I continue with excerpts from my journal on Aqua America, The Good Years. Memo from January 23, 1998; The Acquisition of the West Chester Water Authority. With this addition brings the total of the 94th acquisition of Aqua America to date. In a short 6 year history, also Market capitalization was $100 million dollars. Rather small compared to today’s 4.75 Billion. Wow in 17 years Market Cap. at Aqua America grew by…………..Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty percent! That is 4,750 % folks! Wow! Funny though it took a nose dive in 2009, down to 2.3 Billion dollars down from 3.5 Billion dollars in 2005, the year right before I blew the whistle on Aqua America.
Nick was always big on Market Cap.although he could never quite explain why it dropped so much between 2005 and 2009. One of his biggest fans Jim Cramer of “Mad Money” had him on his show to explain. After Nick left the interview, Mr. Cramer looked like he was hit by a bus! He promptly removed Aqua America from his Charitable Trust Portfolio.
Reading from a March 19, 2004 memo from Nick DeBenedictis, he starts,”Dear Shareholder”. He was always the hustler, talking to the shareholders, never to the employees. I know I was an employee, did not hold any stock. He was announcing the name change of Philadelphia Suburban Water Co. to Aqua America. He said, “After over 100 years of growth it was time to have a name that better reflected our new national footprint and our position as the largest “Investor” owned water company in America”. He was out to conquer America. His growth through acquisition had gone viral! He stated that in 2003 we added more than 20% to our customer base. Also he announced that in 2003 Aqua America Shareholders experienced a 34% stock price appreciation. and a 37% return on their dividends. There was also a 5 for 4 stock split in 2003. Full revenues grew by 14% to 367.2 million over 2002 revenues of 322 million dollars. Wow, sky’s the limit. 2003 growth could be compared to as the equivalent of five years of normal growth in a single year. That’s pretty BIG!
I am a journalist and a scientist. Yes. a scientist, a term not used nuch these days. If you happen to teach at MIT or work for a major pharmacutical you could be a scientist. I like the old days like 500 years ago when a scientist was simply someone who observed things and wrote them down. That be me, the old school scientist. The one sad part for Aqua America is that most of my oberservations are ones involving the Pa. PUC and Aqua America and their conspiracy coverup against me.
Another observation I had during this time period was the hiring of a Ms. Theresa (Tracy) Ryan as Secretary in the Corporate and Public Affairs department. Ryan joined Aqua America after five years as Grants Administrator and Executive assistant for the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy.
This is the same organization founded by a Mr. John G. Bennett in 1989 which turned out to be a ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bennett. In 1995 after years of taking donations for his charitable organization and promising huge profits to its donors Bennett filed for bankruptcy. Turns out his was working a check kiting operation to cover the hustling he was doing in defrauding donors. Bennett had raised over $354 million dollars from 1,400 donors. In Sept. 27, 1996 Bennett was charged in an 82 count indictment with mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, false statements to the government,filing false tax returns and money laundering by the FBI. Mr. Bennett pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 12 years behind bars.He was released from prison in 2008.
Now I’m only noting that I observed that Ms. Ryan (McGonigle) was Mr. Bennett’s assistant. I can surmise that in the five years she worked for Mr.Bennett that she had nothing to do with his criminal activity, but she was in fact his assistant.
Well I’ll leave this new posting for now and allow my followers time to digest all that I have written.
Until next time, Peace to all!