A reader just pointed me to this Wall Street Journal story about the collapse of Wachovia Corp. and a San Diego angle on the current implosion of the financial sector.

The firm feeling the most pain may be American Assets Investment Management LLC, a San Diego investment firm whose founder serves on Wachovia’s board. The money manager had 43% of its portfolio in Wachovia shares as of the end of the second quarter, according to SEC filings.

The hedge fund, run by former Westcorp Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Ernest Rady, got 23.9 million of its 28.9 million shares when they traded between $50 and $60, during the third quarter of 2006. That is around the same time Wachovia finished its $3.9 billion stock acquisition of Westcorp, a California thrift and auto lender.

Mr. Rady also is chairman of Insurance Co. of the West. The firm didn’t respond to messages for comment.

Simple math would say that 24 million shares at $50 is $1.2 billion. Wachovia stock closed at $3.25 a share yesterday, which would leave the 24 million shares worth only $78 million.


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