Apple last year dismissed an in-house lawyer who filled out the paperwork on a controversial 2001 stock-option award to Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, according to a report from The Recorder late Friday.
The report, published on Law.com, claims that Wendy Howell was the Apple attorney who wrote the paperwork that awarded Jobs stock options with a favorable grant date designed to inflate their value, a practice known as backdating that is the subject of numerous federal investigations. The same outfit caused a sharp spike in Apple's stock over the holiday break with a report that Apple executives falsified documents to make the grant, two days before Apple admitted that was true in its delayed annual report.
Howell no longer works for Apple, according to the report. It identifies her as the attorney who conjured up the minutes of a board meeting that outlined the terms of Jobs' grant. That meeting never took place, Apple said in its annual report filed with the SEC.
The Recorder report suggests that she was directed to do so by her superiors. General Counsel Nancy Heinan and former chief financial officer Fred Anderson have been named in other reports as subjects of the SEC investigation into Apple's stock-option practices.
An attorney for Howell declined to comment for the report. An Apple representative could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday.
Apple has said that Jobs was "aware (of) or recommended the selection of some favorable grant dates, (but) he did not receive or financially benefit from these grants or appreciate the accounting implications." The 2001 award, along with an earlier one, was cancelled in 2003 before being exercised and replaced by a grant of 5 million shares of restricted stock, according to Apple's annual report for 2006.