Posts Tagged ‘Roy Speer’

HSN Founder’s Widow Wins $34M From Morgan Stanley, Goomah

March 28, 2016

Here’s a juicy story we totally missed last week: Morgan Stanley was ordered to pay more than $34 million to the estate of Home Shopping Network (that was its name back in the day, not HSN) founder Roy Speer.

The financial firm and several of its executives, who included Speer’s alleged one-time mistress, were accused of making unauthorized trades on his account, according to several media reports.

The charges were made by Speer’s widow Lynnda (yes, two “N”s), who got her big arbitration award from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Morgan Stanley has to fork over $32.8 million in compensation and interest and $1.55 million in other reimbursements as well as legal fees.

According to the Tampa Bay Times story on the case, Morgan Stanley financial advisor Ami Forte was the Speer’s former “goomah,” as we’d say in New Jersey and on “The Sopranos.” Forte and another Morgan Stanley exec, Terry McCoy, were guilty of “elder exploitation,” fraud, making authorized trades, and breach of fiduciary duty.

Speer passed away in 2012 when he was 80, and he was a rich guy. At one time he was worth more than $1 billion and was on Forbes 400 list of richest Americans.
Morgan Stanley and stock broker Forte handled Speer accounts ranging from $150 million to $200 million, the Tampa Bay Times reported. The paper said that there were more than 12,000 unauthorized trades on his account during the last five years of his life.

Lynnda was wed to Speer for 52 years.

The widow also has a suit pending in Florida against Forte over a condo in the Cayman Islands that was transferred to her.

Roy Speer, HSN Co-Founder And Home Shopping Pioneer, Dies In Florida

August 23, 2012

We learned through a Facebook post by former HSN host Dan Dennis Wednesday that the pioneer who co-founded HSN, Roy Speer, had passed away,

Speer died Sunday after a long illness, according to The Tampa Bay Times. He lived in New Port Richey, Fla.

“Today ends a day of sadness for me, as I mourn the death of Roy Speer, co-founder of the Home Shopping Network,” Clifton, N.J.-native Dennis wrote. “As one of their original hosts, I had unprecedented access to Roy and all I can say is that if it wasn’t for Roy Speer, there wouldn’t even be a Dan Dennis. Roy always treated me like a son, and I will always be proud to call him ‘dad’ as well. God Bless and keep, Roy. It’s your old friend Discount Dan sayin’ ‘Bye bye for now.'”

The Tampa Bay paper did an excellent obit on Speers, who was quite a character. Here’s the link to it, and it is well-worth reading.

Apparently Speer, a lawyer, was a a pretty ornery character, tight-fisted and brash.

The legendary story about Speer and the co-founder of HSN, the broadcaster Lowell “Bud” Paxson, was that they started the network with pretty unsexy merchandise: 112 can openers. Speer and Paxson owned a local radio station, and they accepted the electric can openers in lieu of cash from an advertiser who couldn’t pay his bill, The Tampa Bay Times reported.

First, Speer and Paxon sold the can openers through their radio station. Then they took the business to the next step by buying local access time on cable, forging a TV home shopping channel.

The network secured national distribution in 1985. Over the years, its name went from Home Shopping Channel to Home Shopping Club to Home Shopping Network to HSN.

“The interactive shopping that Mr. Speer pioneered began almost by accident, multiplied beyond all expectations and turned the once-kitschy purveyor of star-shaped ice cube trays and racy playing cards into an industry standard,” The Tampa Bay Times wrote.

Yes, HSN is a multi-billion company now.

Speer at one point made the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. Guess he sold a lot of cubic zirconia.