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David Sokol goes fire and brimstone on Warren Buffett

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David Sokol tells Warren Buffett to die and go to hell

David Sokol tells Warren Buffett to die and go to hell

“I will never understand why Mr. Buffett chose to hurt my family in such a way, but given that he is rapidly approaching his judgement [sic] day I will leave his verdict to a higher power,” Mr. Sokol wrote in an emailed response to The Wall Street Journal.

That’s about as close to “die and go to hell” that you will see someone saying on record to the Journal.  Also, the fact that he blames the hurt that has befallen his family on Buffett only reinforces the image of a sociopathic narcissist that committing such a blatant lapse of judgment and ethics has already created.

WSJ: Ex-Protege Criticizes Buffett Over Exit


Written by mojofinance

January 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm

NetJets ex-CEO “paragon of rectitude” says his lawyer

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“Paragon of rectitude,” NetJets ex-ceo David Sokol.

First of all, I hope that no one ever calls me a “paragon of rectitude.”  Even when meant as a compliment, it just doesn’t sound that great.

Moving on… The SEC told David Sokol’s attorney today that it will not pursue insider trading charges against the former NetJets CEO and one-time odds on favorite for Warren Buffett’s replacement as the head of Berkshire Hathaway.  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to look up the actual meaning of the words “paragon” and “rectitude” and then see how that matches up to the Berkshire Hathaway board’s report on the Sokol Lubrizol insider trading  incident.  While I’m sure most people won’t have to look it up, it’s entertaining nevertheless, as the actual meanings are even farther from reality than you might guess.  Even for a lawyer who is part of a legal defense team earning $200k per month for defending Sokol (the bill for which goes to the Berkshire shareholders), the language is, to say the least, a bit rich.

It’s clear Sokol got caught with his hand in the cookie jar — it’s just that the SEC didn’t think it was a winnable case.  The most interesting thing to me about the whole affair is how could Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, have placed so much faith and trust into such a slimy nitwit.  I’m definitely not part of the Oracle’s cult, but I did have a lot of respect for him.  The fact that he had considered Sokol as a potential successor really makes me question his judgment.

Also, the inability of the SEC to bring any charges in this case further cements their reputation as  a bunch of incompetent porn-watching boobs.  Kudos to them.

WSJ: Case Ends Against Buffett’s Ex-Aide

NYT: S.E.C. Ends Scrutiny of Former Top Aide to Buffett

Written by mojofinance

January 4, 2013 at 1:32 am

Et tu, WSJ? WSJ Releases Years of Private Flight Data

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Mark Cuban, w/ his Gulfstream (Time Magazine)

Mark Cuban, not feeling bad about owning and using a plane. (Time Magazine)

“Those with access to private jets fly around the globe on a whim, their flight paths generally hidden. But the WSJ has penetrated this world and, as the FAA considers publishing data on private-aircraft flights, the Journal unveils its own database.”

That’s the breathless intro the WSJ’s new “expose” of private air travel. They’ve used a Freedom of Information Act request to get access to all the private flight data from the last 3 years. They’ve put the database online and made an interactive tool to search through it.

The article itself seems pretty pointless. It mostly just enumerates the many nice places rich people go to in their private jets. For a conservative, business oriented paper, most of whose readers are either a) wealthy already , or b) trying to become wealthy through business, this makes little sense. This seems more like an article from Mother Jones, where righteous indignation at the ways of the wealthy seems to be a pastime of the readership.

My opinion of the article is summed up well by Mark Cuban, quoted in the article: “I have a plane. I bought it so I could use it. Shocking, isn’t it?”   If they wanted to have an actual discussion of whether or not private jet travel represents and excessive perk for corporate big-wigs, or perhaps whether or not companies are spending more money on private travel for their execs than is warranted by time and security concerns, that would make sense for the WSJ.  Just to point out how rich people often fly to nice places seems shallow to me and, frankly, not the type of article that would have been worthy of publication in the pre-Murdoch paper.

WSJ: For the Highest Flyers, New Scrutiny

As for the interactive tool, it seems to be under pretty heavy load at the moment as it is quite slow.  It allows you to enter some search criteria and drill down on a flight by flight basis, including tail number, length of trip and projected operating cost.

I’m also not entirely sure of the accuracy, either, as one of my searches turned up  a 10.5 hour NetJets originating and ending at Teterboro.   First of all, that’s an odd and unusual flight to take.  Secondly, they estimate the operating cost at $42k — which may be accurate w/ regard to the direct costs to NetJets of operating that flight, but would dramatically understate the cost to the NetJets owner who took the flight (in a Gulfstream G-IV) once you include all the costs of ownership.

Written by mojofinance

May 21, 2011 at 4:24 pm

New NetJets CEO Hansell is great, says his dad

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Funny Bloomberg article talking about the new NetJets CEO, Jordan Hansell. Hansell is really a complete unknown in the business world. He was recruited out of private law practice  just two years ago to be NetJets’ general counsel.

The article reminds me of something out of a school paper, as the primary source of information about how prepared Hansell is is Hansell’s father. Talk about cutting edge investigative journalism.  I guess Hansell’s grandmother was not available for comment.  Unsurprisingly, Hansell’s father seems to have good things to say about his son.

It’s not at all clear why Hansell is qualified to lead such a company.  He has no operational experience and no experience in the aviation industry.  At least with Sokol, he had a background in managing large, capital intensive businesses.  He may surprise me, but I think they’re going to need to come up with someone to take over who can really show some vision on where the company needs to go.

Written by mojofinance

April 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

No tears for Sokol

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David Sokol’s well publicized departure from Berkshire Hathaway (and NetJets) came as a surprise to the financial world, but was viewed favorably by others.  Certainly, Sokol’s plans to shrink NetJets to profitability was controversial with the NetJets pilots (nearly 500 of whom are already furloughed).  In addition the massive cancelation of orders to Cessna, Hawker and Gulfstream no doubt ruffled a few feathers, as pointed out in this Aviation Week article about his departure.  I assume, though, that Embraer and Bombardier — the beneficiaries of NetJets’ change in aircraft suppliers — were less enthused to see Sokol leave.

Written by mojofinance

April 7, 2011 at 2:56 am