Let's "Harken" back to a more "innocent" era

As Martha Stewart's name and reputation did their requisite smears, it might do us well to revisit another, less famous, case of insider trading.

1986 - Harken buys Bush's Spectrum 7. Bush gets over 200,000 shares in Harken and a seat on the board of directors. (His daddy is VP at the time).

1989 - Harken attempts to mask losses by selling one of its subsidiaries in an Enron-style shuffle. They lent money to a group of Harken insiders, sold them Aloha Petroleum, and claimed an $8 million profit on the sale in its 1989 annual report (which meant it only lost $3.3 million for the quarter). Bush in on the audit committee and his daddy is President.

1990, June - Bush, while on the board of directors and the audit committee, sells 212,140 shares of Harken for $4 a share ($848,560). Harken's accountants warned the board that such sales would appear as dumping, since they would have information about the company's financial standing. Who's going to say no to the President's first born?

1990, August - Harken reveals its true financial condition - 2nd quarter losses of $23 million. Stock dives to $2.37. Bush got out just in time. Heh, heh.

1990, Fall - SEC investigates Harken's Aloha transactions.

1991, February - SEC requires Harken to restate its 1989 statements to reflect $12.5 million loss, not the original 3.3. Stock falls to about $1.

1991, March - Bush reports his sale of stock 34 weeks late. That stupid dog ate his statements.

1991, April - SEC investigates Bush for insider trading because he was on the board of directors and the audit committee. His daddy is President. The SEC does not exonnerate him, but suspend the investigation.

You can buy Harken stock. (HEC on the AMEX). It dropped 4 cents today. You can get it for about $1 these days. I might just get some for the fun of it.