http://www.nypost.com/news/nationalnews/5017.htm January 5, 2004 -- DES MOINES, Iowa-Howard Dean acknowledged yesterday that he sold $15,000 in stock in five Vermont banks in 1991 after getting "inside information" from a state banking regulator soon after he became Vermont governor. Dean yesterday portrayed the sale as a bid to avoid a conflict of interest - not an attempt to profit from inside information. "It became clear to me that information I might receive in the future as governor could present a possible conflict of interest," Dean said in a statement. But Dean, as governor, held onto investments in IBM worth $39,000 as of last May, even though it has a large plant in Vermont, The Wall Street Journal reports today. Dean also held onto stock in the insurance giant AIG, worth $69,000 as of last May, despite state regulation of insurance, the Journal adds.