Lafayette businessman Mike Moreno got more than half of his money out of Stanford Group but still had $20 million invested in the company when regulators shut it down in February 2009, according to court testimony in the ongoing trial of Allen Stanford.
At press time, Stanford, 61, was still on trial in Houston, accused of masterminding a $7 billion Ponzi scheme centered on the sale of so-called CDs at the Stanford International Bank, based on Antigua. Court testimony in the fraud trial revealed Moreno’s substantial losses. Jason Green, a former Baton Rouge-based financial adviser, testified in late January that Moreno tried to pull his money out before the company crashed, but his request was denied.
Bloomberg reported on the ongoing trial:
A former Stanford Group Co. executive told a jury that one client of R. Allen Stanford’s securities brokerage lost at least $20 million before the business was closed by U.S. regulators.
Jason Green, who led Stanford Group’s private-client group, offered the figure while being cross-examined by the defense on the fifth day of Stanford’s investor fraud trial in federal court in Houston.
Stanford’s lawyers have said that customers who bought the certificates of deposit issued by Antigua-based Stanford International Bank Ltd. and sold by the brokerage were able to withdraw every penny of their money until the Securities and Exchange Commission sued in February 2009.
Asked by defense attorney Ali Fazel if anybody had not gotten their money back before then, Green replied, “Yes, one person I know of specifically” was denied $20 million. Green later identified the client as Michael [stet] Moreno, who had residences in Lafayette, Louisiana, and in Houston.
As ABiz previously reported, Moreno was among 49 investors Stanford receiver Ralph Janvey listed in July 2009 court filings who either cashed out some of their holdings before Stanford was shut down or moved their money into non-Stanford accounts. Those 49 investors took out a total of $494 million, $47 million of that withdrawn out by Moreno. Green testified that Moreno needed the money to settle tax obligations, according to Bloomberg.
Moreno, [Green] said, entrusted Stanford’s business with almost $50 million before withdrawing some of those funds to address a tax obligation. The $20 million withdrawal request was made shortly before Stanford stopped allowing clients to redeem CDs before their maturity date to stanch the outflow of capital as the global financial crisis deepened.
Receiver Janvey tried unsuccessfully in 2009 to claw back Moreno and other investors’ proceeds.
Prosecutors have said Stanford treated the savings of thousands of investors as his “personal piggy bank” to buy two airlines, build a cricket team and stadium, funnel money to a Swiss bank account and otherwise live a life of luxury on the Caribbean island of Antigua.
Stanford faces 14 charges of defrauding nearly 30,000 investors from 113 countries.
In October Moreno told ABiz that he has been living temporarily in Dallas, raising $300 million to start a new fracking company. — Leslie Turk
Lafayette native Paul Ayo and his wife Jenine hope to have E’s Kitchen up and running in Parc Lafayette within two months. The 1,900-square-foot store is opening next to Armentor Jewelers in the new mixed-use development near the intersection of Camellia Boulevard and Kaliste Saloom Road.
“Our tagline is better service, better products. It’ll be a place for people in Lafayette that actually love to cook, a place for them to go to buy the cooking supplies they reallly want ... a level above what you can get in the box store,” Paul Ayo says.
E’s Kitchen will offer a wide selection of unique kitchenware and gadgets; among its top brands are Shun Knives, Swiss Diamond (hard-surface non-stick cook ware), Regal Ware (American-made pots and pans), Joseph Joseph (gadgets and utensils), Edgeware (knife sharpening tools) and Kuhn Rikon (Swiss-made cook ware and tools).
“There are quite a few that are really exciting, to be honest,” says Ayo, noting that an emphasis will be on carrying American-made products.
E’s Kitchen will also offer cooking and product demonstrations.
Paul Ayo says he’s long wanted to start his own business and that market research revealed a gap in the market for locals who love to cook and want to be able to test and touch the very latest products on the market before buying. E’s Kitchen will afford them that opportunity.
Ayo’s parents, Elroy and Elaine Doucet, are also assisting in the venture.
Jenine is a school teacher, and for the past five years Paul was business manager at Honda of Lafayette, a position he left in December to start E’s Kitchen. He was finance manager at Honda of Lafayette for four years before becoming business manager and also spent a year as store manager of San Francisco Music Box Co. — Leslie Turk
Company announces two major local departures days before confirming it will begin charging for online content. By Leslie Turk
The Daily Advertiser announced that its executive editor and publisher are leaving, just as its corporate owner confirmed what’s long been speculated: The newspaper giant is moving to a paywall system.
On Feb. 17, The Advertiser’s executive editor, Brian Tolley, announced that he is moving to another Gannett paper, The Clarion-Ledger, in Jackson, Miss. Tolley will reunite with former Daily Advertiser President and Publisher Leslie Hurst, again serving as her executive editor.
In a headline that morning, Gannett Blog referred to Tolley as Hurst’s protege and noted that his new staff could face a 20 percent reduction.
Reported the blog, which is not affiliated with Gannett:
He will be leading an especially traumatized newsroom, even by Gannett standards. The paper has been without a top editor since Ronnie Agnew left in July to lead Mississippi Public Broadcasting after the GCI-wide mass layoffs of 700 the month before. The managing editor’s job also has been vacant.
Meanwhile, the newsroom faces the potential loss of both assistant managing editors if they accept recently offered buyouts. Indeed, paper-wide, 12 buyout offers are on the table: one in finance and 11 in the newsroom.
The newsroom now employs 50, according to one of my Jackson readers. So, those 11 potential buyouts could reduce staffing by more than 20% — unless they’re replaced. And even if they are, it’s assumed — as with all similarly-situated papers — that new hires will be far less experienced.
Tolley’s title will be executive editor/director of audience engagement and growth at the Clarion-Ledger Media Group. He starts March 12.
Tolley, who also oversaw the Daily World in Opelousas, joined the local daily in April 2010. Before that he was editor of The Fayetteville Observer in Fayetteville, NC, and also worked in Daytona Beach, Fla., West Palm Beach, Fla., and Columbia, SC.
“Brian leaves The Daily Advertiser and Daily World in much better shape than he found them,” Advertiser President and Publisher Ali Zoibi said. “That is a tribute to him and the team he developed.”
Three days later, Zoibi was announcing his own departure, saying he is retiring and moving out of state to spend more time with his ailing mother. Zoibi joined the local paper in December 2010.
At the time, Zoibi said Richard Roesgen, 50, general manager/executive editor of Gannett-owned The Reporter and Action Publications in Fond du Lac, Wis., would replace him.
A week later, however, Zoibi notified employees that Roesgen will not be coming to Lafayette. In his memo to employees, Zoibi cited “unexpected personal matters” and asked the staff to respect Roesgen’s privacy, reported Gannett Blog.
On Feb. 22, Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, confirmed that it will begin charging for online content. By the end of the year, all of its 80 community newspapers will have moved to a sophisticated paywall system the company projects will increase annual subscription revenues by 25 percent and bring an extra $100 million to its bottom line. Only USA Today will remain free, at least for now.
The content initiative is not new, as newspapers across the country have been setting up paywalls over the past couple of years with mixed success.
Kevin Latiolais, a 22-year veteran of Midsouth Bank, has been promoted to regional president of the bank’s Lafayette and Opelousas markets.
A Breaux Bridge native and resident of Youngsville, Latiolais began his career at Lafayette-based MidSouth in 1989, working part-time for the bank while attending UL Lafayette and serving in the Louisiana National Guard. Latiolais earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from ULL and is also a “master graduate” of Rapport Leadership International. The former first vice president of commercial lending for MidSouth, Latiolais’ new duties include managing business development and commercial relationships throughout the two markets.
MidSouth has $1.4 billion in assets and has 40 locations throughout Louisiana and Texas.
Jennifer Fontenot has been promoted to regional retail manager at the bank. Fontenot is adding responsibility for the Lafayette, Opelousas and Carencro retail banking centers to her existing role as Banking Center Manager of the Ambassador Caffery Parkway location in Lafayette. As regional retail manager, Fontenot manages and directs a group of 11 banking centers to achieve sales and service goals and ensure customer satisfaction. She also works on staff development.
A 17-year industry veteran, Fontenot has been a Banking Center Manager at MidSouth Bank for the past six years and before that was a branch manager for IberiaBank. She also previously worked for Bank One and First National Bank of Lafayette, both of which are now Chase. Fontenot earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in management from UL Lafayette in 1999.
Environmental Drilling Solutions has named Spence Girouard controller. Prior to joining EDS, Girouard worked for Broussard, Poche, Lewis, & Breaux as a CPA. He has experience in financial planning and management and the preparation of financial and tax statements. Girouard earned a BS in accounting from UL Lafayette in 2006 and CPA designation in 2009. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants. EDS offers rig site solutions regarding cuttings drying, solids control and zero discharge technology for land and offshore drilling applications.
Rachel Hebert is Heart Hospital of Lafayette’s new chief financial officer. Originally from Abbeville, Hebert most recently served as divisional controller with Promise Healthcare Inc. in Boca Raton, Fla., and has more than a decade of health care experience. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from UL Lafayette, an MBA in health care administration from Florida Atlantic University and holds a certification in public accounting. Dr. Richard Fei, a pulmonologist who has been practicing in Lafayette for 18 years, has joined Our Lady of Lourdes. Fei earned his medical degree in 1986 from National Taiwan University Medical School in Taiwan. He completed a residency in 1991 at VA Medical Center Long Beach: University of California. He also completed a pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship in 1994 at the University of New Mexico.
Naomi Primeaux has joined Right Angle as graphic designer. She is a December 2011 graduate of UL Lafayette, where she completed a bachelor of fine arts with a concentration in graphic design. During her collegiate studies, Primeaux was granted the UL Lafayette Excellence Award three years in a row and was also named Outstanding Graduate in Visual Art. She also received multiple Acadiana Advertising Federation Student ADDY Awards, including a Gold Student ADDY and four Silver Student ADDYs.
Investor reports for publicly traded banks with a presence in the Lafayette market saw mostly positive gains in 2011 over 2010. End-of-year reports were available for the following banks that represent at least 1 percent of the market share:
Lafayette-based MidSouth Bank reports earnings of $2.7 million for 2011, or 48 cents a share, as compared to $4.6 million, or 47 cents a share, at the end of 2010.
For 2011, IberiaBank earned $53.5 million, or $1.87 per share, compared with 2010 earnings of $48.8 million, or $1.88 per share.
Home Bank saw annual revenues of $5.1 million for 2011, an increase of $432,000 (9 percent) compared to 2010.
Earnings for 2011 were $7.2 million, or $3.45 per share, compared to $7.1 million, or $3.37 per share, in 2010.
Chase reported a 2011 record net income of $19 billion, or $4.48 per share, up $1.6 million as compared to 2010.
Mississippi-based Hancock Bank, which completed its purchase of Whitney Bank in 2011, reports annual earnings of $76.7 million in 2011, up from $52.2 million in 2010.
Earnings for 2011 were $3.1 billion, or $6.80 per share.
Compared to 2010, earnings were up $404 million, or 15 percent.
Generated annual earnings of $8.5 million for the year ending Dec. 31, up 34.3 percent from earnings of $6.3 million in 2010.
According to investor reports, 2011 net income reached $37.6 million, a gain over 2010 income of $22.9 million.
Full-year results reflect a net loss available to common shareholders of $429 million or $0.34 per diluted share.
From 2007 to 2010, the median household income in Lafayette went from $42,067 to $47,200. That 12.2 percent increase makes the Lafayette metro the fastest-growing in the country, its closest competitor Corpus Christi, Texas, where median household income rose 9.4 percent to $50,621.
The median income among the top 1 percent of earners in Lafayette jumped 6.1 percent to $362,290.
The Wall Street Journal reported Feb. 2:
Oil and gas propelled resource-rich states through the recession, while manufacturing losses and the housing bust ripped a hole in the Rust Belt that has yet to be repaired.
Lafayette’s median household income growth, 2007-2010
The District of Columbia notched the greatest increase over the 2007-2010 period, with an 8.1% jump in income, in large part because of federal-government employment.
Louisiana as a whole inched up 1.6 percent to $43,389, fifth best in the country, with the Houma-Thibodaux and Alexandria metros both growing 5.1 percent — to $49,850 and $41,029, respectively. That 5.1 percent increase tied them for 10th place with two other metros. The Baton Rouge area rose 4.4 percent to $50,827. — Leslie Turk
The number of customized woven polypropylene bags and bulk bags Crowley-based JohnPac manufactured last year.
JohnPac provides industrial packaging across the U.S. and the globe and is ranked 37th on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana with $39 million in revenues for 2010.
JohnPac’s first-ever vendor-sponsored trade show, the JonPac Product Summit, was held Thursday, Feb. 16 at Pecan Island School Lodge. Twenty vendors from around the country were on hand.
In early January, ABiz broke the story on the dismissal of Heart Hospital of Lafayette Chief Operating Officer Karen Wyble. No reason for Wyble’s termination was given.
Just six weeks later, the registered nurse-turned-hospital executive has landed a job as regional vice president of operations at LHC Group, a Lafayette-based home health and hospice provider.
LHC Group confirmed Wyble’s employment Feb. 17, two days after the national provider of home health and hospice services announced that its board of directors and management are exploring a range of strategic alternatives to boost its stock price (see related story on Page 1).
In her new role, Wyble will work with hospitals around the country to facilitate partnerships for home health and hospice care.
Wyble has more than 20 years of health care experience. While COO at Heart Hospital of Lafayette, she served the dual role of vice president of cardiovascular services for Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, which has held a major stake in the specialty heart hospital since late 2007. Wyble previously served as assistant vice president of nursing at Lafayette General Medical Center.
Wyble holds master’s degrees in business administration and health care administration from the University of St. Francis. She earned an associate degree in nursing from LSU and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Loyola University. She is an alumnus-certified critical care nurse.
Donna Landry, Lourdes’ vice president of corporate development, has been serving as interim COO of Heart Hospital since Wyble’s departure. — LT
Moreno affiliate calls off IPO, announces it’s being acquired. By Leslie Turk
On Feb. 1, Houston-based independent producer Dynamic Offshore Resources agreed to be acquired by SandRidge Energy Inc., based in Oklahoma City. The cash-and-stock transaction, valued at $1.28 billion, came a day after Dynamic Offshore postponed its initial public offering.
The buyout consists of approximately $680 million in cash and 74 million shares of SandRidge common stock valued at $8.02 per share.
Dynamic Offshore had hoped to raise about $300 million in its IPO, expecting to sell up to 16.7 million shares at $17 to $19 apiece. Shares were scheduled to begin trading Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “DOR,” but the company announced Tuesday that it was postponing the IPO.
An underwriter cited “market conditions” as the reason.
Dynamic Offshore Resources focuses on the acquisition and development of oil and natural gas properties in the Gulf of Mexico. It has the equivalent of 62.5 million barrels of crude in proved reserves and produces 25,000 barrels a day from wells in shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
SandRidge reported that about half of Dynamic’s production and reserves is oil and about 48 percent natural gas. SandRidge hopes to double Dynamic’s oil production over three years.
Citing Deologic data, The Wall Street Journal reported that the deal with SandRidge is the largest for Gulf of Mexico oil-and-gas fields since the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion.
SEC filings in connection with Dynamic Offshore’s planned IPO indicate that Lafayette businessman Mike Moreno has been a limited partner of Dynamic Offshore since its inception. In February 2008, energy private equity firm Riverstone Holdings and global private equity firm The Carlyle Group announced that they had committed $450 million for investment in the new Houston-based oil and gas company. That deal was announced about a year after Riverstone/Carlyle purchased half of Moreno Group Holdings, which includes Dynamic Industries, Arc Equipment Rental, Dii LLC, Southern Steel and Supply, and Dynamic Marine Services.
Moreno is CEO of Moreno Group, which continues to have a number of business relationships with Dynamic Offshore.
According to the SEC filings: “In the ordinary course of business, we purchase offshore services from certain companies that are owned by or affiliated with the Moreno Group. We believe that these services were negotiated on an arms’ length basis and that the terms are no less favorable than those we could obtain from unrelated third parties. During the years ended December 31, 2008, 2009 and 2010 and the nine months ended September 30, 2011, the amounts paid for these services totaled $6.2 million, $10.0 million, $6.4 million and $4.0 million, respectively.”