Vinod “Friend of Bill” Gupta’s InfoUSA Receives 2nd NASDAQ Warning

InfoUSA, the Omaha, Nebraska, based data-processing and marketing monolith owned by Vinod Gupta faces the prospect of being delisted from the NASDAQ because the company has not filed its annual reports for the 2007 fiscal year, and again for the period ending March 31.

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The company’s failure to file is due to ongoing litigation involving its shareholders, which has been stayed until June 30. In 2005, shareholder hedge funds Dolphin Limited Partnership and Dolphin Financial Partners filed suit in a Delaware court alleging that InfoUSA founder and CEO Vinod Gupta had spent corporate funds on personal expenses. link

That discreetly worded phrase, “personal expenses,” refers to the extreeeemly questionable corporate-funded generosity dear Vinod showered on his pals, Bill and Hillary Clinton. Among the allegations:

  • Mr. Gupta’s spending on the Clintons is part of a pattern of improper company expenditures for things like luxury cars, jets and houses, as well as a yacht that is notable for being one of the few to have an all-female crew. link
  • InfoUSA made $2.1 million in quarterly payments to Mr. Clinton from July 2003 to April 2005, and in October 2005 entered into a new three-year agreement to pay him $1.2 million. It also gave him an option to buy 100,000 shares of infoUSA stock, with no expiration date. link
  • InfoUSA paid $18,480 in January 2004 to fly Mrs. Clinton “and her four-person entourage” to New York from New Mexico, where she had made a campaign appearance and attended a book signing. Campaign finance records show that her committee, Friends of Hillary, made a reimbursement of $2,127 for that flight. link
  • InfoUSA has spent nearly $900,000 since 2001 flying the Clintons to domestic and international locations and political events…InfoUSA paid for use of a jet plane, the 80-foot yacht American Princess, condos in Hawaii and California and a University of Nebraska-Lincoln stadium box. link

InfoUSA is also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for selling names, addresses and other data on the elderly to known telemarket scammers:

InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.” link

Mr. Gupta’s friendship with (courting of?) the Clintons appears to date to 1995, when he organized one of the first Indian-America fund-raisers for the Clintons, raising over $500,000. Coincidentally or not, he was invited to spend a night in the White House Lincoln Bedroom, the first Indian-American to do so. More on the convoluted mutual back-scratching between Mr. G and the Clintons (Offers of ambassadorships! Appointment to the board of the JFK Performing Arts Center! Boys and girls schools in Uttar Pradesh named his-n-her style after the Clintons!) here.

While the outcome of the lawsuit is still pending and InfoUSA’s current standing in the NASDAQ is precarious, the company rather adroitly plans to rebrand itself as InfoGroup effective June 1, 2008:

A company press release said that the name change was precipitated by the firm’s recent acquisitions of several research companies around the world, including Opinion Research. The release said that these acquisitions “provided the company a significant platform and foothold in the international marketplace.” Vin Gupta, founder, chairman and CEO of InfoGroup, said in a statement, “The opportunities are limitless and we are extremely well positioned for a foundation of success overseas, much as we have demonstrated stateside.” links

Previous SM post here.

23 thoughts on “Vinod “Friend of Bill” Gupta’s InfoUSA Receives 2nd NASDAQ Warning

  1. “InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.”

    Reading about this made me sick to my stomach.

  2. Is it any wonder why he’s a FoB ? This guy and Marc Rich are two of a kind, Clinton being the common link.

  3. She rented her campaign donor list to somebody whose company sold data to criminals who swindle old folks? Not good:

    Political campaigns spend thousands, even millions of dollars to acquire good mailing lists. Last year, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the unusual step of renting out some of her lists. Reports from Clinton’s campaign show that on Dec. 3, it collected payment for renting out three mailing lists, the sale of which netted them $8,225. It was an unusual transaction, according to Roger Craver, a liberal guru of the political direct-mail industry. “As a general rule, a campaign will not let its donor list out into the markets until the campaign is over,” he said. “This is the mother’s milk of small-gift fundraising, and they use these lists frequently.” [npr]
    an investigation by the authorities in Iowa found that infoUSA sold consumer data several years ago to telemarketing criminals who used it to steal money from elderly Americans. It advertised call lists with titles like “Elderly Opportunity Seekers” or “Suffering Seniors,” a compilation of people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. The company called the episodes an aberration and pledged that it would not happen again. [NYT]
  4. WTF quote of the day?!

    Gupta’s a F(resh) o(ff) B(oat) F(riend) o(f) B(ill)?? :)

  5. She rented her campaign donor list to somebody whose company sold data to criminals who swindle old folks?

    I guess every penny counts when you’re almost $20 million in debt.

  6. Appointment to the board of the JFK Performing Arts Center!

    isn’t that what charlie wilson wanted too, so he could do classy dates on the cheap? (does being on the board get you free popcorn and soda too?)

    as well as a yacht that is notable for being one of the few to have an all-female crew.

    him and qaddafi both.

  7. I guess every penny counts when you’re almost $20 million in debt.

    And are willing to do or say anything to win:

    There are several reasons why using the “assassination” language is not just inappropriate, but so historically inaccurate that it is bizarre to the point of revolting. First, there are far stronger examples of primary contests going late than the RFK one. If Kennedy was in Hillary’s mind because of Ted’s recent illness, then how come she didn’t talk about how Ted took the 1980 campaign all the way to the convention floor? That’s a far more apt comparison than RFK, who only got into the race less than two months before he was assassinated. Oh, and how does she explain using the same language two months ago — well, before Ted Kennedy was diagnosed with cancer? Secondly, shouldn’t Hubert Humphrey be the one Hillary refers to if she’s talking about 1968? He was the eventual nominee — not RFK (indeed, had RFK lived, Humphrey would probably have still won the nomination)… 1968 was a HORRIBLE year for the Democrats. And one of the reasons the Democrats lost was because of a split that happened within the party between Humphrey and McCarthy… If anything, the 1968 primary is the best argument for her getting out right away.
  8. And are willing to do or say anything to win:

    yes, clinton is actually applying for parole for sirhan so he can come assassinate obama.

    either obama’s supporters are claiming she is angela lansbury in the manchurian candidate, in which case she would surely be not so dumb as to voice the thought, or that she is spectacularly naive – if anything, i thought obama’s complaint was that she was too calculating in the unhopeful washington mentality of old fogies which he will liberate us from.

    talk about using the most ridiculous stuff to stir up the outrage pot! hill and bill have done some despicable things in this race, but obama and his gaggle haven’t missed the smallest opportunity to smear mud on her, and also bill’s legacy by equating it to bush. till date, not one smidgen of evidence that the drudge smear, which was fanned by obama and co., had any truth to it.

    garbage all around. it only smells fragrant in comparison to mccain and his right wing agenda.

  9. yes, clinton is actually applying for parole for sirhan so he can come assassinate obama.

    Sirhan, perhaps we all see what we’d like to see, since you pounced on my casual use of the phrase “do or say” and extrapolated from there. I used “do” to mean renting voter registration lists, as indicated in the previous comments. So please hold the outrage. Bill’s doing a fabulous job of tarnishing his own legacy, and pointing out the less savory aspects of the Clintonian political style doesn’t mean that one is automatically or invariably making a comparison to Bush.

    As for what she says, her RFK comment was just another in a long line of misspeaking and gaffes, and though none are serious individually, they all add to the collective fatigue of this never-ending primary. If the Democratic party goal is to get a Dem in the White House, Hillary’s protracted self-serving (Michigan and Florida disenfranchised? please) campaign has begun to appear more about getting another Clinton into power, never mind the party.

  10. and pointing out the less savory aspects of the Clintonian political style doesn’t mean that one is automatically or invariably making a comparison to Bush.

    ah, i see that’s what obama was referring to right before his remarks about guntoting godclinging whitey when he said middle america suffered similarly economically under clinton and bush. how did i miss that? silly me.

    and i agree that hill should withdraw because obama supporters are tired, TIRED! of her. she has no business making political arguments to the political superdelegate constituency that was explicitly created in 1982 to take political factors into consideration.

    i am glad obama is in it for all of us though, without an ounce of self-serving.

    “what? jeremiah wright makes extreme remarks? i learnt in 1 month what i didn’t learn in 20 years as a diligent church goer who spouts the bible on demand! i denounce and reject him! (but not my typical white grandma who crosses the road when she sees black people. because, you know, she has nuance.)”

    “what? iraq? sure, i am running on the fact that i opposed it in 2002 and hillary voted for it, even though i said in 2004 that i don’t know if i would have voted against in 2002, and said in 2006 that i only said what i said in 2004 about my 2002 remark because i wanted to be nice to kerry and edwards.”

    so, ok, i will hold the outrage and find some moral high ground to clamber on to. i know it’s not kewl these days to support clinton or dis obama, but the recent uproar is just beyond ridiculous.

  11. WTF quote of the day?!

    From the previous SM article on Vinod Gupta linked above:

    Gupta is an FOB, a Friend of Bill that is

    He must be Jon Lovitz’s long lost brother.

  12. i know it’s not kewl these days to support clinton or dis obama, but the recent uproar is just beyond ridiculous.

    Sirhan, please consider the fact that the recent uproar is rising in volume because she cannot mathematically win and has resorted to using numbers that are disingenuous at best and totally false at worst. Her “popular vote” win includes all votes cast for herself, and allocates none of the “uncommitted” votes to the candidates (who followed the DNC rules) and kept their names off the ballot. She intends to count Puerto Rico votes in her popular vote total even though PR doesn’t vote in the general election. Her sudden support of all votes counting when her campaign stated early on that Florida and Michigan wouldn’t count, when her supporter Harold Ickes helped draw up the very rules she now decries…yeah, it’s ridiculous.

  13. Sirhan, please consider the fact that the recent uproar is rising in volume because she cannot mathematically win and has resorted to using numbers that are disingenuous at best and totally false at worst.

    sorry if this comment sounds like stanley fish, but that’s just politics between two politicians (gasp, even obama!). it is not true that “she cannot win mathematically”. there are superdelegates in play and she is making a political argument to sway political insiders. it looks like she is losing this argument, although the seating of mich and florida – even at 50% – could potentially give her argument some political steam. there is no “moral” or “correct” answer for the superdelegates – that is the explicit reason for their existence in 1982, they are supposed to cast their vote based on their judgment on electability.

    now, i personally think electability is a crap reason to pick a candidate, and that even though i am (marginally) a hillary supporter, obama just captured the anti-establishment zeitgeist better in the past year, and that hillary made the wrong call when she decided to run on political experience at a time when a large part of america is justifiably tired of the excessively politicized policy wing of the bush administration.

    it is possible that this might carry him past the finish line in the general elections, but there are real concerns that purely victory minded dem party bosses must resolve for themselves – less about obama himself, than whether certain american constituencies, cough, cough, appalachia, might vote against him. and the fact of the matter is that, right now, there is no winner. the obama camp is making a political argument that superdelegates should follow the current pledged delegate count, the hillary camp is making an argument that the popular vote – counted their way – is in the other direction, and that she is more electable. and even if you don’t buy hillary’s argument, this primary has been tremendously close, and i don’t see why hillary isn’t justified in staying in it till she can’t get the majority of all delegates.

  14. 16 · sirhan said

    i don’t see why hillary isn’t justified in staying in it till she can’t get the majority of all delegates.

    well, others have staeyed in but no one cared b/c they where vanity candidates (brown, buchanan, jackson,etc). hillary’s close but she still needs a hail mary. so desperate times call for desperate measures but desperate measures could kill obama’s candidacy worse than kennedy killed carter’s.

    her base is pissed. she’s got ferraro going around saying obama’s sexist for wiping his shoulder. people believe her and there’s movement afoot in feminist circles to not vote for obama. bubba and ferraro have labeled him a racist (or at least played the race card on them) dividing the party on racial lines that may have serious consequences in the future. the muslim smear can be traced directly to the clinton campaign and even nixon was careful enough to avoid phrases like “hard working american, white americans” when practicing the southern strategy.

    the latest gaffe was the culmination of increasingly extreme rhetoric emanating from the clinton campaign, analogizing fl and mi and caucus states to zimbabwe, seems designed to de-legitimize an obama nomination. a candidate who once tried to disenfranchise nevada caucus goers is trying to seat the mi delegates “as is”–a state where not only was obama not on the ballot but would’ve likely won if he were–compares this electioneering to the suffragette, abolitionist, and civil rights movement. megalomania anyone? but if enough clinton supporters believe this, it could be real trouble for obama

    i’m sure the mccain campaign is already cuing ads showing the 2nd most powerful democrat in the country admitting the dem candidate for prez has not crossed the threshold to be commander in chief. his iraq postion is a “fairy tale” the former president tells us.

    i don’t ever recall a serious contender attacking her party’s presumptive nominee so viciously. kennedy, an politician with an almost equal sense of entitlement, against carter comes closest. if your concern is, which mine isn’t, for the democratic party’s chances in Nov, then you want hillary to bow out.

  15. Vikram >>>> Is it any wonder why he’s a FoB ? This guy and Marc Rich are two of a kind, Clinton being the common link.

    Cicatrix >>>> Gupta’s a F(resh) o(ff) B(oat) F(riend) o(f) B(ill)?? :)

    Both of you must be real ABCDs.

    A(merican) B(orn) C(onfused) D(esis) A(merican) B(orn) C(hutia) D(esis) A(merican) B(orn) C(lever) D(esis)

    :)

  16. 1 · Rahul S said

    “InfoUSA advertised lists of “Elderly Opportunity Seekers,” 3.3 million older people “looking for ways to make money,” and “Suffering Seniors,” 4.7 million people with cancer or Alzheimer’s disease. “Oldies but Goodies” contained 500,000 gamblers over 55 years old, for 8.5 cents apiece. One list said: “These people are gullible. They want to believe that their luck can change.” Reading about this made me sick to my stomach.

    Wikipedia says that he has been cleared of his company has been cleared of all the wrong doings. But if it is true then it is really gut-wrenching.

    Cicatrix >>>> Gupta’s a F(resh) o(ff) B(oat) F(riend) o(f) B(ill)?? :)

    I didn’t expect this from one of the SM bloggers. Cicatrix, your attitude shows through. Also, that FOB happened to have donated millions for eduction in India (Including women’s college in rural India). I don’t see too many ABDs doing that for India or US.

  17. I didn’t expect this from one of the SM bloggers. Cicatrix, your attitude shows through.

    Zuni, that was a silly, pun-y joke. Also, I’m not sure which attitude of mine you refer to (I have lots), but please don’t make ABCD generalizations because they’re rarely correct.

  18. Cicatrix, I see it was indeed a silly , puny joke. But, from the thread here, it seems there was more generalizations going on about DBDs instead (“Is it any wonder why he’s a FoB ?”) without any problem. I didn’t want to generalize about ABDs if that’s how it came through, but was really wondering. Anyway, I wouldn’t like to threadjack here to DBD vs. ABD thing but wanted to point out that this guy had some good contribution too. In fact as far as I can recall he was the first major private donor to the IITs which are really struggling with funds and trying to gain more autonomy from the government.

  19. There seems to be more than a little confusion here… just to clarify (which I thought I did in #14): I used “FoB” in the context that it was used in the earlier post about Vinod: Friend of Bill. Bill seems to attract certain shifty corrupt businessmen like Vinod & Marc Rich. Nothing about ABD,DBD etc…