from recent news reports: As of 13 March, Thomas Weisel Partners LLC is laying off staff, with at least 100 employees will be fired of the total of 600 employees on the payroll. In February, Weisel a $12.5 million fine was levied by the S.E.C. for TWP's share of a settlement with federal and California regulators over conflicts of interest between TWP's investment banking and stock research department. Weisel initially balked at a huge $60 million fine, which it claimed would force it out of business and eventually this was reduced to $12.5 million. Meanwhile, back in in New York, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin refused to dismiss lawsuits against various investment banks and the companies they took public during the IPO boom from 1998 to 2000. Thisis the same conflict of interest case cited above, with numerous complaints about the stocks of hundreds of companies taken public during that time by investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and San Francisco's Thomas Weisel Partners LLC. Allegations involve the stocks of some of Silicon Valley's biggest names, including Agilent Technologies, Covad, Critical Path and TiVo. No word yet whether layoffs will affect Tailwind Sports, Weisel's sports marketing firm that owns Lance Armstrong's USPS cycing squad. However, another conflict of interest may exist vis a vis Weisel's involvement in USA Cycling, as his employee Jim Ochowicz is also the President of USA Cycling. With conflict of interest seemingly business as usual at TWP, how can Ochowicz maintain his job there and his USA Cycling job? Won't Weisel lay him off if Ochowicz doesn't do what Weisel wants?