Mark Cuban has criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission since defeating its attorneys who brought him to trial on insider-trading charges. On Friday, he surfaced at an SEC conference and turned up the heat via Twitter.
The entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, wearing a gray hoodie and jeans, sat in the audience of a conference in Washington at which SEC Chairman Mary Jo White and other top regulators gave speeches on the agency’s agenda. Cuban tweeted comments on their remarks, offering a mix of praise and criticism of White and SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar.
“Love the fact that Commissioner Aguilar is CRUSHING the SEC on its turnover,” Cuban tweeted. “I’m liking this guy a lot.”
A jury in October found that Cuban, 55, didn’t violate insidertrading laws when he sold his stake in an Internet company
after learning about its plans to raise additional funds, which would have diluted his investment. Cuban later compared the victory to “winning a Mavs championship” and criticized the agency’s trial lawyers by name on Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show.”
Cuban said Friday that he he was not seeking an audience with White and attended the conference to learn more about how the SEC operates. In a brief interview with reporters, he criticized the agency for blaming its problems on a lack of funding.
“Commissioner Aguilar said the same thing — there’s no institutional knowledge anymore because of the turnover, and that creates a big problem,” he said. “It was obvious in my case.”
— Bloomberg News
Fitbit has stopped sales of its latest model, the Fitbit Force, and instituted a voluntary recall after reports that the health-tracking band was giving some users an allergic reaction.
James Park, Fitbit’s chief executive, said in a statement on the company’s Web site that Fitbit was pulling the product after independent test results confirmed that the wristbands caused “allergic contact dermatitis” in fewer than 2 percent of its customers. The dermatitis — an itchy, sometimes painful rash — is likely an allergic reaction to nickel in the device’s stainless steel, Park said. Some users may also be reacting to “materials used in the strap” or adhesives used in the product’s assembly.
Reports of rashes first surfaced last month, prompting the company to offer refunds and exchanges to those who were
experiencing skin irritation.
The company is offering a full refund to all Force buyers. It also has set up a recall Web page and a call center to deal with complaints.
— Hayley Tsukayama
● For the first time, federal regulators on Friday ordered four tobacco products pulled from U.S. shelves — although the manufacturer said it hadn’t sold them in years. The Food and Drug Administration told Jash International to stop selling Sutra-branded cigarettes called bidis under a 2009 law that gave the FDA authority to regulate tobacco. Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products, said the company, despite multiple opportunities, failed to give the agency adequate information to allow the products to remain on the market. Zeller called the action an important step in the history of tobacco regulation because it was the first time the federal government had halted the sale of a tobacco product. An attorney working with Jash said the company stopped selling bidis after flavored cigarettes were banned.
● Credit Suisse on Friday became the latest big bank to admit wrongdoing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, striking a deal over its failure to comply with a cardinal rule of the financial industry. The
Zurich-based bank was accused of advising clients in the United States without first registering with the SEC. Credit Suisse paid $196 million to settle with the federal agency, which requires firms that offer investment advice to comply with basic registrations rules.
● The United Auto Workers on Friday challenged last week’s close vote by workers at a Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., who rejected the UAW’s bid to represent them. In an appeal filed with the National Labor Relations Board, the union asserted that “interference by politicians and outside special interest groups” swayed the election. In particular, the appeal took aim at Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), a former Chattanooga mayor who suggested that a “no” vote would lead to Volkswagen’s expansion in the state.
● Endo Health Solutions will pay almost $193 million to resolve claims that it improperly marketed the shingles treatment Lidoderm for unapproved uses such as treating lower-back pain. The drugmaker, based in Malvern, Pa., will pay $171.9 million in civil false claims settlements. Most of the money will go to the federal government, but $34.2 million will go to 47 states and the District of Columbia. Endo also agreed to pay $20.8 million as part of a deferred prosecution agreement.
● Graham Holdings on Friday reported $103 million in television broadcasting revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013, a drop of 11 percent from the same quarter a year ago. The company, which sold The Washington Post to Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos last year, said its operating income was $51.9 million, compared with $62.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
● ● A federal lawsuit filed in New York charges that Sony Music Entertainment cheated “American Idol” contestants, including Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, out of at least $10 million in royalties. The lawsuit was filed Thursday by 19 Recordings, a music company founded by “Idol” creator Simon Fuller. Richard Busch, an attorney at the Nashville firm of King & Ballow, said the legal action was necessary to protect the rights of 19’s artists. Sony had no comment on the suit.
— From news services
● Monday: Dallas Fed manufacturing survey.
● Tuesday: Consumer confidence.
● Wednesday: New-home sales.
● Thursday: Jobless claims.