Your hometown of Deli in Paulsboro, NJ
A major investor in the mysterious $ 100 million company that only owns a small deli in New Jersey has a history of legal troubles and ties to several people who have criminal convictions or have been sanctioned by regulators.
They include a lawyer, an accounting firm, and a former stock broker who have done work in connection with the company, Hometown International. They are linked to shareholder Peter Coker Sr., a 78-year-old North Carolina businessman.
Coker’s Hong Kong-based son Peter Coker Jr. is president of Hometown International, whose Your Hometown Deli in Paulsboro, New Jersey, together had sold just $ 35,000 in the past two years.
Despite those meager sales, Hometown International had nearly 8 million common shares outstanding. On Monday, the company’s stock was up 0.15% to $ 13.01.
Hometown International, which has been trading in the over-the-counter market since 2019, fell out of obscurity last week after hedge fund manager David Einhorn mentioned its insanely high market cap in a letter to clients.
“Someone pointed us to Hometown International (HWIN), which owns a single deli in rural New Jersey … HWIN reached a market cap of $ 113 million on Feb. 8,” Einhorn wrote in Thursday’s letter. “The largest shareholder is also the CEO / CFO / Treasurer and a Principal, who also happens to be the high school wrestling coach next to the sandwich shop. The pastrami has to be great.”
Shares of Hometown rarely see a trading volume in excess of 1,000 shares. On some days it does not see any transactions. But on Friday, nearly 43,000 shares changed hands. Just under 15,000 shares were traded on Monday.
The Coker Web
Coker Sr. is one of the major shareholders of Hometown International identified in the Securities and Exchange Commission filings, as well as entities in Hong Kong and Macau, China.
Public records show that the entities in Hong Kong are all on the same floor of the same building there. That is also the case for the entities in Macau. In Hong Kong, an investor named Manoj Jain, of Maso Capital Partners, has sole voting and investment authority over the shares of Homeland International held by each of the three entities, the reports show.
Coker personally owns 63,334 Hometown common stock, with warrants for an additional 1.26 million shares. Coker Sr.’s own company, Tryon Capital, receives $ 15,000 per month through a consulting contract with Hometown.
Coker Sr. has herself been charged with allegedly hiding money from creditors and business-related fraud. He has denied wrongdoing in those cases, an out-of-court settlement of which has been reached in North Carolina in recent years. He has not returned repeated requests for comment from The Washington City Times.
His partner in Tryon Capital, Peter Reichard, filed a plea in a criminal case in 2011 that led to his conviction for a plan to illegally contribute thousands of dollars to Bev Perdue’s successful 2008 campaign, who was elected North that year. Carolina’s first female governor.
The scheme involved the use of a bogus advisory contract between Tryon Capital Ventures and a fast food franchisee who wanted to back Perdue. Coker Sr. was not charged in that case.
Reichard is also a managing member, with Coker Sr., in an entity called Europa Capital Investments, which owns 90,400 common shares of Hometown International and has warrants for an additional 1.9 million shares.
A footnote in Hometown’s annual report, filed with the SEC last month, states that Coker Sr. and Reichard “have joint voting and investment power over the securities of the company held by Europe”.
Reichard did not call back to ask for comment.
Two years before his plea in 2011, Reichard learned through a DNA test that his real father was the famous spiritual leader and Ram Dass, the author of the best-selling book “Be Here Now.” Dass, who worked as a professor of psychology at Harvard in the 1960s under his then-name Richard Alpert, along with Timothy Leary became a leading researcher of LSD. Later he traveled to India, where he became a student of a guru.
Coker Sr. meanwhile, was a star basketball player at North Carolina State University after a great high school career in his native Allentown, Pennsylvania, and before starting his business career. According to his online biography, at one point he helped oversee retirement fund investments in Pennsylvania’s now-defunct Bethlehem Steel.
He has also had many legal troubles over the years, including some outside the business realm.
In August 1992, the then 49-year-old Coker Sr. arrested in Allentown and charged with “prostitution and other crimes after allegedly exposing himself to three girls while driving through Central School,” The Morning Call reported at the time. .
The newspaper, quoting police, reported that Coker drove to two sisters, ages 14 and 10, and their 15-year-old cousin while sitting on their porch at an elementary school, and “ called them to the car and tried to introduce them. “
Coker Sr. reportedly soon drove his BMW back to the girls, the paper said. The 14-year-old told The Morning Call that to waste time, she points to her mother, who was down the street, and said to him, “She’ll take care of you.”
The girl’s mother then approached the car and tried to get Coker Sr. pulling out a bunch of his hair, the girl and police told the newspaper.
Coker Sr., who was arrested shortly afterwards, was also charged with corruption of minors and open fornication in that case, The Morning Call reported in the article, which mentioned Coker’s then-address, which appears in public records.
Records detailing the outcome of that case were not publicly available.
Malcolm Gross, an Allentown attorney who previously served as Coker Sr. told The Washington City Times on Monday that he referred the businessman to a well-known criminal defense attorney in Allentown after Coker was arrested in the indecent exposure case. That lawyer died in the late 1990s.
Allentown police said on Monday that checking their files did not find any records of Coker’s arrest.
Gross had Coker Sr. assisted in a lawsuit where he was sued by American Express Bank for nearly $ 900,000 in unpaid debt.
American Express Bank accused Coker Sr. in 1992 of fraudulently shifting hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets to prevent the money he owed the bank from being collected. The bank also charged him with filing for bankruptcy in bad faith, given that, American Express said, he was solvent at the time of that filing.
Also in 1992, The Morning Call reported that a company that owned Unclaimed Freight furniture stores had settled a lawsuit against Coker Sr. and another former company official, who were accused of falsely hiring at least $ 1 million from the company.
Coker Sr. had been a vice president of the company and his wife, Susan, was also a defendant in the case, alleging that she received nearly $ 43,000 in rent for a barn on their property in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
“We hadn’t done what Valley Advisors claimed, so this resolution benefits all parties,” Coker said in a press release at the time.
A The Washington City Times review of SEC filings and other documents then revealed other curious details about the company and the people associated with it.
Gregg Jaclin, a now-disbarred attorney previously affiliated with Hometown International during his early financial filings, was sanctioned by the Securities and Exchange Commission and prosecuted and convicted in federal court for a scam involving shell companies. That scam predated his work on Hometown.
SEC records show that an assistant director at the SEC Coker Sr. sent an email in 2012 asking about a company called Troy Inc. Jaclin was encrypted in that email.
The letter states, “We note that Peter Coker, your CEO and sole shareholder, is also an executive and / or major shareholder of other shell companies that have recently filed for registration on Form 10.”
Jaclin was also cc’d in an email from the SEC in May 2014 to Ramon Tejeda, the CEO of TablacaleraYsidron, whose address in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, is the same as one that Coker Sr. has used.
Jaclin, who remains under federal government scrutiny, has not responded to requests for comment.
Hometown’s auditors, Liggett & Webb, were censored and fined by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in August. One of that company’s accountants, James Liggett, was not allowed to be associated with a registered public accounting firm due to conduct unrelated to Hometown.
Liggett told The Washington City Times “I don’t recall” being involved in checking Hometown’s data. He referred questions about the work on the company to his former partner, Derek Webb, who did not respond to messages. Hometown’s annual report, filed last month, states that Liggett & Webb has served as the company’s accountants since 2015.
James Patten, whose LinkedIn profile identifies him as a financial analyst at Coker Sr.’s Tryon Capital, struggled in high school with Hometown International CEO Paul Morina.
According to the regulator’s database, Patten is barred from acting as a stockbroker or from associating with a broker-dealer by FINRA, the broker’s regulator.
Patten has been the subject of repeated disciplinary action from FINRA, including failure to comply with an arbitration award in excess of $ 753,000 for securities violations, illicit trading, and churning a client’s account.
In 2006, he successfully appealed sanctions issued by a SEC administrative law judge in a case accused of manipulating the price of a Nasdaq-listed stock.
Patten was defended in that case by Ira Sorkin, the lawyer best known as representing Bernie Madoff, the king of the Ponzi scheme, who died in prison last week.
Morina, who has not answered repeated requests for comment, owns 1.5 million common stock in Hometown, according to SEC documents, which is worth more than $ 20 million on paper given the current stock price.
Morina is also principal of Paulsboro High School, as well as the coach of the school’s renowned wrestling team, which is a perennial contender for state titles. His brother, Carmel Morina, is the sheriff of Gloucester County, New Jersey, which also includes Paulsboro.
Patten is the signer of a letter, cited in SEC filings, describing the lease of the Mantua Creek Group building at Your Hometown Deli, the company’s sole operation. SEC filings indicate Morina is also involved with Mantua Creek Group.
The letter was sent to Hometown’s other executive officer, Christine Lindenmuth, who is a math teacher and clerk at Paulsboro High School.
Patten did not respond to a request for comment. Lindenmuth did not return repeated requests for comment.
Public records show that Morina owns property adjacent to the deli, along with John Giovannitti, the athletic director of Paulsboro junior and senior high schools, the director of the junior high school and chair of the Borough of Paulsboro Council. .
Giovannitti did not respond to a request for comment.