Finance | August 14, 2022 8:25 pm

SEC Fines Over Ivy League Endowment Management Are Part of a Bigger Story

Very large sums of money are involved

Two lawsuits, one SEC investigation and a lot of money.
Alexander Schimmeck/Unsplash

Earlier this month, Law360 reported on an interesting case involving a high-profile Connecticut-based private fund. The fund, Deccan Value Investors LP, was fined by the SEC, as was its founder, Vinit Bodas. Why? It had to do with two universities that had invested with Deccan and sought to withdrawn their money. The SEC felt that the universities had not received their money at a “reasonable pace,” and it resulted in Deccan being fined $1.1 million and Bodas owing $500,000.

The SEC cited texts in which Bodan requested that one of his colleagues go through the process slowly. “Why should we sell in advance and have other investors bear the cost of these fools,” he wrote.

As it turns out, there’s an even bigger story behind that. Writing at Air Mail, William D. Cohan provided a deeper look at the issues facing Deccan — and identified the two universities that had opted to stop working with Deccan as Yale and Emory.

At the center of Cohan’s article are lawsuits between Bodan and John Malik, Deccan’s COO. Malik’s suit against Bodan contends that Bodan changed how money was distributed among the firm’s partners, giving Bodan a larger share. Malik also contends that Bodan forced him to engage in illicit activities. For his part, Bodan has filed a lawsuit of his own against Malik, arguing that Malik’s work was sub-par, and has denied many of the things Malik accused him of.

It’s a story that gets more and more intricate the more you stare at it. That it also involves mammoth sums of money and well-known universities only makes it that much more intriguing — and leaves one wondering what the next twist in the case might be.