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Charlie Gasparino: Someone’s Holiday Vacation Is Holding Up the Ernst & Young Settlement Talks

The Fox Business Network ace reporter is saying that Cuomo & Co. would like to settle this thing up ASAP (a “quick scalp” before AC goes to Albany) however it is definitely not happening this week because, “According to people at Ernst & Young […] one of the lead investigators in Cuomo’s office is on vacation.”

Also interesting is that Chaz reports that E&Y thought there wasn’t going to be such a rush to get this thing settled but now everyone is all worked up because the story got leaked.

As for the SEC stuff, we don’t know what to make of it since there’s been hardly any news about talks between E&Y and the Commission. Francine McKenna told us that Gaspo “got a lot of smoke blown up his tush,” which is typical for reporters who cover Big 4 firms once in a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice.

No WikiLeaks for Deloitte Peeps

Funny how slow TPTB were to react this (message is dated today). Assange isn’t even haunting our dreams any more. Nevertheless, NO. PEEKY. And if you’ve already taken a look, you need to report yourself, ASAP.

ALERT: New federal government guidance on accessing or downloading classified information

Published: 10-Dec-10

The following is a message from [redacted], chief quality officer.

In the wake of the recent WikiLeaks disclosures of U.S. classified information, the U.S. Office of Management & Budget (OMB) and the Department of Defense (DoD) published guidance that prohibits federal government employees and federal contractor personnel from accessing the WikiLeaks website to view or download classified information. As federal contractors, the Deloitte U.S. Firms and their professionals are obligated to protect the integrity of classified information.

This notice is designed to facilitate compliance with the OMB and DoD guidance. All personnel should note the following:

Despite the unauthorized public disclosure by WikiLeaks, the information disclosed retains its classified status. The decision to remove classified status must be rendered by a government classification authority. In short, the information remains classified in spite of any public disclosure.

The access or download of classified information could be determined to be a security violation that requires immediate remediation, including removal of such information from our systems. A security violation could pose risks to the operations of Deloitte’s Federal practice and could negatively affect our client service capabilities.

You should not attempt to access the classified information on the WikiLeaks website or any related website. If you previously visited the WikiLeaks site or any related website to view or download classified information, you should immediately report a “Federal DOS Incident” via 1 800 Deloitte (option 5).

If you possess a security clearance, keep in mind that you are personally obligated to uphold the requirements for appropriate handling and dissemination of classified information, as outlined in your respective Classified Information Non-Disclosure Statement.

If you have any questions, please send them by e-mail to [redacted: presumably someone inside Deloitte who is familiar with these sorts of things].

Chief Quality Officer
Deloitte LLP

Remember the $3 Million in Overstock Shares Patrick Byrne Sold? Sam Antar Does

Last we heard from Patrick Byrne, the CEO and Farmville enthusiast, he had just disposed of 140,000 shares of OSTK via High Plains Investments, LLC, an entity 100% owned by PB. This had a few people scratching their heads, including us.

At the time, we wondered why Patsy would need to dump the shares, especially after all the excitement the company generated by turning their first profit ever in 2009 and a profitable Q1. We were hoping that the KPMG engagement team – that was doing such a bang-up job – would get some new Segways to cruise SLC but pesky independence rules probably got in the way of that.

Regardless, Q2 wasn’t expected to be a showstopper but when asked, Patsy wasn’t worried, telling Investor’s Business Daily, “Given that in 2009 we had close to $40 million of free cash flow (and $8 million net income), I think we should just continue building the intrinsic value of the business right now.”

Well! The Company reported its Q2 earnings after the close yesterday and, um, they missed the numbers badly. The $0.02/share loss expected by analysts was tripled with a loss of $0.06/share. As you might expect, the shares are taking a beating and Byrne nemesis Sam Antar finds this just a little bit fishy:

[N]ine days after Q2 2010 ended, Byrne led investors to believe that was going to break even in that quarter by citing previous year’s free cash flow numbers. However, Byrne did not mention that’s free cash flow for the six months ended June 30, 2010 was negative $54.8 million compared to negative $35.8 million in the previous year’s comparable perid [sic] or about $19 million lower.

So, there’s that. OH! And the $3 million in shares. Don’t forget that. CEO Patrick Dumped Stock Ahead of Bad Earnings Report and Misled Investors About Earnings [White Collar Fraud]