Thursday, April 23, 2009

Franklin Raines

- CEO of mortgage underwriting behemoth Fannie Mae from 1999 to 2004!

- Middle name: Delano!

- Son of a Seattle janitor!

- Harvard grad and Rhodes scholar!

- First African-American Fortune 500 CEO!

- Called "the Jackie Robinson of corporate America" by the head of the National Urban League!

- Formerly an investment banker and Clinton White House budget director!

- Railed against unethical corporate behavior during the Enron scandal!

- Received $3 million in sweetheart loans from Countrywide Financial while Fannie CEO -- a clear conflict of interest, since Fannie was one the biggest buyers of Countrywide mortgages!

- Cooked the books at Fannie -- and got $90 million in compensation as a result!

- Forced out as Fannie CEO when the SEC started investigating the "accounting irregularities" that benefited him so handsomely!

- Left Fannie with a $19 million golden parachute -- proving that cheating does pay, at least occasionally!

- Paid a paltry $2 million fine for his accounting fraud!

- Insists he's innocent of any wrongdoing!

- Started Fannie's focus on buying subprime mortgages in 2004 -- supercharging the inflation of the housing bubble!

- Purchased a luxury DC condo for $4.9 million in 2008 -- a year that saw a record three million home foreclosures!

- Idiot!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

David Lereah

- Chief economist of the National Association of Realtors from 2001 to 2007!

- In 2000, published a book called The Rules for Growing Rich: Making Money in the New Information Economy -- which, just before the tech bust, advised investing in tech stocks!

- When that didn't work out, switched his writerly focus to real estate, penning the 2005 book Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom? -- in 2006 retitled Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust!

- Relentless spin-meister for the real estate industry!

- Known in the real estate industry as "Baghdad Dave," after Mohammed "Baghdad Bob" al-Sahaf, Iraqi Information Minister -- the Saddam Hussein propagandist who claimed that Iraqi troops were defeating American troops as the U.S. invaded the country in 2003!

- In October 2005, derided those who suggested real estate prices might be too high -- calling them "Chicken Littles"!

- When the real estate slowdown became too big to ignore, predicted it would be a "soft landing"!

- In January 2007, said regarding housing prices, "It appears we have established a bottom"!

- As of April 2009, observers are still on the lookout for a true market bottom!

- Has started his own business, but isn't yet making the big bucks again -- causing his wife to whine, "We have an expensive lifestyle: a big house, a housekeeper once a week, college tuitions, the country club"!

- Idiot!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

John Thain

- The last CEO of famed investment bank Merrill Lynch -- before its balance sheet collapsed and it was auctioned off to Bank of America in 2008!

- Lives on a $10 million estate in leafy, exclusive Rye, New York.

- Before joining Merrill, served as CEO of the New York Stock Exchange -- and president, COO, and CFO of (you guessed it) Goldman Sachs!

- At Goldman, proved he was CEO material by forcing out his mentor, Jon Corzine!

- One of the highest paid CEOs in corporate America in 2007, "earning" $83 million as Merrill CEO!

- In January 2008, told the Wall Street Journal that yes, Merrill had been affected by subprime investments -- but that the crisis "is for the most part behind us"!

- That same month, began a $1.2 million redecoration of his office -- with purchases including a $35,000 commode and a $1,400 waste paper basket!

- Claimed it would have been "very difficult" for him to work in the prior CEO's office without making the renovations!

- Apparently let the pressure get to him that summer -- when he blew up during a meeting, and threw a chair through a glass panel!

- With the bank facing a liquidity crisis due to subprime exposure, sold Merrill to Bank of America in late 2008!

- To date, BofA has received $45 billion in federal bailout funds!

- During negotiations with BofA, failed to reveal the full extent of the weakness in Merrill's investment portfolio!

- After agreeing to the BofA takeover, accelerated bonuses totaling $4 billion to senior Merrill execs -- to get the bonuses paid out before the BofA transaction became official!

- In December 2008, while the BofA deal was being finalized and Merrill's financial weakness was becoming more apparent, went skiing in Vail!

- Forced out of his position when Q4 2008 results became clear -- and showed Merrill losses in the quarter totaling $15.3 billion! (Yes, "billion" with a "b"!)

- Claimed he deserved a 2008 bonus of $10 million -- since the bank's sale to BofA "saved" Merrill!

- Drove one of Wall Street's oldest, most prestigious banks off a cliff -- but was still compensated to the tune of $15 million in 2008!

- Idiot!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Jimmy Cayne

- From 1993 to 2008, CEO of Bear Stearns -- before it collapsed in 2008, one of Wall Street's Big 5 investment banks!

- World-class bridge player -- and noted pothead!

- As a teenager, disliked school and wanted to be a bookie!

- Hired as a stockbroker by Bear Stearns in 1969 -- when Bear CEO Ace Greenberg met him at a bridge tournament!

- Made Fortune magazine's 2005 list of the 400 richest Americans -- with a net worth estimated at $900 million!

- Estimates of Cayne's wealth reached $1.6 billion in 2007!

- In 1998, while other banks were chipping in billions of dollars to save the global financial system in the wake of the crash of the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management, refused to chip in Bear Stearns money -- saying, "Let them fail"!

- Under Cayne's watch, Bear Stearns took on massive risk -- vastly increasing leverage, and betting heavily on "toxic" subprime mortgage-backed securities!

- In the month of June 2007, as two Bear hedge funds collapsed after making big-time bets on subprime mortgage markets, spent 10 of 21 workdays out of the office -- golfing and playing bridge!

- Boasted of paying $140 apiece for Cuban cigars -- which he kept in a humidor in his office!

- In 2008, purchased a couple of condo units in Manhattan's luxe Plaza Hotel -- for $27 million!

- On the day Bear agreed to be acquired by JP Morgan, was out of the office -- at a bridge tournament in Detroit!

- In 2008, as Bear was tanking, sold all his stock in the company -- which had been worth as much as a billion dollars a couple of years before -- for $61 million!

- Blamed a "conspiracy" for bringing down Bear -- not the gaping holes in the bank's balance sheet!

- When the Fed refused to come to Bear's aid as the bank collapsed, said of NY Fed chairman Tim Geithner, "This guy thinks he's got a big dick. He's got nothing -- except maybe a boyfriend"!

- Reportedly is now "concerned about his legacy"!

- Idiot!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Robert Rubin

- Goldman Sachs alum -- like practically everyone else central to the destruction of the world economy!

- Ran the Treasury Department under President Bill Clinton -- who called him "the greatest secretary of the Treasury since Alexander Hamilton"!

- In his autobiography, noted that many investors don't understand the risks of derivatives -- yet as Treasury Secretary, fiercely opposed derivatives regulation!

- In 2008, unregulated subprime-mortgage derivatives deals caused the collapse of credit markets -- pulling the global economy into a downward spiral worse than any since the Great Depression!

- Joined the Citigroup board in 1999!

- In 2001, used his influence at Treasury to pressure ratings agencies not to downgrade Enron's credit rating!

- Received $126 million in compensation from Citi, while overseeing the bank's extensive subprime lending -- and its $80 billion investment in risky "toxic" derivatives!

- Under Rubin's watch, in 2008, Citi's stock price declined by more than 90%!

- To date, Citi has received $45 billion in federal bailout money!

- Rubin refuses to take any responsibility for Citi's collapse -- or the collapse of the global economy!

- In 2009, named by Marketwatch as one of the ten most unethical people in business!

- Rewarded for his "accomplishments" by President Barack Obama, who tapped Rubin to advise on economic policy!

- With Rubin's help, the Obama team has come up with a plan to get "toxic" assets off banks' books by giving hedge funds the opportunity to make mountains of money == while taxpayers shoulder all of the (hundreds of billions of dollars of) risk!

- Idiot!