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When he came to Washington in 1975, Samuel “Sandy” Winer planned to spend a year here gaining litigation experience before moving back to his native Massachusetts. But then the Boston University law graduate landed a job as a lawyer in the Division of Enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission — a happy escape after a year of child custody and divorce cases at a small, now-defunct D.C. firm. Nearly 30 years later, the head of Foley & Lardner’s securities group is being tapped to handle some of the country’s most high-profile securities cases. For example, former star Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget turned to Winer when Blodget came under investigation by the SEC, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and the New York Stock Exchange for allegedly privately disparaging stocks that he was publicly recommending. In October, Blodget agreed to pay $4 million to settle the case; he was banned from the securities industry, but he didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing. As a result of the far-reaching analyst research scandal, his employer, Merrill Lynch, also settled by paying a $100 million fine and issuing an apology. When he left the SEC as special counsel in the Division of Enforcement in 1985, Winer went to Arter & Hadden to build the firm’s D.C. securities practice. By the early 1990s, he says that he was representing more than 15 regional brokerage firms. In 1995, Winer joined Foley as a partner. More recently, the former Rhode Island Supreme Court clerk has served as counsel to the special committee of the board of directors of Dollar General Inc., which overstated its profits for 1998 through 2000 by about $100 million. Gordon Gee, a Dollar General board member and head of the special committee, says Winer was at the nexus of efforts to resolve the company’s legal troubles, coordinating his counsel to the committee with that of a cadre of other lawyers (including Debevoise & Plimpton’s Ralph Ferrara) involved in the case. Gee compares Winer to an orchestra conductor. “He’s an advocate and a compassionate mediator,” says Gee. “I found him to be a very genteel adviser. He would quietly call and provide both information and even solace.” The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority also benefited from Winer’s skills when he negotiated a settlement with the SEC, which found that the authority’s former chairman, James Kerasiotes, had negligently failed to disclose $1.4 billion in extra costs in 1999. The authority did admit wrongdoing, but paid no fines. Michael Powers, general counsel of the Turnpike Authority, says that Winer’s frankness about the implications of not disclosing the cost overruns to the public was refreshing. And as general counsel, Powers appreciated the practicality of the settlement, especially since he didn’t have to spend $3 million in legal fees that he had originally budgeted for litigation related to the matter. “He was upfront about wrongdoing,” says Powers. “He cut the bait loose.”

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