BOSTON (CN) – Prominent money manager Phillip Goldstein, of Bulldog Investors, claims Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin unfairly singled him out by name in a public announcement about unregistered securities offerings. In a federal civil rights complaint, Goldstein claims Galvin targeted him due to his “prominence as an active and outspoken opponent of excessive regulation of hedge funds.”
Galvin, the state’s top securities regulator, filed an administrative complaint against Goldstein and 11 others three years ago, which he won, claiming they had failed to ensure that material on their investment Web site was restricted to qualified investors. Galvin said their actions constituted an unregistered securities offering.
Now Goldstein claims that Galvin retaliated against him, and deviated from normal practices, when he singled out Goldstein by name in his “widely disseminated” public announcement: “Secretary Galvin Charges Phillip Goldstein and Bulldog Investors for unregistered securities offering.”
Goldstein claims Galvin’s usual practice “is not to identify any individual respondent by name in the announcement” and that “this has been true even when the complaint alleges fraudulent securities activity.”
Goldstein, who is based in New York, says he became known as a critic of excessive regulation of hedge funds a few years ago when he won a case against the Securities and Exchange Commission, claiming that regulators had overstepped their bounds by trying to make hedge fund managers register with the SEC.
Goldstein claims that Galvin singled him out “in retaliation for Goldstein’s exercise of his free speech rights and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Goldstein says he has been “chilled in the exercise of his free speech and due process rights and his reputation and business have been damaged.”
He also complains that he has been “required to disclose in recurring SEC filings that Secretary Galvin has charged him with violating securities laws,” and that “Each such disclosure harms Goldstein’s reputation and business.”
Goldstein seeks declaratory judgment that his constitutional rights have been violated, and punitive damages.He is represented by John Markham II with Markham & Read