Zac Bissonnette is an astute observer from whom I have learned things on several occasions. I don't see this one exactly how he does, however. Below is my comment on Zac's blog
. By way of explanation of parts of my comment, Michael Webster is a Toronto lawyer who posts here from time to time (he began this thread) and whose two comments appear before mine on Zac's blog.
Begin my comment:
My view is midway between Zac's and Michael Webster's. In a couple of important ways, Minkow is not simply the victim in this, but I don't see how one can conclude that he was paid off to go away.
First, as to Minkow's actions: he's no babe in the woods. He had to know that he was stirring up a hornet's nest, and possibly a lawsuit. Anyone in that position needs clean hands. So what does he do? He shorts USANA stock. This gives him a profit motive to bash USANA, and USANA - completely predictably - jumped all over it. Lest we forget, had Minkow not shorted USANA, Judge Campbell's order of March 3 (http://www.box.net/shared/static/khhybjxwcc.pdf
for anyone who wished to read it) would have ended the case in his favor. She granted summary judgment on every cause of action except the stock manipulation, all but holding that Minkow had the negative stuff right. That would have made a nice ending, no?
Moreover, when Zac writes that the suit amounted to "a war of legal fees that Minkow could not win" - well, Zac, he did win them. As Michael points out, Campbell awarded him costs and attorneys' fees under the California anti-SLAPP statute - see opinion at http://www.box.net/shared/static/6lir1yzcws.pdf
. It was again the hubristic move of shorting USANA that sank him.
Minkow agreed to a sealed settlement - order http://www.box.net/shared/static/0a1sshs4ks.pdf
- and confidentiality, so we will never know the details. That's bad. It allows the scammers and their shills to crow victory, which is already happening. But, Michael, we equally don't know that Minkow was paid a dime. It is possible - as he says - that he had no money to continue litigating. In that sense, Zac, you're right, free exchange of information is the loser. But tell me, Zac, even without knowing whether he was paid to drop the suit, how much did Minkow make by the short? Before the recent attempts to take USANA private, its stock had dropped like a rock.
We'll never know, will we? Few things are black and white.