Will Striar Deal?

May 14, 1985|BILL RITTER

Bernard Striar, the former La Mesa commodities dealer with a handful of aliases who now faces a 120-count federal grand jury indictment, reportedly has a prosecutor's offer to mull over.

The government's proposal: Plead guilty to four counts of fraud, according to a source close to the case.

Assistant U.S. Atty. William Braniff would not comment on the proposed settlement offer.

Striar, who allegedly bilked hundreds of investors out of nearly $10 million, is scheduled to go to trial in August.

Puzzling Votes

Voting patterns at annual meetings don't usually attract much analysis. But last week's shareholders' vote at Mobot Corp.'s annual meeting was at first glance a real puzzler.

More than 2.5 million shares were voted in favor of the three nominated directors. But only 1.9 million shares were cast for Mobot's merger with Houston-based Advanced Manufacturing Systems. What made the issue seem puzzling was that two of three directors will resign when the merger is completed next month.

But there's no mystery at all, according to James D. Byrne, Mobot's acting chief executive and the only current director who will remain on the merged company's new board. The reason for the vote differential: About 40% of Mobot's stock is held in "street name"--controlled for unidentified clients by their brokers.

For issues such as election of directors, brokers can vote their clients' proxies; but controversial topics such as mergers must be voted on directly by the shareholders, many of whom could not be identified by Mobot.

Working for Stock

Former Mobot Chairman and President Lawrence J. Kamm, whose abrupt resignation postponed the merger with Advanced Manufacturing Systems from late March to last week, will now spend his time traveling, studying and playing the piano. He'll also work a bit.

"I want to work some fraction of my time, but I don't know what that fraction is--I've never retired before," Kamm said.

Any work would involve independent consulting with electronic industry clients. But money probably would not be the tender. Instead, Kamm said, he wants to work for stock options. "If they make out, I'll have won on the crap shoot. If not, I will have enjoyed the work, and I can afford it."

Bankruptcy Survivors

Robert D. Rose, who heads the U.S. attorney's fraud division here, brings back this tidbit from the federal Economic Crime Council convention in Boston earlier this month.

There were 350,000 bankruptcies filed in the United States last year, but only 51 people were indicted for bankruptcy fraud. One reason is that prosecutors often believe defendants will be "found guilty of other things, so we don't file bankruptcy fraud charges," Rose said.

Rose is responsible for at least one of those indictments: that of J. David (Jerry) Dominelli.

Grapes of Rent

San Pasqual Vineyards, which leases 252 acres owned by the City of San Diego in San Pasqual Valley, won a victory, albeit a small one, last week.

A San Diego City Council committee amended the wine growers' lease to exclude from rent payments owed the city any income from promotional events. (The lease payments are based on a percentage of income generated from the land.)

At issue was the vineyard's failure to report income from several public relations programs, such as the company's "Annual Grape Stomp." The total bill due--and last week waived by--the city: $1,523 over two years.

Trouble for Tourism

Among the industries raising the red flag over the U.S. Treasury Department's tax proposals: tourism.

The proposals would "severely affect" the leisure time industries by taxing limited partnerships as corporations and by limiting deductions for entertainment, business meals and travel expenses, according to Marvin Greenberg, a partner in the local office of Laventhol & Horwath, a tourist-oriented national accounting firm.

Specifically, Greenberg mentioned as damaging the proposals to limit deductions for breakfast to $10, lunch to $15, dinner to $25, and to allow no deductions for entertainment expenses.

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