(Details come from in-courtroom tweets by Anna Driver of Reuters, LT Langford with Houston Chronicle, other media observers. At one point Thursday, Judge David Hittner stopped all Tweeting by non-media. If you’re a Twitter follower, look for all Tweets #stanfordtrial.)
Reports about today’s witnesses …
1. Leo Mejia – hired by Stanford to make sales brochures for his Guardian Bank in Montserrat. Courtroom tweets say Mejia testified that he saw Stanford changing numbers of the annual report. But he admitted he had no direct knowledge of the business. Defense notes that Stanford’s insurance business dated back into 1940. Defense says Guardian left Montserrat because of Hurricane Hugo. Judge notes that Mejia was in advertising, not a banker.
Apparently, Mejia got sharp pressure from defense questions and fairly “ran” out of the courtroom when he was dismissed, reporters noted.
2. Jason Green – former Stanford financial adviser in Baton Rouge, La. Says he’s being sued by former customers, not SEC yet. Detailed bonus system for CD brokers. Said “growth” was a priority at Stanford. Stanford very “hands on” in developing promotional material. Stressed Stanford wanted U.S. clients with $1M or a $200K annual income.
Stanford set up teams to compete for CD sales. Names like “Stanford Superstars,” “Miami Money Machine,” Green testifies. Says he feared a run on Stanford Int. Bank in 2008 when economy tanked because investors were cashing in so fast. Says Stanford wanted company to be the world’s largest privately held financial firm.
When Stanford needed money in 2008, he said he’d go to the Libyans – They love me.
3. Govt. shows jury video from October 2008 broker meeting in Miami. (This was four months before U.S. SEC sued and Stanford empire began to crash.)
Stanford tried to reassure brokers. Tells staff, “we got to hold our clients hands … we have to stay calm.”
Green said Stanford obsessed about CD sales growth, then spent Christmas 2008 in wine country with golfer VJ Singh. In December 2008, Stanford said the business lost $600M in one day.
By February 2009 (month when SEC filed federal complaint against Stanford et al), Green said money was flowing out the door from CD redemptions and Stanford halted early withdrawals.
On Feb. 11, Green said he e-mailed Stanford on behalf of other advisers to say something more must be done to restore confidence. He never heard back. “The silence was deafening,” he said.
(I’ll be on the road Friday, so watch our Stanford site for live Tweets from the courtroom. I’ll be there myself on Monday…. patsy)