It is always the coverup
A few weeks ago, Apple reported that its executives had been cleared of any wrong doing regarding backdating of stock options. Then, on Friday, the WSJ and AP let it be known that the investigation may have not been so crystal clear. Was the “all clear” horn sounded a bit prematurely?
Turns out that some of the “evidence” didn’t survive carbon-dating. While it is easy to remind that it’s always the cover-up that sinks folks, in this case, I’m not sure it’ll make much of a difference as far as Jobs is concerned – except in the unlikely event that he asked for it to be done.
“On Friday, the Journal said the false documentation was created by an Apple attorney named Wendy Howell. It said records were improperly created to claim that the grant was approved at a special board meeting that month, but no board meeting took place then. The newspaper said Apple dismissed Ms. Howell last month.”
Hmmm. Was no one paying attention to the HP case? You just can’t expect to create a board minute for a meeting that didn’t take place, and hope that the SEC will never figure it out. But the real question is: why would a lawyer manufacture something like this in the first place? It wasn’t her own grant she was allegedly trying to justify.
This story may eventually, sadly, bring almost the same level of scorn on Apple as it did on HP. The lack of spy tactics and pretexting will keep it out of a Congressional hearing room, but it will be interesting to see how the alleged beneficiary (Jobs) of an option grant is shielded from all of this.
Unintentional backdating of options seemed ok (particularly when it involved a tech icon); allegedly manufacturing evidence to support the original event isn’t.