One of those hard to notice dog-that-didn’t-bark things is how often prestige press coverage is intentionally made more boring than the story actually is. For example, below is the New York Times’ latest long article about Ellen Pao’s sex discrimination case against a famous Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
Ms. Pao appears to be an extremely boring person, but her husband — the notoriously litigious gay black Wall Street Master of the Universe turned bankruptee Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher — is not boring. If Tom Wolfe put an adventurer as outrageous as Buddy Fletcher in one of his novels, critics would dismiss it as over the top.
Hence, Ms. Pao’s husband is never mentioned in the article.
In Ellen Pao’s Suit vs. Kleiner Perkins, World of Venture Capital Is Under Microscope
By DAVID STREITFELD MARCH 5, 2015
SAN FRANCISCO — Speak up — but don’t talk too much. Light up the room — but don’t overshadow others. Be confident and critical — but not cocky or negative.
Ellen Pao got a lot of advice about how to succeed in the clubby, hypercompetitive, overwhelmingly male world of venture capital. Her annual evaluations were filled with suggestions about how she could improve and perhaps even advance to the inner circle of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the blue-chip firm where she was a junior partner. She would be paid millions and be at the red-hot center of the crucible of the tech economy.
Ms. Pao did not make it. Exactly why is the subject of a lawsuit she filed against Kleiner and which is now being heard in civil court here. Ms. Pao contends she was harassed and then discriminated against. Kleiner says she failed to improve despite all that coaching and was terminated.
At risk is the millions that Ms. Pao might have earned at Kleiner, plus millions more in punitive damages. But that is pocket change in Silicon Valley. What is really under examination in this trial is the question of why there are so few women in leadership positions in the valley. At stake is any hope that Silicon Valley can claim to be a progressive place.
That’s the lesson here, no need to raise any totally irrelevant questions about her husband’s famous discrimination lawsuits against Kidder Peabody and The Dakota.
If, however, you are interested in the relationship between Pao’s lawsuit and her flamboyant husband’s long career of suing and winning, Fortune covered it back in 2012:
by Adam Lashinsky , Katie Benner @adamlashinsky OCTOBER 25, 2012, 9:00 AM EST
… Pao’s stubbornness may have surprised her peers, but it may not have surprised the one person who has been fighting his own battles in parallel. Fletcher has settled lawsuits filed against him, but he’s never lost one yet. Emboldened by his early Kidder Peabody victory, perhaps Fletcher is someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge, who refuses to cede ground.
But can he fight his way out of his current predicament? The team appointed by the court to liquidate Fletcher’s Cayman Islands fund has raised questions about the handling of investors’ money, saying the fund’s complicated structure “allowed fees to be drawn … at multiple levels, without any benefit to investors.” The liquidators also noted that a firm affiliated with Fletcher had been paid $3.3 million in fees by the Leveraged Fund, unbeknown to the investors. On June 29, Fletcher halted the liquidation process by having part of his firm file for voluntary bankruptcy. Fletcher hoped to maintain control of the process, but the court had other ideas. Over Fletcher’s wishes, the bankruptcy judge appointed Richard J. Davis as the trustee overseeing the process. …
After the revelations of the past year it seems Fletcher may have great difficulty attracting new investors for future funds. His wife’s professional prospects are equally uncertain. Her accusations have reversed her reputation such that even her friends don’t quite know what to make of her: Is she the diligent immigrants’ kid, or is she a defiant nonconformist? Whistleblower or troublemaker?
The couple are now on parallel paths of litigation and have crises enough for a 50-year marriage, never mind one that will be just five years old this December. It’s easily enough to drive even the most rock-solid pair apart. For Buddy Fletcher and Ellen Pao, it seems to have brought them together for now. Oddly enough.
Case builds against former NY hedgie ‘Buddy’ Fletcher
By Michelle Celarier February 18, 2015 | 10:06pm
Disgraced former hedge-fund operator Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher’s broken promises are catching up with him.
A Manhattan judge has ruled that the 49-year-old investor owes his former law firm $2.7 million in unpaid legal bills.
Add that to the more than $140 million in court judgments and tax liens against the Harvard-educated fallen finance whiz and his fund, and you have one of the oddest Wall Street stories in recent memory.
While Fletcher owns three apartments in Manhattan’s exclusive Central Park West Dakota co-op, an $8.85 million self-described castle in Connecticut’s tony Litchfield County, and, with his wife Ellen Pao, a $1.5 million San Francisco home, the ex-hedgie stands accused of cheating Massachusetts and Louisiana cops and firefighters out of more than $100 million and not paying close to $3 million in taxes.
The pension plan of the public employees had invested in Fletcher’s hedge fund, Fletcher International, before that fund crashed and burned in 2012 amid a series of questions concerning the whereabouts of the cash.
The fund’s federal bankruptcy court trustee Richard Davis said the money was funneled out of Fletcher International by Fletcher, whom he accused of “obstructionist legal tactics” to avoid the court’s rulings.
The FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission are said to be investigating the matter. Both states’ pension fund’s are suing Fletcher as well.
Fletcher’s colorful career arc also includes his 2011 suit against the Dakota, which he accused in a Manhattan state court lawsuit of racial discrimination.
… Meanwhile, the Louisiana Retirement System is trying many avenues to recoup the monies. On Thursday its board will meet to discuss a suit against Citco, a hedge-fund administrator that emerged as one of the alleged co-conspirators in the possible Fletcher scam.
Fletcher could not be reached for comment.
A seemingly obvious pattern, but one that’s hard to notice under the currently dominant mindset, is that numerous unscrupulous individuals have gotten adept at exploiting the current anti-cisgender straight white male worldview for their own personal financial benefit.