Playing Catch Up

By DAVID MOON, Moon Capital Management
October 1, 2006

In July I wrote about Pinnacle Development Partners, LLC. The company had been advertising in Newsweek, promising a '25 percent return within 60 days with a minimum $5k investment.'

My male bovine poop detector went haywire. Every clich' about things that sound too good to be true came to mind.

The California Department of Corporations must have the same nose for poop. The department is investigating the Atlanta company for possibly running a Ponzi scheme. According to AFX Corp., a company that collects and analyzes real estate records, Pinnacle's only property sales have been to buyers who share the same address as Pinnacle.

My wife and I could double the price of our house if we kept buying and selling it from and to each other.

When asked by the Wall Street Journal, one Pinnacle official denied any wrongdoing. The company's founder and owner declined comment.


IPIX Corp. (formerly TeleRobotics International, also formerly Omniview and also formerly Internet Pictures Corp.) is about to hold the first of several planned bankruptcy liquidation auctions. If you're not in the market for some intellectual property rights, perhaps you'll consider some other piece of East Tennessee memorabilia to set on the shelf next to your 1982 World's Fair beer cans.

I recently spent $214.45 to purchase 50 shares of the soon-to-be-bankrupt IPIX's stock. Just a few years earlier these shares would have cost $23,125. The certificate is a reminder to avoid companies that spend more effort selling stock to investors than trying to sell products to customers.


A year ago I made fun of Google's stock price and Jim Cramer's hyperbolic support of it. At the time the stock was $280 a share. Today it is about $400.


I don't need Men's Health magazine to teach me how to get rock hard abs in 12 days; I can do it in 12 hours. (First, bury yourself up to your chest in wet concrete') But I do wish I had waited a week to write my 'don't always accept what the experts say' column.

Men's Health, staking its claim as a journal of finance research, conducted a test in which it compared the stock picks of several investment experts. MSN columnist John Markman and The Motley Fool both outperformed CNBC superstar Jim Cramer. A blindfolded dart thrower bested all three gurus.


When writing of the Vonage initial public offering in June I warned that not all IPOs skyrocket. On its first day Vonage shares declined 23 percent, from $17 to $13. They are currently about $7.


For those of you who wrote, concerned about the bum boat I wrote about in August (the one with the supposedly new motor that quickly failed), the good folks at S&S Power Sports in Jefferson City have installed an actual new motor and the boat is back in the water - just in time for cooler weather. I wish I had seen them first.

David Moon is president of Moon Capital Management, a Knoxville-based investment management firm. This article originally appeared in the News Sentinel (Knoxville, TN).

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