Daily Archives: June 18, 2014

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‘Rob Ford The Musical’ is really happening

‘Rob Ford The Musical’ is really happening

lol Hilarious… is there is a Tony Award in the horizoning?

Here’s one musical that’s guaranteed to win the Tony Montana award.

Auditions took place in Hogtown Monday for “Rob Ford The Musical: The Birth of aFord Nation”. And according to the BBC, a gaggle of Rob Ford lookalikes showed up to audition for the part of the city’s embattled mayor.

One person who notably absent: Mr. Ford himself. He is finishing a two-month stint at a rehabilitation facility in Ontario and returns to City Hall on June 30, according to Time. He intends to remain in office, and run for a second term in the October election.

Ridiculed throughout the world for his wild drug-and-alcohol-fueled antics, including a video purported to show him smoking crack cocaine, Ford remains popular in his home city. A recent poll found 32% of his constituents said they would vote for him if he stays clean after rehab. Another poll said his approval rating is hovering somewhere in the low thirties, putting him on par with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

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Sovereign citizen on trial for placing $100 billion liens on homes of federal court officials including former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Sovereign citizen on trial for placing $100 billion liens on homes of federal court officials including former US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Cherron Marie Phillips, who also goes by “River Tali” and several other names, was indicted for filing 12 false liens last year with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds office that alleged each target owed her brother $100 billion. Here is Cherron Phillps’ indictment: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/512044/cherron-phillips-indictment.pdf

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is no stranger to the inside of a federal courtroom, but on Tuesday he found himself in an unusual position: on the witness stand testifying at a bizarre trial of a sovereign citizen follower who allegedly had tried to place a bogus $100 billion lien on his residence.

Prosecutors contend Cherron Phillips had retaliated against Fitzgerald and other top federal court officials in Chicago after she had been barred from the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse following her allegedly disruptive behavior at proceedings in her brother Devon’s drug case.

Near the end of his testimony, Fitzgerald drew smiles from some jurors when was asked whether he owed Devon Phillips $100 billion as the lien claimed. Fitzgerald leaned forward in the witness chair, raised one eyebrow and spoke directly into the microphone.

“I don’t owe anyone $100 billion, and I don’t believe I owe Devon Phillips a penny,” Fitzgerald said.

 

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GM Recalls: How General Motors Silenced a Whistle-Blower

GM Recalls: How General Motors Silenced a Whistle-Blower

It was close to 3 a.m. on June 6 when Courtland Kelley burst into his bedroom, startling his wife awake. General Motors (GM), Kelley’s employer for more than 30 years, had just released the results of an investigation into how a flawed ignition switch in the Chevrolet Cobalt could easily slip into the “off” position—cutting power, stalling the engine, and disabling airbags just when they’re needed most. The part has been linked to at least 13 deaths and 54 crashes. GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, summoned before Congress in April to answer for the crisis, repeatedly declined to answer lawmakers’ questions before she had the company’s inquest in hand. Now it was out, and Kelley had stayed up to read all 325 pages on a laptop on the back porch of his rural home about 90 miles northwest of Detroit.

The “Valukas Report,” named for former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, who assembled it at GM’s request from interviews with 230 witnesses and 41 million documents, blamed a culture of complacency for the more than decade-long delay before the company recalled millions of faulty vehicles. It described employees passing the buck and committees falling back on the “GM nod”—when everyone in a meeting agrees that something should happen, and no one actually does it. On page 93, a GM safety inspector named Steven Oakley is quoted telling investigators that he was too afraid to insist on safety concerns with the Cobalt after seeing his predecessor “pushed out of the job for doing just that.” Reading the passage, Kelley felt like he’d been punched in the gut. The predecessor Oakley was talking about was Kelley.

Kelley had sued GM in 2003, alleging that the company had dragged its feet addressing dangers in its cars and trucks. Even though he lost, Kelley thought that by blowing the whistle he’d done the right thing and paved the way for other GMers to speak up. Now he saw that he’d had the opposite impact: His loss, and the way his career had stalled afterward, taught others at the company to stay quiet. “He stood in the doorway of our bedroom with a stunned look on his face,” Beth Kelley, his wife of 23 years, says. “Maybe we’re just extremely naive, but we really thought that since this all happened, that something good would come out of it.” Kelley declined to comment for this article, but his allegations are laid out in court records and depositions. A number of friends and family did speak for the record.

Kelley had been the head of a nationwide GM inspection program and then the quality manager for the Cobalt’s predecessor, the Cavalier. He found flaws and reported them, over and over, and repeatedly found his colleagues’ and supervisors’ responses wanting. He thought they were more concerned with maintaining their bureaucracies and avoiding expensive recalls than with stopping the sale of dangerous cars. Eventually, Kelley threatened to take his concerns to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Frustrated with the limited scope of a recall of sport-utility vehicles in 2002, he sued GM under a Michigan whistle-blower law. GM denied wrongdoing, and the case was dismissed on procedural grounds. Kelley’s career went into hibernation; he was sent to work in another part of the company, and GM kept producing its cars.

Selling for around $16,000, Cobalts were popular with teenagers. The first death linked to its switch came in July 2005, when a Maryland 16-year-old, Amber Marie Rose, crashed her red ’05 into a tree. The airbag did not deploy. Although reports streamed into GM about moving stalls and disabled airbags for years, the company waited until Feb. 13, 2014, to issue a recall.

Duckpede? No, really.

Duckpede570

Huffington Post:

When you woke up today, did you think that this was the day you’d see 100,000 vivacious ducks sprinting toward you as if their lives depended on it? No? We didn’t either. And yet, here it is.

In this brilliant moment of weirdness caught on camera by Sirichock Maneechot, we could ask a few questions — why are there SO many ducks? Where are they going? Why are they in such a hurry?

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Breakdown of enforcement action against SunTrust Bank

Breakdown of enforcement action against SunTrust Bank

Enforcement action

Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the CFPB has the authority to take action against institutions engaging in unfair, deceptive, or abusive practices. Today’s proposed court order, filed in federal district court in the District of Columbia, would require SunTrust to correct their practices and provide relief to harmed consumers. Under the terms of the order, SunTrust must:

  • Provide at least $500 million in relief to underwater borrowers: Over a three-year period, SunTrust must provide more than $500 million in loss mitigation relief to consumers, including reducing the principal on mortgages for borrowers who are at risk of default and reducing mortgage interest rates for homeowners who are current but underwater on their mortgages. If SunTrust fails to meet this requirement, it must pay a cash penalty equal to at least 125 percent of the shortfall.
  • Provide $40 million in refunds to foreclosure victims: SunTrust must refund $40 million to consumers whose loans it serviced who lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 to Dec. 31, 2013. All consumers who submit valid claims will receive an equal share of the $40 million. Borrowers who receive payments will not have to release any claims and will be free to seek additional relief in the courts. Eligible consumers can expect to hear from the settlement administrator about potential payments later this year.
  • Pay $10 million to the federal government: SunTrust must pay $10 million to cover losses it caused to the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Rural Housing Service.
  • Homeowner protections: Today’s order will require SunTrust to establish additional homeowner protections, including protections for consumers in bankruptcy. Like other servicers, SunTrust is subject to the CFPB’s new mortgage servicing rules that took effect on January 10, 2014. The agreement only covers SunTrust’s violations before the new rules took effect, and does not prevent the CFPB from pursuing civil enforcement actions against SunTrust for violations of these rules.

The proposed SunTrust consent order is available at:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_consent-judgement_sun-trust.pdf

A copy of the SunTrust complaint filed today is available at:http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201406_cfpb_complaint_sun-trust.pdf

The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendants have actually violated the law. The proposed federal court order will have the full force of law only when signed by the presiding judge.

SEC investigates Carrington Mortgage deal with New Century Financial

A past deal between Carrington Holding Company and failed subprime lender New Century Financial is under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investigation is looking into information about how Carrington financed the $188 million deal, which relied in part on the firm’s later issuing special securities to the investors in its hedge fund. Per DealBook:    

A person briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the S.E.C. investigation was being led by the agency’s Boston regional office. Carrington’s principal offices are in Greenwich, Conn., and Santa Ana, Calif.

It is not clear why the S.E.C., which issued its first subpoena in the matter in September, is looking into Carrington’s purchase of the New Century mortgage servicing platform now, given that New Century collapsed in bankruptcy in April 2007. In an investor letter in November, Carrington said that the S.E.C.’s subpoena requested documents relating to the New Century acquisition and the valuation of securities that Carrington issued to investors to help pay for the purchase.

Source: DealBook
 
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Sparks fly as House GOP grills Cordray on CFPB, compares National Mortgage Database to NSA spying

Sparks fly as House GOP grills Cordray on CFPB, compares National Mortgage Database to NSA spying

They pulled off the kid gloves and the boxing gloves at theHouse Financial Services Committee, going full-on bare-knuckle and then even brass knuckles on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its director, who was there to give his semi-annual report to Congress.

Any pretense from previous hearings seemed to have been cast aside as Republicans and Democrats fired direct broadsides – Republicans targeting the CFPB, and the Democrats targeting Republicans.

The hearing was more of a grilling than CFPB director Richard Cordray got last week before the Senate Banking Committee, which was uncharacteristically heated.

Majority Republican members accused the agency of the worst kinds of operational and financial mismanagement, collecting private personal data on U.S. citizens, for being on non-transparent and for a culture of discrimination at the CFPB. Also in the mix was the now $185 million renovation the CFPB is undertaking on an office building it does not own, a renovation that costs more than the actual building itself.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, launched the opening salvo.

“Properly designed, the CFPB is capable of great good on behalf of consumers.  It is also capable of great harm,” Hensarling said. “In just three years, the CFPB has grown into an unaccountable federal leviathan of nearly 1,400 employees with over a half billion dollar budget and the unrestrained power to dictate which Americans can receive credit and which Americas cannot. Knowledgeable Americas are rightfully alarmed as the threat and the harm begins to mount.”

Hensarling said the CFPB as constituted hobbles businesses at a time when the economic is stalling out.

“Since Director Cordray last appeared before our committee in January, we have learned much. First, we have learned in the first quarter of this year we actually had negative economic growth of one percent,” Hensarling said. “And when you speak to practically any small businessperson, any community banker they will tell you the sheer weight, volume, complexity of the regulatory red tape burden is one of the primary reasons that they cannot expand and hire more people.”