Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Martha's Christmas Special: Carving Ornaments from Soap  | e-mail post

While I personally think that Martha Stewart got far more than what was coming to her with her conviction, I think it is impressive that she has decided to skip the appeal process and simply do her time. [Yahoo] [Washington Post] It's only 5 months on the inside, and she will be able to get back to her garden by springtime, as she observed.

And if anyone wants to take issue with my claim that she was treated harshly, I would only point out that she sold ImClone stock in such a way that would have enriched her, at most, say $125,000 (the official number is that she saved about $51,000, so I am being generous to her critics). I am certainly not saying this is insignificant, and I would welcome any gifts from individuals who do find it so. However, it represents a miniscule fraction of her net worth.

I find it unlikely that she would jeopardize her business reputation, personal wealth and career to hedge what amounted to one-fiftieth of one percent of her net worth (and I based this on just her Omnimedia holdings at the time). This would be the net financial equivalent of an individual with a million-dollar net worth trying to steal $150 item. This seems unlikely. And certainly, as a former stockbroker herself in the 1970’s (let alone her obvious business savvy), she would be clear the potential risk. Further, she willingly paid back any ill-gotten gains promptly.

Ultimately, I think she got the short end of the stick because politically-motivated prosecutors viewed her case as an opportunity to get out of the business pages and tap into all the voters who get most of their news from People, Us or "Entertainment Tonight."

e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Wednesday, September 15, 2004
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