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‘Roaring Kitty’ Keith Gill defends his GameStop posts amid lawsuit

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‘Roaring Kitty’ Keith Gill defends his GameStop posts amid lawsuit

A star Reddit trader known as “Roaring Kitty” plans to defend his bullish GameStop calls in front Congress one day after being slapped with a lawsuit for his role in the trading frenzy.

The trader, whose real name is Keith Gill, is set to testify to the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Financial Services on Thursday about the manic rally last month that pushed GameStop’s shares up more than 1,600 percent in just a few weeks.

Gill — who used his online personas “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube and DeepF***ingValue on Reddit to tout the stock — plans to say that he pushed GameStop because he believed in the company — and still does.

“Social media platforms like YouTube, Twitter, and WallStreetBets on Reddit are leveling the playing field,” Gill says in written testimony released ahead of Thursday’s hearing. “And in a year of quarantines and COVID, engaging with other investors on social media was a safe way to socialize. We had fun.”

“The idea that I used social media to promote GameStop stock to unwitting investors is preposterous,” Gill wrote. “I was abundantly clear that my channel was for educational purposes only, and that my aggressive style of investing was unlikely to be suitable for most folks checking out the channel.”

Gill will also say that he didn’t profit as much as some think, saying: “My timing was far from perfect, and many of the options contracts I purchased expired worthless because GameStop’s stock price remained depressed longer than I expected.”

But in a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, Gill — known for donning a red headband surrounded by cat paraphernalia in his YouTube videos — was portrayed as an undercover trading mastermind who drove GameStop shares higher to line his own pockets.

The class-action suit filed in Massachusetts federal court on Wednesday took aim at Gill’s online personas, saying he knowingly used them to create a fake populist attack on hedge funds and pump the price of GameStop — eventually creating millions of dollars of losses for retail investors who followed his advice.

GameStop shares closed down 7.21 percent on Wednesday to $45.99 a share, down from a $483 a share in late January.

“Indeed, in order to motivate amateur traders, Gill fashioned himself as a kind of Robin Hood and characterized securities professionals as villains,” the complaint said. “Gill slyly targeted large hedge funds who had shorted GameStop stock as the evil, powerful big boys.

Only Gill was actually “a highly sophisticated and calculated investor” and registered stockbroker at MassMutual in Boston, the suit says. And he had taken a substantial position in GameStop stock at $5 a share in the run-up to the social media-fueled short squeeze.

“Gill, however, is no amateur (and no Robin Hood),” the suit claimed. “For many years, he actively worked as a professional in the investment and financial industries.”

The suit also named MassMutual, claiming the bank was legally responsible to oversee Gill as a registered broker. The bank is under investigation by Massachusetts regulators. 

Gill reportedly quit his job on Jan. 21 and officially left MassMutual on Jan. 28, the day after GameStop stock fell 44 percent off its high.

Gill will testify before Congress Thursday alongside Robinhood CEO Vlad Tenev, billionaire investor Ken Griffin of Citadel and other key players in the Reddit Rally.

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Alamo Drafthouse new co-owner embroiled in child abuse scandal

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Alamo Drafthouse new co-owner embroiled in child abuse scandal

Alamo Drafthouse revealed it is selling itself as the dine-in cinema chain filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday — and one of its new co-owners is a private-equity firm that has been engulfed in a child-abuse scandal.

Altamont Capital Partners — which alongside Fortress Investment Group and Alamo’s founder will buy the Texas-based movie chain after the coronavirus shuttered its 18 theaters nationwide and spurred a “liquidity crisis” — is also the owner of Sequel Youth and Family Services, an operator of taxpayer-funded foster-care facilities that have been accused of widespread abuse and neglect.

According to an explosive report last fall by American Public Media in collaboration with Oregon Public Broadcasting, Sequel has operated facilities nationwide where children were abused, neglected, sexually assaulted and physically mistreated.

The shocking report alleged that at least 40 states at one point sent their most vulnerable children to Sequel’s facilities, which were run by “inexperienced, low-wage” employees. The reports detailed sexual and physical verbal abuse, including beatings from staff, as well as feces-infested living quarters.

“While instances of sexual assault by a staff member are extremely rare among the thousands of kids we help around the country, even one case is unconscionable,” Sequel said in a statement at the time. It also said it had initiated “better hiring practices, background checks, and the installation of cameras and other security measures” to prevent such incidents.

Meanwhile, Altamont Capital has pumped $40 million into Sequel over the past three years to fund its expansion. Sequel operates 44 programs in 19 states including a Michigan facility where a 16-year-old boy died last April after being restrained by staff members.

In February, several members of Congress requested that the Office of Inspector General in the US Department of Health and Human Services investigate youth care and residential facilities, including those operated by Sequel in Oregon.

Altamont did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday.

Alamo — which sold its assets to a group of lenders that includes existing investor Altamont, affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, and company founder Tim League — did not return requests for comment.

League did, however, comment early Wednesday on Alamo’s prospects. The company plans to keep most of its theaters open after it emerges from bankruptcy, according to reports.

“Because of the increase in vaccination availability, a very exciting slate of new releases, and pent-up audience demand, we’re extremely confident that by the end of 2021, the cinema industry — and our theaters specifically — will be thriving,” League said in a statement to news outlets.

Josh Kosman contributed reporting.

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Samsung eyes four locations for $17 billion chip factory

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Samsung eyes four locations for $17 billion chip factory

Samsung is looking at four sites in three different US states where it could build a $17 billion computer chip plant, records show.

The South Korean tech giant is considering two locations in Arizona and one in New York in addition to a site in Austin, Texas, where it’s seeking nearly $1.5 billion in tax breaks for the semiconductor facility, according to documents filed with Lone Star State officials.

Samsung said it’s in “active negotiations” with the other three potential hosts, each of which have offered a combination of property tax abatements, grants or tax credits to support the “highly competitive” project.

The company did not identify the cities it’s courting besides Austin. But The Wall Street Journal has reported that it’s eyeing a big industrial campus in Genesee County, New York, and two sites in the Phoenix area.

“All three alternative sites have the necessary land and are capable of scaling up the required infrastructure within the requisite period of time to meet the project’s accelerated timetable,” Samsung said in a submission to the Texas state comptroller’s office dated Feb. 26.

Samsung said it’s also scouting sites in Korea but suggested that Austin is its preferred location because of its 25-year history in the Texas capital, where it already has a chip plant.

Samsung expects the roughly 7 million-square-foot factory to create 1,800 jobs in its first 10 years with average initial salaries of $66,254, according to another Feb. 26 filing.

While Austin is the apparent frontrunner, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer has said he reached out to Samsung in late January about building the plant at the 1,250-acre Genesee STAMP campus, situated between the major cities of Buffalo and Rochester.

“This Samsung project is an exciting and a potential game changer for the region,” Schumer said at the time. “I know firsthand that STAMP is shovel-ready — and that, combined with upstate New York’s robust semiconductor industry, make Genesee the perfect location for Samsung’s new chip fab.”

With Post wires

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GameStop booster ‘Roaring Kitty’ testifies before regulators

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GameStop booster 'Roaring Kitty' testifies before regulators

Keith Gill, the social media persona known as “Roaring Kitty,” whose online posts helped spark January’s trading frenzy in GameStop shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities.

Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state’s top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual.

He was a key figure in the so-called “Reddit rally,” which saw shares of GameStop surge 400 percent in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels. Galvin’s spokeswoman said Gill was giving testimony virtually in response to the subpoena.

William Taylor, Gill’s attorney at Zuckerman Spaeder, declined to comment.

Gill, 34, began sharing his positions on Reddit’s popular Wallstreetbets trading forum in September 2019, posting a portfolio screenshot indicating he had invested $53,000 in GameStop.

By late January, Gill, known as “Roaring Kitty” on YouTube and “DeepF***ingValue” on Reddit, was up over 4,000 percent on stock and options investments in the company, with his GameStop position plus cash worth nearly $48 million, according to his Reddit posts.

Gill testified before the House Committee on Financial Services on Feb. 18 that he remained “as bullish as I’ve ever been on a potential turnaround for GameStop.”

While trading in GameStop, Gill worked at MassMutual in a marketing and financial education job and was a registered financial broker in Massachusetts.

Galvin’s office said that MassMutual has told regulators it was unaware of Gill’s outside activities. He left MassMutual in late January and is no longer a broker registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

The broker-dealer arm of MassMutual on Friday filed a termination notice for Gill with FINRA and said an internal review of his “outside activities” was ongoing.

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