Greenwich Time’s new pit bull strikes again

Teri Buhl’s certainly earning her keep at our once moribund local. Today she’s out with a story of WGCH’s owner Michael Metter’s other profession: selling soapy sponges and watered stock. The SEC’s after him and, poring over the various Internet hits on his company, here, here and here, just for instance,this has all the earmarks of the penny stock pump and dump schemes I used to pursue. It’s possible the poor guy’s the victim of nefarious outsiders seeking to profit at his expense. It’s also possible that Frankie Fudrucker will conduct his next political campaign dressed in a full burka. I’m betting I’ll witness Frankie’s comely form draped and hidden from sight before SpongeTech clears its name.

Besides, Metter ruined a dinky radio station that, while irrelevant, did once have its uses, like announcing snow days for the schools. Did you know that WGCH doesn’t have an Arbitron rating now because the audience surveyors could find no one who admitted listening to the station? I’m not sure if any of you are spending money on ads on WGCH but you could do just as much good by sending me the cash – I’ll take better care of it, I promise.

Michael Metter, president and part-owner of Greenwich radio station WGCH, is facing a federal securities investigation and multiple lawsuits against another business concern, his penny-stock company SpongeTech.

Metter, who lives on Tinker Lane in the backcountry [ Note to T. Buhl: Tinker is south of the Merritt, which puts it in mid, not back country - ed.], co-founded SpongeTech Delivery Systems Inc. in 1999. The company makes a sponge filled with soap, which is intended to eliminate the need for a bucket of soapy water to be used during a car wash. The company has been a prominent advertiser at Yankee Stadium and other sports venues, including Madison Square Garden, and co-branded with the cartoon character Sponge Bob in a marketing effort.

In October 2009, trading in the company was halted for 10 days by the Securities and Exchange Commission, which announced that it had “temporarily suspended trading in the securities of SpongeTech because of questions that have been raised about the accuracy and adequacy” of the company’s financial disclosures.

Then, in December, the SEC issued a notice to the company that its staff “intends to recommend that the Commission bring civil injunctive actions” alleging violations of federal securities laws.

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25 Comments

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25 responses to “Greenwich Time’s new pit bull strikes again

  1. bob greenberger

    nothing like reporting old news. i am sure he appreciates having his name out there in a negative fashion by a reporter who has taken absolutely no time to do any research on the subject or to contact him or the company.

    Great job. It is at the same level as woodward and bernstein. I hope you are as anxious to publish old news if he is cleared.

    • christopherfountain

      “Old news”? I would say it’s developing news, unless the SEC investigation is over, which it is not. There’s a stock fraud going on here, whether perpetrated by insiders or outsiders is yet to be determined, but someone is being hosed. I look forward to following this story.

  2. PB

    The news about Madison Square Garden suing for non payment of ads is new-just happened mid Jan. The fact that Metter owns the radio station had not been reported before. Keep in mind Buhl writes for traders / finance people usually… they know the Spongetech story but not much about his other biz.

    The whole Wells Notice details and date the SEC served Spongetech are also the first I’ve seen reported.

    When Metter settles with the SEC or they dismiss the case,unlikely event, I’m sure the GT will print the update to story.

    CF- you continue to entertain me – keep it up I loved the writing in this post.

  3. bob greenberger

    if that is the first you have heard i suggest you pay more attention. i have no knowledge of metters radio holdings nor do i need to but i have followed spongetech for a while and the wells notice is at least 30 days old, the msg news at least 3 weeks, the sec investigation is over 4 month old and if you bothered to do any research instead of just posting gossip about one of your local citizens you might have more credibility. i suggest you go to ihub.com and look way back in time to see how long people have been commenting on your newly found story.

    and, anyone who believes that this is a pump and dump or fraud i suggest you do a little more research. yes, the company sucks at reporting financials and it has been hindered even more by the disqualification of its prior audit firm, but this has also resulted in a lot of extra caution prior to releasing any news that may affect its ultimate reporting. i dont know when, if ever, that will occur but the company is in fact real, has real customers throughout the US, including as of today Wal-Mart, and seems to have a reputation in the retail world, a good one at that, that completely ignores their failure as a public company to share results with shareholders.

    Follow the money……..check out Pikes reputation before you discount the good news and focus only on the bad

    • christopherfountain

      OOOOH! There’s a sucker out there, and his name is Bob! Watch what you post because when, later, you seek to recover your damages, this kind of stuff will be dug up by Al Tomato and his pals and flung in your face. Wanna buy a fax machine franchise, by any chance? I’ve got former clients who still own some very (potentially) lucrative locations.

  4. bob greenberger

    how much do you get paid for being an ignorant ass. deal with facts, not speculation, and then you will be credible. for or against, implying my level of competence, or how i spend my money, should be none of your concern.

    a factual report in any media should be. when you have some facts to post, please, share them with us, otherwise, keep it to yourself.

    • christopherfountain

      Well, Bob, I spent 20 years chasing scam artists on Wall Street and while it’s possible that this particular company resembles those scams – announcements of huge contracts that never materialize, just as one example – only by coincidence, I’d put my 20 years against these guys making you money.
      But hey, you’re quite right, it is your money – enjoy your dreams, and try not to get angry when they shatter, because you’ve chosen to enjoy the pleasure of the present for the hard nasty reality of the future. Drugs are cheaper for that, but whatever.

  5. bob greenberger

    one more point. where did you get the following from?
    Then, in December, the SEC issued a notice to the company that its staff “intends to recommend that the Commission bring civil injunctive actions” alleging violations of federal securities laws.

    you should look up what injunctive actions are as well as noting that nothing has been released by the sec or the doj regarding spng.

    i will match your 20 years by experience which well exceeds yours, and my bank account as well. i respect all points of view, whether or not they agree with mine or not, as long as they are based on real facts. you have nothing to support your claims other than innuendo. try again.

    • christopherfountain

      Bob, Bob, Bob. Enjoy your stock! Wallow in it! Toss it around! There are 1.5 billion shares of this fine company available for purchase and I hope you snag every one of them. And ignore the sordid past of the promoters – there’s no rule that says a leopard can’t change its spots.
      \But when you do get even wealthier on SpongeTech, I hope you’ll remember me : I’ve got this sweet deal on a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan that you wouldn’t believe ….

  6. Cos Cobber

    How about disputing the NY Post and Roddy Boyd story? Has SpongeTech responded on these stories? Fake customers, no cash?

  7. harvard homeboy

    Since you’re a lawyer by training, I’m curious about something with respect to the bad check.

    Why is it that Madison Square Garden chose to file a lawsuit over the bad check instead of just going down to the NYPD office and asking for an arrest warrant to be issued?

    Writing a bad check in the amount of $300,000 is a felony, isn’t it?

    Wouldn’t that have been simpler and more expeditious?

    MSG gets an arrest warrant issued, the NYPD arrests Moskowitz (or whoever signed the check) and they have to post a bond in the same amount before the guy can get out and see the light of day again which, I’m guessing, he’d do pretty quickly.

    Just curious, really.

    hh

    • christopherfountain

      Here in Greenwich, Homeboy, the GPD runs a great little check collection service. You get a bad check, you send a “7 day notice letter” of dishoner by registered mail and then, a week later, trot off to headquarters with the letter and an affidavit of non-response and the cops go out and arrest the check maker. I suggested this approach to a client once to a client of mine from Bridgeport but, when he went to th epolice, they said something like, “we got murderers and rapists to deal with and you want us to go collect on a bad check?” I suspect that the NYPD is similarly busy.

  8. Deer Advisor

    Jeremiah 13:23 (King James Version)

    23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

  9. bob greenberger

    regarding the “bad check”, and i dont recall if the msg check was nsf or stopped by spng, perhaps there is a reason they didnt press charges. i dont know, but it seems that since the only issues spng has had like this with sports venues are in the NYC area, there must be more to it. perhaps a problem with the advertising agency that placed the ads? i dont know, just speculating, but willing to admit that i am and not claiming a fact.

    how can one posit a response to the other inquiries without being a spng insider? nothing like making an accusation based on, well, nothing, which is what some of you seem to be doing.

  10. Island Surveyor

    The Greenwich Time article contains web-site backyard photos of Mr. Metter’s Tinker Lane home, with photo credits, which are prima-facie evidence of criminal trespass on their part.

    (As long as we’re dispensing legal advice in this forum – Go for it, Mr Metter)

    • christopherfountain

      Tinker Lane is a public road so if the photographer stayed on the roadway, he’s not guilty of trespass.

  11. Kidding Really??

    teri buhl is paid? pit bull or parrot? shes worthless

  12. Deer Advisor

    CF- May we assume that this fine benefit of Local Police Service applies only to Greenwich check-makers?

    Rumor at Town Hall is that our Chief, one of your favorites, will be a Florida retiree within two years.

    • christopherfountain

      I’m sure quieter towns do. Stamford, Bridgeport, Norwalk, no. Darien, New Canaan, Ridgefield, maybe so.

  13. Deer Advisor

    Check the photo. It’s backyard at the pool behind the house.

  14. Cos Cobber

    So I ask again, has sponge tech ever refuted the NY Post and Roddy Boyd stories? isnt that the heart of the matter? I have no skin in this game, just curious.

  15. Jim Fisher

    Hey, isn’t Gideon Fountain your brother? You know,the guy whose show was canceled by Metter and the new owners when they bought WGCH Radio several years ago? Uh, that wouldn’t have anything to do with your cheap shots at him and the radio station would it? What’s the matter, don’t you know anything about full disclosure?
    As for the ratings and audience of WGCH, there aren’t any ratings for Greenwich which is considered part of the Stamford and Norwalk radio area. Do you really think anyone in Stamford or certainly Norwalk would want to listen to a Greenwich station? I used to work at WGCH and know very well how many advertisers have been with the station for years;so advertising there must work. Why claim nobody listens? Isn’t this really sour grapes on behalf of your brother?

    • christopherfountain

      Screw you, Jim – when I first wrote of Metter’s purchase of WGCH I did say that little brother Gideon’s show, (as well as everything else local) had been cancelled. Keep up or shut up. Do you know that your hero charged local ministers big bucks to keep their religious shows on his station? Pfhu!

      UPDATE: Ha! Just remembered – one of my legal cases involved threatening to sue the station( a threat that yielded a quick settlement once the transcripts were available) after some WGCH jockey who, paid to read an ad for a local business on River Road took the occasion, four times, to ridicule and disparage the poor girl who owned the place. Was that you, you jackass? Is that why you “used to” work for the station?

  16. Jim Fisher

    UPDATE: Ha! Just wanted to mention Chrissy boy…FULL disclosure doesn’t mean “oh yeah, five years ago I wrote that my brother did a show at WGCH”…it means when you’re bashing someone or their business, you disclose the connection now…any time Time Magazine writes an article about co-owned CNN or some other business Time Warner owns, they disclose it in that article. Every time. Not just every five years!