The New York Times spends four pages telling us that Bernie Madoff is a psychopath. When I lawyered for a living, I think I had only two true psychopaths as clients but they were enough to alert me to the behavioral characteristics, including a complete lack of any sense of morality, a delight in lying just to lie, and a willingness to sacrifice anyone else if it would serve their interest. When Bernie hit the news, it felt as though an old client had been released from prison.
Daily Archives: January 24, 2009
This recession is not a failure of market economics. It is a reassertion of market economics after a decade in which we paid ourselves more than we were producing, and funded it precariously and temporarily by complicated credit instruments that it took a while for the market to rumble. Now a prosperity that always baffled ordinary citizens has collapsed. The collapse of confidence is not irrational; it’s the correction to a long run of irrational confidence. All that stuff about the emerging Asian giants wasn’t just phrasemaking for party conference speeches. It was true. We’re falling behind. We face a mountain of debt: the difference between the life we are able to sustain and the life we were enjoying.
Professor Reynolds: The “stimulus” isn’t about fixing things — it’s an embodiment of Rhett Butler’s theory of wealth accumulation in bad times. My take remains this one: “This is not so much a stimulus, as a massive transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected.”
And just in time to prove the point, this:
BOSTON HERALD: Barney Frank’s Hypocrisy:
Ah, the dirty little secret is out. That $700 billion TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) bill was in part simply a variation on congressional pork – except this time the recipients were banks with friends in high places.
One of those powerful friends was Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. And one of the recipients of a $12 million infusion of federal cash was the troubled OneUnited Bank in Boston – a bank that had already been accused of “unsafe and unsound banking practices.” Its CEO, Kevin Cohee had also been criticized by regulators for “excessive” pay that included a Porsche.
Frank admits he included language in the TARP legislation specifically designed to bail out OneUnited. He also acknowledges contacting officials at the Treasury Department about the bank’s bailout application.
Our own Chris Dodd’s identical efforts in protecting his favorite banking contributors is missing from the Herald’s coverage of Barney Frank, but now that Dodd has released the loan documents from his Countrywide deal he’ll no doubt receive the attention he deserves. What? He still refuses to produce them? What’s he hiding?
Sounds much like my own experience. Some of these bloggers made money selling ads but the point I took away is that they become go-to sources for current real estate news and information. That’s what I strive for but, since I don’t sell ads and do this for my amusement, I tend to drift off into anything else that interests me. And yes, I know that annoys those who come here for a strict diet of real estate but heck, just skip over the stuff that’s irrelevant. You have a channel changer at home for your TV, right? Same concept.
By the way – if you aren’t reading the comments, you’re missing a huge part of this blog. My readers are smarter and more knowledgeable than I am on most everything (a low hurdle) and offer useful insights on all sorts of subjects.
This gossip item in the Daily News says that one Titania Boncompagni, is giving up fighting with her sister in order to devote her attention to other, more pressing things, like the impending financial doom awaiting her family.
The sisters who went to war over authorship of a book called “Hedge Fund Wives” have ended their feud – possibly because there’s not much left to fight over.
Natasha Boncompagni, accused by her sister Tatiana of stealing the book manuscript in a dispute over whether Natasha should get credit for contributing to it, said the battle is over. She said Tatiana, the “Gilding Lily” author whose husband is an heir to the Hoover vacuum empire and son of a hedge fund magnate, has enough trouble.
That’s because the hedge fund is Fairfield Greenwich Group, which lost $7 billion to Bernard Madoff and faces unending lawsuits from investors.
“Our family has decided to put our differences behind us in order to unite behind my sister and her two young children as she faces the impending litigation associated with the business dealings of her father-in-law,” Natasha said in a statement.
So far as I know, the Fabulous Noel girls are the only fruit of the union between Walter and Monica Noel, so unless one of those five married a girl (hey – it happens in every family – ask Dick Cheney, if you can find him these days) then Titania’s husband must be the son of the other partner, Jeff Tucker, no? I hadn’t heard of him but if he exists and happens to live in Greenwich, wouldn’t that be delicious? We have our reputation to maintain, you know, so the more crooks we can produce, the better.
Update: The two sisters hate each other but this letter from Natasha says that Tatania’s husband’s Hoover connection is bogus.[In Citifile] Still can’t find a Fairfield Group connection but we’ll keep digging.
It must be noted that one of her remaining claims via HarperCollins marketing materials– that her husband (Max Hoover) is an heir to the Hoover vacuum cleaning fortune—is categorically false. Her husband’s family sold the company decades ago and no member of the family is a majority nor minority stockholder. It is a well-known fact that her husband’s father—”Bunker” Hoover—squandered the family’s fortune. His last remaining home in Nova Scotia was foreclosed upon this year and he is currently living at the home of his ex-wife (the actress Camilla Sparv) and his unemployed son (Bart Hoover).
Update 2: rereading Natasha’s letter, I am still confused. It was Natasha who once worked for Fairfield Group, and yet Tatania’s husband, Max Hoover is being sued? Hmmm.
Furthermore, it should be known that while technically a work of fiction, one of the main characters (Marcy) in “Hedge Fund Wives” is autobiographical and based on my Wall Street career and insider’s knowledge of the social workings of the Hedge Fund community: the character begins her career in a two year investment banking program (as I did at UBS) and then proceeds to work as a Relationship Officer in Private Banking (as I did at Citigroup) and then later on, her work in the alternative asset management business (as I did at the Fairfield Greenwich Group and Barker Capital).
Google, at least, turns up no link between Max Hoover and Fairfield Greenwich (there’s a guy by that name selling light bulbs in Brooklyn, but that connection seems dim). So what lawsuit threatens to destroy the quarreling sisters’ lives? Intriguing.
More: “Bunker” is actually Herbert Hoover:
Bunker was one of those dumb American Lloyds of London “names” who got cleaned out in the 1990s when the insurance game turned against them. Here’s the decision that removed the case to England
Removal to England, which passed a special law immunizing Lloyds from suits against pesky American investors, wasn’t seen as a hopeful sign for the Americans’ chances of recovery, according to this WSJ article.
For the desperately insecure rich, it’s more important to wear the right label than to save money.
“What recession?” Greenwich resident and haberdasher Mad “Asa” Monkey asked. “Sure, people balked at first at paying what we charged but once they saw that we use vicuna well, end of story. You want the best, you pay what we charge for it. “Some idiot tried offering me $40,000 for a genuine Brioni, if you can believe it. I told him, ‘what, I look stoopid or somptin?’ Chased him out of the store, is what I did.”
Saudi Prince Locoweed Akbur was reported to have lost $8 billion in his investments recently. That admission must have caused the Prince unbearable humiliation because today it was announced that, after a careful review, Locoweed had made, not lost money. Creative accounting – there’s nothing better.
Only crocodile tears here for this guy who paid a record price for his Manhattan townhouse and has now lost his job which was supposed to be taking Fairfield Greenwich public. He’s now trying to sell his house, and brokers estimate that he’ll lose at least 10% on his $33 million purchase. He does get to be a defendant in a number of suits brought against FGG and that must be a relief – he’ll have something to do now to fill his otherwise-unoccupied time. Good on you, mate!
Just as important as price is to a successful sale, so too is letting potential buyers get inside to see it. I’m off with some buyers now (so no new posts until late this afternoon) but there are five houses they specifically asked to see that I couldn’t set up appointments for. No call backs from brokers, the house keeper’s away and she has the only key, etc. I can probably get my people into these houses on another weekend but by then, they may no longer be interested. Seems dumb, to me.
Zsa Zsa Gabor lost $10 million with Bernie Madoff. She’s 91 and on husband number five, if you were wondering.
(UPDATE). I may have great readers but in Miss Whitney’s blogging, alas, we have not discovered the next great writer. At least not in English – perhaps she maintained a spicier blog in French that has yet to surface. This one contains nothing but the love-sick mooning of a very immature young woman. If she really was fired for this tripe, the fine folks at GCD should reconsider. Stupid for posting on FaceBook, sure. Scandalous material? I only wish. The only hope is that a friend of mine says it is not true that Ms. Whitney put the moves on a young 9th Grader. Perhaps my friend’s wrong – that would be fun.
The 90-year old seems a bit pessimistic about our world’s survival, eh? He does recognize carbon credits for the colossal fraud that they are, which would give me pause and force me to reconsider my own opposition to the scheme, but the last time I came around on an issue because an idiot was also against it, I decided invading Iraq couldn’t be all bad if Barabara Streisand opposed it. I’ll try not to make that error again.
WSJ: Traders for Madoff;s “legitimate” branch are laid off – senior management has to stick around to help clean up the mess. It’s just not fair – Andy and Mark had no idea what their father was doing, so why can’t they go home?
If Lehman was involved, you’re toast, whether you own Goats R Us in California or worked construction on a Caribbean resort. The Antares UST project at 100 West Putnam looks to be going fine and will probably be ready to open its doors to whatever hedge fund tenants still exist but if you’re still owed for the Byram condos at Putnam Green, Lehman financed and terminated, you’re probably out of luck.