09 April 2009

Candidates for the Tumbrel!

First go below and read the April 7 & 8 post. "The Real War" & "Where are the Tumbrels".

Before beginning, let me note that in the crash of 1929 some Wall Street Robber Barons at least had the good grace to hurl themselves off the tops of tall buildings. Not so today, they're looking for hard working American families to bail them out after years of no oversight and unregulated malfeasance, outright criminality, and sheer stupidity.

Here, from a Special Report from Wealth Daily and Independent Investment Analysis are ten of the top candidates for the tumbrel.

Angelo Mozilo, former CEO of Countrywide Financial, who lied repeatedly to investors about the company's liquidity while burning through loans and credit lines totalling at least $13-billion. This does not take into consideration the money thrown at it by the Fed or the company's supposed $50-billion "cushion".

Eventually Countrywide was taken over by Bank of America for a mere 20% of its previous reported market value of $24-billion and putting thousands of employees on the unemployment line.

Earlier Mozilo had dumped much his stock in the company, raking in a nearly $292-million profit with two pensions worth $24-million, along with other shenanigans resulting in another $250-million.

James Cayne, former CEO of Bear Stearns whose primary skill appears to be as a bridge player. He oversaw a $3-billion hedge fund loan for subprime mortgages. A month later clients were informed that there "effectively" was no value in the funds and that the company was soon filing for bankruptcy.

There were other miscues, but that was the killer. Cayne exited Bear Stearns with a $61-million golden parachute.

John Thain & Stan O'Neal. Both are former CEOs of Merrill Lynch. Both speculated on the subprime mortgage scam and presided over write down after write down, totalling more than $20-billion, as Merill continued its downward spiral.

Bank of America rescued Thain and gave him another high powered job and then drop-kicked him last January.

O'Neal looted Merrill of almost $162-million in his "compensation package".

Martin Sullivan, AIG CEO. In late December, 2007, our boy Marty told investors of his "confidence" and "high degree of certainty" in what the company had booked. He didn't mention that the month before that statement to investors that auditors warned him that "AIG could have a material weakness relating to risk management of those "bookings".

Not so long after that, we taxpayers gave AIG an $85-billion bailout. Sullivan was given a $19-million golden parachute which included a $5-million "performance bonus" and a new contract with a $15-million parachute. New York Attorney General, Anthony Cuomo, has frozen the deal as he investigates "unwarranted and outrageous executive payouts after the company, which suffered horrendous losses, received billions in taxpayer bailout money

Alan Greenspan, Former (1987 - 2006) Chairman, Federal Reserve. An infamous Freidmaniac, Greenspan's loose monetary policy and opposition to oversight and regulation makes him a key architect of today's financial bust. In fact, many world economists see him as one of the most culpable behind the collapse.

Today he enjoys a full government pensions, a "sweetheart" book deal and advisory position with hedge fund, Paulson & Co, bond giant PIMCO, and the Deutsche Bank's banking team and their clients.

Phil Gramm, former Texas Aggie professor and Republican Senator (1985 - 2002) serving on the Senate Budget Committee (1989 - 2003). Another "Free Market" Freidmaniac, Gramm added and abetted deregulation, opposed funding of the SEC to police Wall Street, and helped stymie an SEC rule that would have prevented auditing firms from getting too close to the companies they audited.

He also authored what has come to be called the ENRON loophole, exempting energy speculators who make trades electronically from federal regulation. His wife served on ENRON's board at the time of its collapse.

Upon leaving the Senate, Gramm became vice chairman of UBS Securities, the investment banking arm of Swiss bank UBS, which discretely tends the wealth of American millionaires and billionaires. And, of course, that full government pension, which includes full health benefits and 80% of his Senatorial salary.

Dick Fuld, Lehman Brothers CEO & Erin Callan, ousted Lehman CFO. Callan who was once tagged "The Best Accessorized CFO on Wall Street" became the public face of Lehman's collapse, once telling the world, after the firm sold off 50% of its stock value, "I'm optimistic about the company's future". After posting a horrible $2.8-billion quarterly loss, she was shut up and shortly thereafter summarily shoved out of the door.

Throughout all this, Fuld managed to blame everyone, except himself for the firm's hanging too long to its subprime "assets". During the tightening of the credit market, 73% of the firm's stock value had vanished. Recently, the San Mateo County (California) investment pool filed suit against Fuld, Callan and other top execs in the firm for reimbursement of financial losses from their investments with the firm, alledging, "this represents the worst example of fraud committed by modern-day robber barons of Wall Street, who targeted public entities for their risky practices and then paid themselves hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation as their companies deteriorated".

Callan now oversees the global hedge-fund at Credit Suisse, and Fuld? Well he's still flying high.

Hank Paulson, former U.S. Tresury Secretary & Past Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. Let us turn to Wikipedia and its summation of this particular anti-regulation Freidmaniac. "...it has been pointed out that Paulson's plan could potentially have some conflicts of interest, since Paulson is the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, a firm that benefits largely from the plan..." The plan? well, the initial bailout plan that gave the Treasury Secretary unprecedented powers over the nations economy and financial life. "Decisions by the Secretary...may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."

Excuse me while I go search for a filled chamber pot to sling as the tumbrels roll by.

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