LOUISVILLE, KY - The SEC investigation into Ford insider trading is in full swing. Need proof? This is the SEC IP checking out all my Ford stories in addition to the info I have already provided. Believe me there is much more.
Former CEO Alan Mullaly was at the helm when this all began and one can only wonder how much he knew about the insider trading allegations. Did the Ford family itself buy stock based on the insider knowledge? Time to get the truth.
I can't help but be reminded of folks like Martha Stewart.
As everyone who doesn't sleep under a rock knows, Stewart is a renowned publisher, TV personality, home marketing guru, and so much more. Stewart was charged with insider trading based on information she received from her friend Sam Waksal that his company
ImClones cancer drug had been rejected by the Food and Drug
Administration before this information was made public.
Stewart didn't lose a dime because she sold off her approximate 4000 shares before it was publicly announced and avoided a loss of a little over $45,000. She was found guilty and convicted on four counts including obstructing justice, as well as, lying to the government about her sale of stock.
She served 5 months in prison over $45,000.
Does the Ford family itself report to prison?
If media empire mogul Martha Stewart can go to jail over $45,000, and obstructing justice charges, what about the insider Ford employees that include Bruce Andrews and his wife then SEC Chief of Staff Didem Nisanci. Did they obstruct justice? Top management at Ford and the Ford family itself, did they obstruct justice? Who would have benefited by MILLIONS of dollars?
What about JP Morgan Chase and Jamie Dimon.
During the whole banking crisis we saw billions being spent on fines to the Government. Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase alone settled for $13 Billion to solve their illegal trading charges based on lies concerning mortgage securities. Of course the real number is closer to $2 billion after the majority was a tax write off. I recommend reading Matt Taibbi's story in the Rolling Stone.
Jamie Dimon didn't go to jail after costing us BILLIONS yet Martha Stewart did.
But didn't then Attorney General Holder basically claim that the banks were too big to fail?
No one went to jail and the fines in comparison to the business were very small. Especially considering they were not really fines at all.
Is Ford Motor Company too big to fail?
Mark Fields was COO during the time the insider trading allegations came about. As we have previously reported Department of Government Operations President Ziad Ojakli reported directly to him. What did Fields know? Was this information kept secret from even Alan Mullaly? Perhaps Bill Ford? Doubtful.
I met current Ford CEO Mark Fields back in 2006 when I worked at Ford. He came to town to discuss the "Way Forward" plan with employees and quite honestly I was impressed with him. He came across as sincere and fit the part of the Ford savior well. He was inspiring.
He inspired confidence during that tumultuous time at Ford and made you believe in Ford again. He came across as a leader who could save the Ford world. For employees who were worried about Ford pulling out of Louisville he provided some measure of relief that made you believe all would be OK.
The question for me now is simple. Is Mark Fields the man many believe, including me, that he was then? Will he right this wrong? We shall see but Ford itself has its own history of lies and cover ups and this would appear to be the same old routine for them.
Remember the Firestone recall debacle? Ford paid a paltry $425,000 in fines but spent almost $5 billion replacing tires and settling other issues. Ford will say they did that even though they had no responsibility.
Fair enough but in this case the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone.
They paid $5 billion with no responsibility, what should they pay now when if the allegations are proven true the responsibility is theirs alone? How much should the fine be for this, if proven true, known felonious behavior be?
Even with the Firestone debacle, the billions spent were essentially tax write offs against profit so Ford didn't lose a dime. The fine is what they were held accountable for.
A company that makes billions in profits each year was essentially reprimanded for $425,000. That's like ordering a hamburger off the dollar menu at McDonald's folks. Would it make you change the illegal behavior?
If the insider trading allegations are proven true, and honestly there are many questions to be asked regarding the SEC based on recent years, then there must be a message given that this is not acceptable and Ford needs their pocket hit hard. A direct penalty fine of hundreds of millions of dollars, not hundreds of thousands. In addition to repaying all shareholders. As we all know that is about all that ever gets done anyway.
And in my estimation it will still be less than they paid for the Firestone debacle that they had "no responsibility" in.
So what is fair if proven true?
A huge fine of hundreds of millions minimum is a start but still is not enough in my opinion. Someone would need to go to jail and for more than the 5 months Martha Stewart received.
This can't be another case of Jamie Dimon and JP Morgan Chase. We the people deserve better.
But who should it be?
Former Vice President of Government Operations, and current Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews who was informed of the allegations and did nothing?
Perhaps Andrews' wife, Didem Nisanci, former Chief of Staff at the SEC, who would have handled the insider trading investigation had there been one? Did Bruce and his wife Didem work in collusion to bury the allegations when they had a clear and direct duty to investigate?
Who in their right mind would believe a husband and wife in this situation never discussed it. It defies common sense and logic.
Maybe Ziad Ojakli, President of Government Operations for Ford, and former President Bush White House staffer. He is the one named as allegedly retaliating against whistle blower Jay Morgan.
Or maybe Mark Fields, Alan Mullaly, Bill Ford, or any member of the Ford family itself.
At the end of the day if we can put folks like Martha Stewart in jail over $45,000 for insider trading, then why can't we gain accountability for the rest?
We shall soon see.
For myself, I hope that Mark Fields, in his first major test as CEO of Ford, doesn't prove my original thought of him wrong. Is he ethical and willing to do the right thing?
More importantly, will the Ford family allow him to.
Keep your eyes open folks this isn't going away soon.................
Listen daily from 7-8pm at The Ed Springston Show. Also visit Louisville Politics for more details and in depth coverage of local political and news issues.
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