A Cliff-Hanging Merger Meeting
In mid- 1972, Ross Perot appeared to be well on his way to achieving his original objective in the investment business. Just as he had in the health insurance business, he had aimed at getting several firms in the industry to retain Electronic Data Systems, Inc. for data processing.
The third largest firm, duPont Glore Forgan, Inc., was a client.
Dominick & Dominick, Inc., a small brokerage firm, also had become a client.
And on July 7, 1972, the Wall Street Journal announced that Walston & Co. had become a client as well.
His relationship with Walston would be similar to that with F. I. duPont, Glore Forgan.
He obtained the Walston account by contributing capital -- $15 million -- to Walston, just as he had with F. I. duPont, Glore Forgan.1 (The attorneys at the Justice Department withdrew their anti-trust threat when the firm's dire condition was revealed to them.)
And just as with F. I. duPont, Glore Forgan, the firm did not prosper thereafter. Walston's data processing costs increased -- doubling according to one estimate.
At the same time, revenues declined for reasons that had nothing to do with Ross Perot. Continuing stories in the media about the Four Seasons debacle made investors wary and discouraged Walston stockbrokers. In December 1972,2 Glenn Miller and another Walston & Co. officer were indicted. It was the first criminal fraud charge ever filed against high officers of a big investment firm. In January 1973, both Miller and the other officer pleaded guilty.3
Walston lost nearly a million dollars during the three months ended