Pasternak not guilty on charges
Local colleagues and friends of Fleischmanns native Kenneth P. Pasternak celebrated last week when U.S. District Judge Joel Pisano cleared the hedge fund chief of all charges in a suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Pasternak, whose local philanthropy was celebrated on Saturday at the Margaretville Park Pavilion, maintained his innocence in the securities fraud case and has fought since 2005 to have the charges dismissed.
“I am grateful to finally have been vindicated so completely,” Pasternak said of the verdict handed down by Pisano after a 14-day bench trial. “It was gratifying to hear the judge confirm that the SEC did not have a case against me.” Pasternak, a partner in the Crossroads Ventures effort to build the Belleayre Resort at Catskill Park, added that “I am looking forward to returning the total of my focus to reengaging in the industry with my reputation fully restored.”
The federal judge hearing the case in Trenton, NJ concluded that “there is no evidence of any misconduct committed by Mr. Pasternak nor has there been any evidence of any misrepresentation or omission allegedly committed by Mr. Pasternak and I therefore, conclude that he is not liable in primary basis for as securities fraud.” Judge Pisano is expected to have considerably more to say about the case, closely watched in the financial and legal communities, when his written opinion is filed.
Dean Gitter, managing partner of Crossroads Ventures, lauded the decision noting that “those of us who know Ken never doubted the outcome of this case. His integrity is unparalleled and we share in the relief he and his family feel now that these charges have been put to rest.” Gitter noted that it would have been easier and far less costly for Pasternak to have just settled the case out of court to make it go away. “But our system is supposed to be predicated on a concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and this just goes to show,” added Gitter, “that making charges is one thing and proving them is something different entirely.”
MARK Group President JR Lawrence, whose organization has worked on a variety of projects with Pasternak and his family’s foundation, also lauded the not-guilty verdict. “The ‘gotcha’ journalism we see these days tends to ruin reputations without giving people the opportunity to defend themselves. We’re thrilled that Ken fought this through to the end and really happy to hear of his exoneration.”