Wooldridge opens fire -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Wooldridge opens fire -- UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, Jun 6, 2006 at 4:45 PM

Is Tim Wooldridge behind? Our guess would be yes. He's gone nuclear on opponent Bill Halter's business record. Some of it his people have been salting on the blog previously. Now he's stepping behind it himself. All the griisly details in full news releases on the jump.

 

UPDATE: The Halter camp responds, in full, also on the jump.

 

Wooldridge news release

Wooldridge Questions Halter’s Real Experience

May 26, 2006 – (Little Rock, AR)  - Senator Tim Wooldridge of Paragould, Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, said today that Arkansans should have some real questions about Bill Halter’s professional associations and experience.

“Bill Halter raised this issue on his latest television ad,” Wooldridge said.  “He makes the statement that he would ‘…take my experience leading five high-tech companies and use it to improve our schools..’.  The question I have for Mr. Halter, is exactly which experience he is referring to?

“Is it the experience of losing hundreds of millions of dollars?  Is it the experience of  being forced to pay restitution to small investors who were cheated?  Is it how to deal with a federal justice department investigation? 

“Perhaps it’s the experience of profiting from online gambling and internet pornography,” Wooldridge said.  “Does he actually want to teach our children that it’s alright to profit from those types of industries, even using those ill-gotten gains to seek public office?  Maybe he sees little wrong with those issues, since one of the companies he ‘leads’ was found to be storing images from teen pornography and gambling sites on public school and university servers,”  Woodridge said.

Gary Moody, Wooldridge’s campaign manager, said “The only thing most Arkansans know about Bill Halter is what he’s told them in his television advertising.  He moved back to Arkansas last fall after being gone for over 20 years, expecting to be welcomed with open arms in a race against Mike Beebe for Governor.  When that didn’t happen, he jumped into this race and began painting a picture of himself that is less than complete,” Moody said.  “He wants to tout himself as a business ‘whiz kid’, but in reality, he has made himself wealthy while his companies are losing hundreds of millions of dollars.  Those are the facts.”

When it comes to actually improving the quality of life in Arkansas, Wooldridge says there is little comparison between his performance and Halter’s promises.  “He likes to talk about how his influence in business will help Arkansas land new jobs.  But if he’s so influential and cares so much about Arkansas, why hasn’t one single job been created here by one of his companies?” Wooldridge asked.  “I have been either the lead or co-sponsor of the Consolidated Incentives packages the past two sessions in the General Assembly.  This legislation is helping create over 11,000 new jobs, and is responsible for almost $2.8 billion in investment back into our economy. 

“I have served the people of Arkansas for almost two decades in the House and Senate, casting over 15,000 votes during my tenure.  My service is an open book, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.  If Bill Halter wants to ask Arkansans to give him the privilege of serving as Lt. Governor, then he should be more open and honest about his experience.”

# # # # #

Wooldridge news release II

Background:

Mr. Halter’s current television advertising campaign features the following statement: “As Lt. Governor, I’ll take my experience leading five high-tech companies and use it to improve our schools…” – Bill Halter.

 

Bill Halter currently serves on the board of four companies: Akamai Technology, WebMethods, Threshold Pharmaceuticals, and Xenogen. Late last month, he resigned from the board of Intermune Corporation amid SEC and Federal Justice Department investigations into the companies marketing practices.

 

With the exception of Akamai, Halter’s business ventures have been financial disasters. During the time that Bill Halter has served on their Boards of Directors these companies have lost the following sums:  1. InterMune lost $290,465,000 

                                                 2. Threshold Pharmaceuticals lost $52,818,000

                                                 3. webMethods lost $32,806,000

                                                 4. Xenogen lost $128,931,000   (www.nasdaq.com)

                                                Grand Total lost: $505,020,000 (over half-a-Billion dollars)

 

The one profitable company Halter has been involved with is Akamai, who has some business practices that are cause for concern, including business relations with the gambling and pornography industries. Background information on it and the other companies Halter has been involved with is detailed below:

 

Akamai Technologies:

Bill Halter joined the Akamai Technologies Board of Directors in August 2001.  He has been a member of the Compensation Committee since March 2004.  (Akamai Technologies, SEC Form DEF 14A, 04/11/05)

 

Akamai Technologies “enables companies and government agencies to deliver Web content and applications (including ads, video, and other high-bandwidth content). 

 

Cheating Small Investors - Akamai Technologies went public in 1999, at the height of the Internet bubble, and latter was forced to pay as much as $1 billion as a result of a legal settlement on charges that they cheated small investors.  The agreement, which was reached in June 2003, stipulated that the issuing companies, including Akamai Technologies, would pay nothing if an eventual payout from banks exceeds $1 billion.  “In the unlikely event the banks’ payout falls below $1 billion, the companies would have to make up the difference.”  (USA TODAY, 06/27/03)

 

Gambling and Porn - Akamai Technologies has long-term business relationships with purveyors of teenage pornography and Internet-based offshore gambling operations.  It was “using university networks to help deliver content for Web sites featuring teen pornography and potentially illegal offshore gambling.”  In December 2002, “Akamai Technologies…apparently began to stop using server computers it…installed at universities and colleges to help deliver Web content from teenage porn and offshore gambling sites.”  In 2002, company spokesman Jeff Young “would not comment on specific servers but reiterated…that Akamai is phasing out its relationships with three gambling sites and with porn sites, both of which he said represent less than 1 percent of Akamai’s annual revenue of more than $100 million.”  (Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, 12/07/02, and National Journal’s Technology Daily, 12/04/02)

 

Cashing in stock for Campaign dough- The $800,000 sale of Akamai stock in October, '05 that Halter used to fund his candidacy is detailed below. I wish I could almost double my money in a day with one stock trade. Other buys and sales for the last two years can be found at: http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=AKAM.

3-Oct-05

HALTER, WILLIAM A
Director

50,000

Direct

Automatic Sale at $16 per share.

$800,000

3-Oct-05

HALTER, WILLIAM A
Director

50,000

Direct

Option Exercise at $8.13 per share.

$406,500

 

InterMune:

Bill Halter joined the InterMune Board of Directors in July 2002.  He is a member of the Compensation Committee, and has been from July 2002 until his recent resignation.  (InterMune, SEC Form DEF 14A, 04/20/05)

 

InterMune is a pharmaceutical “company focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapies in hepatology and pulmonology.”  (www.intermune.com)

 

Federal Investigation - The U.S. Justice Department, in 2004, opened an investigation into the marketing of Actimmune by InterMune.  “Actimmune, which has generated hundreds of millions of dollars in sales, is approved only for treatment of two extremely rare childhood diseases.  Yet ‘substantially all’ of the sales are for a fatal adult lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, according to the company’s…regulatory...” filings. 

 

 “Several former InterMune employees said in interviews…that the company actively promoted off-label use of Actimmune, which costs patients about $50,000 a year.  Sales representatives were told to repeatedly call on lung doctors but to record their visits in the company’s computer system as relating to a different drug, they said.  And bonuses were paid to representatives based on Actimmune sales, virtually all of which were for the off-label use, they said.

 

One former sales representative, Joan Gallagher, sued the company in March [2004], saying it had fired her for refusing to go along with what she said were illegal marketing practices.  InterMune…denied the allegations in the lawsuit.”  (The New York Times, 11/11/04)

 

Multi-million class action lawsuit - InterMune, in May 2005, also “agreed to hand over $10.4 million to shareholders to settle a 2 year-old class-action lawsuit.

 

The litigation…charged the company and two former executives with securities fraud.  Plaintiffs alleged that InterMune and its past CEO and chief financial officer had falsely projected sales forecasts two years ago for one of its products, Actimmune (interferon gamma-1b).” 

 

“When the Brisbane, Calif.-based company revised its guidance downward, and admitted that it had overstated the number of patients using the drug, its stock lost a third of its value in a single trading day.”

 

“That prompted the original lawsuit.”  (BIOWORLD Today, 05/11/05)

 

Threshold Pharmaceuticals

Bill Halter joined the Threshold Pharmaceuticals Board of Directors in October 2004.  (Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Prospectus, 02/03/05)

 

Threshold Pharmaceuticals is a pharmaceutical company that is focused “on discovering and developing therapeutics based on its Metabolic Targeting system.  (www.hoovers.com)

 

webMethods:

Bill Halter joined the webMethods Board of Directors in August 2003.  He is a member of the Compensation Committee, and has been since August 2003.  (webMethods, SEC Form DEF 14A, 07/22/05)

 

Cheating Small Investors webMethods went public in February 2000.  It was involved in the same legal settlement as Akamai that was discussed above for cheating small investors.”  (USA TODAY, 06/27/03, and www.webmethods.com)

 

Enron Accounting - webMethods, in February 2005, restated “its 2004 financial results by about $5 million because of improper transactions and accounting activities.”  According to the company, employees of a “subsidiary, WebMethods K.K., conducted improper licensing transactions, did not record certain expenses, borrowed money without authorization and misled webMethods managers about the unit’s financial results.  The Securities and Exchange Commission…launched an informal investigation into the matter, the company said.”  (The Washington Post, 02/04/05)

 

Xenogen:

Bill Halter, in April 2002, joined the Xenogen Board of Directors, which is a biotechnology company “whose medical imaging technology is used by Bayer, Pfizer and Chiron to help discover and develop drugs.”  (Alameda Times-Star, 04/03/04)

 

Since Xenogen went public in July 2004, the stock price has plummeted from $8 per share to approximately $3 per share.

 

HALTER NEWS RELEASE

On the day after the NAACP questioned Tim Wooldridge’s advocacy for public hangings on county courthouse lawns across Arkansas, Tim Wooldridge reaches for negative campaigning in a desperate attempt to change the subject.

 

Wooldridge’s charges are reckless and false. 

 

Akamai is an industry leader and the only company that expressly prohibits these practices in detail within their own “Acceptable Uses Policy”.  (see below)

 

Voters understand that this is nothing but another distorted and desperate political attack. 

 

Tim Wooldridge said at a primary debate sponsored by the Young Democrats at the Arkansas Education Association:  “I don’t think I make myself look taller by trying to step on anyone else.”

 

This accusation is beyond the bounds of what is acceptable behavior.  He owes Arkansas voters an apology.

 

-30-

 

Below is an excerpt from Akamai's "Acceptable Uses Policy" http://www.akamai.com/en/html/misc/acceptable_use_policy .html :


 

Inappropriate and Illegal Content
Customer shall not use the Akamai Network and Services to transmit, distribute or store material that is inappropriate (including online gambling), as reasonably determined by Akamai, or material that is illegal, defamatory, libelous, indecent, obscene, pornographic, enables online gambling or inconsistent with the generally accepted practices of the Internet community.

 


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