Too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth, overcook the steak, or ruin the project because too many people are involved; I forget how the cliché ends. Point being, whenever lots of people get involved with lots of money, human greed emerges and ruins things for everyone (I’m looking at you Enron’s of the world). I’m personally sick of seeing how giant companies are ruining finances for themselves and others, so, in this edition This Week in Financial Blunders, we focus on individuals who have made poor decisions instead an entire group. Too personal? Maybe, but wait until you read the money missteps these people have made and you may change your mind.
The man referred to as Brazil’s Donald Trump is having a really bad year. Much like Trump has had trouble keeping his casinos from going under, Eike Batista has had trouble keeping his billions from escaping him. Batista has been a famous businessman in Brazil for quite some time now. He got his start in business by selling insurance policies while he was still in college, and then bought his first gold mine at the age of 24. Since then he has been known for being one of those fun-to-watch, eccentric rich guys. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that, in the 90’s, he and his former Playboy model/former wife started a cosmetics company, opened a Jeep factory, and he later spent $35,000 on a balding remedy. If that weren’t enough to get him a flavor-of-the-month reality show, he’s also a champion speedboat racer and has a $500,000 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren parked in his living room.
Despite these awesome, eccentric features, Batista has been a poor businessman in the past year. He just sold his share of the EBX Group, one of the five publicly-traded companies he owns, after which he was valued at $34.5 billion. Using the forward momentum caused by his new pile of cash, he decided to make a massive port that tons of companies could use, envisioning that it would improve the already rapidly-growing economy of Brazil. It was a great idea on paper, Batista even said it would be the third largest port in the world; however, the construction was poorly planned and was plagued with delays and missed deadlines.
Also, as a result of the price of oil declining 34% since 2008, Batista has lost $25 billion from this investment this year and the stock of his shipbuilding and oil service company, OSX, has dropped to $2.07 a share from $9.39 since March of last year. Batista still has a plush $9 billion to work with, but will need to do something quick to make this port a sound investment and not a regrettable failure.
No Good Deed Goes Un-Embezzled
Sometimes even criminal offenses can be done with good intentions. Ruth Amen, office manager at Gulf To Bay Realty, was in charge of organizing a surprise party for her boss. There aren’t any details if the Boca Grande, FL, office party was a hit or not, but when her boss (one of the owners of the realty group) inquired as to how the party was paid for, they found out Amen had used company funds to set up the party. Amen never cleared this with her bosses, so acting on a solid hunch, they checked the rest of the books to see if Amen had used any other company funds unbeknownst to them. Turns out she had used a bit of company funds: She stole just shy of $182,000 of company funds. After 10 years of office managing, she had embezzled $92,000 which she used for paying off her debts, credit card and other forms, and $65,000 extra just because. She had been doing this since the beginning of 2006 and is facing felony embezzlement charges.
How to Smell Good in Jail Without Really Trying
You may be surprised to hear this is a viable thing to steal in bulk, but a 52 year-old New Jersey man and a 17 year-old teen have been arrested after allegedly stealing $117,000 in perfume. Huffington Post Weird News reports that Juan Bernal hatched the plan, which I’m equating to the lamest version of Ocean’s Eleven ever, and enlisted his 17 year-old accomplice to help him load all of the perfume into the back of an SUV. The haul they almost got away with? 234 bottles of Victoria’s Secret PINK, valued at $7,488, and 1,890 bottles of 5th Avenue by Elizabeth Arden Friday which were taken as well, valued at $109,620. All of the perfume was taken from Cosmetics Essence Innovations in Holmdel, NJ. At some point, both were caught in the act, and Bernal is being held in jail for $100,000 bail with no word on the 17 year-old accomplice.
See? It’s not just masses of people that can act stupid, sometimes it can be the one guy or girl sitting next to you. If you’ve got a story that compares to these financial blunders, please post below!