John B. Torkelsen’s lavish offices on Vaughn Drive had light oak

parquet floors, built-in light oak cabinets, simulated oak ceiling

beams, and a unique mirror design – mirrors that bounced off mirrors,

as many as five lined up so those in the executive office could see

around corners.

The luxury of this office paled when compared to Torkelsen’s home on

an acre of land in Princeton’s expensive Western section. It had 17

rooms, including seven bedrooms, 7.5 baths, a 35-foot living room, two

solariums, a pool, and a two-story luxury cabana with a Lalique

glass-paneled staircase.

On June 22 Torkelsen checked into the Federal Correctional Institution

in Morgantown, West Virginia, a minimum security prison. He had been

sentenced to 70 months in prison on one criminal charge: Making false

statements to the U.S. Small Business Administration on February 10,

2002. He must also pay more than $1.9 million in restitution to the

SBA and be subject to five years supervision after he is released.

Next week Torkelsen is scheduled to receive his work assignment, which

might be groundskeeping, food service, orderly work (cleaning),

plumbing, or painting, but he could also be assigned to tutor a fellow

inmate. Inmates can take vocational training in computers, graphics,

or welding. According to a Forbes article on "Best Prisons," the

facility also offers classes in leatherwork, wood carving, and art.

Formerly the Kennedy Center for troubled juveniles, Morgantown was

converted to a federal prison in 1969. It has several dormitory-style

housing units and it also has some two-person rooms. Most of the 1,300

male inmates are here for drug offenses, according to Veronica

Fernandez, public information officer. She notes that though

Torkelsen’s sentence is 70 months, he might get that sentence reduced

for good behavior.

A minimum security prison has the most relaxed rules in the federal

system, yet the regulations for visitors seem restrictive. Visitors

may not wear khaki clothing or sleeveless blouses, and they may bring

only three items: a small clear change purse, $20 in currency to use

in vending machines, and nitroglycerine pills.

The prison is a couple of hours away from the facility where Martha

Stewart served her time. Earlier Torkelsen had been slated to go to

the minimum security prison in Fairton, New Jersey, 92 miles south of


Torkelsen and members of his family had been charged with the theft of

$1.9 million of Acorn Technology Fund monies and the misapplication of

$32 million in federal funds. Before starting the fund Torkelsen was

an expert witness who valued technology companies for plaintiff

securities firms, particularly Milberg Weiss. Torkelsen was convicted

in November, 2005.

Pamela Torkelsen, his 44-year-old wife, has pleaded guilty to

interstate transportation of stolen or fraudulently obtained property.

With this plea the former owner of an antique shop in South Carolina

agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the investigation of alleged

theft of more than $1.9 million in company funds. Torkelsen’s son Leif

was named in a civil complaint, along with his father.

John Torkelsen had been a favorite expert witness for Milberg Weiss

attorney William Lerach, the recognized king of shareholder

class-action suits. His former company, Princeton Venture Research,

provided valuations and appraisals of both public and private

companies, primarily for the financing of small technology companies.

Torkelsen had funded at least three Princeton firms – Mikros Systems

Corp., Princeton Video Image, and VeriVoice. At one point he had 47

people on Vaughn Drive plus an office in San Diego.

The Torkelsens’ 6,000 square-foot home on Library Place brought just

under $3.5 million at a sheriff’s sale.

Incremental Values

`The history of the world has been changed by very small factors,"

says David Wanetick, CEO of a Forrestal Village-based executive

education firm, Incremental Advantage. "Hitler was almost run over by

a truck."

Also, says Wanetick, the leading partner in a law firm may earn five

times as much as his cohorts, but he cannot work five times as hard as

they do. It must be the star’s "incremental advantage," the "little

extra something," that makes the difference.

Wanetick uses the "very small factor" stance in his pitches to high

level executives, who are notoriously very difficult to educate

because they already know so much – or think they do. His company

stages 25 conferences and seminars on a variety of topics for

executives from all over the world. Costs range from $800 to $1,200.

"If we can give these executives a little advantage, that is magnified

several fold," say Wanetick. His 10-person firm moved in June from

Manhattan to Princeton Forrestal Village and is hiring a marketing

person and a conference sponsorship director. Bill Barish of

Commercial Property Network represented Wanetick in the lease

negotiations. For his IT paraphernalia, he turned to Princeton

Computer Support, and Office Furniture by Barringer is providing the

other furnishings.

The son of a surgeon in San Francisco, Wanetick majored in economics

and political science at Bucknell, Class of `88. He worked for Merrill

Lynch in New York, then went off on his own, focusing on research, to

do his own publications and newsletters. He wrote two books on the

method of conducting industry analyses and taught this subject for 11

years; he has lectured internationally and has made three appearances

in Kuwait.

If you want to know the metrics to evaluate pharmaceuticals, says

Wanetick, you need different tools from those used to analyze an oil

company. "Mine are the only two books that walk investors through

these," says Wanetick.

"I concluded that what was taught in business schools is too generic.

When I applied to teach at the New York Institute of Finance, I didn’t

know what I wanted to teach but I showed them research – I had broken

down my notes into different industries, such as pharma, energy, and

retail. `Just walk them through your notes,’ was the dean’s reply, and

we developed a course called industry analysis." At that time he was

writing the book, and it was synergistic – the book fed his lectures,

and vice versa.

Detailed industry analysis, Wanetick claims, is still not taught in

business schools. "It is extremely difficult to grasp or to give real

life examples," he says. One instructor would have to be up on many

different industries that are constantly changing. Most analysts spend

their careers in the same industry. And students don’t necessarily

want to apply themselves that much. "In the real world you have to do

original thinking and that is not always what students want to do."

Senior level executives, on the other hand, welcome such challenges.

"Teaching them is part entertainment, but they are demanding, and they

want real life examples."

Wanetick’s business used to be partnered with the Wall Street

Transcript. Before that, it was housed with the New York Society of

Security Analysts at the World Trade Center.

"We believe that Princeton is close enough to New York and Washington

to provide us with a very high-caliber talent pool. As a

research-centric business, access to a highly educated labor market is

of critical importance," says Wanetick.

IncreMental Advantage, 116 Village Boulevard, Suite 309, Princeton

08540; 609-919-1895; fax, 347-438-3218. David Wanetick, managing


Start-Up Bank

Randolph Hanks has left Wachovia Bank to found First Choice Bank, the

first new community bank in Mercer County since 1999, and he aims to

open on Whitehead Road in Lawrenceville. First Choice Bank is in the

organization stage, having made its application to the state, and it

is rehabbing a building formerly occupied by Fleet Bank.

As Wachovia’s director of business banking, Hanks met the movers and

shakers who have invested from $50,000 to $200,000 toward the

$1,500,000 required by the state to establish the bank. They exceeded

the minimum, reaching $1,750,000.

If Princeton’s track record prevails, the organizers can expect a good

return. "Carnegie Bank and First Washington, for instance, had healthy

returns – it’s been a good market for small banks in Mercer County and

New Jersey overall," says Hanks. And the next newest bank in Mercer

County, Hopewell Valley Community Bank, opened in 1999 and now has

five locations.

The organizers who will also serve on the board: Herbert Ames, former

county economic development director and now with the Devin Group;

Steven Doerler of Doerler Landscapes; Nancy Dudas of Innovative

Commercial Interiors; Geoffrey Morsell of Sharbell Development;

Matthew Pribila of WithumSmith+Brown; James Radvany of Source One

Services; Luis Rivera of Avila Construction; Munish Sood of Princeton

Advisory Group; Charles Stines of KQI Marketing Group; and Richard

Weise of Xerographic Document Solutions. Also investing are Gregory

Blair of Nottingham Insurance; David Fried of Tricor and also the

mayor of Washington Township; Michael Mann of Pepper Hamilton; and

Gregory Scozzari of the construction firm V.J. Scozzari and Sons.

Hanks, the son of a U.S. Army sergeant first class who won a Bronze

Star in Vietnam, graduated in 1988 from Rider University and began

working for what was then called New Jersey National and is now

Wachovia. He and his wife, Judy, have one son.

Hanks follows Sean Murray out the Wachovia door. Murray had left a job

as Wachovia’s director of wealth management to open Wilmington Trust’s

Princeton office (U.S. 1, June 21). The grand opening for First Choice

will be later this year.

First Choice Bank (in Organization), 669 Whitehead Road, Lawrenceville

08648; 609-462-2684; fax, 609-631-8803. Randolph Hanks, president and

CEO. Home page:


Philadelphia Insurance has moved from 3525 Quakerbridge Road, Ibis

Plaza, to Lenox Drive, going from 25 to 33 workers, and from 4,500

feet to 6,500 feet, With $2 billion in assets, it has 37 branches in

32 states, but has its headquarters in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Of

the 33 employees here, seven are in sales.

The firm writes commercial property and casualty insurance and it

focuses on health clubs, nonprofit groups, schools, hotels, shopping

centers, and professional liability for lawyers and accountants. In

addition to the usual areas, such as employment practices liability,

discrimination, sexual harassment, and wrongful termination, it

provides identity theft, workplace violence, specialized loss control

services, and terrors in travel reimbursement coverage.

"Over the last 10 years, it has been one of the most profitable

companies in America," says Brian O’Reilly, regional vice president,

"because we offer value added coverages in specific niches. We are

competitive, but not the cheapest game in town."

A native of Hamilton Township, O’Reilly was a history major at

Lafayette College, Class of 1990, and has been with the firm for 16

years. He and his wife, Chris, went to Notre Dame High School. They

have a school-aged son and daughter. One of O’Reilly’s two sisters

works at New Jersey Manufacturers.

"I was looking for a job out of Lafayette, and they were looking for

young sales reps," he says. "I interviewed with Jim Maguire, founder

of the company which he had started as a one-man agency in 1962." At

Metropolitan Life, Maguire had made his reputation as a young

salesperson by learning sign language, and he set records selling to

the hearing impaired. "He found a niche within the life insurance

industry, and that is how he built this company – by getting into

niche businesses."

"We are the premiere writer of nonprofit organizations and health

clubs nationally," says O’Reilly. "We insure a board for the decisions

they make. For a nonprofit, most of the exposure is for is

employment-related practices, sexual harassment, and discrimination."

O’Reilly’s own special niche is the nonprofits. They need training for

everything from how to avoid abuse and molestation issues to how to

safely drive a 15-passenger van. "We do schools and daycare centers,

and we found out we that included some churches, so we just started a

church program in the last year." At the firm’s website

( clients can get training manuals and aids to

help them manage their exposures.

Chris Bieberbach of Brandywine Realty in Mount Laurel represented the

landlord and John Comp of NAI Fennelly and William Deasey of NAI Geis

Realty represented the tenant.

"The average client stays with us for 10 years, and we have zero debt

on our balance sheet. The only thing that could hurt us is writing bad

business, and we are tough up front," says O’Reilly. Unlike one of its

competitors, New Jersey Manufacturers, it does not write workers

compensation. Says O’Reilly: "It is a tough area to be profitable in."

Philadelphia Insurance Companies (PHLY), 1009 Lenox Drive, Suite 107,

Lawrenceville 08648; 609-512-3140; fax, 609-512-3141. Brian O’Reilly,

regional vice president.


Lt. Keith J. Hillman, 40, on July 5. He was a lieutenant in the West

Windsor police department.

Michel Jean Martin, 62, on July 14. He was a vice president at Huber

Inc. in Havre De Grace, Maryland, and had been CEO of U.S. operations

for SNPE Inc. on College Road East.

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