On Thursday afternoon, I got a press release in my inbox saying that John Tabacco, CEO of LocateStock.com, was launching a coalition to rebel against the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The news definitely piqued my interest. And indeed, it was all over the news that day that Tabacco and his brother Derek went down to Wall Street, carrying signs reading “Occupy a Desk,” and “Get a Job,” and calling the protesters “animals,” according to reports.
Who was this guy?
I found out today that Tabacco used to be registered with First Hanover Securities in Staten Island, N.Y., until he was barred from the industry in 1997. According to FINRA documents, Tabacco allegedly executed or caused to be executed 11 transactions in three unrelated customer accounts without the prior knowledge, consent, or authorization of those customers.
Here’s Salon.com’s Justin Elliot take on it:
“We feel like that issue is aged and gone,” Tabacco told me Monday morning, noting that he did not need to be a registered broker to run his current business, LocateStock.com, which provides tools for short-selling. He also argued that the sanction was an example of “government over-regulation” since small brokers are targeted by regulators while CEOs accused of wrongdoing are given golden parachutes.
From what I’ve seen, he’s quite a character. In another piece, Elliot writes that the Tabacco brothers have a “checkered history of publicity-seeking and relentless self-promotion — and their claim that 50 local businessmen are supporting the anti-Occupy protest is entirely unsubstantiated.”
From Tabacco’s press release:
In this time of Global uncertainty the last thing the workers of NY’s financial district need is video of an angry mob protesting in front of the Global symbol of Capitalism the NSYE. Come out and help deny them, and start taking back our streets. Today, The Freedom Fighters demand that the Occupiers announce a pullout date and begin an orderly retreat, or face the wrath of the well funded, employed and extremely agitated Freedom Fighters. The Freedom Fighters proudly represent the 53% of Americans that pay income taxes.
Given his history of attention-seeking and securities misconduct, is this movement even legitimate? I get that some Wall Street workers and residents around Zuccotti were frustrated by the occupation because they couldn't get to work or home; even I was frustrated that my commute home on the subway could've been disrupted. But I don't think Tabacco's extreme views on the occupation represent the average advisor or broker. Most are just trying to find out why these people are angry and make sense of the movement.