Daily Archives: May 2, 2016

Blame Wall Street for Puerto Rico crisis: Activist

Wall Street and Congress are, in part, to blame for Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, the president and CEO of the National Puerto Rican Coalition said Monday.

The island was set to default on a $389 million debt payment to bondholders Monday.

“Let’s be real here, Puerto Rico is in an economic, unstable situation in its relationship with the United States. And that is Congress, how Congress decided to build this relationship with Puerto Rico,” Rafael Fantauzzi said in an interview with CNBC’s “Power Lunch.”

Read on.

The US just dropped the hammer on currency manipulation

The U.S. government is sending a message to countries it believes are manipulating their currencies: We’re watching you.

A Treasury report targets five countries in particular: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Germany. Each meets at least two of the three criteria that “determine whether an economy may be pursuing foreign exchange policies that could give it an unfair competitive advantage against the United States.”

At a time when currency devaluation has become a major tool used by multiple countries to stimulate growth, the U.S. is looking to protect its own interests. The report is an outgrowth of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, a bipartisan effort aimed at stemming the global race to the bottom.

Read on.

Federal subpoenas are being issued seeking docs related to Ala. Gov Bentley, former advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason, and her husband, Jon Mason

And a sex tape with the Alabama Governor and his advisor may exist! The Alabama Guv needs to go.

David V. Watkins reports (via hisFacebook page) that federal subpoenas are being issued in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, seeking documents related to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, Rebekah Mason, and her husband, Jon Mason. And Mr. Watkins reporting that more Robert Bentley-Rebekah Mason sex tapes exist and that those tapes are much more graphic than the ones that have already been made public. The governor is facing impeachment by state lawmakers and ethics violations for allegedly misusing of state funds  and using state property in the course of his relationship with Ms. Mason. So stay tuned, folks!


Several state employees admitted to falsifying information on food stamp applications in an attempt to deny assistance to eligible families.

Officials in New Mexico say they were shocked to hear employees of the state’s Human Services department would work against those who needed help the most.

“This is something we’ve never heard before, but according to workers, has been going on for quite some time,” says Sovereign Hager with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.

In federal court, five workers said they were pressured to falsify applications for assistance by stating families had more than $100 in assets when they had less than that or none at all.

Lawyers say those people were then wrongfully denied food assistance.

Read on.

Does Donald Trump appear in the Panama Papers? Yes and no.


Trump doesn’t appear as an owner of offshores

His name, however, appears 3,540 times in leaked documents

Some of his partners and associates are in the documents

The massive leak of documents known as the Panama Papers illustrates how Donald J. Trump and others seek to profit off his very name alone.

The real estate mogul and billionaire doesn’t appear to be the direct owner of any offshore company formed by Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm that is now the subject of multiple investigations after its documents were leaked to journalists.

The Trump name shows up on 3,540 of those leaked documents, many shedding light on what has become a business model. Some of his associates and business partners are also in the files.

Deutsche Bank failing to limit crimes: watchdog

Deutsche Bank hasn’t done enough to prevent its accounts from being misused to launder money, circumvent international sanctions or even finance terrorism, the UK’s financial regulatory agency has found.

The British branch of Germany’s largest lender has “serious” and “systemic” shortcomings in its controls against those three kinds of illegal activity, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Monday, according to a letter seen a day earlier by the Financial Times newspaper.

“Our overall conclusion was that DB UK had serious AML (anti-money laundering), terrorist financing and sanctions failings which were systemic in nature,” the FT quoted the letter as saying.

The damning claim was made after the FCA spent a year conducting an in-depth evaluation of 14 large banks, including Deutsche. The regulators said the bank had also failed to impress due to missing documents, a lack of transaction monitoring and inappropriate pressure being put on employees to take on certain clients, the FT said.

Read on.

The Center of Public Integrity asks Virginia Supreme Court to make public auto title-loan records

Appeal to test view that corporations have same privacy rights as people

The Center for Public Integrity will ask the Virginia Supreme Court to make public auto title lending reports that show financial details such as how much interest the businesses charge on loans and how often they repossess cars.

Last month, the Virginia State Corporation Commission, which oversees financial institutions in the commonwealth, ruled that the annual reports lenders file with the state should be released to the public. The commission said it’s not clear under state law if corporations enjoy the same privacy rights as people when it comes to the disclosure of financial information and directed its staff to seek clarification of the law from the General Assembly next year.

Three giant auto title lenders — TitleMax of Virginia Inc.; Anderson Financial Services LLC, doing business as Loan Max; and Fast Auto Loans Inc. — had asked Virginia officials to prevent the reports from being disclosed to the Center for Public Integrity.

Erin Witte, who is representing the Center for Public Integrity pro bono, filed a notice of appeal on Wednesday. The appeal goes to the Virginia Supreme Court. No date has been set for oral arguments.

Read on.



Judge approves Goldman Sachs $272 million toxic mortgage settlement

In August, Goldman Sachs agreed to pay $272 million to settle a lawsuit brought by an Illinois electrical workers’ pension fund over losses suffered due to alleged misrepresentations of the quality of mortgage loans that backed crisis-era mortgage-backed securities.

On Monday, a federal judge approved the proposed settlement between Goldman Sachs and NECA-IBEW Health & Welfare Fund, an electrical workers’ pension fund in Decatur, Illinois, finding it to be “fair, adequate and reasonable,” according to aBloomberg report.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed in 2008, when NECA-IBEW sued Goldman Sachs, arguing that Goldman made false statements or omitted key information regarding the nature of the mortgages it sold into 17 different trusts during 2007.

At the time, HousingWire’s Paul Jackson wrote of the lawsuit:

In the Goldman case, NECA-IBEW alleges that Goldman misled investors on the underwriting standards used by various originators, including — who else? — Countrywide Financial; other claims center on the use of inflated appraisals by originating entities for the trusts. Many of the loans in the trusts named in the lawsuit are of the reduced-doc, no-doc, stated-income variety, which NECA-IBEW says are rife with fraud.

Read on.

Justice Clarence Thomas’ Wife Elected Ted Cruz Delegate

Well, well, well…

Law Newz:

Even though Donald Trump won the Virginia primary by a landslide, the state’s Republicans elected to send delegates to the Republican National Convention who are much more loyal toTed Cruz during this weekend’s VA GOP convention. Cruz supporters secured 10 of the 13-at-large Virginia delegate. One of the Cruz supporting delegates includes Virginia Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. The remaining three delegates are Trump supporters, according to The Washington Post


Donald Trump won 34.7% of the popular vote in the Virginia primary to Ted Cruz’s 16.9%. In Virginia, each of the state’s eleven congressional districts will elect three (3) delegates at District Conventions. The thirteen at-large delegates were elected during this weekend’s VA GOP convention. Both congressional district delegates and at-large delegates are bound to their pledged candidates on the first ballot only.

Don’t worry, Warren Buffett says there’s no housing bubble


On the agenda was a wide-ranging array of topics, which is recapped in part by Fortune Magazine, which was all over Berkshire Hathaway’s event.

According to Fortune, Buffett touched on the economy, investing, politics and life.

During the meeting, Buffett was asked about the health of the country’s housing market, and whether the country is in another real estate bubble.

And we can all rest assured, because the “Oracle” himself said that the housing market is on stable footing.

From a separate Fortune report:

“I don’t see a nationwide bubble in real estate right now at all,” says Buffett.

Buffett made remarks at the annual meeting of Berkshire Hathaway, which took place on Saturday in Omaha. “In Omaha and other parts of the country, people are not paying bubble prices for real estate,” says Buffett.

According to Fortune’s report, Buffett said that while it’s not quite as good of a time to buy a house as it was four years ago, the likelihood of seeing another housing crisis due to falling house prices is “very low.”

Again from Fortune:

When it comes to housing and mortgage loans, Buffett said, while real estate was certainly a problem in 2008, he didn’t think that would be the source of the next problem for the financial system. “I don’t think we will have a repeat of that,” says Buffett.