Farmland Partners Inc. announced today that Rota Fortunae, the pseudonymous author who executed a “short-and-distort” attack on the Company via a posting published on SeekingAlpha.com, has been identified as Quinton Mathews from Dallas, Texas.
Mr. Mathews’ disclosure of his name and the names of others he previously tried to shield from disclosure came in response to a Court order requiring him to do so, rejecting his attempts to hide behind anonymity protections reserved for those with legitimate First Amendment rights. Now that Farmland Partners has the names of these individuals and companies, the Company intends to promptly investigate their relationships to Mr. Mathews’ short-and-distort scheme, including to explore their connection to Mr. Mathews’ publication of false and misleading statements to artificially drive down the price of the Company’s stock so that the relevant individuals and companies could profit from short positions. The Company intends to publicly disclose the names of, and pursue legal recourse against, any parties deemed to have participated in Mr. Mathews’ short-and-distort scheme.
Mr. Mathews also admitted in a June 8, 2020 blog post on SeekingAlpha.com that he profited from a short position he took prior to the publication of the defamatory posting in 2018, although he failed to mention in his blog post certain key facts from the Court’s recent rulings, including Mr. Mathews’ “strong motive” to publish his defamatory statements and his deception of investors, the Company, and the Court about the extent of and participation in his scheme. Mr. Mathews, in his own name and as Rota Fortunae, notably is the subject of another lawsuit regarding similar allegations involving a different company, suggesting Mr. Mathews has participated in a pattern of short-and-distort schemes, though the extent to which those other short-and-distort schemes involve the same individuals and companies Mr. Mathews recently revealed is unclear.
Paul Pittman, Chairman and CEO of the Company commented: “This is not a case about protected free speech or legitimate short selling. It’s about a conspiracy using false and misleading statements to manipulate the market, harm honest shareholders and damage a legitimate company.”
Farmland Partners is represented in this matter by Morrison & Foerster LLP.
About Farmland Partners Inc.
Farmland Partners Inc. is an internally managed real estate company that owns and seeks to acquire high-quality North American farmland and makes loans to farmers secured by farm real estate. As of the date of this release, the Company owns approximately 156,500 acres in 16 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia. We have approximately 26 crop types and over 100 tenants. The Company elected to be taxed as a real estate investment trust, or REIT, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, commencing with the taxable year ended December 31, 2014.