And so the cannibalism at the very top begins. According to a statement just released by Barry Wm. Levine, attorney of David Sokol (who was slated to be the next head of Berkshire... until Berkshire decided to sue him that is), none other than the Octogenarian (soon possibly the Outcast) of Omaha was in fact lying, and arguably committing 10(b)-5 fraud by not disclosing the full details of his and Sokol's involvement in the situation in the Lubrizol proxy. To wit: "Mr. Buffett was told twice, not once, about Mr. Sokol’s ownership of Lubrizol stock before Mr. Buffett engaged in any discussions with Lubrizol." And we personally can't wait for Munger to be the next fall guy: we are confident that Charlie will suck it in, like every other good citizen who benefited from the infinite taxpayer largesse. Grab the popcorn - it's dirty laundry "on the record" time.
Full statement of Barry Wm. Levine, attorney for David Sokol
I am profoundly disappointed that the Audit Committee of Berkshire Hathaway would authorize the issuance of its report to the public without the care and decency to ask even a single question of Mr. Sokol. Mr. Sokol had been associated with the Berkshire Hathaway companies for 11 years. During this time, his indefatigable efforts helped create enormous value for the Berkshire shareholders. He deserved better. While I take issue with much of the Committee’s report, I briefly make the following points. If the Audit Committee had asked, it would have learned that:
- Mr. Sokol had been studying Lubrizol for personal investment since the summer of 2010; such investments are specifically allowed by his employment agreement.
- Mr. Buffett was told twice, not once, about Mr. Sokol’s ownership of Lubrizol stock before Mr. Buffett engaged in any discussions with Lubrizol.
- Contrary to the Audit Committee’s statement, Mr. Sokol’s Lubrizol shares were not acquired pursuant to a “100,000 limit order.” Rather, they were purchased as a result of several limit orders, over a period of days, at specified prices, for the day only, in order to acquire the stock at low prices. At that time, Mr. Sokol had no reason to anticipate that Mr. Buffett would have any interest whatsoever in Lubrizol.
I have known Mr. Sokol and have represented his companies in business litigation since the mid 1980s. I know him to be a man of uncommon rectitude and probity. He would not, and did not, trade improperly, nor did he violate any fair reading of the Berkshire Hathaway policies.