John Moores, Charles Noell
  • John Moores, Charles Noell
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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.

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Comments

monaghan Jan. 1, 2014 @ 3:55 p.m.

Everybody reading this needs to see Martin Scorsese's searing film, "Wolf of Wall Street," about just this sort of profiteering and skating at others' expense. An interesting distinction is made in the movie between kid-glove SEC civil investigations of financial fraud and harder-hitting FBI criminal prosecution of similar larcenous behavior.

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Don Bauder Jan. 2, 2014 @ 9:10 a.m.

monaghan: An official of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) once told me (not for attribution), "Knock over a gas station for 25 bucks and get five years in prison. Steal a billion dollars in stock market swindles and get off free." Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 3, 2014 @ 8:19 p.m.

Are these players in the horse racing "industry" a pack of fools? Moores is good at making nothing into something that looks like a great deal, and then unloading. Did he and his "pard" really so something exceptional to produce this horse, or is she just another run-of-the-mill brood mare? We may never know. He could have created a story of a wonderful line of horses and then unloaded just when the racing crowd was going to get smart. In other words, it is hard to imagine Moores developing anything real, regardless of whether it was software or a ball team, or even a horse. What he does so well is create illusions of grandeur which soon evanesce.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 9:33 p.m.

Visduh: True. He creates visions and gets suckers to buy into them. Look at the ballpark deal. He walked away with $700 million to $1 billion by getting cheap land in the ballpark district and selling it at high prices to developers.

Worse was Peregrine. Evidence showed he was clearly in on the scam, but he got off while smaller players who worked for him went to prison. Here were people being charged with crimes for selling $5 million worth of stock and Moores unloaded $650 million worth ($487 million during the scam period), and the judge wouldn't let defendants' lawyers even mention Moores's name in court. Then he rode off to Texas, returning to buy early stock in ServiceNow, and he dumped it as fast as the law allowed.

But some San Diegans still adore him. Best, Don Bauder

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