Three stories you may have missed during the holiday break



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For those lucky enough to be out of touch with New Hampshire media during the holidays, here’s what you may have missed in the world of local business.StockerYale CEO acquittedShortly before Christmas, Mark Blodgett, chief executive of StockerYale Inc., was acquitted of assaulting former employee Wei Xu in the facility parking lot Oct. 9, shortly after StockerYale sold its North American operations to Coherent Inc.The incident was apparently related to whether Xu – on his last day at the company – would sign papers that included a non-compete clause without more compensation. Police alleged that Blodgett pulled Xu out of the car, threw him to the ground and started choking him.But Michael Iacopino, Blodgett’s attorney, said Blodgett acted in self-defense — that Xu attacked Blodgett, and he fought back only after Xu allegedly kicked him in the groin. Xu was a “very disgruntled employee” who had a long-term dispute with the company that he was not adequately compensated, Iacopino said.Both prosecutors and the defense claim that a videotape of the incident backed them up. Blodgett also produced an eyewitness employee who claimed that Xu was the aggressor. The Salem District Court judge sided with Blodgett. Audit release is not enough Shortly before Christmas, New Hampshire Banking Commissioner Peter Hildreth released copies of audits of the bankrupt Financial Resources Mortgage of Meredith, which showed repeated violations by the firm, raising questions of solvency dating back to 2001.The company, which left investors with millions of dollars in worthless paper, is now the subject of federal and state investigations.Hildreth said that the audits, which showed the company repeatedly failed to provide financial statements and did business with unlicensed entities, only focused on residential mortgages, whereas the massive alleged fraud had to do with investments in commercial mortgages, which was a matter to be handled by the state Bureau of Securities Regulation.But Securities Bureau Director Mark Connolly fired back with a statement released shortly before New Year’s, saying that “a mortgage is not a security” and that “any entity conducting mortgage business in our state should at minimum be adequately capitalized.”He also said that the Securities Bureau still hasn’t received the unrestricted access to Bank Department records needed if it were to take regulatory action against Financial Resources.Meanwhile, a bankruptcy court judge has put all civil lawsuits against Financial Resources Mortgages on hold until the mess is sorted out. FairPoint’s loss FairPoint Communications released it first full monthly financial report before the holidays, and it didn’t read like a Christmas Card.The report covers November — the first after the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 26 — showed a loss of $7.5 million. FairPoint actually reported a $363,000 operating gain, but the company had to pay $5.3 million in income taxes and $2.6 million in reorganization costs.Another pre-Christmas filing will give some insight into some of the company’s bankruptcy expenses. The Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors has hired Bayview Management to help it look at whether the bankruptcy court should allow a pre-bankruptcy deal between FairPoint and Capgemini that gives the Atlanta-based consulting firm 60 percent of some $50 million held back because of alleged poor service. No other unsecured creditor received a similar deal.According to the filing, Capgemini didn’t want Bayview to see the documents, because Bayview once was an independent contractor for FairPoint. This dispute – said the creditors — would put off a Jan. 13 hearing on the motion to pay off Capgemini. The legal costs involved in the delay, of course, will be borne by the bankruptcy estate – namely FairPoint. Bob Sanders can be reached at bsanders@nhbr.com.

 

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