'Evidence of animus and intent to retaliate'

Tennessee Commerce says it will appeal the seven-figure order against it by OSHA officials investigating the bank's 2008 firing of former CFO George Fort. Scanning through the regulators' findings, which say there was "a strong inference of retaliation" in the bank's actions, it appears it will have its work cut out. From page 4: "In Complainant's presentation to the Audit Committee on February 15, 2008, he noted Mr. Helf told him "it would not be a good idea for you to go the audit committee." From page 6: Discussing the timing of Fort's being placed on administrative leave, investigators note that officials began working on a Securities and Exchange Commission filing before the bank's board officially decided to sideline Fort. They also write that current COO Lamar Cox e-mailed an auditor about a new CFO search five weeks before Fort was fired. Also on page 6: "There is also evidence of animus and intent to retaliate against Complainant... Mr. Cox stated in one email that he was "in a 'get even' mode and I am enjoying every minute of it." Read the full OSHA report here.
Mar 19, 2010 12:40 PM

Advocat investor tops 15%

Dallas-based investment firm Marlin Capital Partners has added more than 42,000 shares to its large stake in Advocat, lifting its stake in the Brentwood nursing home chain to 15.3 percent. Shares of Advocat (Ticker: AVCA) took a dive last week after the company reported its Q4, but have quickly regained that ground.
Mar 17, 2010 10:49 AM

HealthSpring insiders sell big

Two directors of Medicare Advantage insurer HealthSpring sold a combined $4 million of the company's stock in the past week, taking advantage of its run from $5 to more than $18 in the past year. Benjamin Leon Jr., whose company HealthSpring bought in late 2007, on Thursday and Friday unloaded almost 150,000 shares for roughly $2.8 million. Leon still owns almost 1.3 million HealthSpring shares, about 2.2 percent of the Franklin-based company. (Leon only got access to his shares last November after Leon Medical Centers had built two clinics in Florida. Search for '355' here.) Separately, RegionalCare CEO Marty Rash sold 86 percent of his 72,000 shares on Friday and Monday. The sales were worth more than $1.1 million. HealthSpring shares (Ticker: HS) have rebounded strongly in the past year as the overall market recovered and the prospects of a comprehensive health insurance overhaul have diminished. They are now back in the range where they spent much of 2007 and 2008.
Mar 9, 2010 7:30 AM

NHI trims REIT stake

In a filing with the SEC, National Health Investors says it sold 100,000 shares of LTC Properties, a West Coast-based real estate investment trust late last year. The $2.6 million sale leaves NHI with 675,000 common shares of LTC (Ticker: LTC) as well as convertible preferreds that lifts its holdings in LTC to more than 10 percent.
Mar 3, 2010 12:15 PM

Insiders still so-so about the market

Guy Lerner checks in on some technical indicators — particularly the latest rise in selling by company execs and directors — to build the case that the market is in a tight range that has to go down a good bit before it can break out again.
Mar 2, 2010 10:44 AM

S&P upgrade boosts LP

Standard & Poor's analyst Pamela Rice on Friday raised her outlook for Louisiana-Pacific, saying the Nashville-based building products supplier has the financial muscle to capitalize on the expected rise in housing starts this year and next. Shares of LP (Ticker: LPX) are up more than 3 percent this morning to a new 52-week high. Separately, longtime LP director Archie Dunham last week bought more than $1 million of LP shares. Dunham had until then owned less than 9,000 shares outright; he now owns almost 160,000.
Feb 22, 2010 11:06 AM

Insider-trading case link to FTN Equity's demise?

The Journal has a good read (behind its pay wall) connecting the Galleon Group insider-trading investigation to the Monday closing of FTN Equity Capital Markets. Wall Street trader Danielle Chiesi, who was arrested in October in connection with the Galleon case, is a former fiancée of William Bischoff, the ex-CEO of the research unit of First Horizon. After that news broke, FTN sidelined Bischoff as it conducted an internal investigation that eventually completely cleared Bischoff. But by then, the damage to FTN's sale prospects had been done: More than a quarter of its analysts and brokers had walked and year-to-date revenues were off more than 60 percent, Bischoff told the Journal.
Feb 4, 2010 8:25 AM

BioMimetic GC likes his options

Earl Douglas, general counsel at Franklin-based BioMimetic Therapeutics, has so far this year more than tripled his holdings in the company via two option exercises. Look for similar deals from other insiders in the coming months: The options Martin converted were issued shortly after BioMimetic (Ticker: BMTI) went public in 2006 at about a third of the company's current market price.
Jan 20, 2010 7:28 AM

NHI insider selling again

Robert Webb, a director of Murfreesboro-based National Health Investors, on Monday unloaded more than $1.1 million worth of shares in the company. The transaction came a week after Webb sold more than $600,000 worth of NHI and four months after his first significant sale of 2009.
Dec 30, 2009 8:02 AM

Delek's majority owner with well-timed vote of confidence

Israel-based Delek Group last week bought more than 120,000 shares of Delek US, the parent of Mapco and other gas station brands in the Southeast. The purchases lifted the holding company's stake in its U.S. arm to 74 percent and took place after the stock had fallen below $6, its lowest level since January. Since then, though, Delek (Ticker: DK) has rebounded 15 percent — and continued to rise after hours Tuesday — adding to 2009 gains that are nearing 30 percent.
Dec 23, 2009 8:55 AM