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The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: May 3

Stocks in this article: AAPLHLFCETVHEBLVG

1. Less Than Hysteric Hemispherix

If Hemispherx Biopharma's (HEB) board of directors is playing some kind of joke on its shareholders with its recent executive payouts then let us be the first to tell them it's not funny.

Extremely dumb, yes. Hysterically funny, no.

As TheStreet's biotech ax Adam Feuerstein brought to light Wednesday, Hemispherx CEO Bill Carter was awarded a 5% bonus totaling $1.1 million based on the net proceeds resulting from the sale of 30 million shares of company stock through an At-The-Market (ATM) financing arrangement last fall.

Hemispherx's board concluded the sale of company stock on the open market actually represented a sale of "company assets not in the ordinary course of its business." Under this definition, Carter was contractually eligible to receive 5% of the proceeds from a sale of 30 million shares of Hemispherx stock during the fourth quarter 2012 that netted $23 million for the company. Thomas Equels, Hemispherx's vice chairman and lawyer, also received the same $1.1 million "ATM bonus" under his employment contract.


Forget ATM as in At-The-Market, these clowns are using the company like an ATM as in Automatic Teller Machine! Carter and Equels are ostensibly supposed to be getting paid for selling drugs, not stocks. Furthermore, even boiler room brokers wouldn't charge 10% for a crappy penny stock like this.

"Hemispherx was selling those 30 million shares under the subterfuge of its ATM agreement which allows the company to disclose sales only when it files quarterly reports to the SEC. And of course, at that same time, Hemispherx shares were losing 80% of their value after the FDA and an independent advisory panel sharply criticized the company for the way it conducted clinical trials of the experimental chronic fatigue syndrome drug Ampligen," writes TheStreet's Feuerstein.

The panel voted not to recommend Ampligen for approval and the FDA rejected the drug, making it the second time Hemispherx has been turned away by U.S. regulators. Despite these miserable results, however, the company's sycophantic board deemed it kosher to pay millions to Carter and Equels.

Wait. We forgot one.

Obnoxiously greedy, yes. Definitely yes.

-- Written by Gregg Greenberg in New York City.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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