Near the shores of California’s Salton Sea, where the road gives way to barren desert, is a place where many have gone to park their troubled lives.
Bill Ammon has lived in what’s known as “Slab City” for 13 years.
“This piece of property is public-owned,” he said, “and it’s so useless, so desolate, that nobody wants it and they let us be here.”
Slab City takes its name from the concrete slabs it sits on — all that’s left from a World War II training camp. Now it is home base for more and more people who can’t afford to live anywhere else.
There are nearly 2,000 people living in Slab City, many refugees of the Great Recession.
Maybe if Russell, Steve and I had not been on the Yahoo Countrywide Board back in 2006 I’d feel a bit differently, probably not, but trust me folks when I say that to a wealthy man like Angelo Mozilo, the $67.5 million dollar fine he agreed to today to settle civil fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission is chump change for him. Insiders were dumping their option gun in those amounts seemingly everyday over at the old CFC when the subprime scam reached it zenith in 2006/2007.
Long time readers also remember our chronicling of Mozilo renting Senators Dodd and Conrad with those sweetheart loans. All 3 remain sacks of shit.
Those of you who have followed the Judge Rakoff posts are keenly aware that Bank of America (“BOA”) is up shit creek. Not only did it lie in a certified proxy statement filed under SEC law, it looks a lot like BOA purposefully understated Merrill Lynch’s financial condition by $20 billion. All of this was done in connection with a request for federal bail out funds, used by BOA to purchase Merrill last year. None of this would probably matter if BOA wasn’t in court before Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
Judge Jed Rakoff, a great American judge, rejected a phony-assed settlement agreement BOA and the corrupt SEC tried to float by him last week, and told them he wanted names and dates of the fraudulent activities. BOA is scrambling to keep the information secret, claiming attorney-client privilege among other things. Bam Bam readers en garde! There is no privilege when an attorney assists someone in committing or planning to commit, fraud. See Rule of Evidence 502. Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.
Well now Jed Rakoff has thumped Congress out of its slumber, and shamed it into action.
A House panel called the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has told BOA that it cannot use attorney-client privilege in refusing to answer questions about the BOA-Merrill deal. Chairman Edolphus Towns wants BOA to reveal information that could affect Judge Rakoff’s case and the New York AG’s investigations into the BOA scandal. Continue reading “Judge Jed Rakoff Wakes Up Congress”
I noted Time Magazine has come out with a list of the guilty in their 25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis. This topic is special to me in a personal way and I’m reminded of a conversation I had with a reporter Tuesday as we discussed the now locally infamous Shred-it Trucks that became parking lot fixtures at the local State Farm offices in the spring of 2006. Steve took pictures but not for this blog as we had no concept of slabbed in those days. Rather he gave the pictures to former SKG lawyer Zach Butterworth. In that sense we feel some ownership for that piece of news, no doubt the same sense of ownership felt by the Rigsby sisters who saw from the inside what was being fed into the shredder.
Similarly Russell, Steve and I feel a similar ownership on that subprime thang as we were posters on the Countrywide Yahoo board at that time. It was Katrina that landed the company on my radar screen as I was surprised to learn some friends that had their mortgage with them could not get their insurance money released so they could repair their house. In fact Countrywide (CFC) was holding far more of their insurance money than they owed on their mortgage. I’m a sucker for this type of stuff so I alerted Steve and Russell and the cyber attack began. We made short work of CFC that day and my friend had their insurance money back the next day. Others saw those posts and one reporter asked some questions. Two weeks later this story appeared on page C-1 of the Wall Street Journal. Evidently someone at LSU thought enough of the article to copy it to a word doc where it resides today for all to see (it is still in the WSJ archives and a PDF I kept as well) and it is there we’ll begin as we explore what kind of company Senator Chris Dodd keeps:
Hurricane Victims Battle Banks — Gulf Coast Residents Complain Lenders Hold Insurance Money While Demanding Late Payments
The Wall Street Journal
April 27, 2006
By Valerie Bauerlein
AS HOMEOWNERS along the Gulf Coast try to recover from the devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, some say mortgage lenders are refusing to turn over insurance proceeds while demanding immediate payment on overdue loans.
Hurricane victims in Louisiana and Mississippi have filed nearly 1,000 complaints with state regulators claiming mistreatment by mortgage lenders. About 800 of the complaints have been resolved, often as a result of mediation initiated by regulators.
Jim Wolf of Pass Christian, Miss., a DuPont Co. technician currently living in a company trailer, for example, wanted to use proceeds of an insurance settlement for a down payment on a new home. On Dec. 10, he sent his $40,000 insurance settlement check to giant Countrywide Financial Corp. to pay off $5,000 remaining on the mortgage of his destroyed home, expecting to get $35,000 back. He said he called Countrywide, based in Calabasas, Calif., every business day for a month, spoke to a dozen representatives and couldn’t get the balance returned. Continue reading “More on $enator Chri$ Dodd’$ Relation$hip with AIG and Countrywide’$ Angelo Mozilo. Liddy educates WaPo readers on contract sanctity”