He’s a legend in New Jersey high school – and a mystery in the stock market. Paul Morina, the principal of Paulsboro, New Jersey, High School, is listed in financial records as the president, CEO, CFO and more at a Nevada-incorporated company whose stock is trading at levels that give it a valuation more than $100 million.
That’s an oddly high valuation because the company, Hometown International, owns a delicatessen — and only one small delicatessen — in Paulsboro, where the Morina-coached high school wrestling team frequently wins state championships. The company has disclosed that it has shareholders based in China’s Macau territory.
The shop, Your Hometown Deli, did just $35,000 in sales — combined — over the past two years, according to Hometown International’s annual report, filed March 26 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“The pastrami must be amazing,” Einhorn cracked of the company, whose stock from late March 2020 to early September rose to more than $9 per share from $3.25 per share despite the deli — its only operating business — being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic during that time frame.
Hometown International’s annual report shows that Morina, who is also the company’s treasurer and a director, has 1.5 million shares of common shares in the company, with warrants for another 30 million shares. Morina owns 19% of Hometown’s outstanding 7.79 million common shares.
On Thursday, Hometown’s stock, which trades thinly on the over-the-counter market, had a closing price of $13.50 per share.
That makes Morina’s common stock holdings alone worth $20.5 million — on paper, at least.
FactSet data shows that Hometown rarely has more than a few hundred shares change hands per day, and often has days when no shares are exchanged.
Nonetheless, Hometown International said in its filing, “We believe that Mr. Morina’s in-depth knowledge and extensive experience makes him a valuable member of our board of directors.”
The filing says that Hometown International, which was incorporated in 2014, entered into a lease with Mantua Creek Group, of which Morina is a member, for its store space.
Hometown’s vice president and secretary is Christine Lindenmuth — a 46-year-old math teacher at Paulsboro High School, according to the SEC filing.
Lindenmuth, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment, also does not appear to have any prior experience in food service. But Hometown International said it believes her “in-depth knowledge and extensive experience” also make her a valued company director. Lindenmuth holds no shares in the company, according to the SEC filing.
The annual report says, “The Company presently has no full-time employees apart from its officers and directors, Paul F. Morina, President, and Christine T. Lindenmuth.” It adds: “Both are currently working for the Company without any compensation.”
Hometown’s annual report suggests that the company was formed with the idea of creating a chain of stores with “a new Delicatessen concept.”
“Through our wholly-owned subsidiary, Your Hometown Deli Limited Liability Company (‘Your Hometown Deli’), we operate a delicatessen store that features ‘home-style’ sandwiches and other entrees in a casual and friendly atmosphere,” the filing says.
“The store is designed to offer local patrons of all ages with a comfortable community gathering places. Targeted towards smaller towns and communities, the Company’s first unit was built in Paulsboro, New Jersey.”
But that location, a low-slung, boxy building located just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, remains the only store the company owns after about seven years in business.