It doesn’t always pay for an analyst to be right, especially when regulators are way behind. Just ask bank analyst Richard Bove.

Bove certainly wasn’t looking to become the poster child for retaliation by a company he followed when he wrote a report titled, “Who is Next?” in July 2008. In the wake of IndyMac’s failure, he used two metrics to rank the banks he thought were at the greatest risk from the growing real estate bust. Within days, BankAtlantic Bancorp — No. 10 by one metric and No. 12 by the other — sued him for defamation.

Bove was with Ladenburg Thalmann at the time, and he says he left the firm in February 2009 rather than go along with a settlement under which the firm had agreed to pay the bank holding company a reported $300,000. (Ladenburg declined to comment on the settlement, citing a confidentiality agreement, or on Bove’s departure.) Now with Rochdale Securities, Bove hired his own attorney, racking up $800,000 in legal bills, and he says he still “owes $700,000, not a small amount to me.” He settled with the bank holding company in June 2010 but without any admission of liability on his part, and “I paid them nothing,” Bove says. But, he was forced to drop his coverage, he says and was told, “If you open your mouth about this company again, we’ll sue you again.”

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