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Getting screwed in a private placement
Chapman, Spira & Carson

From: Robert A. Spira
Date: 2/11/99
Time: 10:45:32 AM


I've been around a long time and because of that I am consistently being asked to give advice to people on what to do in the market and how to handle it when the broker doesn't' keep his word.. So here is this great big expert that thinks he knows it all; me, and then, after all of this time of being everyone else's expert, even I got shafted.

I bought a deal called Sky Connect,Inc. in Private Placement out of Chicago from a firm called Madison Securities. Those guys told me that SkyConnect was going public a couple of months after the Private Placement that they were pushing was going to close. They said that bought in into the SkyConnect private placement I would soon be walking all the way to the bank.

The Madison Securities Broker that recommended SkyConnect, Chris Hull, after countless futile attempts by me to get information on when the SkyConnect Underwriting would happen, eventually told  told me that they weren't going public at all, they were in merger discussions but I was still going to clean up. So SkyConnect, didn't go public and they didn't merge.

I am now stuck with an interest in a private company (SkyConnect) that doesn't pay dividends and doesn't bother to send out information to stockholders regarding what they are doing. Would you believe that SkyConnect even negotiated another merger, not the one above, a different one, and never even told the shareholders. Well, I didn't hear anything about from Madison Securities either so that I guess that is par for the course. The shareholders never knew that it was on and never knew that the deal was off either. The talks collapsed when the stock of the acquiring company tanked. This is what happens when you buy literally unregulated securities. There are no reporting requirements and you are literally sitting with a worthless scrape of paper until the thing become public.

I've been around a bit and know a little about what to do when someone takes advantage of me so I hired David Robbins, an absolutely fabulous attorney, that specializes in securities arbitration to handle the SkyConnect matter and it now  looks like we are going to arbitration on April 21st 1999 what looks to be called, Spira Versus Madison and Hull re SkyConnect.

Thus, potentially we have found another Internet forum that can be helpful to investors. What I am thinking about doing is setting up this board so that if you are screwed or think you are screwed in a Private Placement, you can entire the fact on this bulletin board and it can be reflective of various kinds of information. For example, Madison's defense in my matter is that they never said that SkyConnect was going public. So it comes down to my word against the broker's. Robbins has asked Madison to furnish the names of other investors in the SkyConnect Private Placement, but so far they have been unwilling to furnish anything in that regard.

Beyond that, the nature of the beast  is important in court as well. What are the experiences that others have had with Madison or other firms that are similar, which would go along way in showing contempt for their own investors. If something like this had existed, many of the people wiped out by bucket shops would only have to come to this site to determine what the public thought of the transactions their brokerage house was recommending. We can currently find out about our brokers and the firms they work for by using a service of the NASD, but they have become a little more reticent about releasing this type of information. State Securities Commissioners also have a lot of information, but bureaucrats are always worrying about keeping their jobs of being sued. We can give each other the straight story.

Keep in mind though that, the company's that the broker sells you may be innocent victims of what scam the broker is trying to perpetrate. In my case, it is undoubtedly the case that SkyConnect has absolutely nothing to do with what happened here. Often the companies are victims as well and get bad publicity from brokers who are manipulating their shares for their own ends.

The situation in my case is very simple, if a number of people were promised a public offering in SkyConnect by Madison Securities and it didn't happen,  the preponderance of the evidence is on the side of people getting their money back. If it is only one   person's word against that of another, then the SkyConnect case becomes less of a sure thing as the NASD has not started using truth serum on their brokers yet.

My suggestion is that we use this facility to help each other win cases like SkyConnect, where after the broker has made his commission he seems not to want to have anything to do with us. If we can get enough interest I will run a column here on a regular basis and ask Robbins to contribute. Robbins has written seven books on NASD Arbitration and is consider the top legal mind in the field by many. What I have in mind would be to set up two columns, as master indexes. The first will deal with brokerage firm's by name such as Madison Securities. The Second Column will deal with offerings they have made such as SkyConnect. Each will have its own search engine so that by hitting the name of either you will be right where you want. Each page will have its own feedback. Thus, it will be a plaintiffs lawyer's delight as all of the information that each respondent has can then be shared with all other respondents.

My name is Robert Spira and if you look at my resume' you can see that I have more than a little experience in dealing with these kinds of things. In cases like SkyConnect, the broker just seems to want to forget that you can't go around telling people one thing to get them to buy a stock and then something else when they have lost their money. For years I have been working to keep the industry clean but can now use your help.

Let's get together and work to cleanse the industry of these kinds of people. Let me know about your experiences and I will let you know what happens in the Madison Securities arbitration regarding the SkyConnect private placement.

We feel that if you have a good enough case we can also put you in touch with law enforcement agencies such as the U. S. Attorney, the Attorney's General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and State Security Commissioners, many of whom we work with on a regular basis. Another place that my be giving solace in these deals will be the clearing firms as it looks like the SEC is not too happy with the way Bear Stearns handled the clearing of Baron, thus, in the future, it may be that the clearing firms will have some oversight responsibilities regarding the firms that clear through them. A welcome breath of fresh air.

Happy Hunting and much more later

Bob Spira

Last changed: March 17, 2000