHERS for your faults!!.

Why don't you stop crying in public as a baby (as it reflects lack of maturity and lack of professionalism) AND start using more reliable arguments (like tell the WORLD where the money is?) so that we can start believing in you!. GIVE US OUR MONEY BACK and WE (your clients and your employees) will be ON YOUR SIDE. You need to provide stronger arguments for US to follow you again, not a bunch of lies.

Payback

April 21, 2009 03:09 PM

I like this one!

Will you be covered under any medical insurance when the guy that lost all his retirement money kicks the snot out of you in a dark alley one of these days?

JGR

April 21, 2009 03:12 PM

Just not only say "something" to your investors Sir, we are not interested in your soap opera full of tears. Be a MAN. Wear your "MANAGER and OWNER" hat and share in details your FINANCIAL PLAN to successfully give back all clients CDs money currently frozen at SIB. That's all we want to know!. Simple.

Robert

April 21, 2009 03:16 PM

There are estimated claims of about $8 billion, receiver is telling there are at the best some millions, are you willing to offer your assets if no money is found?

JGR

April 21, 2009 03:21 PM

How can we organize an interview program between Sir RAS and investors (including employees who invested at SIB)?. We could call the program: "FACE to FACE Sir versus the CLIENTS".

We should invite someone representing SEC, FINRA, AUDITING firm. Link with someone representing the Antigua government. We need a high profile moderator. What TV channels could we approach?

Rob

April 21, 2009 03:22 PM

Now now Stafford, I was asking a legitimate question pertaining to promotion policy within the organization. Way back when, I had hoped to work my way up the ladder but I now know there was no advancement possible within the organization for me because I wasn't someone from Jim Davis' church with whom he could have sex. I didnt know if that was an isolated policy within the research department, which was essentially my background, or a company wide policy applicable to Houston and Antigua employees too. My other question to Sir Allen now that I have the forum to ask- why bother having a reasearch department at all? Clearly none of this was used in reaching investment decisions. As a public debt analyst who could have mopped the floor up with your entire research arm, I find it very insulting Mr. Stanford that you mocked our venerable profession. What was the extent of the research that was done and what decisions did it influence?

GB

April 21, 2009 03:25 PM

It baffels me to think that the majority of people if not all, do not believe Sir Allen.... It only proves to the world, that human beings prefer to watch a hanging, rather than tranquility.
I am confident that within the next five years, Sir Allen Stanford will bypass Bill Gates as the richest man in the world, due to all the counter suits against the SEC, and all relative Governments......

mythbuster51

April 21, 2009 03:43 PM

All "fair" questions of Sir Allen but how about some reporting on the SEC investigation that got stopped by an unnamed agency in the US government? Have you filed for any stuff under the FOIA? How about the new head of the SEC who was over FINRA? Some good hard stories would focus on Janvey and how much maoney he stands to make out of this and why we now have a examiner (Janvery bitterly opposed)and what has been Vantis' record in past. Also how corrupt is the gov't of Antigua? I believe Sir Allen is old news now...How about the congressmen who got money or accepted trips to the Carribean? How about the law firm of Huton William who evidently helped put thogher this "plan'. Matthew et al, You have a golden opportunity to make a real difference here. I smell a Pulitzer!!!

Big Al

April 21, 2009 04:05 PM

Rob -

There was no opportunities for professional advancement for anyone within the Stanford organization, unless they were willing to participate in unlawful activity.

Stop and think, the only one who actually ever advanced in responsibility in that organization was Jason D'Amato and he is intimately involved with the SAS portfolios mentioned in the SEC complaint.

Allen Stanford never ensured that the best and the brightest were in positions of responsibility within his organization. I think there were only two or three individuals in senior management that had graduate degrees, and none of those were in finance. None of the senior management earned CFA or CIMA designations. There were only two or three people within the organization who had actual Wall St experience. There was no encouragement to obtain CIMA or CFA designations. In fact, in order to save on employee training costs, management discouraged employees from considering CFA or CIMA designations unless the employee was willing to personally assume all the costs involved. While copies of the Eagle magazine were all over the place, there were no financial journals anywhere in the offices.

What most people don't understand is that Stanford didn't pay its employees well, at least not by industry standards. The only people who were making decent money were connected with the bank, either in a management role, or selling the CDs.

Edith

April 21, 2009 04:08 PM

GB...I know for sure you or your family didn't loose a dime with this idiot!
And for Allen, how do you sleep at night? we have worked all our life and had all our savings in your stupid bank. What is going to happen to us? The future of our grandchildren was covered and now we don'r know! How can you live having ruined so many lives!

Kaymee

April 21, 2009 04:22 PM

Mythbuster51 - Where did you find your info? Would love to follow the string...

jgr

April 21, 2009 04:59 PM

GB.... five years?. You must be kidding!. I do not have 5 years to wait and waste!. it is OUR MONEY and Sir RAS says "it is not ponzi and it is not fraud". Fine!. Give us OUR MONEY back then NOOOOW, not in 5 years.

AMK

April 21, 2009 05:03 PM

Must Say What goes around comes around - If you treat fellow humans with complete lack of humanity and compassion - like some of us were treated - whether guilty or not Stanford is ruined anyways.

I worked and then left the organization - Funny part was we spent money on development projects at times with no accountability and in strange ways that bothered me but I could never get an answer. All the various Stanford businesses that we interfaced with never made any money - so I questioned where was the money for 2020 coming from? Island developments, Residential designs worth millions, Exclusive resort and club designs - And there was a pattern - expensive designs - but that's it just designs - nothing made it to reality. I think it was just a very expensive Drama to show the customers what a great real estate developer, master mind and multi billion dollar player Stanford was. I could go on forever. And the cherry on the top the dumb Andrea Stoelker what a piece of work and an un professional person.
- I am so so so sorry to my kids that I worked for this guy so hard and so much that I completely missed years of their lives - Never again - Never.

LASTLY - I am so sorry for all the people who invested their hard earned money with this crook - not sure what I would do in a situaton like that - having tough time dealing with the 60% loss in 401k since last year as it is..


JGR

April 21, 2009 05:13 PM

Please ask Sir RAS to open an interactive web site (like President Obama did) for the world to interact directly with Sir Al, ask him the tough questions, for RAS to respond and provide HARD evidences of where the money is, and to design and implement THE PLAN that without any doubt will REFUND all MONEY BACK NOW to all clients. Thanks.

Rob

April 21, 2009 05:15 PM

Big Al, I have to say, your insight into the organization is dead on accurate, I made many of those same observations myself. I wish I would have known you when I worked there, maybe I did, who knows? In my case, the moron who ran my unit maybe had a GED and a degree from night school at the University of Houston, despite telling everyone she went to Radcliffe. She didnt know the first thing about the financial services industry, which I always found quite curious since we were there to support EVERY other unit within Stanford, running the gamut from hard assets to trusts to broker/dealer to private banking/wealth preservation. I guess it really didnt matter as long as the brochure looked pretty and Latino.

Michael

April 21, 2009 05:35 PM

1. What are the names of the 30 analysts who oversaw the banks investments.

2. What was Banking President Juan Rodriguez-Tolentino role in overseeing the bank.

3. What was Sr Compliance Officer Pedro Rodriguez role?

4. When was the last time Antigua's FSRC reviewed the books?

5. Who managed Tier 1, 2 and 3?

6. Where did you get the 20 million to fund the various sporting events. Was this from bank profits or profits from SFG.

7. Who has oversight of the Stanford Trust Company where the U.S. based IRAs were held?

I'll add more later. Stick with the business questions and leave the touchie feeling questions out of it. I don't care what he's feeling. I'm broke.

Val

April 21, 2009 05:56 PM

Dear Uncle Allen,

Could you please let the Antiguan receiver know where the funds are so the investors and your once hard working, dedicated employees can get what is owed to them now not later.

Also, while you are at it,tell us why you had so many unprofessional,uncaring persons running your HR departments for your companies. Incidentally we are all up a creek without a paddle.

Is it also a fact the Black Eagle was hired inorder to screw employees over time and time again?

Dan

April 21, 2009 07:37 PM

When is someone going to say, the money is still in the bank ,or the money is no longer in the bank. By the way, who was complaining that they were not receiving their monthly distributions on time. I haven't found one yet. What gives the SEC the right to throw thousands of citizens lives into turmoil, backruptcy and utter chaos by freezing legitimate investments here in the U.S.? Maybe the SEC needs to be frozen.

Gerald Himmelreich

April 22, 2009 12:41 PM

I am one of the DC investors international for the bank in Antigua.Lost 45 years of savings for pension.Whats now??
I know all employees from Stanford are responsible for this mess.Also the media by not informing the public early enough with the info the had.Every crime, pirate,kidnapping or bad news is pushed to the utmost coverage repeatedly.
(SIR)Allen,the title not worse.The biggest ego centric, withe a great sex drive plus dictatorial character abilities.Of course if he fails he falls in to childhood protection and cries If he get accused.We called them Alfa men.The manipulate the world around them for there own show to be on the top with lies.Please don't believe him any think!! He will fight till the end,just not to admit that hi is wrong.He needs people to believe in him and serve him to the out most possible.You see it on his private live style.
All money will be lost to lawyers and curt cases.
What is left for us--suicide--when the money is up??He will never give us the pleasure of being punished.
I only can not understand that so many employees where blinded by his ego centric character.All the women I understand,they fall for his ego sex appeal.
I am sorry to say, but all Management employees belong in court.Maybe to clearing all bankrupt,like in the case of Madoff.
And the Antigua n Government is like all Caribbean islands corrupt,corrupt,corrupt.Also not cable to control a magnitude company like investment banks.All should be closed on the islands,or better controlled by international accounting cooperation's.Maybe we can make a case against central bank of Antigua??Because of lac of controls.
Gery.

FG

April 22, 2009 04:08 PM

Here is a couple of questions for you:
1. If you want to help so much...tell us where the money is.
2. If you are not a fraud, then what happened to the insolvency protection we were supposed to be insured by.

OOOO shadowwww

April 22, 2009 08:29 PM

Gerald Himmelreich
April 22, 2009 12:41 PM
I am one of the DC investors international for the bank in Antigua.Lost 45 years of savings for pension.Whats now??

Now Gery

I have no idea where you are from but I am QUITE sure your Gov. is currupt and waaayyy more corrupt than that of Antigua because all are so why don't you lock down everything in your country or have somebody else run it!That's just an idiotic statement! I have no idea where a lot of the speculation is coming from or maybe i am just speculating myself but i thought i read that the greater part of the investors have received their money and those that are not being released are those accounts that are. suspicious. I may be wrong and if i am somebody please correct me.

jgr

April 26, 2009 11:51 AM

Hey Matthew Goldstein when are you planning to interview Sir Allen?. Have you already scheduled an appointment?. Please let us know. Just make sure to put yourself "on the victims shoes" when you are asking the questions. Thanks.

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BusinessWeek's Adrienne Carter, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and David Henry deconstruct the mysteries of high finance, Wall Street, and hedge funds for pros and ordinary investors. E-mail them directly if you've got tips about big deals, a hedge fund, or even securities industry gossip.

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