ENID, Okla., 05/14/03
Lloyd’s of London would not insure it for media perils exposure. Famed Oklahoma attorney, Stephen Jones, has called it dangerous because it “names names, takes no prisoners, and is explosive.” And a publicized booksigning event was recently cancelled at a bookstore in Tulsa because of pressure brought to bear by Merrill Lynch employees. Keith Schooley’s controversial book, Merrill Lynch: The Cost Could Be Fatal – My War Against Wall Street’s Giant (2002, Lakepointe Publishing) is at the center of this storm.

In late May of last year, Schooley sent each of Merrill Lynch’s 11 directors a copy of his book. Now, almost a year later, the statute of limitations for a defamation action is about to expire. Schooley has not heard from Merrill Lynch, even though his controversial book has received national attention. He has been featured in an author interview in Bimonthly Review of Law Books and interviewed by the Chicago Tribune.

Schooley alleges in his book and recent press releases that Merrill Lynch has a corrupt corporate culture that has allowed for: two senior management cover-ups of a widespread cheating scandal; conspiracies; misrepresentations to regulators; and, in a judicial proceeding, the failure to disclose important documents during discovery, the producing of witnesses who gave false testimony, and an attorney who had difficulty with the truth. Furthermore, Schooley believes that Merrill Lynch’s board of directors has failed to take appropriate action concerning the senior management cover-ups. He has called for the removal of certain members of senior management and directors.

Schooley believes that Merrill Lynch has an obligation to its clients and shareholders to respond to his allegations. He finds it curious that the firm has neither addressed nor denied his charges. “Maybe that is because they know I speak the truth and hope everything will just go away,” Schooley says. “Frankly, this is a company that people are supposed to trust with their money. I think it is time for Merrill Lynch to come clean.”