Daily Archives: May 24, 2016

Elizabeth Warren Calls On Americans To Fight Wall Street

On Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) headlined an event that launched a new coalition calling itself “Take On Wall Street.”

The group includes lawmakers like Warren, Reps. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), labor leaders like the AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka and the AFT’s Randi Weingarten, as well as civil rights groups, community groups, and the organizing giant Move On. It aims to put pressure on lawmakers at all levels to pass stricter rules governing the financial system.

Operating on two principles — “No cheating, and no pushing the risks on taxpayers,” as Warren put it — it’s making five key demands: breaking up the biggest banks; ensuring access to non-predatory banking products, including through the United States Post Office; ending the carried interest tax loophole that allows hedge fund managers to use a tax break for investment income on the income they make at work; reining in executive bonuses; and imposing a financial transaction tax.


Read on.

Donald Trump Fundraiser Host Sought Profits From Housing Crisis

The presumptive GOP nominee previously said the the housing crash was a great way to make money.

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is kicking off his campaign fundraising this week — an interesting turn of events given his boasts of self-funding — with two events in New Mexico and California, according to The Washington Post.

Investor Thomas Barrack Jr., whose private equity firm Colony Capital sought to profit from thousands of home foreclosures in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, will host the second event, in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Barrack was “part of the rush by big investors to buy foreclosed homes in bulk, often sight unseen and at steep discounts, after the U.S. housing market collapsed,” according to The Wall Street Journal. His company bought 1,100 homes in Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas, including thousands more  that Fannie Mae, the troubled government-controlled mortgage company, auctioned off. Incidentally, Barrack and Trump also worked together on real estate dealings in the 1980s.

The event comes as Trump faces criticism for comments he made before the 2008 recession in which he cast a housing market crash as a great way to make money.


Read on.

Trump is now cozying up to the same special interests

Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump on Monday met privately with New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, a top GOP fundraiser who previously supported former presidential candidate Jeb Bush, according to The New York Times.

On Tuesday, Trump’s campaign announced that Johnson would serve as a vice chair for the Trump Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee set up by the campaign and the Republican National Committee. Donors to the apparatus may contribute far larger amounts than in previous elections — up to $450,000 apiece. (Likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton struck a similar agreement with the Democratic National Committee.)

But Trump has boasted, time and time again, about self-funding his campaign. It is one of his most popular lines among his supporters. Moreover, he has repeatedly accused his rivals of being beholden to billionaires, special interests and lobbyists simply by taking their money.

During a February speech in New Hampshire, Trump suggested that Johnson, who was born to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical family, would impede Bush from renegotiating Medicare drug prices, as Trump has promised to do.

NBC reported:

Trump predicted Jeb Bush would avoid taking on the issue as president because Woody Johnson, whose family founded Johnson & Johnson, served as his campaign chairman.

“I have no friends, as far as I’m concerned,” Trump said. “You know who my friends are? You’re my friends.”

By contrast, Trump said his private fortune would enable him to say no to wealthy interests after the election. He’s complained recently that he doesn’t get enough credit for self-financing — Trump does accept campaign donations, but he and Bernie Sanders are the only two major candidates turning down super PAC support.

“I don’t need your money, I need your vote,” Trump said.

The same Johnson is now working for Trump in a similar role.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Trump denied the contradiction between his earlier campaign promises and the new fundraising effort because he is “raising money for the party.”

That’s simply not the case. As the AP noted, the terms of the agreement stipulate that the first $5,400 of every check raised goes to Trump’s primary and general election accounts. The rest goes to the RNC and 11 state parties. Moreover, even though the RNC will use the money it receives toward electing House and Senate candidates, it also spends a significant amount of time and resources on voter identification and turnout for the presidential election — efforts that will surely benefit Trump.


Here’s The Full List Of Organizations That Paid Hillary Clinton From 2013-2015

Another reminder again: This year’s election will be one of the ugliest and expensive Presidential race between Clinton and Trump, presumptive GOP nominee (and that is if Clinton will be nominated as the Democratic Presidential nominee since Sen. Sanders is still in race and it is fighting to get superdelegates to switch sides and if GOP nominates Trump at the Republican National Convention). While Trump is airing  out dirty laundry and scandals of the Clintons,  New York Post reports the organizations that paid Hillary Clinton from 2013-2015:

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Citi Shareholders Can Push $800M Suit Directly: Del. Court

Law360, New York (May 24, 2016, 4:07 PM ET) — Delaware’s high court ruled Tuesday that investment trusts controlled by insurance executive Arthur L. Williams and his wife Angela properly sued Citigroup Inc. directly, and did not have to proceed derivatively, on claims they lost $800 million when the bank duped them into holding shares that plunged during the financial crisis.

The Delaware Supreme Court ruling clears away one lingering question in the high-dollar 2010 lawsuit, which in on appeal after U.S. District Judge Sidney H. Stein threw it out in October 2013. On appeal the…

Source: Law360

Barney Frank who joined bank board last year will be heading the Democratic key rules committee

The Democratic National Convention will be interesting this year as we will see if Democratics will come together as party with a platform to beat Trump…

From Truthout:

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is recommending 25 at-large appointments to the party’s executive committee. In early May 2016, she forwarded only three of the 40 names that the Sanders campaign recommended for the key committees, while installing Clinton supporters in leading positions.

And one of them is Barney Frank. Yes, the same Barney Frank who the financial regulation bill named after him, Dodd-Frank law, joined Signature Bank board of directors last year:

“As a commercial bank catering primarily to privately owned businesses, Signature Bank knows firsthand the importance small business plays in the health and vibrancy of our nation’s economy,” Frank said in a statement. “I am excited to be part of all this in my new capacity as board member and in working with the other directors and management.”
The New York-based Signature Bank has $28.6 billion in assets.

And this year, it was reported that Signature Bank was sued by investors over connection to a Ponzi Scheme:

Signature Bank has been a darling of Wall Street in the 15 years since it opened its first branch in Manhattan.

Sizzling deposit and loan growth has transformed it from a start-up to one of the biggest American banks, with $33 billion in assets. Last year, profit hit a record $373 million.

But all of its success — partly a result of its mantra to deliver top-notch service to its small and midsize business clientele — could not shield it from a Ponzi scheme that lost $66 million of investor money and sent a money manager to federal prison for three and a half years for securities fraud.

In a lawsuit in a Florida state court, the investors are suing Signature, accusing it of helping the money manager pull off his Ponzi scheme by ordering him to shift money around the dozens of accounts he kept at the bank to cover long-term overdrafts.

The cozy relationship Signature had with the money manager and his now-bankrupt investment firm helped advance the scheme, according to the lawsuit.

Texas’ Largest Jail Accused Of Jailing Poor People Because They Don’t Have Money

Maranda Lynn ODonnell’s supposed crime was small. On May 18, she was arrested for allegedly driving with an invalid license. But the 22-year-old mother says she was still jailed for two days at the Harris County Jail in Texas, kept away from her four-year-old daughter and her new job at a restaurant.

If ODonnell had more money, she would have been able to go home immediately. But she doesn’t have many resources. She can’t afford her own home, so she and her daughter stay with a friend. She relies on WIC benefits to feed her child. She lives paycheck to paycheck. So when she was told she either had to pay a $2,500 bail after her arrest or be detained, she was stuck in the jailhouse.

She’s not the only one. In a lawsuit she filed with the nonprofit Equal Justice Under Law against Harris County, two others recounted similar stories. Loetha Shanta McGruder, another 22-year-old mother of a four-year-old with Down syndrome and ten-month-old infant who is also pregnant with a third child, was arrested on May 19 in Jacinto, Texas and told to pay a $5,000 bail. She can’t afford it; she has no job, no money or savings, lives on disability payments and child support, and was already planning to apply to Medicaid so she can get OB-GYN care as well as food stamps. Robert Ryan Ford, a 26-year-old with no work, no bank account, and no assets was told to pay $5,000 after he was arrested on May 18.

The three of them are lucky, though. Two days after her arrest, ODonnell was released and reunited with her daughter. While she almost lost her job — the restaurant hired a new waitress when ODonnell missed a few shifts — the new hire didn’t work out and she should be able to go back to work later this week. McGruder and Ford are both supposed to be released on Monday.

But the county’s practices haven’t changed since the lawsuit was filed, according to one of the attorneys, and hundreds of other people too poor to afford bail are still being held.

Read on.

Xiaoyan Tang v. Citizens Bank, N.A. et al.: Court finds sex harassment can be subtle

Verbal comments do not necessarily need to be blatant to be considered sexual harassment, says a federal appeals court in reinstating sexual harassment and retaliation claims filed by a female executive who had been fired from a bank.

Xiaoyan Tang, who began working at Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank N.A. in 2007, transferred to a new position under senior vice president David Nackley in 2010, according to Thursday’s ruling by the 1st U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston in Xiaoyan Tang v. Citizens Bank, N.A. et al.

Ms. Tang said her encounters with Mr. Mackey included a meeting where he discussed how he wished his Thai au pairs wore more revealing swimsuits.

Ms. Tang said she received a negative performance review from Mr. Nackley, after he realized she was not responding to his advances. She was terminated in June 2011.

Ms. Tang filed charges including sexual harassment against the bank in U.S. District Court in Boston, which granted the bank summary judgment dismissing the case.

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Lawsuit accuses JPMorgan of aiding currency trading Ponzi scheme

JPMorgan Chase Bank has been hit with a lawsuit accusing it of aiding an international Ponzi scheme that allegedly cheated victims of millions of dollars with the promise of large profits from Venezuelan and U.S. currency trading.

Filed earlier this month in Florida state court, the lawsuit was removed to federal court in Miami on Wednesday. The lawsuit was filed by Amir Isaiah of Miami law firm Genovese Joblove & Battista, a court-appointed receiver seeking recovery of victims’ money.

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House passes sweeping change to loan originator licensing rules

The House of Representatives just passed a bill that could create a huge impact on the mortgage industry, as mortgage loan officers may soon be able to transition from a traditional bank to a nonbank and keep originating new mortgage loans without having to wait for a new license.

On Monday, the House passed, via a voice vote, the SAFE Transitional Licensing Act of 2015, under which a registered loan originator who moves to another state or switches from a depository institution to a nonbank lender could continue originating loans for as long as 120 days while applying for a new license.

Under the current rules of the SAFE Mortgage Licensing Act, an LO that moves between states or from a bank to a nonbank is required to wait for a new license before they can begin originating at their new job.

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