Value Line, once a, perhaps the, most respected name in investment research has breached the base tenet of trust. Difficult to earn, often impossible to recapture. Just ask Eldrick Woods ;-) What value does the Company bring to a potential suitor at this juncture? Indications appear to point to serious breach of fiduciary duty, focus on ‘smoke and mirrors’ vis-à-vis SEC settlement albeit there was no conviction, no admission, no denial of wrongdoing. The current quarter, the first absent Buttner attestation, reflects a fairly significant write down of software development, the ‘NYS Pension relationship’ raises unanswered arm’s length, independent, ‘etc.’ questions, another derivative suit, decades of cost cutting vs investment in growth. Where does it end?
It appears that Dempsey may have been spot on years ago, but was left to the wolves. Mr. Eisenstadt recently summarily dismissed after 60 plus years of service without even a handshake. Did you read that 60 PLUS YEARS OF SERVICE … not so much as a ham sandwich. What is really going on here?
What appears overlooked to me with the SEC settlement is that investments were directed to NYSE through participating ‘rebate’ brokers, according to the SEC. The crux of the settlement appears to address commission overcharges but not, as far as I can see, whether the investments by the Mutual Funds were fundamentally sound from the get go. It appears that possible commission over charges may have approximated $24mil (85% of which benefitting dismissed CEO). Interest charge of approximately $9mil? Beats me how interest of 9 on 24 over 18 plus years was derived. Perhaps a favorable assessment if you’re the paying side? As an investor in the MFs I’m less sure. Granted the intent of this disgorgement is not intended to benefit either of the individuals named in the settlement, nonetheless, on the up and up, this does not appear to ever have been fairly earned by the beneficiaries, eg – Value Line shareholders. I would think any/all MF investors would be appalled by the ($10 / $11.25 mil) ‘remedy’. Nearly a two decade ‘arrangement’ that has appearances of perhaps only being curtailed following Dempsey’s reporting questionable practices to the SEC. I would think that this would raise questions in a prudent, clear-thinking mindset. Are there improprieties that exist today and there’s no Dempsey … that employees who live/lived in what has some appearances (opinion based on numerous journalist reports, internet posts, etc. ) of a reign of terror and fear? Did the acting CEO, an attorney, indicate to Sam Eisenstadt following his abrupt dismissal to indicate that he ‘retired’? Mr. Eisenstadt indicates to the contrary. Assuming Mr. Eisenstadt is accurate and there doesn’t appear to be any reason to doubt, would acting CEO possibly suggesting something other than factual be a faux pas? Shouldn’t there have been 8-K disclosure? Why does it appear, at least to me, that ‘something’ that should be disclosed, isn’t?
Current 10-Q, Note 11 - Subsequent Events indicates compliance with SOX Section 308(a). Granted non-accelerated filers are not required to attest to Sarbox compliance yet. Nonetheless and likely regardless of what a ‘battery of barristers and so-called experts’ have advised to the contrary, if I were trying to regain trust, I would have attested early to compliance, if I were, with the most recent Q irrespective of requirements.
Sometimes it’s not what is said, but what’s not.
I wouldn’t touch VL shares for more than a buck or two.
"Are there improprieties that exist today ...?" Let me answer that this way. David Henigson (former COO), Howard Brecher (acting CEO), Steve Anastasio (Treasurer), Micheal Winicki (accountant) and others were fully aware of fee overcharges and "other matters" which have not yet been reported in the media. Together they forged a culture of corruption. They will not challenge me and they know why. Ironically, it is my opinion, much went on without Buttner's knowledge. The real victim in all this is Sam Eisenstadt who devouted his life to helping the Value Line subscibers succeed.