Early this week, word that falsified documents may mean more trouble for Apple on stock-option backdating was the rage on the business pages. Then came Wednesday evening’s bomb from the Financial Times, reporting that the minutes of a board meeting granting Apple’s iconic CEO Steve Jobs a massive pile of options were fabricated to make it appear the board had granted the award on a suspiciously lucky day.
Depending on who you listen to, Jobs — the closest thing to a sex symbol that ever waddled out of Silicon Valley — is either facing problems or is 95 percent in the clear. (Is anyone checking that math? ) While The Recorder learned last week that Jobs has his own lawyer for backdating issues, a big question has been, who’s the attorney?
We’re hearing whispers that Jobs has hired New York defense lawyer Mark Pomerantz to represent him in the ongoing criminal options probe. Pomerantz is a courteous guy. Reached last week on vacation, he was happy to answer a reporter’s e-mail — until the subject turned to Jobs. That’s when he stopped responding to e-mails, with the exception of an apologetic “no comment” on Wednesday. The Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison didn’t confirm or deny his role — if any — in the case.
An Apple spokesman said he had no information on Jobs’ representation, and with Apple and its star CEO trying hard to prevent the appearance of any potentially conflicting interests, that policy seems unlikely to change anytime soon.
But Pomerantz would certainly appear to be a good choice: While he’s far from the insular Silicon Valley legal world, he has experience in high-profile criminal matters, including some in the Valley. In recent years, Pomerantz has represented banker Frank Quattrone, Martha Stewart-scandal player Sam Waksal, and ex-New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli. This year, he’s been representing three board members from Mercury Interactive who are involved in a months long probe of options grants at that company.
Over the next few weeks, new information is expected to come out in the Apple investigation. Most significant is the company’s imminent 10(k), which it’s due to file on Dec. 29. The document is expected to quantify and detail the company’s options problems. Whether that spurs any more information on Jobs’ lawyer remains to be seen.
— Justin Scheck