Daily Archives: January 18, 2014

Link

Chicago Alderwoman Proposes City Stop Doing Business With JPMorgan Chase After It Admits to Illegal Actions

Chicago Alderwoman Proposes City Stop Doing Business With JPMorgan Chase After It Admits to Illegal Actions

A politican wants to hold Wall Street accountable for its criminal and willfully negligent behavior — and lo and behold, it’s a Chicago alderwoman, according to the Sun-Times:

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) plans to introduce a City Council ordinance …deleting the bank from its list of 19 designated financial heavy hitters.

Chase as a municipal depository.

..about $350 million in city municipal funds are now deposited with 
Chase.

Hairston argues that JPMorgan Chase should be treated like any other person or business prohibited from doing business with the city:

“The bank has violated the city code by making admissions of dishonesty and deceit in the way they dealt with their investors in the mortgage securities and Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandals,” Hairston [said].

Hairston argues that JPMorgan Chase should be treated like any other person or business prohibited from doing business with the city:

“The bank has violated the city code by making admissions of dishonesty and deceit in the way they dealt with their investors in the mortgage securities and Bernie Madoff Ponzi scandals,” Hairston [said].

“We use this code against city contractors and all the small companies, why wouldn’t we use this against one of the largest banks in the world,” she said.

“It’s bad enough the penalties imposed against them by the feds don’t really pinch them because they are able to pay off the fines levied against them.”

Link

Gov. Christie’s Office Subpoenaed in Bridge Scandal

Gov. Christie’s Office Subpoenaed in Bridge Scandal

Who Got Subpoenaed

A New Jersey state Assembly committee investigating the George Washington Bridge scandal issued letters demanding records from aides and allies to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The letters are similar to the one sent to Mr. Christie’s office, below.

High-ranking staffers of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s administration are among 18 people who received subpoenas for documents related to the George Washington Bridge scandal, the New Jersey state Assembly said Friday.

Mr. Christie himself wasn’t subpoenaed, but the Office of the Governor was issued a subpoena, raising the prospect of public disclosure for any communication he had about bridge lane closures that caused a five-day traffic jam in Fort Lee, N.J. in September. Previous subpoenas turned up documents showing the traffic problems were intentionally inflicted, possibly for political motives.

Link

Bank of America Corp : Exclusive: NY AG won’t ask Bank of America for damages but Merrill case goes on

Bank of America Corp : Exclusive: NY AG won’t ask Bank of America for damages but Merrill case goes on

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has abandoned his effort to obtain damages from Bank of America Corp over its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co, but plans to press on with the case, his lawyers said in court on Friday.

Schneiderman will seek to bar the bank’s former chief executive, Kenneth Lewis, and former chief financial officer, Joe Price, from the securities industry and from serving on boards of public companies, according to his office. It was not clear what sanctions he would seek from the bank.

The 2010 lawsuit filed in New York state court by Schneiderman’s predecessor, Andrew Cuomo, accused Bank of America of misleading shareholders about Merrill’s losses and bonus largesse prior to a December 2008 vote on the merger.

Link

Wall Street Group Aggressively Lobbied a Federal Agency to Thwart Eminent Domain Plans

Wall Street Group Aggressively Lobbied a Federal Agency to Thwart Eminent Domain Plans

Despite Wall Street’s recent gains, the foreclosure crisis that displaced 10 million Americanscontinues to wreak havoc on communities. One ongoing problem is that 10.7 million homeowners are stuck in underwater homes, in which the mortgage is more than the house is currently worth. Although the federal government doled out $700 billion to Wall Street via TARP during the 2008 financial crisis, it has not taken bold action to solve this problem. Money set aside during the bailout to help homeowners remains largely unspent, and a key federal housing regulator refused to pursue mortgage write-downs for struggling borrowers, even though their own analysis showed these loan modifications would save the agency money.

In this vacuum, several cities have begun to take matters into their own hands, as Peter Dreier reported on for The Nation. One plan by private equity company Mortgage Resolution Partners proposes that cities use eminent domain—a power traditionally reserved for seizing property for public use—to seize mortgage loans. The amount owed on the loans would then be reduced so that the borrower was no longer underwater, avoiding foreclosure. In January 2013, Brockton, Massachusetts commissioned a study and formed a working group to investigate using eminent domain to help struggling homeowners. In September 2013, the city council of Richmond, California, voted to move forward with such a plan.

One might think these small, local efforts shouldn’t be of much concern to Wall Street—after all, Richmond’s plan affects a mere 624 loans. But one of Wall Street’s most powerful trade groups, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), has responded with ferocious urgency. SIFMA is the attack dog the largest Wall Street banks send when they don’t want their names attached to politically controversial lobbying efforts or lawsuits. The group does everything from denying that “too big to fail” still exists to drafting lengthy comment letters arguing for weaker financial regulation.

New e-mails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) and a coalition of other community groups and shared with The Nation reveal the extent to which SIFMA has been spearheading Wall Street’s fight against using eminent domain to mitigate the foreclosure crisis. (The complete set of e-mails are available at the website of the ACLU, which sued the FHFA when the original FOIA request was ignored). When Brockton began considering using eminent domain, SIFMA employees traveled there and kept an entire section of its website, complete with an array of resources, to decrying the plans.

 

And here are complete emails via ACLU:

https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice/federal-housing-finance-agency-foia-documents-eminent-domain