Daily Archives: September 5, 2015


Rising CEO Pay Levels

CEO pay levels

Vulture Hedge Funds, The Race For 2016, And The Uncertain Future Of Puerto Rico

hedge funds puerto rico


When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton arrives in Puerto Rico on Friday, she will call on Congress to grant the deeply-indebted island the right to declare bankruptcy — which U.S. states and cities already have. “We’re not talking about a bailout, we’re talking about a fair shot at success,” Clinton said earlier this year. “Congress and the Obama Administration need to partner with Puerto Rico by providing real support and tools so that Puerto Rico can do the hard work it will take to get on a path toward stability and prosperity.”

This stance has earned Clinton quite a bit of financial and political support from Puerto Ricans on the island and the mainland — including hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign and super PAC donations and endorsements from prominent local officials.

Former Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, like Clinton, haspublicly supported the island’s right to declare bankruptcy, saying during an April visit to San Juan, “Puerto Rico should be given the same rights as the states. In order for Puerto Rico to eventually become a state, it must begin by being treated as a state.” Both say it will be nearly impossible for the island to tackle its $72 billion debt without such a tool.

But as these two prominent candidates lament the debt crisis and call for its resolution through bankruptcy, a ThinkProgress analysis of federal campaign finance documents found they have both benefited from honorarium fees, donations to their super PACs, and contributions to their campaigns from the executives of Puerto Rico’s hedge funds creditors — investment funds whichcontributed to and are profiting from the island’s financial crisis and inability to declare bankruptcy.

Hedge fund executives with significant Puerto Rican holdings — which stand to lose billions if the Commonwealth declares bankruptcy — have contributed more than half a million dollars to Clinton’s bid, and more than a million dollars to Bush and his “Right to Rise” super PAC.

Hedging Their Bets

U.S. hedge funds have a long tradition of making major donations to the campaigns of Democrats and Republicans alike, and have spent big on lobbying in recent years to defeat regulations and taxes that would have impacted their bottom line.

This year, hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones gave Jeb Bush’s “Right to Rise” super PAC, whichworks closely with his campaign but is technically independent, at least $25,000. It received$500,000 from hedge fund manager Dan Loeb, $250,000 from hedge fund manager David Tepper, and $50,000 from hedge fund manager John Paulson. Leon Black, the head of Apollo Global Management, gave Bush’s super PAC $100,000 and his hedge fund paid Bush himself $42,500 for a speech in May, according to his personal financial disclosure report.

Bush also has as much as $615,000 personally invested in two different hedge funds connected to the Puerto Rican crisis, Fortress Investment Group and Oppenheimer, which earned him up to $2,500 2014, according to his financial disclosure.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign, meanwhile, has received the legal maximum donation of $2,700 frombankers at Fortress Investment Group and four-figure contributions from bankers at Perry Capital, Blue Mountain Capital, and Angelo, Gordon & Co., according to Federal Election Commission filings.

A banker with Apollo Global Management also donated the legal limit to Clinton, and that hedge fund paid her $250,000 for a speech in May, according to her personal finance disclosure.

Former Associate Attorney General Monitor Tracks $2.5 Billion Settlement: Business of Law

Independent monitor Thomas Perrelli released his third report this year giving details of Citigroup Inc.’s progress in complying with a settlement valued at $2.5 billion.

Citigroup agreed to Perrelli’s appointment as part of the settlement.

The settlement resolved issues from the days before the financial crisis of 2008, addressing allegations that the bank sold defective residential mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt obligations in 2006 and 2007. Citigroup settled on July 11, 2014, with the U.S. Justice Department and five states, agreeing to pay $4.5 billion to the governments.

The bank also agreed to remedial measures, promising $2.5 billion in consumer relief, according to a summary of the first monitor’s report prepared by Perrelli in January. The relief was to include loan modification for so-called underwater homeowners, down payment and closing cost assistance, and subordinate financing for affordable rental housing projects.

The ongoing nature of that relief would require monitoring. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, “any cost associated” with the monitor “shall be borne by Citigroup.”

Perrelli, a partner at Jenner & Block LLP’s Washington office and a former associate attorney general, has been measuring the bank’s progress in consumer credit relief, investments in affordable housing and consumer outreach.

Read on.

Three Rich Treasury Secretaries Laugh It Up Over Income Inequality

LOL. Peasants!

Three of the world’s richest and most powerful people (and Timothy Geithner) had a good laugh over income inequality earlier this year.

Former Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson and Geithner were asked about the issue by Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg during a conference in Beverly Hills. When Paulson responded that he’d been working on income inequality since his days at Goldman Sachs, Geithner quipped, “In which direction?” 

“You were increasing it!” cracked Rubin, as everyone on stage roared with laughter.

Read on.

Walter Investment fined $29.6 million for False Claims Act violations

[Update: This article has been updated to include a statement from Walter Investment.]

Walter Investment Management Corp. (WAC) will pay $29.63 million in fines for violations of the False Claims Act to settle charges brought by the Department of Justice, which accused several Walter Investment subsidiaries of submitting false reverse mortgage claims to theDepartment of Housing and Urban Development.

The settlement was announced by the Justice Department Friday. According to the DOJ, Walter Investment subsidiaries Reverse Mortgage Solution Inc., REO Management Solutions and RMS Asset Management Solutions violated the False Claims Act in connection with their participation in HUD’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgages program.

Read on.