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Daniels Fund Ethics InitiativeUniversity of New Mexicohttp://danielsethics.mgt.unm.eduThis material was developed by Leyla Baykal, Debbie Thorne McAlister, and Jennifer Sawayda under the direction of O.C. Ferrell and LindaFerrell. It is provided for the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative at the University of New Mexico and is intended for classroom discussion ratherthan to illustrate effective or ineffective handling of administrative, ethical, or legal decisions by management. Users of this material areprohibited from claiming this material as their own, emailing it to others, or placing it on the Internet. Please call O.C. Ferrell at 505-277-3468 for more information. (2011)Martha Stewart’s Insider TradingScandalINTRODUCTIONMartha Stewart is one of the few business mavens who can still claim widespread popularity after ahighly-publicized scandal. She is the founder and former CEO of Martha Stewart Living OmnimediaInc., a company with interests in publishing, television, merchandising, electronic commerce, andrelated international partnerships. In the early 2000s, America’s most famous homemaker becamethe center of headlines, speculations, and eventually a federal investigation concerning her stocktrading. Martha Stewart was accused of insider trading after she sold four thousand ImClone sharesone day before that firm’s stock price plummeted. Although the charges of securities fraud werethrown out, Ms. Stewart was found guilty of four counts of obstruction of justice and lying toinvestigators. She was sentenced to five months of prison, five months of house arrest, and twoyears of probation.After her release from prison, Martha Stewart involved herself in a variety of ventures, includingmagazines, a short-lived reality television show “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart,” “The MarthaStewart Show,” and branded items sold by flower shops, KB Homes, and Macy’s. Martha Stewartstill controls much of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Even though she was barred from actingas director of the company for five years, Stewart continues to control about 50 percent of MarthaStewart Living Omnimedia Inc. stock and about 90 percent of voting stock. While it often takesmany years for businesspeople to regain trust after corporate misconduct, Martha Stewart remainsa beloved household icon for thousands of loyal fans.EVOLUTION OF A MEDIA EMPIREMartha Stewart’s lucrative career includes stockbroker, caterer, business owner, and home livingexpert. Born in 1941 as Martha Kostyra, Stewart developed a passion for cooking, gardening, andhome keeping at an early age. She learned the basics of cooking, baking, canning, and sewing fromher mother; her father introduced her to gardening. After marrying Andrew Stewart in college,Martha Stewart became a successful stockbroker on Wall Street. However, she never forgot herchildhood passions, and eventually she left the stockbroker business to open a gourmet-food shopthat later became a catering business in Westport, Connecticut. She used her distinct visualpresentations and stylish recipes for her catering business as a source for her first book, the bestselling Entertaining, which was first published in 1982.Stewart’s natural business instincts and leadership skills helped her to transform her smallbusiness into a media empire. She joined Kmart as an image and product consultant in 1987, andpersuaded the retailer to sell her growing line of products. She eventually became partners with the 2firm. This partnership helped her gain the capital necessary to break free of Time Warner, publisherof her highly successful Martha Stewart Living magazine. When Stewart and Time Warner disagreedon her intentions to cross-sell and market her publishing, television, merchandising, and Webinterests, she used everything she owned to buy back the brand rights of her products andpublishing for an estimated $75 million. In 1999 she took her rapidly growing business public.Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the company she created, soon owned three magazines, a TVand cable program, thirty-four books, a newspaper column, a radio program, a Web site, and amerchandising line, as well as the Martha by Mail catalog business. Its media properties reached 88million people a month around the world, allowing them to command top advertising rates.Martha Stewart’s successes soon became widely recognized. Her television show won an Emmy,and Adweek named her “Publishing Executive of the Year” in 1996. She has been named one of“New York’s 100 Most Influential Women in Business,” by Forbes 400, “50 Most Powerful Women”by Fortune, and “America’s 25 Most Influential People” by Time. In 1998 she was the recipient of anEdison Achievement Award from the American Marketing Association. Stewart has also earnedmany other national awards and honors.Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is clearly a success story that turned a small catering businessinto a well-known brand and made its founder synonymous with stylish living and an advocate ofgood taste. Even those who have ridiculed Stewart’s perfect-housewife image acknowledge herconfidence and business acumen. One author commented, “To the degree that her businesspartners were prepared to help advance the success of Martha Stewart, she was prepared to workwith them. To the degree that they got in her way, she was willing to roll right over them.” Anotheradmired her hard-working nature by saying, “Anyone who spends more than a few minutes withAmerica’s most famous homemaker learns that she is one heck of a juggler.”THE INSIDER TRADING SCANDALThe scandal that would threaten Stewart’s career stemmed from her association with ImcloneSystem, a biopharmaceutical company in which Stewart owned stock. Stewart sold 4,000 shares ofImClone stock on December 27, one day before the Food and Drug Administration refused toreview ImClone System’s cancer drug Erbitux. The company’s stock tumbled following the FDA’sannouncement. A similar situation occurred with a number of other ImClone insiders, including thecompany’s counsel John Landes, who dumped $2.5 million worth of the company’s stock onDecember 6; Ronald Martell, ImClone’s vice president of marketing, who sold $2.1 million worth ofcompany stock on December 11; and four other company executives who cashed in shares betweenDecember 12 and December 21. The event was too coincidental to be ignored.DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SCANDALLater investigations revealed that after learning the FDA would refuse to review Erbitux, SamWaksal, the CEO of ImClone and a close friend of Stewart, instructed his broker Peter Bacanovic—who was also Stewart’s broker—to transfer $4.9 million in stock to the account of his daughterAliza Waksal. His daughter also requested that Bacanovic sell $2.5 million of her own ImClone 3stock. Sam Waksal then tried to sell the shares he had transferred to his daughter, but was blockedby brokerage firm Merrill Lynch. Phone records indicate that Bacanovic called Martha Stewart’soffice on December 27 shortly after Waksal’s daughter dumped her shares. Stewart’s stock was soldten minutes later.Sam Waksal was arrested on June 12 on charges of insider trading, obstruction of justice, and bankfraud in addition to previously filed securities fraud and perjury charges. Although he pleadedinnocent for nine months, Sam Waksal eventually pleaded guilty to insider trading and another sixout of thirteen charges. Waksal, who was sentenced to seven years in prison but was released afterfive, said in his plea that, “I am aware that my conduct, while I was in possession of material nonpublic information, was wrong, I’ve made some terrible mistakes and I deeply regret what hashappened.”Martha Stewart denied that she engaged in any improper trading when she sold her shares ofImClone stock. On December 27, Stewart says she was flying in her private jet to Mexico for avacation with two friends. En route, she called her office to check her messages, which included onefrom her broker Peter Bacanovic, with news that her ImClone stock had dropped below $60/share.Stewart claims she had previously issued a “stop-loss” order to sell the stock if it fell below$60/share. Stewart called Bacanovic and asked him to sell her 3,928 shares; she also called herfriend Sam Waksal, but could not reach him. Stewart’s assistant left a message for Sam Waksalsaying, “Something’s going on with ImClone, and she wants to know what it is. She’s staying at LosVentanos.” Waksal did not call her back. At about the time Stewart made her sale, she was on herway to Mexico with friend Mariana Pasternak.However, Stewart’s explanation that she unloaded her stock because of a prearranged sell ordercollapsed when Douglas Faneuil, the broker’s assistant who handled the sale of the ImClone stockfor Stewart, told Merrill Lynch lawyers that his boss, Peter Bacanovic, had pressured him to lieabout a stop-loss order. Although he initially backed Stewart’s story, he later told prosecutors thatBacanovic prompted him to advise Stewart that Waksal family members were dumping their stockand that she should consider doing the same. During interviews with law enforcement officials,Faneuil said, “I did not truthfully reveal everything I knew about the actions of my immediatesupervisor and the true reason for the sales.” He reportedly received money or other valuables forhiding his knowledge from investigators. Faneuil pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge onOctober 2. Martha Stewart resigned from her board membership of the New York Stock Exchangethe next day. Faneuil was later fined $2,000 but did not receive jail time. Merrill Lynch fired Faneuilafter he pleaded guilty; Bacanovic was also fired for declining to cooperate with investigatorslooking into trading activity of ImClone Systems Inc. shares.THE PROBEIn August 2002, investigators requested Stewart’s phone and e-mail records related to ImClonestock trade and her Merrill Lynch account as well as those of her business manager. Stewart andBacanovic could not provide proof that a stop-loss order existed. Congressional investigators forthe U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee could not find any crediblerecord of such an order between Stewart and her broker. However, portions of the documents 4presented to the committee were unreadable because they were blacked out. Stewart’s lawyerslater agreed to return to Capitol Hill with unedited documents. The committee did not call MarthaStewart to testify in front as her lawyers had made it clear that she would invoke her FifthAmendment right to remain silent. Investigators, who had been negotiating unsuccessfully withStewart’s lawyers to arrange for her voluntary testimony, came to believe that Stewart has been“stonewalling” and would not cooperate. Many wondered, “If Ms. Stewart has been straight abouther story, then why wouldn’t she tell it under oath?” Throughout the period after the scandal brokeout, however, Stewart and her spokespeople declined to comment or could not be reached. TheHouse Energy and Commerce Committee ultimately handed the Martha Stewart/ImCloneinvestigation over to the U.S. Justice Department, with a strong suggestion to investigate whetherStewart had lied to the committee.Additionally, the SEC indicated that it was ready to file civil securities fraud charges against Stewartfor her alleged role in an insider trading scandal and her public statement about the stop-lossarrangement with her broker. Federal prosecutors widened their investigation to include whetherStewart’s public statements about why she sold ImClone shares were intended to increase the priceof her own company’s stock and constituted securities fraud. Federal law bars officers of publiccorporations from knowingly making false statements that are material in effect—meaning theyhave the potential to shape a reasonable investor’s decision to buy or sell stock in a particularcompany. If prosecutors would be able to prove that Stewart made a deceptive statement to repairher credibility, it could be actionable.Ironically, Martha Stewart could have sold her ImClone stock on December 31 instead of December27 and collected $180,000 in profit without raising any concerns. That’s just $48,000 less than whatshe gained through the earlier sale. Although Stewart denied any wrongdoing, the scandal slicedmore than 70 percent off the stock price of Omnimedia and, according to one estimate, washedaway more than a quarter of her net worth. Before the scandal Stewart had an estimated net worthof $650 million.CONVICTION AND JAIL TIMEPerhaps one of the more damaging testimonies which sealed Martha Stewart’s fate was thetestimony of her then friend Mariana Pasternak. On the witness stand, Pasternak revealed that shebelieved Stewart had made a statement indicating her involvement with insider trading. Accordingto Pasternak, Stewart had said, “Isn’t it nice to have brokers who will tell you these things” ataround the time the alleged misconduct took place. With testimonies such as these and the failureto provide proof that a stop-call order existed, the situation looked bad for Stewart.The jury found Martha Stewart guilty on four counts of obstructing justice and lying toinvestigators. On June 17, 2004, a judge sentenced Martha Stewart to five months in prison and twoyears of supervised release, along with fining her $30,000. Stewart went to prison proclaiming herinnocence, which she still maintains to this day. Although Stewart had appealed her sentence andcould have waited until her appeal before serving time, she opted to “put the ordeal behind her.” In2006 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York upheld Stewart’s conviction.5When the scandal first became public, Martha Stewart began a campaign to detach herself from theevents. However, she could not escape questions about the insider trading scandal. Even in aregular weekly cooking segment on CBS’s “The Early Show,” host Jane Clayson attempted to askabout the scandal, but Stewart responded: “I want to focus on my salad…” Her refusal to testifymade many wonder whether she really was innocent. On CBS News, for example, Steven Fink,president of Lexicon Communications, questioned Stewart’s choice of avoiding to face thequestions: “Someone as culturally prominent as Stewart would be expected to address the publicand she has not really done that, resulting, rightly or wrongly, in the perception that she hassomething to hide.”When she was sent to prison, however, Martha Stewart seemed to do an about face. Though sheaccepted her sentence, she continued to maintain her innocence, even invoking the name of formerSouth African president Nelson Mandela as an example of the “many good people who have gone toprison.” During her jail time, she kept in contact with her fans by posting letters on her websitedescribing her life in prison. By going to prison early, one marketing expert believes she went “fromvillain to victim.” The result was that although Martha Stewart’s image was tainted, she stillmaintained her popularity and many of her fans’ loyalty. Around the time of her release, shares atMartha Stewart Living Omnimedia were nearly four times higher than they were when she wassentenced.MARTHA STEWART TODAYToday Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is making a comeback through a number of differentventures. Partnerships include E. & J. Gallo (Martha Stewart Vintage wines), KB Home (Marthabranded Homes), and Macy’s (Martha kitchen, dining, and bedding collections). Martha Stewartherself hosted two shows, her short-lived “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart” and “The MarthaStewart Show,” currently aired on the Hallmark channel. She also published a book, Dinner at Home,which became a bestseller.Yet although Martha Stewart appears to be rebounding, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia hassuffered. The scandal occurred at an unfortunate time for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Thecompany’s publishing arm was in its mature stage, its television show was suffering decliningratings, and the Internet operation was taking heavy losses. At her conviction Martha Stewart’sbrand equity for her personal brand was ranked worse than Enron’s. Although it has increased oncemore, it is not as high as it was before her conviction. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia lost $16million in 2008 when the recession hit and experienced an estimated loss of $10 million in 2010. TVratings for “The Martha Stewart Show” fell 70 percent in 2010 compared to the year before.A major problem that Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia encountered with Stewart’s convictionand incarceration was its strong association with Stewart. Market analysts believe that thecompany depended too heavily on the name and image of its celebrated founder. Before thescandal, Stewart personified a brand that associated with her credibility and honesty—traits thepublic and investigators called into question with her conviction. In this case, the strength of thebrand also becomes its weakness, as it is hard to tell where the person ends and the brand begins.Market analysts agree that Stewart needs to take steps to ensure that the brand can go beyond the 6person. Stewart believes that her business can live on without her because it is now a combinationof her artistic philosophy, spirit, and creativity of others. Marketing experts are not so sure. Whilesome feel that the brand can stand on its own, others believe it is still too hard to separate MarthaStewart the person from Martha Stewart the brand.PERSPECTIVES ON THE MARTHA STEWART SCANDALTo this day the Martha Stewart scandal continues to yield different opinions. Supporters of Stewartaccused the prosecution of unfairly targeting Stewart because of her popularity. Stewart avoided a$51,000 loss by selling her ImClone shares. Scandals that were occurring around the same timeperiod resulted in much greater losses. For example, Mark Swartz and Dennis Kozlowski wereconvicted of cheating Tyco out of $600 million, while misconduct at Worldcom and Enron costinvestors billions and lost thousands of employees their jobs. It should be noted, however, thatmany of these men are serving years of prison time, whereas Stewart received five months.Additionally, prosecutors and lawmakers stated their hope that Stewart’s conviction would act as asignal that corporate misconduct would not be tolerated no matter who the perpetrator is.Unfortunately, Martha Stewart’s insider trading scandal pales in comparison to the more recentscandals of companies like Lehman Brothers and Countrywide and individuals like Bernie Madoff’s,who is guilty of a $65 billion Ponzi scheme. Insider trading investigations also rocked the hedgefund industry. In 2009 New York hedge fund billionaire Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Group wasindicted in a $21 million insider trading case. Galleon Group hedge fund trader Danielle Chiesi laterpleaded guilty to leaking information on stocks including those from IBM and AMD. Ironically, inone wiretapped exchange Chiesi even compared her situation to Martha Stewart’s. Rajaratnam waslater found guilty of 14 counts of securities fraud and conspiracy.Clearly, instances of insider trading have not died down since the Martha Stewart scandal. However,Stewart’s conviction did demonstrate that high-profile individuals would not be immune from thepenalties of misconduct. Even successful CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are being forced toaccount for questionable behavior, as evidenced by Mark Hurd’s resignation from Hewlett-Packardafter an internal probe indicated sexual harassment. Lawmakers are taking a strict stance againstcorporate malfeasance, and corporations are in turn beginning to hold management to higherethical standards. One can hope that Martha Stewart’s conviction and the more recent conviction ofhigh-profile individuals like Raj Rajaratnam of Galleon Group will reduce future instances of suchmisconduct.QUESTIONS1. What role has Martha Stewart’s image played in the insider trading scandal?2. Will Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia survive if Martha Stewart were to leave the company?In order to survive, what changes will need to be made at the company?3. How has Martha Stewart’s conviction impacted the business environment today?Please Note: The answer must be in the form of essay.Sources:Christopher M. Byron, Martha Inc.: The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2002).Diane Brady, “Martha Inc. Inside the Growing Empire of America’s Lifestyle Queen,” Business Week, Jan. 17, 2000.Julie Creswell, “Will Martha Walk?” Fortune, Nov. 25, 2002, 121–124.Mike Duff, “Martha Scandal Raises Questions, What’s in Store for Kmart?” DSN Retailing Today, Jul. 8, 2002, 1.“Feds Tighten Noose on Martha,” CNN/Money, Feb. 6, 2003, June 17, 2011).Charles Gasparino and Kara Scannell, “Probe of Martha Stewart’s Sale of Stock Enters Its Final Phase,” Wall Street Journal, January24,2003, C7.Dan Collins, “ImClone Founder To Pay The Price,” CBS News, February 11, 2009, (accessed January 18, 2011).“ImClone Probe Costly for Martha Stewart,” MSNBC, Jan. 27, 2003, M. Madigan, “Woman Behaving Badly,” Across The Board, July/August 2002, 75.Jerry Markon, “Martha Stewart Could Be Charged as ‘Tippee,’” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 3, 2002, C1, C9.“Martha’s Mouthpiece: We’ll Deliver,” CBS News, August 20, 2002, July 18, 2011).Matthew Rose, “Martha Stewart Firm Has Loss As ImClone Probes Take Toll,” Wall Street Journal, March 4, 2003,,,SB1046721988332486840,00.html (accessed June 18, 2011)/Amy Merrick, “Can Martha Deliver Merry?” Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2002, B1, B3.Keith Naughton, “Martha’s Tabloid Dish,” Newsweek, June 24, 2002, 36Keith Naughton and Mark Hosenball, “Setting the Table,” Newsweek, September 23, 2002, 7.Dan Collins, “New Witness in Martha Probe,” CBSNews, August 9, 2002, (accessed June 17, 2011).Marc Peyser, “The Insiders,” Newsweek, July 1, 2002, 38–53Thomas A. Stewart, “Martha Stewart’s Recipe for Disaster,”, July 3, 2002.Jeffrey Toobin, “Lunch at Martha’s,” The New Yorker, February 3, 2003, 38–44.Thor Valdmanis, “Martha Stewart Leaves NYSE Post,” USA Today, October 4, 2002, 3B.“Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. Company Profile,” Yahoo! Finance, (accessed January20, 2011).Megan L. Thomas, “Martha Stewart Omnimedia is Omnipresent,” MSNBC, August 6, 2010, (accessed January 20, 2011).“Stewart sentenced to five months in prison,” The Sydney Morning Herald, July 17, 2004, (accessed January 20, 2011).Krysten Crawford, “Martha, out and about,” CNNMoney, March 4, 2005, (accessed January 20, 2011).“Stewart convicted on all charges,” CNNMoney, March 10, 2004, January 20, 2011).Lauren Silva Laughlin, “What Martha Stewart should learn from Hugh Hefner,” Fortune, January 12, 2011, (accessed January 20, 2011).David Carr, “Martha Stewart, Unchained,” The New York Times, August 29, 2005, (accessedJanuary 20, 2011).Melly Alazraki, “ImClone's Sam Waksal: Out of Jail and Doing Biotech Deals Again,” Daily Finance, December 26, 2010, (accessedJanuary 20, 2011).Oren Yaniv, “Witness in Stewart Case Gets A $2,000 Fine On Guilty Plea,” The New York Times, July 24, 2004, January 20, 2011).Lee Ferran, “Martha Stewart’s Former Friend Wanted Apology,” ABC Good Morning America, March 16, 2010, (accessed January 20, 2011).“Martha Stewart’s conviction upheld,” CNNMoney, June 6, 2006, (accessed January 20, 2010).Alex Weprin, “ ‘The Martha Stewart Show’ Leaving Syndication for Cable,” Broadcasting & Cable, January 26, 2010, (accessedJanuary 20, 2011).Megan L. Thomas, “Martha Stewart Looks to Complete Comeback,” ABC News/Nightline, November 18, 2009, January 20, 2011).Chad Bray, “Broad Insider Probe Yields More Charges,” The Wall Street Journal, January 11, 2011, C3.Susan Pulliam and Chad Bray, “Key Plotter Pleads Guilty in Galleon,” The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2011, A1-A2.“Raj Rajaratnam Indicted for Insider Trading,” ABC News, (accessed January 20, 2011).Krysten Crawford, “Martha: I cheated no one,” CNNMoney, July 20, 2004, (accessed January 20, 2011).Connie Guglielmo, Ian King and Aaron Ricadela, “HP Chief Executive Hurd Resigns After Sexual-Harassment Probe,” Businessweek, August7, 2010, January 20, 2011).Rolfe Winkler, “Martha Struggles to Craft Profits,” The Wall Street Journal, December 24, 2010, C8.

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