excerpts of an article from todays WSJ http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304410204579141760526200476?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_yourmoney
Mark Cuban Calls a Foul on the SEC
Wall Street Regulators Tried to Shake Down the Wrong Celebrity Billionaire.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has berated referees, insulted fans, screamed at players, and once even told Kenyon Martin's mother that her son was a thug.
The Securities and Exchange Commission must have figured him for an easy mark.
When the regulator sued Mr. Cuban for insider trading in 2008, it likely figured he would pay his fine.
The SEC could then score a high-profile headline. And Mr. Cuban, who would not have had to admit guilt, could move on. That is, after all, how these cases usually went.
"Mark Cuban didn't follow that playbook," says Andrew Stoltmann, a Chicago securities attorney and adjunct law professor at Northwestern University. "Instead, he thought he could put the SEC through the wringer, and that's exactly what he did."
Mr. Cuban—an Internet entrepreneur, a celebrity billionaire that average Americans watch on the reality TV series "Shark Tank" and a showman who once competed on "Dancing with the Stars"—spent more money in legal fees fighting the charges than it would have cost to settle them.
"I'm glad I'm able to be the person who can afford to stand up to" the SEC, he said.
The case hinged on a witness who did not even appear in court. SEC lawyers offered recorded testimony from Guy Fauré, former chief executive of Internet search firm Mamma.com. DPSI 0.00%
The SEC alleged that Mr. Fauré gave Mr. Cuban information that Mr. Cuban agreed to keep confidential. Instead, Mr. Cuban dumped his shares in Mamma.com after hearing it.
Unfortunately, Mr. Fauré lives in Canada, where Mamma.com was based. The SEC couldn't force him onto the witness stand. It built its entire case on this one "Guy" who didn't show.
Mr. Cuban was merely accused of trying to avoid a loss—not repeatedly gaming the market. And evidence presented during the trial suggested that the information he acquired may have been publicly available, anyway.
—Al Lewis is a columnist based in Denver. He blogs at tellittoal.com; his email address is email@example.com