Thursday, April 30, 2009

A statement by Paradigm - and some questions

Message to readers: if you are new to the Paradigm/Biden/Ponta Negra connection read this post first.  

Marc LoPresti – the regular lawyer for Paradigm Global has apparently made a few statements regarding this blog’s suggestion that Ponta Negra (an allegedly fraudulent hedge fund) and Paradigm Global (a fund of funds controlled by the Biden family) were very close.  

I can’t find the statements, only a second hand reference to them at the Politico.  However to quote:

"They were subtenants," he said, adding that marketer Jeff Schneider "who did some marketing for paradigm over the last couple of years introduced us to Ponte Negra, and we had some available office space."

"That's 100% the extent of the relationship," he said.

"There's no smoke or fire as relates to this unfortunate Ponte Negra situation. There's nothing there at all," he said.

Let’s pick this apart.  

First I suggest you ring (212) 271-3388.  This is the phone number for Paradigm.  Do it after hours and you will get a choice on their automatic menu.  Ask for extension 213 on their automatic switch.  You get the following message:

You have reached Francesco Rusciano at the Ponta Negra Fund 1 LLC.  Please leave your message at the tone.

You get this message several days after Ponta Negra has been closed by a Federal Judge.

They were (at best) subtenants using the same phone system.

Secondly the LoPresti statement downplays the extent of the relationship between Jeff Schneider and Paradigm.  I have posted several old Paradigm marketing documents that place Schneider as the second most important marketing person at Paradigm (see here for an example).  

Moreover the senior marketing person at Paradigm (Alla Babikova) is given as running the New York office of Onyx (Schneider’s organisation).  She does this whilst still working in Paradigm’s office.  She is warranted as a full time employee of Paradigm in a few Paradigm marketing documents.  

I have some questions for the respected Marc LoPresti.  

  • Did Paradigm implement any procedure after your dealing with Alan Stanford to ensure that Paradigm's name would never again be used by scamsters?  If so have these procedures failed?  If not, why not?

  • Did Francesco Rusciano actually have an office at Paradigm as suggested by the message on the answer phone?  The SEC filings suggest that Ponta Negra was run by Mr Rusciano from his home in Stamford.  How often was Mr Rusciano in his tenancy?  Did he use the tenancy for marketing purposes – so as to trade off either Paradigm or the Biden’s name?
  • Could you please list the other subtenants of the 17th Floor of 650 Fifth Avenue? I can find other stuff there which looks suspect and I want you to assure us that it has nothing to do with Paradigm and is no way trading off your reputation.  Remember Alan Stanford traded off your reputation listing you as one of his investment strategies (and noting the joint branded fund).  
  • Could you please also answer the question as to how many staff you have?  The answer is six to ten in the SEC IARD filings – and 28 in some marketing documents.  Did you ever have 28 staff?  Were Schneider and Babikova full time staff as listed in your marketing documents?  If so when (if ever) did they cease to be full time staff?
  • Could you please also answer the allegation made in James Biden’s sworn statement that your returns were misrepresented?  By whom and to who were they misrepresented?  Did you approach legal authorities to report staff or agents of yours for misrepresenting your returns?  Or was James Biden’s statement perjury?

Thanks in advance.


SG said...

John, My telecommunications company has installed phone systems in NYC offices for 25 years and it's a wide-spread practice to put sub-tenants on the same phone system, especially in smaller offices where each tenant may be renting only one or two desks. That part of the explanation you were offered passes the smell test for me, especially if staff was larger at some point and then shrunk.

This, of course, says nothing either way about the rest of your fascinating investigation.

If I was betting on the outcome at this stage, I'd guess that the Bidens are dupes who arrived at their position by failing upward on Joe's coat tails rather than outright conspirators. Feels like a Billy Carter situation, but I have an open mind about it. Even if originally innocent, it's also possible that finding themselves up a creek at some point they unwisely stepped over a line trying to save themselves that they will later regret crossing.

Nice work. Really.

John Hempton said...

Thanks - taken on board.

The best explanation seems to be

(a) extreme naive behaviour getting the bidens to buy Paradigm.

(b) questions as what the hell you do with it once you have parted with money. The right thing of course would be to call it off - and call the administrators if Paradigm had been mis-reporting its results.

(c). The highly suspect sales staff came with the company. The Bidens inherited Schneider - they did not hire him. But they used him. He led them to Stanford. They did not fire him for that.

He led them to Ponta Negra.

There is MORE THERE. The other funds are harder to nail down but the pattern is the same.


President Carters brother is a good analog.


Anonymous said...

John this is very interesting stuff. I met with Francesco and his team recently - although Jared Toren seemed always to be in Connecticut. There was something strange about Francesco on a number of meetings that was hard to pinpoint. Gut instinct led me to believe that there was more than met the eye...but, I never got further than that....

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