A Corporate Predator

The Rigsbys’ qui tam claims are now set for trial. State Farm’s favorite strong arm tactic – a slap suit aimed back at the relators as a counterclaim – has been mooted by severance, with all discovery stayed. In a word, the Rigsbys’ qui tam case is now early stage radioactive. For those of you who care to study the pathology of corporate monopolies, now is the time to tune in, lock your dial and follow State Farm’s every move.

You’ll likely see State Farm agents turn up in hometown newspaper photos, handing a giant copy of State Farm’s check to the fire chief, buying the police department some pricey crime fighting device, or donating education funds to the local school board. As trial approaches, the number and frequency of “Good Neighbor” TV ads in the broadcast markets of the jury venire will double. Typically, these ads falsely portray State Farm as a deeply caring protector of America’s families. You’ll see lots of minority face time, puppy dogs, tearful then happy children and so on. Not much different than the “family values” theme some of our best pimp politicians like to market. That’s what you will see; what’s more important is what you won’t see.

You won’t see the “Shred-it” trucks pulling up to State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyers’ offices. (They needn’t go to State Farm’s regional or headquarter offices, they have their own shredders and corporate employee operators. In fact, State Farm shredded copies of altered engineering reports and corresponding invoices right there in their temporary Katrina claims office off Pops Ferry Road). Also, you won’t see State Farm’s creepy data managers systematically scrubbing data off the head office’s mainframes and hundreds of work stations. You won’t see this same thing happening behind the walls of State Farm’s and Renfroe’s lawyer’s offices either, or even within the offices of the federal court in Birmingham. You won’t see crooked law clerks scurrying to isolate and delete phone logs or emails proving hundreds of unauthorized ex parte contacts with State Farm’s and Renfroe’s case lawyers. You won’t see the destruction of records detailing communications with FEMA’s David Maurstad or James Shortly, or with FEMA’s shadow manager, Computer Science Corporation (“CSC”), all to get the proof of loss requirements under the flood program waived, and in place within 48 hours of Katrina. Continue reading “A Corporate Predator”

Wall Street paternalism and disconnect at it’s finest and on display. A Skadden partner writes about shareholder ignorance and displays plenty in the process.

I’ve written a series of posts on the disconnect from reality between the Wall Street fantasy land and Main Street, which has made modern day Wall Street possible. The problem is systemic in my opinion, from trade publications like the National Underwriter whose editor in chief believes spending yet more money on public relations is the answer to bad faith insurer claims handling, to their trade groups and shills like Robert Hartwig that try to convince the fleeced taxpaying public that insurers really didn’t screw people here after Katrina. As is his custom, however, it was Mr CLS who gives us almost more googling to do than time but in this instance a post of his on Yahoo Allstate provided me the catalyst to author this post which will illustrate again the disconnect of which I speak and it is there we begin:

sop, check out the “Winners” of the 4th Annual U.S. Securitization Awards…….

Don’t know what happened to the 5th Annual U.S. Securitization Awards, guess they cancelled and took “the 5th”.

The links he gave listing the winners was 404, no doubt broken on account of the financial crisis but undaunted I did a quick search and found them. This of course resulted in one of those patented Ah Ha moments for me but before I connect the paternalistic dots lets examine some of those that Wall Street honored back in April 2008 at the 4th annual U.S. Securitization Awards:

Deal of the Year: IHOP Corp./ Applebee’s International Securitization. Underwriter: Lehman Brothers

Deal of the Year – CMBS: Equity Office Properties Securitization Financing. Underwriters: Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America

Deal of the Year – CDO: Genesis CLO 2007-1 and Genesis CLO 2007-2. Underwriters: Genesis 2007-1: CDO manager: Ore Hill Partners, Underwriter: Deutsche Bank. Genesis 2007-2: CDO manager: Levine Leichtman Capital Partners, Underwriter: Deutsche Bank

ABS Firm of the Year: Goldman Sachs

Outstanding Contribution Award: The American Securitization Forum / Dept. of the Treasury

As if these ironies aren’t delicious enough the final one is over the top.

Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient: C. Thomas Kunz, Retired Head of Structured Finance, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

We are well familiar with State Farm’s main US based law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom from their great work revising the history of the Katrina litigation planting falsehoods such as the oft repeated meme that Jim Hood used his criminal investigation of State Farm to assist Dickie Scruggs in cramming the first big settlement down State Farm’s throat (with help of ignorant bloggers such as Mississippi’s own Tom Freeland  who still repeats such propaganda on occasion despite reams of contemporaneous press reports to the contrary). Our readers will also no doubt recall I once lamented the impact of layoffs at Skadden on our daily readership earlier this year.

While reading the award winners and the Skadden connection to the toxic paper industry (makes one wonder how much work the boys at Skadden did on State Farm’s Merna Re) a recent post on Greenbackd came to mind that featured the work of Skadden partner John Carney who evidently is in charge of shilling for the firm and it is to the Greenbackd post we go next: Continue reading “Wall Street paternalism and disconnect at it’s finest and on display. A Skadden partner writes about shareholder ignorance and displays plenty in the process.”