Daily Archives: March 8, 2016

Trump outsourcing includes home goods, daughter’s clothing line

Nonetheless, public data collected by a private company, ImportGenius, which gathers export and import information, shows Trump products outsourcing jobs back to 2006. And the trend has intensified over the past few years. Since 2011, around 1,200 shipments of goods with the Trump name on them have come to the U.S. from other countries. Our Principles PAC, a super-PAC opposing Trump, compiled the data from ImportGenius into an Excel spreadsheet (viewable here) with 1,356 shipments going back to 2006.

Yahoo:

It isn’t just the ties.

Donald Trump has taken some grief for the fact that his signature neckties are made in China. But the scope of Trump-branded products made outside America is larger than has previously been reported — especially when that includes the clothing line named after Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, which is listed on the Trump Organization website as part of the Trump empire.

Thousands of items with the Trump name on them — furniture, shirts, shoes, salad bowls, even “Trump body soap,” and much of Ivanka’s growing jewelry and clothing line — have been made by companies, often paying Trump simply for the use of his name on their goods, that employ foreign workers.

Clothing and home goods are a small part of Trump’s fortune. His total income from licensed home goods was between $2.5 million and $13.1 million, according to his personal financial disclosure.

Better Business Bureau: Sorry Donald, Trump University Does Not Have An ‘A’ Rating

A statement from the Better Business Bureau website:

March 08, 2016
Over the past week, Better Business Bureau has provided several statements in response to public inquiries about the BBB Business Review for Trump Entrepreneur Initiative (formerly Trump University). These statements remain available on our website. We are issuing a further statement today, in response to a number of inaccurate reports that continue to be repeated.

For purposes of this statement, we will refer to Trump University, which is how it is most often referred to in news stories. There is only one BBB Business Review for Trump University, and we noted the name change to Trump Entrepreneur Initiative  when it was brought to our attention by the company.

1. BBB did not send a document of any kind to the Republican debate site last Thursday evening. The document presented to debate moderators did not come from BBB that night.

2. Trump University does not currently have an A rating with BBB. The BBB Business Review for this company has continually been “No Rating” since September 2015.  Prior to that, it fluctuated between D- and A+.

3. The document posted on social media on Thursday night was not a current BBB Business Review of Trump University.  It appeared to be part of a Business Review from 2014.

4. BBB ratings are based on information we obtain about a business, including complaints received from the public.  The reporting period is three years.  Detailed information about BBB ratings is available on all 5.3 million Business Reviews on our website, bbb.org.

5. At no point did BBB change the rating of Trump University based upon a demand from anyone.  BBB followed its standard evaluation process applicable to all businesses. 

6. During the period when Trump University appeared to be active in the marketplace, BBB received multiple customer complaints about this business. These complaints affected the Trump University BBB rating, which was as low as D- in 2010.  As the company appeared to be winding down, after 2013, no new complaints were reported. Complaints over three years old automatically rolled off of the Business Review, according to BBB policy. As a result, over time, Trump University’s BBB rating went to an A in July 2014 and then to an A+ in January 2015.

7.  Trump University has never been a BBB Accredited Business.  The document handed to the debate moderators on Thursday night could not have been an actual “Better Business Bureau accreditation notice” for this business.

To be accredited, a business must apply for accreditation and BBB must determine that the business meets BBB Accreditation Standards which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints.

BBB publishes ratings for both Accredited and non-Accredited businesses when we have sufficient information and the business continues to operate. While a business may earn an A rating from BBB by improving its customer record over time, BBB Accredited Businesses must meet higher requirements. Businesses must first earn a high rating and confirm compliance with other BBB Accreditation Standards before being eligible for Accreditation.  Once Accredited, they are vetted annually and must maintain compliance with the Standards to continue as a BBB Accredited Business.

 

U.S. Can’t Find Anyone At Citigroup To Pin Fraudulent Loans On: Government Report Shows

U.S. authorities have decided not to pursue criminal charges against any Citigroup executives or employees involved in packaging and selling mortgage-backed securities at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis, a government report shows.

The decision, which followed Citigroup’s $7 billion settlement in 2014 resolving federal and state civil claims related to mortgage bonds, was described in a November report obtained by Reuters in response to a Freedom of Information Act request.

Read on.

 

WaMu Bondholders Lose Case Against JPMorgan

WASHINGTON (CN) – JPMorgan Chase is not liable to Washington Mutual bondholders whose assets were rendered worthless when the bank failed in the 2008 financial crisis, a federal judge ruled.
Former bondholders of Washington Mutual Bank, or WaMu, sued JPMorgan Chase, the company that acquired WaMu’s assets when the bank collapsed after securitizing bad home loans that cost investors billions.
When it failed, WaMu was the largest savings-and-loan association in the U.S with more than $188 billion in deposits and 2,200 branches nationwide.
JPMorgan Chase bought WaMu’s assets and certain liabilities for $1.9 billion in 2009.
The purchase agreement signed by the FDIC and JPMorgan states that the company assumes and agrees to pay “all of the liabilities of the failed bank which are reflected on the books and records of the failed bank as of bank closing.”
However, WaMu investors’ bonds were not among the liabilities sold to JPMorgan Chase, and thus became essentially worthless.
In their lawsuit, “plaintiffs posited a conspiracy among JPMC, federal regulators, and some WaMu employees to drive down WaMu’s value and expose it to federal takeover,” according to a March 4 ruling from U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer.

Read on.

Ex-JPMorgan adviser gets five years in prison for embezzling $20 million

A former JPMorgan Chase & Co investment adviser was sentenced to five years in prison on Tuesday after admitting that he stole at least $20 million from client accounts to fund a gambling addiction and to trade in stock options.

Michael Oppenheim, 49, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres to forfeit almost $20.2 million and pay restitution to JPMorgan after pleading guilty in November to charges of embezzlement and securities fraud.

According to U.S. prosecutors and securities regulators, Oppenheim worked with about 500 wealthy clients as a vice president and private client adviser in JPMorgan’s midtown Manhattan offices.

Read on.

Trump Tower Funded by Rich Chinese Who Invest Cash for Visas

Bloomberg:

Why a Trump-Based Tower Is Being Funded By Chinese
New Jersey building partly funded via controversial visa plan
Video to sell it to investors is subtitled in Chinese

Throughout his presidential campaign, Donald Trump has attacked China and warned about the dangers of deficient immigrant screening.
“They’ve taken our jobs, they’ve taken our money, they’ve taken everything,” he said of China in a speech late last month. He has called for a revamping, even a freezing, of the immigration system, but says he would make an exception for the highly skilled.
Yet no skills are required of the wealthy Chinese being courted by a Chinese-subtitled video to help finance a huge Trump-branded tower in New Jersey. The video leads viewers behind the wheel of a car into Jersey City with scenes of the tower, all to the tune of the theme song from The Sopranos, “Woke Up This Morning.”

The video was produced to help raise tens of millions of dollars through a controversial government program that offers expedited visas to foreign investors overwhelmingly from China. While the program has many supporters who argue it attracts foreign capital and creates jobs at no U.S. taxpayer cost, congressional overseers and Homeland Security have raised sharp concerns. Applicants are sometimes cleared in less than a month and the critics say the government is essentially selling visas to wealthy foreigners with no proven skills, paving the way for money laundering and compromising national security.
Outdoor Pool, Indoor Golf
Trump Bay Street is a 50-story luxury rental apartment building being built by Kushner Companies, whose chief executive officer, Jared Kushner, is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka. It will have an outdoor pool, indoor golf simulator and sweeping views of Lower Manhattan; it adjoins an existing high rise condo, Trump Plaza Residence. The firm that was hired to seek investors, US Immigration Fund, is run by Florida developer Nicholas Mastroianni, who announced a partnership last year with a Trump golf course in Jupiter, Florida.
The visa program is known as EB-5. In exchange for investing at least $500,000 in a project promising to create jobs, foreigners receive a two-year visa with a good chance of obtaining permanent residency for them and their families. In 2014, the most recent year for which records are available, the U.S. issued 10,692 of these visas — 85% to people from China.
The Jersey City project has raised $50 million, about a quarter of its funding, from loans obtained through EB-5, according to a slide presentation by US Immigration Fund. Mark Giresi, general counsel of US Immigration Fund, said he believed nearly all of the EB-5 investors in the Trump project were from China.
Asked for a comment for this article, a Trump spokeswoman said by email, “This was a highly successful license deal but he is not a partner in the financing of the development.” She did not respond to questions about EB-5. A Kushner spokeswoman said the project was entirely legal and creating jobs.
Verifying Source of Funds
The Government Accountability Office, the investigative branch of Congress, found last year in a general report about the EB-5 program that many applications contained a high risk of fraud, and discovered cases of counterfeit documentation. State Department officials told the GAO that there is “no reliable method to verify the source of the funds of petitioners.”
Giresi of US Immigration Fund says his firm uses “very stringent compliance programs” with a “great amount of due diligence” to look into the background of prospective investors, including hiring private investigators.
Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican who is chairman of the judiciary committee, last month cited a memo from Homeland Security saying that EB-5 visa holders do not clear the same hurdles as other immigrants, like proof of education and work qualifications. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said at the hearing that while he has supported EB-5 over the years, “If the program is to continue, it must be reformed.”
Last spring, a Homeland Security special agent testified that EB-5 applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia “had been approved in as little as 16 days, with files lacking basic law enforcement queries.” And a report last year by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General found politically connected participants may have received favorable treatment, citing projects involving Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham.
A spokesman for Governor McAuliffe said the report demonstrates that he, “along with many other bipartisan individuals and businesses,” asked Homeland Security “to fulfill its obligation to adjudicate the applications that were before them in a timely fashion.”
Rodham said in a phone interview that his interaction with Homeland Security was appropriate.
High-Profile Developments
The visa program was intended to create jobs in economically distressed areas but has often turned into a source of financing for high-profile developments in prosperous neighborhoods, such as Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Hudson Yards. Audrey Singer, a Brookings fellow, says data collected through the program makes it impossible to track how many jobs get created.
Visas have become an issue in the Trump campaign although he hasn’t addressed the EB-5 program. He has acknowledged using temporary visas for workers at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. He says he wants to eliminate what he calls “rampant, widespread” abuse of temporary visas for skilled workers and is committed to “institute an absolute requirement to hire American workers first for every visa and immigration program.”
Trump himself has built few buildings in the past two decades. Instead, developers who want to use the name pay him a licensing fee. A Kushner spokeswoman, Risa Heller, declined to comment on the specific arrangement in Jersey City with Trump’s son-in-law. She said, “The money was raised lawfully by the US Immigration Fund consistent with all the requirements of EB-5. This program enabled a development that created hundreds of new jobs in an area with employment needs.”
Kushner Companies is a New Jersey-based real estate firm built by Kushner’s father Charles, a former rainmaker in New Jersey Democratic politics who pleaded guilty to a federal campaign finance violation, filing false tax returns as well as attempts to silence a witness. Charles was sentenced in 2005 to a prison term of two years. He remains active in the company. Jersey City is the first and, so far, only Trump project for the company.
The Trump building, barely a 5-minute train ride from Lower Manhattan, is located in Jersey City’s Powerhouse district, the site of numerous new high rises and other new construction and renovation. The pale yellow tower is expected to be completed this summer.
Before it’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Sanders Says Clinton Mischaracterized His Vote on Auto Bailout

And he is absolutely correct. See below of the Senate vote roll call in 2008 on approval of $14B auto bailout and approval of the bank bailout. And what is amazing is that the media didn’t call out Clinton!

Bloomberg:

Hillary Clinton “went out of her way to mischaracterize my history as it relates to the 2008 auto industry bailout” during last night’s debate, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says in Kalamazoo, Mich.

  • Sanders says there was one vote on auto bailout and he voted for it; he just didn’t vote to bail out Wall Street
  • “When you get defensive,” Sanders says of Clinton, “you say things that are just not quite correct”
  • NOTE: At debate in Flint, Mich., Clintoncriticized Sanders for voting against the auto industry bailout
    • Sanders did vote against TARP, which provided funds to bail out banks as well as auto companies

And now for the roll call vote 52-35 in the Senate for the auto bailout on December 11, 2008:

Clinton (D-NY), Yea

Sanders (I-VT), Yea

On a side note: then Senator Obama resigned from the Senate effective November 16, 2008 to prepare for his duties as President of the United States.

And now the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA 2008) or Wall Street Bank bailout Senate vote 74–25 vote on October 1, 2008:

Clinton (D-NY), Yea

Sanders (I-VT), Nay

Obama (D-IL), Yea