I vaguely remember some guy named Jeff Mitchell but off the top of my head I cannot place him. I do associate him with the miscreants as a wannabee-player of some sort, but the details escape me.
In any case, my answer to Jeff is:
Low-rent stumble-bums (i.e., Sam Antar and Gary Weiss) don’t get to climb in the ring with Ali, but I’ll meet Dan Loeb, David Einhorn, or Steve Cohen for legitimate public debate anytime, anywhere.
Now, you may reasonably ask, “What was Jeff’s question?” Please find it below. It appears born of a frustration that the narrative which they had captured so laboriously, and to such great effect, has slipped from them. Journalists are now pushing past bromides that have passed as discourse from hedge fund mouthpieces such as Joe Nocera, and on hedge fund infomercials such as the CNBC channel. It must be a stressful time for them. Anyway, here was Jeff’s come-on, published, as you will see below, with his permission:
A couple of years ago on Silicon Investor I suggested a Naked Shorting Conference. My fear was always that if I organized it, by the time the date came no one would care since it would be old news. Apparently it’s still newsworthy, albeit for different reasons. So I figure such a conference is still worthwhile.
As you know, I have little respect for both of you. In fact, I think you are both nuts. But, having made a hobby over getting scam companies (many with mob influences) shut down over the years, at potential great risk and almost no reward, I guess that makes me nuts as well. Actually, I’ve been called worse than nuts, for what that’s worth.
In any event, as I’ve written to Sam Antar, I personally find great entertainment in this whole naked shorting saga. Yes, I know it’s a very serious subject to many people. And I’m serious about trying to have a conference on it. What I’m trying to say is that while I’m opinionated, I don’t have an agenda with a conference other than to provide a serious forum where perhaps one side might be able to change the other side’s mind. Or, barring that, entertain the audience… while educating them in the process.
A successful conference would have four groups present: 1) Byrne and his minions (choose who you want to invite), 2) Gary Weiss and the financial media (they can choose who they want to invite), 3) The SEC, DTCC, OIG, FINRA, etc., and 4) The hedge fund owners. I can take care of getting people from the latter two groups. All topics, the format, etc. would be hashed out in public on a thread on SI. I can then invite people suggested by the audience. The intent is not to ambush anyone.
First off, is this worth doing? If you guys say it’s not, then no point in it. If you are interested, then let me know when this might work for you. I’m thinking DC might be a good place since the SEC is there. Perhaps October. Just to be clear, I’m not doing this as a good deed. I wish I were independently wealthy or owned a hedge fund, but I don’t. It makes no sense for me to spend months on something unless I can actually make money at it. If that bothers you, then, again, there’s no point in proceeding. Otherwise, I think such a conference would be fun.
BTW, I’ve learned not to write anything in an email that if posted publicly one would regret. This just seemed more appropriate as an email. I’m going to at some point mention I wrote both of you. If you want to post this somewhere on-line and vet it with the masses, or forward it along privately, fine. That’s up to you. And even if I told you not to post this, you probably would anyhow J.
– Jeff Mitchell
PS I remember reading of an experiment years ago that purported to prove that fish don’t know they swim in water; similarly, these guys swim in their own arrogance in a manner of which they seem to be unaware. For example, what makes Jeff Mitchell think that we need his help reaching the DC folks he mentioned, or any others? My sense is that they are all pretty damn sick of getting snowed by the Westport, Connecticut crowd.