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Lawsuit Details Massive Insider Selling at Bridgepoint

A lawsuit newly filed in federal court by the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd spells out the massive dumping of shares by Bridgepoint top management. The suit represents those who acquired Bridgepoint stock between May 3, 2011 and July 6, 2012. The suit charges that management made materially false and misleading statements during that period in press releases, securities analyst conference calls and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the accreditation problems that the company has with Ashford University, which accounts for most of its business. When the Western Association of Schools and Colleges denied Ashford accreditation a week ago (sending the stock down 34%), the accrediting body noted that it had warned Ashford of its concerns in mid-2011. (Another accrediting body warned of its concerns on Friday and the stock ended the week down more than 50%.)

The suit says, "By spring of 2011 the company had been warned that Ashford's future accreditation was at risk." But Bridgepoint did not report that to shareholders and analysts, according to the suit, citing specific statements by the company.

During the period in question, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Clark dumped almost $18.2 million worth of stock, says the suit. Chief Financial Officer Daniel Devine sold $6.7 million worth and Chief Academic Officer Jane McAuliffe dumped $6.2 million. All told, key officers jettisoned 1.36 million of shares worth more than $31 million during that brief period.

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A lawsuit newly filed in federal court by the law firm of Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd spells out the massive dumping of shares by Bridgepoint top management. The suit represents those who acquired Bridgepoint stock between May 3, 2011 and July 6, 2012. The suit charges that management made materially false and misleading statements during that period in press releases, securities analyst conference calls and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission about the accreditation problems that the company has with Ashford University, which accounts for most of its business. When the Western Association of Schools and Colleges denied Ashford accreditation a week ago (sending the stock down 34%), the accrediting body noted that it had warned Ashford of its concerns in mid-2011. (Another accrediting body warned of its concerns on Friday and the stock ended the week down more than 50%.)

The suit says, "By spring of 2011 the company had been warned that Ashford's future accreditation was at risk." But Bridgepoint did not report that to shareholders and analysts, according to the suit, citing specific statements by the company.

During the period in question, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Clark dumped almost $18.2 million worth of stock, says the suit. Chief Financial Officer Daniel Devine sold $6.7 million worth and Chief Academic Officer Jane McAuliffe dumped $6.2 million. All told, key officers jettisoned 1.36 million of shares worth more than $31 million during that brief period.

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FYI;

Backlash builds as for-profit schools rake in GI Bill funds

Critics warn that some for-profit schools mislead veterans, who use their taxpayer-funded GI Bill money on hugely expensive educations with bleak job prospects.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-vets-colleges-20120716,0,2523844.story

July 16, 2012

The military is a huge market for Bridgepoint's Ashford. Bridgepoint says it gets 85% of its revenue from the federal government in the form of grants and loans from the federal government. But that calculation doesn't include military. Some analysts say that if you include what Bridgepoint gets from the military, the company gets close to 100% of revenue from the federal government. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

This is an old refrain, but National University was getting most of its students and hence most of its tuition income from the Department of Defense through tuition assistance available to active duty personnel. That explains the big presence of NU in this area in the 70's and 80's and in Sacramento (which was crawling with Air Force personnel then.) I questioned those business degrees they were handing out then, and still do. But at least you had to attend classes in person and take exams yourself.

July 16, 2012

That is a big difference. Yes, at National University the students attend classes. The same is true at Phoenix University, the big enchilada in for-profit education. (The stock trades under the name Apollo.) But an online operation -- especially one with a reputation for high-pressure enrollment tactics and poor education -- is a different matter. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

National was a "PAY for your A" school, and again, their degrees were of little value in the real world, especially locally where the scam was well known. But yes, they are a step above Bridgepoint, which is not saying anything really. NU had their program set up to do a 45 hour college course in 4 weeks (10 hours per week), which is not how you learn. 45 hour classes are supposed to be taught at a max of 3 hours per week, with 3 "1 hour" or two "1.5 hour" classes better than 1 "3 hour" class. taking TWO 5 hour classes poer week like NU did is a joke. I took some classes at NU, on a scale of 1-10 compared to SDSU ti would rank a 2 or less. ABA law schools limit the amount of clock hours credit can be given in a semester to 15 creditds, or 5 "45 hour" semester classes over 14 weeks, they wont allow the BS NU did.

July 16, 2012

You keep referring to National University in the past tense but it is still operating and according to its website has 27,000 students. I have known some smart people who got degrees from National. What is the quality of a National education now? Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

Great link, thank you for posting. Gosh, what would the U-T say if they read that LA Times story? Who do they love more--big corporations or the military?

July 16, 2012

Current U-T brass wants cheerleading for companies and the military and respect for so-called family values. CEO John Lynch has made that clear. What's wrong with honesst coverage of companies and the military? Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

I read that joke op-ed piece, almost puked, and they disabled the comments section, that tells you all you need to know!

July 16, 2012

I read the editorial this afternoon and saw only one comment, and it quoted what I had said in a Reader post about insider selling. I didn't see any other comments. Not surprised it was disabled. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

The gov wont shut down Bridgepoint or any of the other fraudsters and scammers out there milking the public, these gov agencies are run by the people they regulate, we all know that. The regulators allow then to scam the taxpayers because the regulators are being given laundered money "kickbacks" to allow the scams to continue.

July 16, 2012

The old refrain applies to regulators: you can't live with them and you can't live without them. The government's deregulation efforts that began in the 1980s completely backfired in a number of industries -- particularly financial. No sane person should have wanted deregulation of Wall Street. On the other hand, regulation has many disadvantages, as you point out; the worst is that regulators become too cozy and in some cases financially dependent on the industries they are supposed to regulate. See my columns on the SEC and the revolving door phenomenon. Another example is the California Public Utilities Commission, which is in the pockets of the big utilities. I've written lots on that this year. Best, Don Bauder

July 16, 2012

NBC 7 reported today that Ashford University Cut 450 Jobs. No surprise, really.

Sept. 24, 2012

What is that as a %????

25%??

Sept. 24, 2012

I don't know their number of employees. Here's part of their press release on the layoffs and reassignments: "200 Ashford University Admissions personnel have been reassigned to positions within a new department of Student Inquiry. Furthermore, 200 Ashford University Admissions personnel have been reassigned to the Student Services department. Ashford University eliminated approximately 450 positions that focused solely on admissions." Sounds like they are now fighting for survival.

Sept. 25, 2012
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