March 05, 2004

It's A Good Thing

ON THE WAY DOWN: IN THIS OCT. 2004 file photo from the Associated Press, former homemaking doyenne Martha Stewart is seen lecturing inmates on kitchen duty at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, W. Va. On Mar. 5, 2004, Stewart was convicted on conspiracy, making false statements and obstruction of justice charges related to her sale of stock in ImClone, a pharmaceutical firm.

GIVEN THAT MS STEWART has announced she will appeal the verdict rendered against her today, we will refrain from applying some of the great rhetorical flourishes which the British press uses to describe criminals. Such as, for instance, "EVIL MARTHA STEWART." It would also not be fair to say, for instance, "STEWART FACES RUIN AFTER SHOCK STOCK VERDICT FURY."

Still, we can imagine Ms Stewart is in for a world of financial hurt. The stock price of her firm is in the process of collapsing. And while the courts may have thrown out the charges related to her alleged deception of investors in her firm, don't think for a moment that legions of securities lawyers will pass on filing their own civil suits on that matter. They will do everything they can to hold Ms Stewart personally and professionally liable for such alleged misdeeds.

We once heard that for every dollar MSO's stock fell in value, Ms Stewart lost something on the order of $30 million. If that equation is still valid, then this afternoon, Ms Stewart lost somewhere on the order of $100 million with that guilty verdict, and we predict that all she has gone through is only the beginning for her. When all is said and done, we think she will be quite humbled: not ruined, but certainly much poorer.

Admittedly, we won't be shedding any tears if that happens. Ms Stewart has long been known as ... difficult, as the Associated Press noted in its story on the matter:

Stewart had a reputation before the trial as a ruthless businesswoman, and in court she was portrayed as rude, insulting, demanding and cheap. According to testimony, she once threatened to take her business elsewhere because she did not like her brokerage's telephone hold music.

Whatever you think about today's verdict, we would argue that at least on karma and general principle grounds, it was very much deserved. As such, we are hopeful that Ms Stewart will find that in losing the world, she can regain her soul. And if for some reason she fails to learn that lesson, then we can say we have been right to hold Ms Stewart beneath contempt these past few years.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at March 5, 2004 05:22 PM | TrackBack

I've never known a Martha who wasn't shady or crooked. Well maybe Martha Kent.

Posted by: RAD at March 10, 2004 06:45 PM