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Harry Beck

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  • Will Blyth Shares Go Parabolic As Unshorted Float Approaches Zero? [View article]
    Agreed. Plus, the shorts are usually right in their assumption about the fundamentals of a company. Timing is another issue, as we all well know.

    I am now out of this name even if the thesis of a squeeze still look plausible.
    Sep 16 03:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Blyth Shares Go Parabolic As Unshorted Float Approaches Zero? [View article]
    Based on the option activity, some shorts are already hedging. Devastated? Perhaps, perhaps not. Still, it is an expensive way to hedge and this could go much higher as the mo-mo traders jump on board.
    Sep 15 01:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Green Mountain Coffee: One Of My Favorite Shorts [View article]
    I never assumed GMCR is a cash cow, and I am looking for a way to short it. I was only trying to suggest stocks that have outrageous valuations sometimes keep those valuations for a very long time.
    Sep 15 01:26 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Green Mountain Coffee: One Of My Favorite Shorts [View article]
    The big accounting issue the shorts see is the inventory levels, which for a while increased much faster than sales. Either sales keep increasing to justify these amazing inventory increases, or something else will happen. In terms of Einhorn, being right does not mean the trade will be profitable. Look at HLF. Do 99% of the people make money in MLM? Of course not. Is the stock a cash cow? You bet. Enough said.
    Sep 14 10:27 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]
    Well, the Fifth District Court of Appeals, Dallas, Texas ruled last week that life settlements are securities in Texas, reversing other rulings and conforming to the rest of the Untied States. It took LPHI over a week to issue a press release and there is still no 8-K. Since the Life Partners business model depends upon having unlicensed salespeople, I cannot fathom anything is being sold right now. An appeal could take many months. With no sales/revenue, rapidly shrinking assets, and the trials starting in a few months, I have no idea why the stock is still so high. It should easily be below $1.00.
    Sep 13 03:37 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Blyth Shares Go Parabolic As Unshorted Float Approaches Zero? [View article]

    The setback seems for real, but the bears are trapped and management seems to know this. I have been a little long and nervous because of the deteriorating fundaments. Still, a squeeze is a squeeze. Did you see the number of calls traded today? I don't know yet if that is a hedge or bullish bet.
    Sep 13 03:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Blyth Shares Go Parabolic As Unshorted Float Approaches Zero? [View article]
    The stock is shorted for a good reason but...just like with HLF there are more people who couldn't care less. Nice article. This looks like a squeeze (and a big one) before it collapses. How are you guys playing it?
    Sep 13 02:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Vail Resorts: Owning The Mountain, Shredding The Gnar [View article]
    That is what the press release and cc indicates plus an inflation adjustment on top of the $25 million pre year. Talisker gets to develop 4 million sq. ft. of space.

    I agree with you in that MTN will greatly increase skier days and lodging. I have skied Canyons a lot, and everything is in place except for a larger conference center and the golf course (delayed first because of a lawsuit and later because of $ has started). Vail should be able to increase earnings $10,000,000 off the property by 2017 as they expect to. If the Interconnect gets back on track--and it won't until this insane lawsuit is over--earnings could explode off the Canyons property. The past two years have been poor for snow, the Sierras and Wasatch are due.
    Sep 3 01:55 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Vail Resorts: Owning The Mountain, Shredding The Gnar [View article]
    It is true, and it is also much more complicated than I described ablove. Before I begin, I made an error. The lease is for $155,000 per year and not $144,000 per year. This equates to less than 1600 lift tickets purchased at the window, which is covered on one lousy day out of a 130-day or longer season!

    Talisker (Jack Bistricer) bought the UPCM lease around 2004, a few years before he bought Canyons from the cash starved American Ski Company. The lease covers some 3700 acres of PCMR land, but not the buildings or parking and some of the lower land. Powdr (owns PCMR, Killington and a bunch of smaller resorts) through subsidiaries put in leasehold improvements believing the lease would have a 2011 extension taking it to 2051.

    Meanwhile Talisker put in something like $70 million of improvements into Canyons, making it a "Top Ten" North America resort, giving Park City three of them. Talisker also made enemies due to their leadership on the SkiLink, a proposal to link Solitude and Canyons via a gondola through federal land. This is the big picture: The four Cottonwood Canyons resorts and the three PC resorts want to "interconnect", giving a European style skiing experience and making it easy to compete with Colorado. All of the land is private except for the Canyons-Solitude link. All these resorts are very close as the crow flies (four boarder each other), but far apart in terms of the open winter roads and the extra powder dumping in the Cottonwoods due to the micro-climate off the lake.

    Anyhow, PCMR sent the lease renewal letter in on a Monday, when it should have been mailed the previous Friday. Talisker did nothing for months, and then claimed the lease was null and void and demanded higher rent. PCMR cried foul, claiming the lease renewal letter was written and signed that Friday (later proved wrong by really pissed off Taliker lawyers in discovery), that Talisker and PCMR had previous dealings about a chair linking the resorts, that Talisker claimed to tax authorities that the lease would go to 2051, etc. Making it more complicated is the wording of the old lease, and what transpired among the parties of the lease BEFORE Talisker bought the asset.

    So this is a mess and a local and industry soap opera. PCMR sued for a declaratory judgment and a trail will be sometime in 2014.

    How does Vail fit into this? Talisker made a world-class resort out of Canyons during a time when the economy tanked, but has investors that want cash flow. All the capital improvement have been made except for a golf course. So Bistricer structured a 50-year lease to Vail with a bunch or renewals making this effectively a sale (a lease might help Vail with anti-trust issues, I don't know because I am not a lawyer). Talisker gets $25 million per year is all in the press release. Part of the deal is Vail picking up the lawsuit over the lease owned by a Talisker subsidiary. So MTN may get PCMR for free, or it may get a higher lease payment (Talisker is paying $3 million per year to Wolf), or it may get nothing. No matter what happens, Vail cannot lose. The lease is a free option that goes with the purchase.

    Vail is also now hedged in case the Interconnect happens. If they did lose Colorado skier days due to an Utah interconnection of seven resorts, they will now make it back in spades simply by owning the Canyons since little lodging can exist near the four Cottonwood Canyon resorts.

    I hope this helps.
    Sep 3 01:09 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]

    In terms of the shorts, I am not sure many are left. The stock trading is interesting, to say the least. The stock has traded 600 shares so far today. Yes, that is 600 shares or $1250 of a stock that had devastating news on Friday (the previous trading day). How can this stock trade so little with the State of Texas being clear that it previously wanted to put Life Partners out of business (and tried to do so), and may try to do so again given this recent court ruling?

    I saw this low volume thing happen once before as a young man wet behind the ears. I'll bet Wacky Waco and others know what I am thinking. I'll just wait and see how it plays out.
    Sep 3 12:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]
    enrozni & DanKahan,

    Wacky Waco is IMHO correct with his analysis of the market. It terms of making cash another way...that is not true. Spreadsheet the financials and you will see cash is dropping fast. The company has not been CFFO positive for a long time, and their once "strong" cash position should be (as of today) well below $10 million on the way to zero (IMHO). Much of LPHI investments have been sold off, and the trust investment touted to save the company is now in the hands of unnamed investors (I think that was a bust, anyway). Much of the cash that left the company was never used in the normal course of operations, but was paid out in dividends with half going offshore to the CEO's family trust domiciled in Gibraltar during a time when cash flow was negative. With little cash left and with so much of the investments sold off , there may be perhaps nothing for the plaintiffs to collect should they prevail in suits for fraud, stock fraud, RICO, etc. Well, they still have the Wooly Mammoth (listed as an artifact on the balance sheet), but I don't think you can get $200k for it on ebay.

    The problem with your preferred share scenario is that life settlement investments now (as of Friday) have to be sold by those subject to registration. These securities will have a full disclosure requirement. The Life Partners model had been (until last Friday) packaging large policies to be sold as unregistered investments by unlicensed salespeople with sales material and sales pitches that do not conform with those used by people selling registered securities. Who would purchase a preferred share Life Partners security given these reps are not registered, the SEC and other suits disclosed to potential investors, the inability to keep using the current illustrations, the requirement to use a defined performance presentation standard (the performance in the aggregate probably isn't very good), etc.

    Fraud is ubiquitous in the retail life settlement space. This is a fact. Most broker/dealers in the USA won't touch a life settlement investment that is retail oriented due to past fraud and their misunderstanding of the asset. This is mainly an institutional market, that has declined in size with the decline of STOLI policies.

    In terms of transparency, Wacky Waco hit the nail on the head.
    Sep 3 12:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]

    It seems I am right based upon the latest court ruling in TX. The fractional investments are now deemed securities, and I imagine LPI will appeal. Still, how much can be sold if the investments are subject to registration? The LPI business model is based upon not having the disclosure required when an investment is deemed a security. The trust investment was never impaired, but it was sold off to unnamed investors. It doesn't appear that the investment is doing well, does it? LPHI is rapidly running out of operating capital. The SEC and other civil plaintiffs have not backed down and we are a few months away from the beginning of these trials.

    I have no idea why LPHI has not issued an 8-K on the recent court ruling. I am beginning to wonder how their auditors defire "Going Concern."
    Sep 1 02:34 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is This The End Of Life Partners Holdings? [View article]

    The TSSB won the appeal, and Life Partners lost. Read the court opinion:
    "...the Court expressly disagreed with the Waco Court of Appeals, which had reached the opposite conclusion in a previous case, and instead followed rulings by the 11th Circuit, the Tyler Court of Appeals, and several courts in other states. In doing so, the Court rejected Life Partners’ argument that it was engaged in the business of selling insurance, which is exempted from regulation by the TSA."

    The fractional investments are now securities in TX per this court's ruling, and the LPI business model is based on the investments being something other than securities. FYI, "securities" need registration and full disclosure. Again, this is not part of the LPI business model.

    Someone told you they "won all legal problems?" I don't think so. In fact, cases will begin going to trial soon. "Very good margins...?" I don't think so. The company has been cash flow and earnings negative for some time now. There is little cash left in the company with so much of it paid out in the form of executive compensation and in dividends.
    Sep 1 02:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Vail Resorts: Owning The Mountain, Shredding The Gnar [View article]
    You guys are all nuts or blind. MTN has a free option after they agreed to lease Canyons from Talisker, the United Park City Mine Lease. It turns out Powdr never wrote the letter for the lease extension on the date they said they did, and there is no doubt the lease extension came in 3 days late. SO TALISKER JUST SENT PARK CITY MOUNTAIN RESORT AN EVICTION NOTICE! This means MTN may get Park City Mountain Resort for free! Free! They can then operate it or lease it to someone else if there are anti-trust issues (the lease agreement with Canyons is more or less a sale since it is for 50 years plus numerous extensions). The trial was set for spring but the eviction notice may speed things up a bit (perhaps a settlement).

    PCMR is owned by Powdr Corp. and was paying $144,000 per year to lease their land and had a 40 year extension. This lease is way below market. A market rate lease is probably worth $3,000,000 per year. But they blew it by not mailing in the lease extension on time.
    Aug 29 10:20 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Coming Demographic Shift: How To Invest [View article]
    Half truths are whole lies:
    1) According to the LPHI filings, the current life settlement market stood at $4 billion in transactions two years ago. According to Conning Research's November 15, 2012 press release, the yearly transactions in 2011 was at $1.2 billion, significantly less than $18 number you concocted. See:

    2) LPHI is currently being sued by the SEC and in multiple class-action lawsuits alleging fraud, stock fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and RICO centering around the way they calculate life expectancies when valuing policies before selling fractional shares of those policies to the investing public (see pages 55-59 in the 10-K/A). LPHI is accused of purchasing a large life insurance policies marketed using life expectancy estimates from traditional providers, and then repricing the same policies for sale to the investing public using a much shorter LE. The plaintiffs claim the shorter LE was provided by a Reno oncologist who under testimony stated he has no actuarial experience and never attended a life settlement conference. The lawsuits have not yet gone to trial.

    3) Life Partner's was recently investigated by a Texas NBC affiliate, KSHB TV 41. This TV investigative report, along with negative articles from several newspapers (like the WSJ), will not help Life Partners turn around sales (see: .

    4) LPHI is quickly running out of cash, with negative CFFO and large reported losses (the amended 10K for the previous fiscal year was filed this week). The company believes in their filings that these losses will continue unless the SEC suit is settled successfully. Despite these losses, the company continues to pay an enormous dividend with over 50% paid out to shares controlled by the founder mostly held in an offshore family trust.

    5) The new 10K is expected soon, and I wonder if your article is designed to pump the stock before it appears? If the management of Life Partners is correct--they sign off on the financials--nothing will change unless the SEC suit is successfully settled. Are you betting that will happen?

    Stating or writing several truths before adding things that aren't true is an old technique of fraudsters and those involved with propaganda. Where I come from, a half-truth is a whole lie.

    BTW, I would like to see Life Partners turn things around, but first they have to settle the SEC and other suits, and then they have to have clients who are getting their expected returns. RIght now there is nothing that indicates to me that anything will change.
    May 3 01:35 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment