Hedge Fund Manager To Get Paid, Thanks To Judge

Aug 15 2007 | 7:42am ET

A promise is a promise, especially if a judge doesn’t think you are credible.

A Minnesota judge has ordered hedge fund Southway Partners to pay a former portfolio manager $1.83 million in unpaid bonuses plus interest, in spite of the fact that the manager, Paul Bottum, had no written agreement specifying the arrangement.

According to Bottum, Southway owners Jim Jundt—the former owner of the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings—verbally promised Bottum a $1 million bonus for each year his fund beat the Standard & Poor’s 500. Bottum did just that in 2000 and 2003, but received only $175,000, according to court filings.

Jundt and his son, Marcus, who also ran the firm, denied ever making such a promise. But Judge Gary Larson, citing Jim Jundt’s “evasive” testimony, sided with Bottum.

“That James Jundt… purports to remember certain events in great detail, while disavowing even the most basic knowledge of the operation of the firm he founded and operated for nearly 20 years, casting doubt on his credibility,” the judge wrote. He also said the younger Jundt “exhibited credibility issues” during his divorce proceedings. His split with his wife was allegedly the excuse the Jundts used to avoid paying Bottum—they said they feared she would claim a portion of the firm’s liquid assets, Bottum charged.

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