Phil Falcone, the Harbinger hedge fund billionaire with the crazy wife and a stake in the New York Times, is under federal investigation for taking money out of his hedge fund to pay a personal tax bill. Ninety-nine problems, minimum.
The current investigations centers on whether Falcone properly disclosed to his investors the fact that he'd borrowed $113 million to pay his taxes. Taxes, amirite? He also recently took out a loan based on his personal art collection, which is not generally considered to be a sign of strong financial standing, there in the "hedge fund community." (He also sold a large chunk of his NYT shares at a loss this month, leaving him with a stake under 3%.) Survey says: hard times, for Harbinger:
At its apex in mid-2008, the firm controlled nearly $26 billion. Today, after a roller-coaster ride in the markets and withdrawals by investors, that figure has dwindled to around $8 billion. Its flagship fund is off 15 percent this year, but was up 45 percent in 2009 and down 27 percent in 2008.