John Moores, former majority owner of the Padres and longtime crony Charles Noell have pulled another financial coup: Merriebelle Stables, which they own jointly, sold a broodmare for $8.1 million, the highest price ever paid in Europe, according to racing publications. The horse, Immortal Verse, was sold to an Irish multimillionaire in December.
Moores and Noell raised eyebrows, but got off with a slap on the wrist, for their activities in Peregrine Systems, one of the biggest frauds in San Diego history. Moores was the longtime chairman and Noell was the chairman of the audit committee. The books were cooked; executives went to prison. But board members got off with a measly $56 million payment. Moores had dumped $487 million of Peregrine stock — almost all he controlled — before it went down in scandal.
Then the two of them were early investors in a San Diego company named ServiceNow. Same thing: they dumped shares quickly and heavily. Moores sold his interest in the Padres, and with sacks of money in their saddles, Moores and Noell rode off to Texas. They launched Merriebelle in midyear 2013.