Daily Archives: April 3, 2014


Jury to hear $70M lawsuit vs. Bank of America after 3-year battle

Jury to hear $70M lawsuit vs. Bank of America after 3-year battle

David prevailed over Goliath with the stroke of a judicial pen when a Florida judge affirmed author TJ Fisher’s right to a trial by jury in her landmark case against Bank of America (BofA) (NYSE:BAC). Fisher’s BofA $70 million case filed in April of 2011 had been mired in years of lengthy delays and court proceedings associated with the behemoth financial institution’s multiple legal filings seeking to strike her jury demand. Attorney Patrick W. Maraist, Esq. represents Fisher.

“I am overwhelmed with relief and gratitude the case can now move forward,” Fisher said Monday. “This has been a long journey, with a war of attrition waged against me. Fisher, who is championed by a sole practitioner, adds, “I’m fighting against the unlimited resources of Bank of America.”

The axis of Fisher’s suit against BofA rests on ex-Baltimore Raven’s football player Michael McCrary’s $60 million lawsuit and subsequent default judgment of $33.3 million against her and her LLC. Fisher alleges her inconceivable far-reaching legal odyssey with McCrary began with improper BofA transactions between the Palm Beach branch bank and her husband, events that she had no control over but was later held legally responsible for. Fisher is also suing to reclaim a tally of her multi-million-dollar losses and financial ruin incurred during seven years of litigation with McCrary.

Prior to the contentious Fisher/McCrary scorched-earth litigation that has traveled through 14 separate courts in five states and Washington, D.C., TJ Fisher and McCrary met once at a storied New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina surprise birthday party bash held in Fisher’s honor. McCrary launched his legal firestorm takedown against her within the year.



J.P. Morgan to Sell Part of Business That Administers Retirement Plans

J.P. Morgan to Sell Part of Business That Administers Retirement Plans

J.P. Morgan Chase JPM +0.30% & Co. is selling part of its retirement business to Great-West Financial, a move that will significantly boost the Denver-based money manager’s retirement holdings.

As part of the deal, Great-West will acquire 200 clients with $167 billion in assets under administration and 1.9 million retirement-plan participants that were part of J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s record-keeping business.

The deal will make Great-West the No. 2 record-keeper in the retirement business behind Fidelity Investments, which has $1.1 trillion in record-keeping assets, according to BrightScope, a San Diego financial information firm that rates 401(k) plans. Record keepers provide administrative support for retirement plans.


How Big Banks Swipe Millions From Welfare Recipients

How Big Banks Swipe Millions From Welfare Recipients

Dominique Hudson is fed up with giving Wells Fargo her bus money.

Each month, the 18-year-old from Oakland, Calif., pays the bank about $12 in ATM fees to access cash from CalWORKS, California’s principle welfare program. The mother of a 3-year-old boy who relies on the public bus to get to her minimum wage job at a grocery store, Hudson could use that money for about five commutes.

Instead, she’s losing it to the bank. “That’s not good at all,” she told The Huffington Post.

California welfare recipients paid $19 million in ATM fees last year to withdraw their benefits in cash, according to a new study from the California Reinvestment Coalition, a low-income advocacy network.

These millions didn’t have to go to the banks. Critics say big financial institutions could easily afford to waive transaction fees for welfare withdrawal. They also blame welfare administrators for not doing a better job spreading the word about no-fee ATMs that are available to beneficiaries.


Suicide Banker’s Widow Blasts Alleged “Cover-Up”, Asks “Unbecoming Questions”

Suicide Banker’s Widow Blasts Alleged “Cover-Up”, Asks “Unbecoming Questions”

More than seven months after the suicide of Zurich Insurance Group AG (ZURN) Chief Financial Officer Pierre Wauthier, his widow said she and her family cannot accept Zurich’s claim that his death wasn’t brought on by undue stress.

“We who knew him best cannot accept your conclusion that his suicide is simply inexplicable,” said Fabienne Wauthier, speaking at the insurer’s annual general meeting in Zurich today, which she attended together with her daughter, mother-in-law and brother-in-law.

Switzerland’s biggest insurer said in November that no “undue pressure” was put on Wauthier, who said in a suicide note that then-Chairman Josef Ackermann had created an unbearable working environment. The Aug. 26 suicide, which prompted Ackermann to resign, raised doubts about Zurich Insurance’s financial health, prompting it to review its earnings statements and commission an investigation into the relations between executives and the supervisory board.

Zurich Insurance should explain exactly why Ackermann stepped down, if he had not accepted blame for the death, and why details of tensions at work were not made public, Wauthier told shareholders.

She changed her Facebook profile picture to a face mask labeled “V…like Vendetta” on Dec. 16, the day after SonntagsZeitung published an interview with new Chairman Tom de Swaan in which he said he never had contact with her. She re-posted the article on Facebook the same day with the comment “Yep, that’s true. I am not worth talking to… or is it that I would raise unbecoming questions????”

‘Corporate Culture’

“We sincerely wish we could believe” that Zurich has improved, “but the way it handled Pierre’s suicide is a sign that unaccountability remains part of Zurich’s corporate culture,” she said today.

Before his death, Wauthier had met with the human resources department after his team reported that he was suffering from excessive stress, she told Reuters yesterday.

In a typed and signed suicide note, under the heading “to whom it may concern,” Wauthier had criticized Ackermann. He stepped down a few days later, saying the allegations that he bore some responsibility for the suicide were “unfounded.”

“I find it important and am thankful that we and the responsible authorities examined the circumstances very conscientiously and thoroughly,” de Swaan told shareholders. “We did not have any indication that Pierre was contemplating such a step. It remains a tragedy and we lost a very valued colleague.”


JP Morgan to process payment for Russian embassy, easing tension

JP Morgan to process payment for Russian embassy, easing tension

JP Morgan Chase & Co is processing a payment from Russia’s embassy in Kazakhstan to insurance agency Sogaz, easing tension after Moscow accused the U.S. bank of illegally blocking the transaction under the pretext of sanctions.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday the “unacceptable, illegal and absurd” act of blocking the payment would have consequences for the U.S. Embassy in Russia.

The confrontation threatened to further strain ties between Washington and Moscow, locked in the worst standoff since the Cold War over Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

“Following consultation with our regulators, we are processing this transaction,” JPMorgan said in a statement.


The Real Vice-President of the United States Is Wall Street

The Real Vice-President of the United States Is Wall Street

In “All the Presidents’ Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power,” Wall Street journalist (and former Goldman Sachs executive) Nomi Prins writes a painstakingly researched history of the financial industry’s collusion with the White House to create a self-serving United States financial policy. Get the book directly from Truthout by clicking here.

Prins’ book uses short passages to weave together in understandable terms a longterm relationship between economic and political power that has remained unchallenged. Yes, there were occasional periods when Wall Street did not receive everything that it wanted from the White House (such as in the New Deal). However, adding up the ledger of government policy toward Wall Street results in a decisive victory for the financial titans.

Robert Reich writes of “All the Presidents’ Bankers,”The relationship between Washington and Wall Street isn’t really a revolving door. It’s a merry-go-round. And, as Prins shows, the merriest of all are the bankers and financiers that get rich off the relationship, using their public offices and access to build private wealth and power.”

The following is an excerpt from “All the Presidents’ Bankers” that focuses on how the financial industry barons are not legally held accountable by the federal government.


JPMorgan Chase to seek explanation from US authorities over sanctions against Russia

JPMorgan Chase to seek explanation from US authorities over sanctions against Russia

NEW YORK, April 02. /ITAR-TASS/. JPMorgan Chase will seek explanation from the American authorities over sanctions that had earlier been introduced against Russia, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday in response to an ITAR-TASS request to explain the reasons for blocking by JPMorgan a transfer by Russia’s embassy in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, to Sogaz, an insurance company part-owned by Bank Rossiya, one of the targets of US sanctions announced on March 20.

“As with all US financial institutions that operate globally, we are subject to specific regulatory requirements,” says a statement forwarded by JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman Jennifer Zuccarelli. “We will continue to seek guidance from the US government on implementing their recent sanctions.” The bank declined further comment.


Fannie Mae holds quiet equity stake in $1B portfolio: sources

Fannie Mae holds quiet equity stake in $1B portfolio: sources

The government-sponsored enterprise Fannie Mae holds a confidential, $60 million equity stake in the 3,962-unit apartment portfolio that Urban American and other partners bought for $938 million in 2007, several sources told The Real Deal.

The stake remained under wraps even as housing advocates publicly pressured Fannie and the portfolio’s publicly-known owners, Urban American Management and the City Investment Fund, over what the advocates considered to be an overleveraged acquisition, during and after the prior real estate boom.

Fannie’s investment is only coming to light now because an affiliate of the global Toronto-based landlord Brookfield Asset Management is negotiating to buy a stake in the five parcel package, valued at just over $1 billion, sources said.

Housing advocates call the equity investment troubling because Fannie Mae’s stated mission through such equity investments was to “increase the supply of affordable housing,” according to its 2007 annual filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Indeed, not one of a half-dozen New York City housing advocates familiar with the project, knew that Fannie held an equity stake in the nearly $1 billion portfolio.


Citigroup : faces criminal inquiry for fraud at Mexico unit: NYT

Citigroup : faces criminal inquiry for fraud at Mexico unit: NYT

(Reuters) – Federal authorities have opened an investigation into a $400 million fraud involving Citigroup’s Mexican unit, the New York Times reported, citing people briefed on the matter.

Citigroup disclosed in February it had discovered at least $400 million in fraudulent loans in its Mexico subsidiary, Banco Nacional de Mexico, known as Banamex, and said employees may have been in on the crime.

The bad loans were made to Mexican oil services company Oceanografia, a contractor for Mexican state-owned oil company Pemex.