Earlier this year, we published a couple of posts about Brad Reifler, the former hedge fund manager of now defunct Pali Capital.Today we received the letter below from Brad, saying a Reuters article we got some information from was wrong.
Brad doesn’t deny writing an email to another Pali exec telling him to “just kill yourself“, but he does deny a number of other things we wrote, all of which were sourced directly from the Reuters article (now updated).
For what it’s worth, we tried to find Brad for comment before we published the post, and the one former Pali exec we were able to track down wouldn’t speak with us.
And by the way, here’s some context about the “just kill yourself” email from Brad: “I did text that to Bert in a heat of rage……in context, when my father left when I was 11 , he was the first person my mother dated….I trusted him and then learned how he had cheated, lied, stole from me etc….It was unprofessional but in context better understood.”
Here’s Brad’s letter:
Your Business Insider article was an unfortunate example of over-reliance on biased sources masquerading as journalism. As a result, while my public relations representative was able to correct many of the damaging allegations to the Reuter’s reporter, there are a myriad of factual inaccuracies that remain in your article.
Indeed, your story relied so extensively on now-discredited litigation for many of its “facts” that once Reuters learned from my legal and PR representatives that the lawsuit had been withdrawn, they should have seriously reconsidered the veracity of all these statements. However, I believe Reuters, for reasons best known to itself, instead chose to rush out a piece of sloppy reporting. You seem to have solely relied on Reuters and did no diligence separate from them.
• The article suggests that I spent the firm’s money on personal extravagances and businesses such as Studio U, relying on allegations in the litigation that your reporter knew had been voluntarily withdrawn. For the record, I never spent corporate funds on personal expenses or other businesses.
• While the very same, now-withdrawn Court filings did indeed claim that Pali Capital had over $1 million in cash at the end of 2008, the fact is that when I resigned as CEO of Pali Capital in October 2008, the company had approximately $46 million in cash on hand, as well as an additional $20 million investment that I negotiated with Grupo Mundial and that was finalised in November, 2008.
• Further, the article claims – again relying on the same piece of now-discredited litigation — that I paid myself additional compensation without board approval. Such an assertion is simply false. On the contrary, the board knew I had left millions in the firm that needed to be repaid over time. The compensation committee had in fact drawn up such a plan, acknowledging the monies owed.
Additionally, if Ms. Comlay had taken the time to double check her sources (or at least question their motives) and shared with us many of the other assertions Reuters planned to make in the piece, we would have disabused her of the following misstatements:
• The piece asserts that Pali’s legal obligations were overly onerous. However, when I resigned in 2008, Pali’s legal fees that year were approximately $300,000. Since my resignation the company has spent more than $20 million in legal fees, and I believe that the vast majority of that expense is unrelated to any litigation the company and I may be involved in.
• Pali never had a corporate jet; it was purchased with my own money. Similarly, the art that was in my office were either my own personally owned pictures, or acquired from art.com.
• Bert Cohen was described as an independent board member. That is not true, as he was a co-founder and a major shareholder of over 15% of Pali Capital. Further, he was the former Chairman of a company named Euram, which in turn was suing Pali Capital over certain matters that preceded Pali’s relationship with Euram – thus undercutting any assertions of “independence”.
• As my representative told Ms. Comlay at Reuters I personally guaranteed the $6.5 million loan from Chase so that Pali employees could purchase stock in the company. This was a selfless act that I undertook in order to give our employees more alignment with the company’s shareholders, and the ability to share in upside growth. Ms. Comlay chose to ignore that fact.
• The statement that I was born to privilege has no basis in reality. My family was abandoned by my father and we lived with my grandmother. Since my own family couldn’t afford to put me through school, a family friend did.
The fact that these most egregious examples made it into your article is an example that your newswire seems to have been satisfied to listen to others with their own self-serving agendas, rather than giving due emphasis to accurate reporting.
Certainly, had you checked with me and I had known these inaccuracies were going to be made, I would have obviously made sure they were corrected.
Business Insider readers deserve better.