George Pataki is having stock trouble.
Earlier this year, when The Observer profiled the former New York governor’s odd involvement with penny stocks, the article opened with a scene inside a 36-foot geodesic dome. “It’s tremendous,” he said, celebrating the tiny plastics company, Perf Go Green, whose board he’d joined. Music from instruments called the drum orb and earth harp played. One arm was in the air. “I’m honored to be a part of it, particularly standing here in this Earth Dome,” he said.
Not very long afterward, the company collapsed, and even had money disagreements with the firm that made the dome, now in a storage unit in Hollywood, CA.
In the wake of Perf Go Green, Mr. Pataki became an advisor to another penny stock called Mesa Energy, which has been suspected of connections to pump-and-dump schemes: After Mr. Pataki’s involvement was announced, the stock was touted by promoters as a 809% stock winner. “If I wanted to get involved with a couple of penny stocks because of people I knew, so be it,” Charles Gargano, the longtime Pataki associate, former Empire State Development Corporation chairman, and another Perf chairperson, told The Observer this year, speaking from Palm Beach. “That’s my prerogative.”
Mesa, though, is not doing well. During the quiet weeks of August, it announced in a short filing that it is under formal investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. “Company management is confident that no improper sales of unregistered securities were made by current officers, directors or employees of the Company or its subsidiaries,” it said. “The Company is cooperating with the SEC staff.”
At the time of The Observer story, Mesa Energy Holdings, Inc.’s stock price had gone up to $3, the same mark that Perf Go Green had hit after the governor joined. Today, Mesa happened to match its 52-week low, and is hovering around 15 cents.
Mr. Pataki did not immediately respond to a request sent through a spokesperson.