First, I’m a fan of Maria Bartiromo and respect the body of work that she’s done. Out of that respect I contacted Ms. Bartiromo (Maria) to see if she would be willing to talk with me about the process by which guests are selected for CNBC’s Closing Bell and what happens when you find out that a guest – in this case Daniel Frishberg – is the subject of an investigation by the SEC?
Now…I am smart enough to recognize that I am not part of the main stream media, in fact, many feel that the new world of the blog and “in-home journalist” is not a legitimate media outlet and has no real value in the market place. I disagree. Reality is, those home grown journalists, are becoming vital when it comes to breaking stories that have yet to catch the media eye. In the case of BizRadio and Daniel Frishberg, I first became aware of the issues from a friend in Houston and a story reported on in the Houston Chronicle. The story was factual and spot on, but most who are active in reading this blog series would say that they have gained more information from my efforts than they have been exposed to in the Houston Chronicle.
The point? What is reported on here does have value and many have shared that the questions posed are worthwhile and deserve answers. To that end, I sought a brief interview with Maria Bartiromo so that some of the questions could be explored. Here’s the body of emails that were sent and responses received so that, to the reader, it can be clear that I was not on a mission to discredit Ms. Bartiromo, but rather, to explore what happens when a former guest becomes somehow publicly discredited through his own actions. See the emails below and then we’ll follow up with more questions:
It is with respect that I ask you for an interview. I am an international speaker and author on business ethics and fraud prevention and write an active blog on the same.
I have been following – for some time – the escapades of Dan Frishberg, Al Kaleta and BizRadio. I am aware that from time to time he has been a guest on your show and likewise has been interviewed by Tracy Byrnes on Fox.
Now that he is actively under investigation by the SEC and US Attorney’s office for fraud, I would like to discuss with you the impact that this might have on his past interviews. There are several questions that arise and I feel your perspective would be helpful.
As a form of introduction here is a recent entry that frames the allegations against Mr. Frishberg. These were heard in District court with a decision likely to follow another hearing on June 10, 2010. Meanwhile, the allegations are being made by the Receiver appointed from the SEC investigation against Al Kaleta – Frishberg’s right hand man – and now are spilling into Frishberg’s domain.
I am interested in the vetting process that CNBC uses to attract guests and what happens when one fails that process. My request to talk is in no way an attack on you or CNBC. Rather, I respect your professional opinion and would like to know, when something like this happens – what’s next from a major media perspective?
I am hopeful that you will consider my request and help me with my interview.
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Date: 5/11/2010 2:17:28 PM
Subject: Closing Bell
First Name: Chuck
Last Name: Gallagher
I respectfully request contact with Maria Bartiromo regarding a story I am doing on Dan Frishberg “The Money Man” related to a government investigation into BizRadio. Ms. Bartiromo has interviewed him many times and I would like to talk with her regarding her perspective related to the investigation. I can be reached at 828.244.1400 or email@example.com
In addition to the above email stream, I also sent Maria Bartiromo an email directly to maria@wsjreport .com. Response to all email requests? Deafening silence!
OK – I’m a pretty practical guy and I know at the outset that this was a shot in the dark, but if you don’t ask you will never receive. For that matter, I have on several occasions ask Dan Frishberg for an interview and, of course, the response – that same deafening silence.
So let’s approach this another way. Perhaps it’s best to be public with the request and questions that I would love to ask Ms. Bartiromo. Do I expect a response – you know – maybe. Maybe if she has the opportunity to see what I question and thereby formulate her answers, she will extend the professional courtesy of a response. Maybe!
On February 13, 2009 Dan Frishberg was featured along with another gentleman in an interview that Maria was a part of. The interview is on YouTube here. Likewise, only 9 days earlier, Maria had Daniel Frishberg on as a guest on CNBC’s Closing Bell – the interview is here.
In both cases, it has been reported by BizRadio insiders that Daniel and (perhaps) Elisea Frishberg made their way first class to NY for the interviews, staying in lavish hotels, all at the expense of BizRadio. This was done in a time when, by all accounts, BizRadio did not have an income stream to support the travel and lifestyle of the Frishberg’s. In fact, most insiders now report that this was all part of the massive BizRadio illusion – appear larger than life, be featured on National TV shows, and hope that you can grow your business to profitability. Unfortunately a house of cards, built on investor funds that have been called frauduletnly obtained, are destined to collapse.
Fast forward to February 13, 2010 – a year later – we see the collapse was practically complete. Daniel Frishberg was under investigation by the SEC, DFFS had transferred the RIA to Barrington Financial Associates, Al Kaleta (Daniel Frishberg’s partner in crime) was busted by the SEC, an SEC Receiver was appointed, and Daniel Frishberg was struggling to keep his show alive – experiencing blackouts of his broadcast cause he couldn’t pay the bills.
QUESTIONS FOR MARIA BARTIROMO
- When a guest like Daniel Frishberg is selected to be featured on shows like – Closing Bell – what is the vetting process going in that determines the persons validity?
- When was the last time Daniel Frishberg appeared on CNBC’s Closing Bell?
- Are you aware (or were you aware) before my request for an interview that Daniel Frishberg was the subject of an SEC investigation (and unconfirmed potential criminal investigation)?
- If yes, when did you (when I say you I mean CNBC) become aware of Daniel’s problems?
- When you discover that a guest (or former guest) is the subject of an investigation related to financial matters (SEC in this case), do you (or CNBC) do your own investigation in order to report activity of this guest/former guest?
- Is Dan Frishberg and/or Al Kaleta the potential subject of CNBC’s show – American Greed?
- Lastly, if you do not investigate former guests like Dan Frishberg from BizRadio, do you see his actions coming to light having any negative impact on your journalistic reporting or credibility?
Will my questions receive a response? What do you think? I’d love to receive your comments.
By the way – to be fair – I also tried to contact Tracy Byrnes on Fox. The outcome – that same deafening silence. Although, in Ms. Byrnes case my attempts were through Twitter and other less direct methods (methods other than a direct email contact).
Let’s hope that two things come as a result of this blog: (1) both Maria and Tracy find a willingness to help shed some light on the vetting process for guests and, more importantly, what happens when it is discovered that a guest has run a foul of the SEC or other financial or criminal investigative agencies; and (2) both Maria and Tracy help us understand the position that CNBC and Fox take on investigating Daniel Frishberg.
I truly hope that my interview attempts were ignored, not by intent, but rather by other factors that just delayed their time and attention. And, if that were true, then perhaps – just perhaps – both Maria and Tracy would consider responding, as I’m sure from the contacts I’ve made, folks are interested in what happens now when it comes to future interviews.
AS ALWAYS – YOUR COMMENTS WELCOME!