— "Some of the stations are not doing well," says Kipperman. Zures was apparently using funds from stronger stations to fund the less strong. "I haven't seen anything that tells me horrible things were happening. Thus far it is not in bankruptcy."

But misinformation has gone to investors, perhaps inadvertently. Through a limited liability company, Zures's clients owned 23 percent of the stock of Moorpark-based Fluid Ink Technology. Zures sat on the company's board. Howard told an investor that the stock in the privately held company had been turned into debt, paying an annual interest of 8 percent. The company is profitable, Howard assured the investor.

Wrong on both counts, says Ken Frisbie, Fluid Ink's chief executive. "There is no right to convert equity to debt," says Frisbie. "There is no debt owed by Fluid Ink Technology" to Zures's investors. Moreover, "The company is not doing well. It lost a considerable sum of money last year," and its stock has lost value.

Howard says for the record that the equity/debt conversion had been discussed last year but not consummated. He had misunderstood and apologized for the mistake.

Two software investments remain a puzzle. Zures had a substantial investment in a high-tech Massachusetts company named Acrylis and also sat on its board. In 2000, Acrylis announced an innovative software technology, WhatifLinux. The next year, it sold the technology to Caldera International of Orem, Utah. Only a year later, Caldera closed down the Massachusetts operation that housed Acrylis. Caldera changed its name to SCO Group and has tried to protect its intellectual property by suing some heavyweights, including International Business Machines, AutoZone, Novell, and DaimlerChrysler. But SCO's 2003 fiscal year was its first profitable one, and losses are piling up again. Its cumulative loss is $216.6 million. The question is whether the payment Acrylis got for the technology will be helpful to investors.

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