New book reveals details on Toronto lawyers’ misdeeds

The public will soon have access to more seedy details of the largest insider trading scandal in Canadian history, with the April publication of Tip and Trade: How Two Lawyers Made Millions from Insider Trading.

Mark Coakley, a Hamilton, Ont., writer and former sole practitioner who went to Osgoode Hall Law School with the now-infamous Stan Grmovsek and Gil Cornblum, authored the jarring 372-page book. The book uncovers a slew of new details on the nature of the pair’s relationship and what led them to concoct a scheme that illegally brought in US$9 million and sent shockwaves through Bay Street.

Coakley certainly had a unique opportunity to dig into the story in light of his law-school ties to both men. His research included in-depth interviews with the imprisoned Grmovsek, whom he describes as being surprisingly candid during their talks.

“The more I dug, the more I realized there was a huge human-interest story here that goes way beyond what’s in the headlines,” Coakley tells Legal Feeds. “This story’s important because it’s connected to the stock-market crash, the rise of neo-conservatism, the increasing gap between the rich and poor. Their story is linked to so many of these wider social issues.

“But at heart, it’s a story of friendship and a story of two people who trust each other but really shouldn’t and how their inner flaws lead them to the worst places you can be.”

Coakley calls Grmovsek “an eternal optimist” who hopes to set up a business preparing white-collar criminals for prison and publish a book upon his release from jail.

Grmovsek and Cornblum used inside information available to them as corporate lawyers to illegally net profits from dozens of corporate transactions over a 14-year period. Grmovsek is serving a 39-month prison sentence for the fraud, while Cornblum committed suicide days before the pair was expected to admit their guilt.

For more on the unprecedented fraud, see Canadian Lawyer’s March 2010 cover story “When temptation bites.”

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