What Can Happen When One Honest Judge Takes on a Giant Corporation

Justin Maxon / The New York Times
Justin Maxon / The New York Times

Bam Bam readers know my feelings about this great man, Judge Jed S. Rakoff, a federal district court judge in Manhattan. Because Judge Rakoff’s bench is located at the epicenter of corporate greed on planet earth, he’s uniquely positioned to effect real change. It would be so easy to give in to Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and their pack of vampire lawyers who’ve damn near bankrupted the best government system humankind ever conceived.

The case in Judge Rakoff’s court is SEC v. Bank of America (BofA). A month ago, SEC and BofA concocted a phony settlement proposal and wheeled it out to Judge Rakoff. The SEC agreed to drop its case against BofA and its sub Merrill Lynch, which admitted no wronging, and close the investigation forever, if BofA paid the nano fine of $33 million. Judge Rakoff sniffed out the fraud, called them out, and refused to approve the so-called “settlement.” This sent the thieves and their lawyers into a tizzy. Rakoff wanted facts, names and dates concerning why BofA and Merrill concealed material facts on giant exec bonuses from shareholders, lied in certified proxy statements filed under SEC law, and purposefully understated Merrill Lynch’s financial condition by $20 billion. All this occurred in connection with BofA getting federal bail out funds, used by BofA to purchase Merrill last year. The BofA tab at present = $45 BILLION.

BofA and its New York power lawyers decided to dig in, invoke lawyer-client privilege, and lock the court out of critical documents. Congress jumped in and called for hearings, looking for a quickie PR boost with BofA shareholder/voters . (See previous Slabbed post on Edolphus Towns’ committee hearings).

Last Friday something tangible happened. The Board of Directors of BofA voted to abandon the lawyer-client privilege argument and cooperate in providing information.

According to the SEC agreement, BofA will specifically provide details of BofA’s failure to disclose “including any relevant information previously withheld based on attorney-client or other privileges.” I don’t know about you but I trust the SEC about as far as I can shot put their office building, but here’s the key: the agreement outlining what BofA is agreeing to provide has to be approved by Judge Rakoff.

So, if during this 6 month standoff, key documents have gone missing, we may see some of the corrupt lawyers and their corporate thief clients “do the perp.” Just before the Board vote, BofA’s CEO Ken Lewis was pushed out and resigned. And let’s not forget, BofA’s in house counsel, Timothy Mayopoulos suddenly resigned last year before any of the scandal got aired.

See folks, this is what happens when honest judges adhere to their oath of office. Stay tuned.

One thought on “What Can Happen When One Honest Judge Takes on a Giant Corporation”

  1. This is how problems get corrected. People know they may have to face the music for their behavior and they approach their duty to follow the code of ethics of their company and the laws of the land with renewed vigor. When they perceive they can do what they want without recourse they tend to do what favors themselves to the exclusion of their duties to shareholders, stakeholders and the law.

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