Does Apple board member Al Gore have an options problem?

Apple Store“Everyone knows the former Veep is on Apple’s board, but he’s also on the board’s compensation committee. That raises the odds that he could land on the hot-seat if it turns out that Apple’s stock options ‘irregularities’ are of the sort that lead to civil or even criminal charges. In fact, former members of the comp committee at Mercury Interactive were notified by the SEC in June that they’re likely to face civil charges. With that instance in mind, one SEC expert who requested anonymity says: ‘If there’s a problem at Apple, Gore’s globe is going to be warming.’ Call it An Inconvenient Truth,” Peter Burrows writes for BusinessWeek.

Burrows explains, “I don’t think it will come to that, and here’s why: because this scenario would be based on an unlikely eventuality (that Apple will indeed be found to have fraudulently and massively abused options accounting rules) on top of an another unlikely eventuality (that the government will find the compensation commitee members individually culpable.)”

“Most likely, neither of these stars will line up that way. My hunch is that Apple will finish its internal investigation, make a smallish restatement to earnings that investors will hardly notice, and that will be that. As for unlikely eventuality No. 2, it seems reasonable that the Feds would only charge compensation committee members who played an active role in designing and supporting illegal schemes. And Gore didn’t join Apple’s board until 2003–while the company so far has said it has only found irregularities from the 1997-2001 timeframe,” Burrows writes.

Burrows writes, “So why bother writing the post? Because the fact is that Al Gore is Al Gore, and the possible ramifications–no matter how remote–are just so great. Just think of it: George Bush’s SEC or even DOJ going after a potential Democratic presidential candidate, and the man who many believe beat Bush in 00. Can you imagine the headlines? The partisan rancor, with outraged Liberals accusing the Bushies of Nixonian abuses of power, and Conservatives pointing to more evidence of Democratic ethical emptiness?”

More in the full article here.

Related articles:
Shareholders allege Apple execs reaped ‘millions’ in unlawful profits – August 23, 2006
How options-backdating irregularities can affect your Apple Computer stock – August 23, 2006
Apple’s options imbroglio: Mac-maker granted options at or near key events in company’s history – August 18, 2006
Apple added to Nasdaq’s list of ‘delinquent companies’ – August 18, 2006
Apple unlikely to be delisted by NASDAQ – August 16, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs drawn into stock options scandal – August 15, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – August 11, 2006
As expected, Apple delays quarterly results due to stock-options grants review – August 11, 2006
Some stock options grant decisions were made by Apple board, and potentially, CEO Steve Jobs – August 10, 2006
Disney: no material impact from Pixar options – August 09, 2006
Pixar options draw scrutiny – August 08, 2006
Apple stock options scandal? What scandal? – August 07, 2006
Class action lawsuit over stock options filed against Apple Computer, Inc. – August 04, 2006
Wall Street forgiving of Apple’s stock option irregularities; CEO Jobs unlikely to be terminated – August 04, 2006
Apple’s stock option irregularities escalate into a scandal as world awaits Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote – August 04, 2006
Apple warns of profit restatement dating back to 2002 – August 04, 2006
Apple loses 3.5% to $67.15 in premarket trading – August 04, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – August 03, 2006
Shareholder’s options suit against Apple alleges ‘striking pattern that could not have been chance’ – July 11, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – July 05, 2006
UBS: stock options probe unlikely to hurt Apple – June 30, 2006
Apple joins growing list of companies entangled in stock option ‘irregularities’ – June 29, 2006
Apple to investigate stock option grant ‘irregularities’ made between 1997 and 2001 – June 29, 2006

88 Comments

  1. What’s the chance that Hillary opens her Mail.app and fires off a senatorial email to the SEC to investigate Al Gore.

    Rush Limbaugh would have a field day, as would John Kerry, Karl Rove, and Uncle Sam.

  2. “Okay, people, let’s not get into another political bash here, no matter what side of the aisle you’re on. This is a Mac site.”

    Oh, I get it, Al Gore may be a hypocritical, nonobjective, lying, and self-serving ignoramus and media whore, but we are constrained to write about these things because this is a Mac site. If Al Gore is above criticism than so should Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Michael Dell, Sim Wong Hoo, Paul Thurrott, Rob Enderle, Rush Limbaugh, George Bush, Dick Cheney, et al.

    Perhaps you are unaware that many, if not most, persons here at MDN have gleefully tolerated and/or encouraged despising and denouncing other people for such villainous behavior as poor coding and substandard diets. Don’t be a hypocrite now and assume the self-righteous position of false modesty, restrained circumspection, and vigilant nonjudgmental deportment when your own come under suspicion of illegal or unethical behavior.

    If Al Gore is found guilty of some civil or criminal infraction, it will likely be characterized by many sanctimonious halfwits as:

    1. Something done with the best intentions, therefore excusable.
    2. A conspiracy by Karl Rove and others, therefore not Al Gore’s fault.
    3. An honest mistake, therefore justifiable.
    4. An example of bad laws designed to attack virtuous people.

    In other words, Al Gore and others like him are not obligated to obey the same laws and regulations as the rest of us, and are free from any personal or professional criticism, judgment, review, or disapproval. Bullshit. Al Gore is a citizen like you and me and everyone else.

  3. Typical, the more heat placed on Al Gore, the more criticism is expressed by his supporters against their common adversaries. I have to conclude that if Al Gore can’t justify his actions he releases his lapdogs to bark loudly at someone else. The Democratic Party strategy must be, “If you can’t defend your integrity and virtue, distract public attention by pointing out the flaws of your political enemies and re-visiting tired and disproven conspiratorial theories.

  4. Just a few questions:
    1. Who else sits on that compensation committee?
    2. How did individual members vote on individual issues?
    3. Who drafts the resolutions?
    4. Who advises committee members on the legal aspects? A non-lawyer and even a lawyer not versed in these matters would be hard pressed to see the legal ramifications, especially if “everybody does it”, as it seems.
    This is not to defend anyone. I have no opinion on Gore. But I would like to know more on the workings of such committees before judging anybody on it.

  5. Hey, George, why doesn’t Al Gore speak as candidly as you? Is Al having a difficult time getting the right words together? Will his high-priced lawyers speak for him instead? C’mon, George, give Al a call and tell him to post his news and views on MDN. Al Gore said that he invented the internet, surely Al Gore can locate MDN on the web.

  6. Yes, I was at the meeting when stock option irregularities were discussed. I may have approved the stock options deal but I just vote like I’m told. No, I really didn’t understand all that financial mumbo-jumbo. Besides, I was sleeping most of the time. Yeah, yeah, and when I wasn’t sleeping I was distracted by worry about global warming and thinking about the children. Uh, huh. What was the question again?

  7. hagar57:

    Excellent points! However, if Al Gore doesn’t understand the specifics of stock options and illegal business transactions, this begs a few questions:

    1. How would such a dolt and ethically-challenged person make a better president than George Bush?
    2. How could a senator, devoid of such intelligence and understanding, actually vote with a clear conscience on laws dealing with stock options?
    3. Are stupidity and ignorance now excuses for approving illegal activity or receiving financial benefit from illegal activity?
    4. If Al was absent from the meetings when these issues were discussed, what reason was he receiving a paycheck? I don’t known may occupations that require no work for financial compensation, NCAA Division-I football and basketball starters being the only exception.

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