Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Payoff

I just got a little richer after opening my mail.

I got a check for a whopping 89 cents. Yes, they spent 44 cents to mail me my 89 cents.

OK, now re-read the first sentence and put an emphasis on the word LITTLE.

Don't spend it all in one place, right?

This windfall came as my settlement for a stock which went belly-up several years ago. I didn't know it, but I was part of a class action suit, In re The Leslie Fay Companies, Inc., Securities Litigation.

Yes, I do remember my decision to invest in the Leslie Fay Company went badly. They declared bankruptcy, so my little piece of the company tanked long ago.

I even remember making the decision to invest in Leslie Fay for my IRA. I remember having some dresses produced by Leslie Fay. I liked those dresses. So when searching for investment choices for my IRA, I went with this charming clothing company.

Bad idea.

Some of my other sentimental choices over the years have fared better. Once upon a time, I chose Little Golden Books.

I loved Little Golden Books. There was Tootle the train. There was the Saggy Baggy Elephant. There was the Scrawny Tawny Lion.

I remembered Little Golden Books from my childhood. My kids seemed to like them just as much.

Those little gems originally sold for 25 cents. At those prices, I could now buy THREE with my Leslie Fay distribution! Unfortunately, the price has gone up, and I couldn't buy even one today with my 89 cents.

Anyway, I decided to invest in Western Printing and Lithographing Co. in Racine, Wisc., then the parent company of Little Golden Books. In 2001, Random House acquired Golden Books for about $85 million.

I think I did OK with that takeover.

Another emotional decision was based on my son's love at the time. He absolutely loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I mean, he really LOVED them.

(This was Brent's birthday cake, made by his Grandma Marie)

I happened to know some other little boys who loved them, too. And I figured there were lots of little boys who I didn't know who were just as fanatical about Donatello, Michelangelo and the gang. (Just so you know that I know the rest, they are Raphael and Leonardo.

So I purchased stock in New Line Cinema, which produced the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies.

Cowabunga! New Line Cinema became a subsidiary of Time Warner in 1996.

Turtle Power! It merged again in 2008 with its larger sister studio Warner Brothers.

To this day, I still get a little thrill when I'm watching the opening credits of a movie and see the New Line Cinema logo.

So my emotional investments aren't always bad.

But ... back to my Leslie Fay distribution.

The letter says: "You should consult with your tax advisor to determine the tax consequences, if any, of this distribution to you."

Gee, I guess I'll save my pennies and skip a phone call to my accountant. I don't think 89 cents is going to do much.

Warning: This post is not designed to serve as investment advise for you. Then again, why would you want to take investment advice from someone whose big payoff was 89 cents?


  1. That is sooo funny!! I like Leslie Fay clothes, too! Sorry they went belly up!

  2. -Your favorite and only son-in-lawMay 13, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    I love the advice! And you were right I loved (and love) the Ninja Turtles too, and so did my brothers!