Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Jeff Matthews - "I've been in the business for 25 years..."

"...and I don't know how to naked short."

That's rich.


Maybe Jeff should change his tagline to read "I don't know anything about any of that."


On CNBC today, Jeff Matthews, who calls VP's strippers when they aren't and gets much wrong (or makes things up), said that he's been in the business for 25 years, and that he doesn't know how to naked short.


Apparently everyone else does. Hundreds of millions of shares per day fail. It isn't our imagination - there's a little nicety called the Reg SHO list that documents that fact. OSTK has been on that list for 6 months, when the rules say they should be off in 13 days.

But Jeff doesn't know how it happens.

That little performance was classic. Lot's of mockery, snide, smug, self congratulatory smirking, but no meat. And of course, the always popular wide-eyed denial - "I don't know nothin'" of every perp that ever had the cuffs put on. Apparently, MBAs that can recite entire 10K's from memory don't know how to call their buddy the market maker and tell them to sell a hundred thousand, and I'll make it up to you on the back end. Classic. And lest it merely be a stammer-fest of oddly slowed response times and mugging that would have made Robin Williams blush, we were treated to a repertoire of misstatement - he's long puts, which is a derivative short position (as Mark Cuban calls it point blank in his blog), but says with tremoring sincerity that he isn't short, he has no answer for how OSTK can be on the Reg SHO list for 6 months (with only a few trading days off in the middle), he finds simple sentences incomprehensible (was he on downers? Valium? Beta blockers? Heroin suppositories?), and in a master stroke that had my jaw on the ground advanced the hackneyed, facile pablum that equates to, "how can anyone drive faster than 55 MPH - there's rules against that!" idiocy that presumes the viewer is a simpleton. Yes Jeff, people routinely do in fact drive over 55, even though there's rules against it. But you wouldn't know anything about that.

It's rich. Just as with the mutual fund front-running scandal "I don't know how to front-run a mutual fund" statements by the perps in that case, or the specialist scandal "what do you mean they front-run, there's laws against that" in that case, or the analyst scandal "how dare you accuse us of pumping stocks that are junk," Jeff has put on the tap dancing shoes and with the innocence of a newborn babe declared that he "doesn't know anything about all that."

He also doesn't know anything about stock manipulation schemes. Dr. Byrne mentioned Joe Kennedy, Jesse Livermore, Michael Milken at Drexel - the list goes on and on and on, throughout the history of Wall Street, of guys that ran schemes.

But apparently that doesn't happen anymore. Just doesn't. Because Jeff doesn't know anything about all that.

I particularly loved how he mentioned Michael Milken as a potential Master Mind. Ooops. Trying to suck Byrne in. Didn't work. But now that name is out there for discussion. Does Jeff think the former guy who ran the stock manipulation scheme at Drexel using a network of associates, much like what is alleged here, is the Master Mind? Bears further examination. But Byrne didn't take the bait. Byrne 1, Matthews 0.

Jeff. Sweety. Loosen up the tie. In the last 4 months, the NASD filed charges against the perpetrator in Compudyne that was naked short selling out the wazoo, and against Ryco who was naked short selling out the wazoo, ON BEHALF OF HEDGE FUNDS. Elgindy admits to running a scheme, masterminding it, in the parlance of Dr. Byrne. Operation Bermuda Shorts had Mark Valentine and his gang using 1200 accounts to naked short for his hedge funds. And the list goes on. But Jeff apparently doesn't know about any of that. Jeff, Babe. There was a holocaust. The earth is round. Bad guys do bad things with regularity on Wall Street - they always have.

You must have missed that memo.

Nope, in Jeff's world it is deny everything, roll your eyes when you don't have a response, declare clear, concise statements as incoherent, and stammer your way through your agenda: "Byrne is incoherent, and I don't know nothin'." I actually thought that I saw Rocker's hand up his back moving his sweaty jaw and shifting the ferret-like eyes back and forth, but it could have been a hallucination, as by that point I was howling with laughter to the point my eyes teared.

By far the greatest confirmation of the low quality of the man's character was when he shrugged his shoulders at the end of the show when Dr. Byrne called him on posting false and misleading information about his VP, Ms. Simon, as though he had no idea what Byrne was referring to - apparently there's a lot of that going 'round the hedge fund community, where you lie, cheat and steal and if caught, you fall back on...."I don't know anything about all that."

Bravo. Wonderful amateur theater. How surprising. And how credible.

Perhaps next time Dr. Byrne can mud wrestle Carol Remond and a pig. That would be entertaining.

He can go 10 minutes with the filthy swine, and then tackle the pig.

But please, no betting. That would be wrong, and illegal. And we all know that nobody would do that. Just ask Jeff. He wouldn't know anything about all that...


Blogger Jer. 9:24 said...


The prior Dr. Byrne CNBC interview is up on the internet. Do you know if this latest one is or will be up anytime for those who did not get to see it?

4:03 PM  
Blogger Jer. 9:24 said...

Also, do you have any comment on CAFE and the SEC's trading halt after good news and a 400% (and rising) price increase? Now NASDAQ says it wants to de-list the company. Of course the class action scum have pounced. Wonder how much the manipulators stood to lose on that one. I hope their management is half as tenacious as Dr. Byrne.

4:05 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

The interview is now up at the site.

I haven't been watching CAFE, but I will say this: In the 1920's, Stutz cornered the NYSE's biggest members in a short squeeze wherein there was no way out. To make a long story short, they wound up delisting Stutz in order to render the shares worthless. They had no grounds to do so. Ryan, Stutz's owner, took the NYSE to court and prevailed, and they still refused to relist Stutz. At the end of the day, the short was covered at a 500% proftit to Ryan when he threatened to expose the names of all the shorts, who would have been humiliated had he done so.

The conceit we have is that times are different.

If Cafe has not done anything wrong, what would the grounds for the delisting be?

4:24 PM  
Blogger n-tres-ted said...


Have you heard this conference call re Reg SHO by Bear Stearns. Hard to understand, but may be worth your while:

11:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great stuff Bob keep it up. My blog is in total support of everything you and Patrick are doing.

11:39 PM  
Blogger bob obrien said...

The conference call is also linked at The most interesting parts are where they admit that the SEC understands that the problem is large and has been going on for years, and where he mentions that if everyone doesn't try to behave, that the SEC will come back and look at peeling the onion on the ex-clearing trades - obviously a threat that the real dirty laundry will be exposed if they don't cut down on the larceny.

11:36 AM  

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