Saturday, October 17, 2009

WHERE IS TOM SCOZZAFAVA (AND HIS SISTER DEDE?)

We thought this would be a timely repost from a long, long, long time ago. Thought of this post today when I saw a few ads on TV for the New York congressional race scheduled for November 3rd. Before you read the post check out the 2 ads that the DCCC put out attacking Scozzafava on this issue. Here it is -- feel free to comment. - The Upstate Good Old Boys





From a SWVC Shareholder regarding Dede & Tom's role in Seaway Valley Capital...

Over the last several years, I have been following the story of "local boy done good", Tom Scozzafava. For those of you who may not know, Tom is the young CEO of Seaway Valley Capital, the company that merged the Wisebuys and Hacketts stores last year, and is currently completing the process of merging with North Country Hospitality. I was very impressed when I first heard of Tom returning to his roots and his plan for developing a holding company in an area of the state that has typically been economically depressed. I confidently invested a goodly sum of money in him and his vision for the North Country, and have watched him quickly grow the company from nothing.

But now after 9 months, cracks are beginning to appear in the foundation.

It seems in all the whirlwind of the company's recent financial activity, Mr. Scozzafava has forgotten the common shareholders...you know, the only ones that are paying for all his high flyin', wheelin' and dealin'. There are genuine concerns of how all of his acquisitions are going to be paid for, and the methods of financing being used. The market has responded by crushing the price of common shares. Common shareholders, in some cases, have seen the stock price drop by as much as 95% since last fall. The share price today is less than 1/2 a penny, while outstanding shares have increased 600% since July of last year. In my opinion, it appears that the insiders, Mr. Scozzafava, his sister Dede (the State Assemblywoman), and various other family members and friends, are the only ones who stand to make anything on this venture. While protecting their own interests in the firm, IT APPEARS that they are using common shareholders to pay for millions of dollars of debt reduction carried over to Seaway from several earlier unprofitable business arrangements that Mr. Scozzafava had been involved in several years ago. If that wasn't bad enough, Mr. Scozzafava seems to be either unable or unwilling to communicate with anyone who wants a straight answer about where this is all going to end.

Don't get me wrong - what Mr. Scozzafava is doing may be above board, but there are enough unanswered questions to set off more than a few alarms. Even the market bears witness that few think much of Tom's corporate plan; the relentless erosion of the share price has been going on now for 7 months. If Mr. Scozzafava continues to avoid answering the difficult questions, then shareholder lawsuits are certain to surface in the months ahead, and the cloud of uncertainty will spread from Tom to his sister, Dede, who is a minority partner in the firm.

If anyone up there in the beautiful North Country of upstate New York sees Tom, please inform him that he has the fiduciary responsibility to step up to the plate and address shareholder concerns. A shareholder's meeting would be a welcome venue to clear up these issues and restore investor confidence in the company's CEO.


Sincerely,

Timothy Mercier

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