Goldstein Takes Aim At ‘Bully’ Galvin

Feb 12 2007 | 11:16am ET

It seems Phillip Goldstein has found a new regulatory punching bag.

The manager of activist hedge fund Bulldog Investors, who last year successfully got the Securities and Exchange Commission’s hedge fund registration rule tossed, is livid over what he calls a sting operation aimed at him and his company, and the target of his fury is Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.

“I’m not going to let some pompous ass sitting in Boston tell me I can’t talk to somebody or give somebody information when they ask for it,” he told Investment News. “This is not really about hedge funds; it’s about the First Amendment, and I think Galvin is just trying to get a trophy.”

The matter in question is a 75-page complaint filed by Galvin on Jan. 31 against the Saddle Brook, N.J.-based activist investor, accusing it of marketing to non-accredited investors. And the non-accredited investor in question is Brendan Hickey of Quincey, Mass., who, for you conspiracy buffs, apparently requested the information at the behest of RMR Advisor, which is also suing Bulldog, accusing it of violating and ownership limit in one of its closed-end mutual funds. And no, Hickey is not employed by RMR—RMR President Thomas O’Brien suggested to IN that it might have something to do with Hickey’s computer prowess.

Galvin say’s he not interested in why Hickey registered on the Bulldog Web site and received the information, just that he did.

“They [Bulldog] were seeking investors without making sure they are accredited,” he told IN. “They apparently believe they have the right to do this.”

To which Goldstein replies: I do have the right. “Providing information is not the same as selling something, and this is still a free country, and that includes Massachusetts,” Goldstein said. “What’s the big deal? We’re not planning a kidnapping here.” He adds that, in registering, Hickey agreed that receiving the information did not constitute a solicitation.

“I guess Galvin’s strategy is to file now and do the research later,” Goldstein parried. “He’s just a bully, and people don’t want to get caught in his cross hairs.”

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