I have been combing through 2 years of limited trade data on 38 studios bonds. It hasn't been easy to find because these bonds were "privately placed" to accredited investors only (multimillionaires) but I found a very suspicious trade of $1million dollars(face value) in 38 Studios 7.75% tranche due 11/01/2020. These bonds were issued at 100 (par) yielding 7.75%. A total of $42,455,000 were placed with these millionaires. These were not auctioned to the general public.
RHODE ISLAND ST ECONOMIC DEV CORP REV TAXABLE-JOB CREATION GTY PROG (RI)*
Dated Date: 11/02/2010
Maturity Date: 11/01/2020
Interest Rate: 7.75 %
Principal Amount At Issuance: $42,455,000
Initial Offering Price/Yield: 100
On May 23 , 2012 a trade of $1,000,000 (face value) took place at a price of $121.75, representing a huge profit to the insider who sold. Not only was he collecting $77,500 a year in interest on his $1 million invested in just 18 months he had made an additional $210,000 in the market repricing the suspicious initial pricing of the insured bonds . The investor made approximately 25% annualized. Nice trade right? Or was this actually an insider getting out because he got more inside info.? On May 24 , 2012 38 Studios announced it was laying off all its employees. WOW !! That was a heck of a coincidence !! may 23 sold bonds , may 24 layoffs , may 26 bonds drop 9% in one day. The next trade reported in those bonds took place at $111.39 on May 26 th 2012. The yield popped from 4.67% to 5.82% literally overnight.
So who got the tip to sell? Where did they get it from? Just who was this inside privately placed investor who had such immaculate timing? I think the SEC should find out. I am surprised no investigative body in Rhode Island found this. The securities exchange commission investigates insider trading cases and it does most certainly apply to municipal bonds. In 1992 a case in Kentucky was brought against a state official.
So whats going on?
How do we really know whether or not Mr Lincoln Chafee or his advisor bought those bonds on the private placement and then later sold on a tip? Someone did for sure. Was it Fox, Carcieri, Corso , Weed or just some wealthy RI donor? Who was it? Why don't we know? Why hasn't this been looked at?
This is exactly why we need investigations and subpoenas. This is further evidence why we cant let Mattiello and Chafee and Fox and Murphy et al bury this investigation by paying bond holders off. How do we know that insiders are not getting info from Moodys' and S&P ? Why should we let the ratings agencies off the hook? Frank Caprio reports begging them not to rate the bonds?. Were there bribes involved? Looks like someone clearly got inside info and its very disturbing. The people of Rhode Island cannot let this go on. Demand an SEC investigation? Demand subpoena power for the oversight committee. Subpoena Standard& Poors and Moody's officials who worked on this offering.