Lumber Liquidators’ Ray Cotton adds insult to shareholders’ injury., the Pioneer of Activist Short Selling, has not been involved in the activist short selling campaign in Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Inc. (NYSE Symbol: LL; $27.95). has not and may not publish an investment opinion on the value of LL’s shares of common stock., as explained below, is biased against the protagonists that CBS has sanctified.  Since preannouncing the CBS’ 60 Minutes story just 9 trading days ago LL’s stock has fallen from $68.78 to $27.95, or 59.4%. Short sellers have been questioning the company’s valuation and compliance for over a year and half.

CBS 60 Minutes story intensified LL’s negatives and then repeatedly remarketed the story in several CBS media outlets and then marketed the story’s effects, which have included political action, stories about customer reactions and disturbances in the process of setting federal standards that will affect the company’s cost structure. And of course the daily massive stock drops.

CBS 60 Minutes clearly had a deliberate and intentional editorial purpose. It dismissed LL’s Founder Tom Sullivan’s objection that its protagonists, who had no expertise in the subject matter, relied on testing organized by short sellers. This represents a drastic departure for the program, which has traditionally harbored a strong negative bias against short sellers. In the Biovail matter CBS 60 Minutes used the same exact tactics to ask the protagonists in that story if short sellers has committed crimes. The question is what motivated this change of heart.

The CBS 60 Minutes protagonists were practitioners of what is referred to as the “pity industry” or“blame advocates.” These victim entrepreneurs are experts at the creation of the illusion of empathy for a profit while showing displeasure for American capitalism. I am certain that our short seller fellows found it difficult to accept these things and for helping CBS 60 Minutes’ ratings.

The true story may never be known. LL may find empathy in the Courts and with regulators. Its customers may remain loyal. But at least one item appears to need no further investigation. LL made an inexplicably embarrassing mistake in hiring Ray Cotton has its Senior Vice President, Chief Compliance and Sustainability Officer and it must correct at least this one plainly obvious example of poor managerial judgment forthwith.  Mr. Cotton’s Twitter and personal website personas and his public comments to the press about his recruitment problems and disorganization are offensive to the seriousness of his position and the company’s circumstances and his claim to be a member of ASIS International’s Board is not support by the information on its organization’s website and is made incredible by his own presentation.

Posted in Lumber Liquidators Holdings, Other Coverage

Manuel Asensio doesn’t bet often. But when he does, it’s wise to pay attention.

Paul Kaihla
eCompany Now
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