Posts filed under “Legal”

NY Federal Reserve Chairman Resigns Suddenly

Wow, that has to be a record for shortest tenure ever at the NY Fed.

His resignation letter (below), is as Dealbook notes, rather disingenuous:

Mr. Friedman was chairman of the New York Fed at the same time he was a member of Goldman’s board. He also had a substantial stake in the firm as the Fed was crafting a solution to keep Wall Street banks afloat. Denis M. Hughes, deputy chair of the board, will take over as the interim chairman, the New York Fed said in a statement. (Read Mr. Friedman’s letter after the jump.)

Because the New York Fed approved a request by Goldman to become a bank holding company, the chairman’s involvement in Goldman was a violation of Fed policy, The Wall Street Journal said in an article earlier this week.

The New York Fed asked for a waiver, which, after about two and a half months, the Fed granted, the newspaper said. During that time, Mr. Friedman bought 37,300 more Goldman shares in December, which have since risen $1.7 million in value

Friedman’s Resignation Letter From N.Y. Fed


Friedman Resigns as Chairman of New York Fed
Dealbook, May 7, 2009, 5:57 pm

Fed Dread
The New York Fed is the most powerful financial institution you’ve never heard of. Look who’s running it.
Eliot Spitzer
Wednesday, May 6, 2009, at 12:29 PM

Friedman Quits New York Fed After Goldman Purchases
Scott Lanman
Bloomberg, May 7 2009

NY Fed chair quits over Goldman role
Tami Luhby May 7, 2009: 7:25 PM ET

Category: Corporate Management, Federal Reserve, Legal

Wachovia Compliance Stuck in 20th Century ?

Those of you at Wachovia may have had hard time lately accessing the blog. (You are probably reading this via RSS). Numerous readers from the firm have written in to say they could access The Big Picture but not post comments. Several readers said they can no longer access the site. Apparently, [some offices at]…Read More

Category: Legal, Regulation, Weblogs

Congress Quietly Moves Pecora Commission

Tucked into an anti-fraud bill moving through the House and Senate is a Pecora-style commission with subpoena power.  The negotiations are based on the Senate version of the bill, and the Senate version has the commission in there.  I excerpted the section on the commission, you can see the full bill here:

Comments, thoughts, etc are always welcome, though in this case there’s probably not much I can do from my position.

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Category: Legal, Politics, Think Tank

Bank of America Needs $34 Billion

We got your stress right here: We won’t get the official stress test results until tomorrow, but the dollar amount needed to be raised privately at the House of Lewis is $33.9 billion dollars. Alternatively, BofA could convert Uncle Sam’s non-voting preferred shares. That would give the taxpayer a significant, potentially majority stake in the…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Credit, Investing, Legal

Mortgage Fraud: How the FBI Blew It


Mortgage Fraud Epidemic: How the FBI Blew It and Why There’s No ‘Perp Walks’
Aaron Task
Yahoo Tech TIcker Apr 06, 2009 08:00am

Category: Credit, Legal, Video

Ratings Agencies Abject Failure

“Ratings agencies just abjectly failed in serving the interests of investors.” -SEC Commissioner Kathleen Casey > Nice takedown on the highly conflicted, over rated ratings agencies in Bloomberg yesterday: “Investors, traders and regulators have been questioning whether credit rating companies serve a good purpose ever since Enron Corp. imploded in 2001. Until four days before…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Legal, Markets, Regulation

30 Years Later: A Belated Chrysler/GM Bankruptcy

I am in Philadelphia today, speaking at my friend David Kotok’s The Financial System, Banks & Economy: After the Storm…Where Are We Now? conference, and I may just have to throw away my notes and wing it to speak about the Chrysler bankruptcy . . . “President Barack Obama aims to announce [Thrusday] that Chrysler…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal, Markets

The Big Picture Conference: Capitalism After the Crash

I mentioned a few weeks ago we were hosting a conference in NYC on  June 3 2009. The conference is coming together nicely, with some terrific name guests committed: • Former CNBC anchor Dylan Ratigan is the master of ceremonies; • Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness author Nassim Taleb is the morning keynote •…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal

Weekend Without Bernie

Reporter David Segal looks at the town that might have lost more money per square mile than any other in the country because of the downturn in the economy and the Ponzi scheming of Bernie Madoff.

Category: Legal, Video

The Prisoners Dilemma: John Thain vs Ken Lewis

“Regulators are supposed to tell you to obey the law, not to disobey the law. If you’re the CEO, your first obligation is not to your regulator, it’s to your institution and shareholders.”

-Jonathan R. Macey, deputy dean of Yale Law School


I have not commented on the allegations by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis that he was forced into making a disastrous acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

Why? Because they appeared to me be utter and shameless nonsense, an attempt to worm out of responsibility.  Indeed, the very statements by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis appeared to be excuse-making for a lousy acquisition (which Bof A has quite the history of). Its the sort of weasely responsibility evading CEO speak we have come to expect these days. To be blunt, I was astonished anyone took them very seriously.

Yet they were taken seriously, by quite a few people — including a huge front page Wall Street Journal article. The mere accusation means that we are likely to see former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson — a major cause of the credit crisis and a horrific bailout steward — up for a major grilling in Congress.

This morning, in the same WSJ venue, we learn that many of the statements Ken Lewis made under oath were directly contradicted by former Merrill CEO John Thain (but not under oath). Thain claims these understandings were in in writing.

One of these  two CEOs is lying, and if its the guy who was doing so in sworn testimony, he may have a very big problem on his hands.

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Category: Bailouts, Legal, M&A, Regulation, Taxes and Policy