By Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News Service
NEW YORK — Executives from a Panamanian securities dealer cannot make the Securities and Exchange Commission foot the bill for the “bacchanalian adventure” that accompanied their deposition in London, a federal judge ruled.
Exasperation dripped Thursday from the court’s refusal to make U.S. taxpayers underwrite the European jaunt of Verdmont Capital’s principals and counsel.
“This dispute reveals, yet again, that no application is too preposterous for a federal judge,” the terse three-page order (pdf) from U.S. District Judge William Pauley III states.
Verdmont was one of five financial institutions that regulators accused last year of making more than $75 million from unregistered sales of “virtually worthless” penny stocks.
The SEC’s case bankrupted Cayman Islands-based Caledonian Bank in February 2015.
Though Pauley reamed regulators in November for wildly overstating their case against Caledonian, he allowed the claims against Verdmont to proceed.
Pauley also authorized depositions for two of the company’s principals, Glynn Fisher and Taylor Housser, in London, with all expenses at “reasonable commercial prices” on the taxpayer’s dime.
The commission informed Verdmont that the current government lodging rate was $322 a night including taxes, but the executives took a more liberal view of what qualified as reasonable expenses.
“The reimbursement requests that Verdmont now submits to this court can only be characterized as exquisite,” Pauley marveled.
Fisher, Housser and Verdmont’s counsel paid approximately $6,000 per person on first-class flights to London.
“After arriving at Heathrow, Fisher booked two $700-per-night rooms at the five-star Lanesborough,…