Early today, Barry Minkow and Fraud Discovery Institute released a report on Lennar Corporation (NYSE:LEN), highlighting what the authors believe to be ten red flags of fraud at the company. Lennar’s stock was hit hard by the news.
It didn’t take long for Lennar’s CEO Stuart Miller to speak out against the allegations. About all he was able to do, however, is try to discredit the messenger. Lennar didn’t have any substantive response to any of the allegations, they simply highlighted Barry’s well-known criminal past and referred to Nicolas Marsch (Barry’s client) as a “disgruntled litigant.”
But I suppose that if I invested $37.5 million into a project with Lennar that turned out to be one of the company’s most successful residential developments ever, and then Lennar refused to pay me anything (not any profits, not a return of the original investment), I’d be a little disgruntled too.
Take a look at Stuart Miller responding in this video on the CNBC site. Does he look like a man who is confident in the company’s innocence? Or does he look nervous and evasive? And how do you like his statement that the company has too many joint ventures (around 300 at one time) to be able to provide any information about them to the SEC and investors? Does that give you confidence in the company’s financial statements?
Because I’d like to believe that they have to gather information about these joint ventures in order to produce accurate financial statements, and with today’s technology, I’m quite sure Lennar could provide information if management chose to do so.