On May 4, 1997, former executives and employees of MMAR Group, a brokerage company that has closed down, gathered at the Pappasito restaurant in Houston.
Their old company won an amazing victory in the lawsuit against the Wall Street Journal.
The jury awarded $222 to the company. 7 million --$22.
Actual losses were $7 million and punitive damages were $0. 2 billion.
It was the biggest libel prize in history.
Later, both parties filed an appeal for punitive damages.
But now the appeal is on hold.
The judge in the case, uain weelain, Jr.
, New evidence is being considered and it is now possible to decide what action it needs to take (if any ). In an Oct.
21, 1993 article by reporter Laura jeresky, The Wall Street Journal charged 94-
Employee companies of all kinds of misconduct, including overcharging major customers in transactions.
The plaintiff blamed the article on its subsequent death and claimed that some of the previous
After that, it was difficult for MMAR's employees to find jobs in other brokerage companies.
The May Day afternoon party was more than just to prove its innocence: Corey Meena fired the former MMAR staff at a price of 10% of the defamatory loot after deducting the fee.
Pappasito's is with people who want to make a big fortune.
Miner, co-founder and former ceo of MMAR, gave a speech.
We won't be here today. -
We have none, including me. -
"If it weren't for Bill Finch," he announced, winning a big round of applause. Fincher beamed.
An outgoing and focused front
Fincher, who works in MMAR's real estate division, dealt with most of the investigation and public relations work in legal proceedings after the Wall Street Journal reported.
That was 18 months ago.
Fincher is dead today and MMAR and their lawyers haven't received a penny yet.
What all but a few celebrants did not realize was that even when he praised Fincher, Corey Mina had a heated dispute with him.
Fincher decided to write a book about MMAR and collected a list of allegations against Miner.
The list has been expanded to include crimes such as kidnapping and drug trafficking.
The Corey miners are the bigger ones-than-
The bizarre story seems to be constantly surrounding the character.
He used to run a Houston liquor store called the fuel station.
Fincher told Forbes that according to Jerry Converse, who works at a nearby music equipment store, Miner sells cocaine and marijuana in addition to selling alcohol.
On 1980, Converse was arrested for holding 20 pounds of marijuana, 2 ounces of cocaine and a pound of marijuana.
Cocaine and marijuana belong to miners, he said.
Miners, but denied having known each other before.
But there is no denying that MMAR has a job. hard, play-
The hard atmosphere in which drugs play a role.
On a recent tape filed as part of new evidence for defamation cases, MMAR co-founder Paul Brown called Miner on March.
1992 with the coming news of the "two big packages", these two packages will cost 13 Gs.
When the miner asked about the "volume", Brown replied, "two full minus three.
"As for the content," it, uh, should be no. f---ing-
"Credible," said Brown in unison.
And the story of the so-called child-
Theft: in early 1980, Corey Minna lived with Sheri, the woman who was about to become his second wife, in New Delhi, India, where Mina was doing business.
He returned to the United States with Sherie. S.
With a toddler, the daughter of an illiterate Muslim, Mohammed Iqram.
Mine miners got married shortly after they came back and they adopted the girl and said she was abandoned by her family.
But Ikram later claimed that he had only left Ashraf for medical treatment and that the miners promised to return her soon. He never did.
Now, kid, it's a natural person.
The adjusted teenager still lives with the miners and her name is changed to Ashra.
Fincher told Forbes that in a conversation about creative solutions to business problems, Miner once boasted to him that medical care was a trick.
The bragging eventually inspired Fincher to go to India to find the blood clan of Ashra.
Ikram died, but his wife and daughter survived. -
Her mother and sister.
Fincher arranged legal representation for them in the United States. S.
This led to a lawsuit filed in May 11 in Galveston County court, Texas.
The miner and his wife charged fencher and her mother and sister with "extortion" and other crimes.
Miner also claimed that Ikram abused Ashra and said that the woman named in the lawsuit was not the birth mother of Ashra.
Meanwhile, Fincher has been making anonymous suggestions to the Wall Street Journal through lawyers.
Once the lawyer for the Wall Street Journal had mastered the miner's lawsuit, his identity was known, which claimed that Fincher had "cleaned. . .
Legal documents and tapes
"The final result was that Justice Werlein agreed to allow a new round of findings to be made in defamation cases.
Know that Fincher is ready to whistle on his predecessor.
Boss, July 2, Wall Street Journal lawyers spent a whole day with Fincher in his office in southwest Houston.
Two days later, the experienced pilot, Fincher, took off on a double plane.
Engine Beechcraft Baron has been on holiday for a week in Central America with his girlfriend and another couple.
The lawyer had intended to arrange a testimony as soon as possible, but Fincher insisted on postponing it until he came back.
Anxious counsel urged him to be careful.
July 8 5:36. m.
Fincher, 50, took off from Belize International airport in Belize City.
A few minutes later, he reported that he had turned off the left engine due to low oil pressure and was returning to the airport.
He did not succeed: the plane crashed 1,000 feet metres from the runway, causing fatal injuries to Fincher and his three passengers.
There is no evidence of a foul, but no final report has been made by the authorities.
Fincher is a contradictory role.
He's a man of integrity.
But it must be known that MMAR is not entirely straight.
Until the end, he felt that MMAR was wronged by the Wall Street Journal and believed that MMAR was an up-by-the-
Piracy example of Can-
Entrepreneur Spirit in Texas
Style, a "family" of people with different talents can find their niche and thrive.
However, he began to despise Corey Mina.
As described in Miner's testimony in the libel case, the company will become the MMAR Group, which opened in 1987 with six employees
Room office with a computer and an old card table.
"As a bond salesman for Marcus Stowell & Beye Houston, Miner collected and compiled demographic data for mortgage collateral holders --
They represent ownership of the mortgage pool and are widely traded on Wall Street.
Miner and Brown have also worked with Marcus, Stowell and Beye, who have a different attitude towards the market than the big companies on Wall Street.
These companies have competition in underwriting and market production, and as a result none of them can serve as an exchange for market intelligence: mortgage traders
Behind Bear Stearns, Stearns was unable to call Chelson to learn about its stock and price. MMAR --
Abbreviations represent research on fund management and analysis-
It's a different animal.
It rarely holds bonds in stock, but specializes in "risk-free principal" transactions or "cross-trades "---
Match buyers and sellers.
As a pure intermediary, its success depends on identifying the value for the customer and earning commission from the transactions performed on their behalf.
It can sniff out intelligence from all the big trading tables on the street.
MMAR was established as a mortgage.
Supporting Securities has become more complex. As these so-
Bonds known as mortgage-backed debt (CMOs-backed obligations) tend to be difficult to value, and their markets tend to lack liquidity.
This means that the income gap between buyers and sellers can be very large, which creates an opportunity for brokers and traders to get a good profit.
MMAR is good at finding buyers for some of the more risky CMO deals launched by large Tier 1 dealers.
"We have a very good service for Wall Street," said O . "J.
Former MMAR principal Bobek.
MMAR features a CMOs flavor called reverse float, where coupons go up when interest rates go down and vice versa.
They are very popular among some fixed groups of people.
Revenue money manager who wants to make leverage bets in the decline-
Rate environment in early 1990.
MMAR's biggest client is Vernon Strickland, who runs fixed assets.
The House of the Employee Retirement System in the state of Luis Anna, known as the laser.
By March 1992, Strickland accounted for 97% of the $0. 6 billion CMOs portfolio.
Then Strickland clashed with Mary Landrieu, an ambitious politician and Luiz Anna's finance minister. FORBES, Nov. 18, 1996), now a U. S. senator.
Landdrew's successful lobbying of the uncovered board of directors was wiped out by Strickland CMOportfolio.
The devil is retreating: In the six months ended March 1993, the laser company reported its internal losses
A House account of $65 million.
If Landrieu took control of her firepower, the portfolio could be liquidated with lower losses, but she was interested in the headlines and got them.
When Laura jeresky was a writer in Forbes, she told the story of Vernon Strickland (Mar. 1, 1993)
Made him one of the first poster boys for derivative products.
Later in the same year, Jereski moved to the Wall Street Journal to take notes with her and continue to investigate MMAR, a Wall Street --
Make a profit in a deal with Strickland.
The results appear on the front page of The Wall Street Journal's money and investment section.
Tell the story with interesting details-
One anecdote is that Miner, Brown and two partners spent $8,000 hosting a group of Japanese brokers at a topless bar in Houston ---
Jereski portrayed MMAR as a fast and loose dress, earning an excess profit at the cost of a laser.
MMAR is already in trouble: brokers and clients have left;
The regulator is investigating a deal with Strickland;
Laser is preparing a lawsuit.
And mortgage loans.
The securities market is developing South.
But MMAR later argued in court that the Wall Street Journal report had led to its demise.
In a lawsuit filed in November
1993 Lasers charged MMAR with fraud and excessive commission.
Two days later. -
A month after jeresky's article was published-
The company said it would close the door.
Bill Fincher took on the task of investigating the collapse of the pension fund and promoting MMAR's views to anyone willing to listen.
He's a classic in Cervantes. -
Point him to the windmill and he will lean towards it, "said Fred Baca, a friend of fencher and a former business partner.
He seems to like to struggle with difficulties.
One day after his 17 th birthday, Finch graduated from high school and joined the Marine Corps. During a 13-
He was on duty for a month in Vietnam, at 50-
The caliber machine gun bullet roared through his ear.
After leaving the Marine Corps, Fincher graduated from South Texas Junior College in Houston and studied real estate and business courses at the University of Houston.
He eventually worked with Miner and Brown to develop a business park in southwest Houston.
He joined MMAR as a real estate and was immersed in zoning and other issues.
When Landrieu began attacking the company over the loss of the pension fund, Fincher defended it.
He flew a company plane and began to travel frequently to Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
At the same time, Miner threatened to counterclaim the laser.
As an obvious strategy to provide some ink for MMAR's story, Miner decided to deduct fees and cut MMAR's ranking and documents by 10%, any gains arising from MMAR's legal claims.
When Finch was not in Anna, Louis. -
Strive for documents, participate in the trial, hold a press conference, and warmly advocate MMAR-as-
Victim theory applies to almost anyone who is willing to listen-
He is often found in an office in Houston, listening to conversations recorded by MMAR's automated telephone recording system.
Originally installed to provide support
The multi-channel system confirms the transaction by phone and records internal and external conversations.
Miners assign Fincher to dig into conversations that can be used in legal proceedings.
There are hundreds of tapes and thousands of hours of conversation.
"It's like I found a gold mine," Fincher later wrote . ". "His [Miner's]
The obsession with recording has increased dramatically, and my life has been consumed by the drudgery of monitoring and pulling the recording conversation.
"Then, probably on 1995, he met a conversation that could seriously undermine MMAR's legal battle plan.
Recorded on February.
1993, this was done between MMAR Chief Financial Officer Larry frrest and Sean Dobson, who works at the MMAR trading desk.
Dobson was summoned to the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD)
But the focus of the regulatory investigation is still unclear.
Dobson speculated that it had something to do with "the huge losses that just appeared in his [Strickland's]portfolio. . . .
But, I mean, what did we do? -
Other than pricing errors?
Dobson: we sold him the big thing [Strickland]
All these things may be considered inappropriate by some people.
"The tape is not only in the proceedings involving the Luiz Anna pension fund, but also in the case against the Wall Street Journal filed on October, it poses a threat to MMAR. 20, 1994.
LASERS and Jereski both claim that MMAR has deliberately exaggerated the value of the securities in its portfolio, obscuring the extent of stricran's losses.
According to Fincher, earlier Miner had no concerns about wanting him to remove sensitive tapes.
Fincher objected, saying he might be called to testify.
In a memo, Fincher later reminded Miner that his response was: "Unlike you, I swear there is no problem lying.
"As far as the miners are concerned, he denied saying that. On Sept.
According to miners driver Fincher and factotum, 1995, Victor Harrison appeared in the office with an electronic device used to erase the tape.
Fincher said Miner told him to reserve specific tapes for Harrison.
Before leaving the office, Finch told Harrison: "I'm sorry, but in [are]
It's just something I can't do for Corey.
"The next day, Fincher told Forbes that he found that the conversation about wrong pricing had been deleted.
At least one tape recorded on Sept.
9,1993, seems to herald the so-called erasure.
NASD, in the early stages of MMAR's investigation into dealing with lasers, asked about talk tapes involving stricran.
Miner assigned the task of reviewing these tapes to MMAR broker Richard Evans, who covers lasers accounts.
During the recording, Evans called Miner and nervously mentioned "something for this tape," saying, "I just thought it was just a hassle.
In the conversation that followed, Miner tried to reassure Evans.
He said: "Don't panic about all the negative things because they won't ---
They won't exist, man.
I mean, they're just recycling.
"MMARhad has told nasdit that it will recycle tapes on a regular basis ---
That is to say, it is recorded through existing conversations.
Evans told Miner when it came to the recording involving stricran, in the conversation they recorded, once, "I just don't understand why we shouldn't say they were all recycled.
"Immediately after hanging up with Evans, the miners spoke to Fincher.
"I just talked to Rich Evans," Miner said on the tape . ".
"Go back and make sure you pull down the conversation I just had with him and wipe it off.
"Okay," replied Finch.
With the increased legal and regulatory pressure faced by MMAR, tensions between miners and Fincher in terms of pay and business transactions have begun to intensify, real estate investors including Gessner Road Commerce Park in southwest Houston are Fincher and Miner.
Fincher had expected a bonus for his hard work in 1993, but said he returned empty-handed --handed.
At the end of 1995, Fincher hired a lawyer, Michael Minns, who advised him to copy the recorded conversation in support of his allegations.
Minns warned the miners in a threatening lawsuit: "Bill Fincher, the most loyal pawn on your board, to be the enemy Knight . ".
Turn out the dialogue from the Main Scrollto-
The reel tape has been copied to the tape prior to any alleged erasure.
Fincher knew them and secretly copied what he thought might be useful.
Fincher and Miner settled their dispute for the time being on February 1996.
The settlement left Fincher $1.
3 million promissory note guaranteed by Houston property.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal's legal team prepared a case against MMAR.
Then there was a blow from NASD.
In January 1994, the regulator accused MMAR of overcharging the laser and subsequently imposed a hefty fine on the company.
But after the MMAR protests, NASD re-examined the evidence on October.
1996 the fine and condemnation were revoked.
In the defamation case, the plaintiff objected to a total of 19 statements in the article.
Among them, Judge Werlein finally allowed nine people to enter the jury (
Lost one before deliberation).
The rest, he argues, is either "basically true" or not defamatory.
At the trial, MMAR argued that the Wall Street Journal report had irretrievably damaged its reputation and noted Pershing, the company that cleared the MMAR deal, A notice of termination was issued soon.
MMAR tried to find a replacement but failed.
Two weeks after the trial was delayed in Houston, seven people
The people's jury agreed that five of the eight statements discussed were "false and defamatory ".
"In addition to the allegations regarding MMAR's mispricing of LASERSportfolio, the statements relate to limousine bills, alleged violations of Commission guidelines, and the focus of October.
4. NASDagainst's 1993 notice of pending litigation against MMAR.
Another person claimed that since Miner and Brown "kept MMAR's capital position too small for the company to hold the bond stock," the two "needed one with a large portfolio of CMO'si. e. , LASERS]
To be able to trade.
According to this article, Art Leder, former senior vice president of MMAR, said mymuffled used LASERSportfolio as "inventory" to restructure bonds between accounts-
This has given the company a huge commission.
Leder is a witness to the Wall Street Journal.
In the video testimony presented at the trial, although he did not give up what he had told jeresky, Riddle carefully chose his words.
Later, in an interview with Fincher, Leder said that Miner paid him bribes and promised him $50,000.
Leder denied any such arrangements in an interview with Forbes.
"If my testimony was to be sold, the price would be much higher," he said . "
"Back in 1994, Leder filed NASD arbitration proceedings against MMAR, Miner and Brown alleging, among other things, defamation and unlawful termination.
To solve the problem, Miner paid a series of payments totaling $150,000, and the final payment was made earlier this year, Lei said.
The verdict shocked the Wall Street Journal.
The American Lawyer agreed that the newspaper's article was hastily reported, and that the newspaper's report was ignored at the trial.
Houston businessman Michael Johnson, who served on the jury, summed up the jury's attitude towards the miners: "We don't like this guy, we don't trust him, we won't buy an investment from him.
But we think he's hit.
"In a brief request to the trial judge to re-hear the case to allow for new discoveries, counsel for the Wall Street Journal noted that, MMAR's counsel "used as evidence that there were no tapes on the issue of error marks and excessive commission to prove that these incidents did not actually occur.
"Before he died, Finch handed over his tape to a court --
Appointed special master
If he is alive, Fincher's testimony will help to authenticate the tape and support the allegations of the removal of the tape.
Judge Werlein initially agreed to allow counsel for the Wall Street Journal to obtain new testimony on tape and related matters from Fincher and Miner.
But after the death of Finch, the schedule of testimony was revised: Not only did the miner have to take the oath, but his assistant, Linda Tate, had to take the oath;
Denise Belto, Fincher's assistant;
And Victor Harrison.
Harrison and the miners denied in their testimony that the tape had been deleted.
Judge Werlein's ruling on whether MMAR's rubber and other alleged misconduct prevented the newspaper from adequately and fairly stating its case is pending.
At the same time, 48-year-old Miner is trying to portray Fincher as a dodgy, embattled man who has not played the full deck.
He had his lawyer hire James L.
Claghorn, a licensed doctor and psychiatrist in Texas, conducted a post-mortem psychiatric assessment of Fincher.
In his affidavit submitted to Judge Werlein, Claghorn argued that "with reasonable medical certainty," Fincher "suffers from paranoid personality disorder, a condition characterized by a general distrust and suspicion of others that causes their motives to be interpreted as malicious.
Accordingly, Miner explained the charges against Fincher.
He told Forbes that he always believed that Finch was a "very talented person" and that he was "tenacious" when he found out the truth ". . . .
"But somewhere in this line," Miner insisted, "his other character also worked, and I don't know.
"If he knew, Miner said he wouldn't have Fincher in charge of the recording system.
One man denied asking Fincher to erase the tape, although one of the tapes made it clear that he did.
While he did not collect anything from the Wall Street Journal, Miner was clearly not wiped out in MMAR's failure.
Last year, he considered exchanging interest in "blisters" at Galveston beach club with shares of a publicly traded entertainment venue operator.
"I restored my good reputation and now I'm trying to rebuild myself in the investment banking world," he told Houston business magazine in last November, before the deal failed.
It is doubtful that, regardless of whether the libel verdict was overturned or not, there is still a way to go for Corey Mina.