Saturday, August 2, 2008
Look, Up In the Sky!
"In an environment of heightened attention to the health of banks, BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc. [BBX-NYSE] has taken a shot at an analyst's report it felt was more than just erroneous. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., bank is suing Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. [LT] analyst Richard Bove and his firm. The bank seeks damages for alleged defamation and negligence from a widely distributed report titled 'Who Is Next?' The suit, filed in state court in Broward County, Fla., may be difficult for BankAtlantic to win, but more important may be the message the bank wants to send about its financial health. ... Proving that Mr. Bove was intentionally hurting BankAtlantic and its deposit base might be tough, said Kip A. Weissman, a partner at Luse Gorman Pomerenk & Schick PC in Washington. A spokesman for [LT] said: 'We will defend ourselves against this meritless lawsuit,' and left it at that. Mr. Bove did not immediately respond to requests for comment", my emphasis, Matthias Rieker and Lauren Pollock (R&P) at the WSJ, 22 July 2008.
Alan Levan (AL), are you serious? You sent me a message about BBX's "financial health", i.e., BBX is at death's door! BBX is currently at $1.82, on 23 December 2004 it was $19.72, a 90.8% decrease in 43 months. Do you think the market is telling you something? I hope Bove and LT clean your clock in this case and the Chris Cox "Super" SEC returns to earth to start investigating BBX's accounting. Will you sue me too?
Barry Ritholz (BR) at The Big Picture, 21 July 2008 writes, "Shame on the corporate attorneys involved in this absurd waste of time". Those who dislike the plaintiffs' class-action bar, look at this. Are BBX's attorneys being paid by the hour for this? Here's a link to BR's post: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2008/07/bankatlantic-de.html. Perhaps some firm of attorneys will sue AL for wasting corporate assets on this action.