AMERICAN EXPRESS

... The Dark Side


 

Sightings from The Catbird Seat

~ o ~

August 8, 2006

Court revives fraud lawsuit
against American Express

By Jonathan Stempel, YahooNews

NEW YORK, Aug 8 (Reuters) - A federal appeals court has revived an investor class-action fraud lawsuit accusing American Express Co. of understating risks it faced from owning junk bonds, which caused about $1 billion of losses for the credit card and travel services company.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday vacated U.S. District Judge William Pauley's 2004 decision to dismiss the case on the grounds that American Express disclosed the risks, and because the plaintiffs raised some claims too late.

In deciding to revive claims whose merits had not been considered, Judge Ralph Winter wrote for the appeals panel that "the prudent course is to vacate the entire judgment." The appeals panel did not rule on the merits of the case, and sent the case back to the district count.

Sanford Dumain, a partner at Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP who represents plaintiffs in the case, in a statement said he was "gratified" with the ruling.

Judy Tenzer, a spokeswoman for American Express, said the New York-based company will ask the district court to dismiss the complaint.

The case stemmed from losses from junk bonds and collateralized debt obligations at American Express Financial Advisors, an asset manager and brokerage now called Ameriprise Financial Inc. after a 2005 spinoff.

According to Monday's decision, American Express announced a $49 million write-down from high-yield investments at the end of 2000 as defaults rose, but said it planned to continue investing in junk bonds.

In April 2001, however, American Express posted another $185 million of losses from high-yield securities. Then in July, despite assurances from American Express that the worst had likely passed, it took an additional $826 million pretax charge.

"Our analysis of the portfolio at the end of the first quarter did not fully comprehend the risk (of Amex's high-yield investments) during a period of persistently high default rates," Chief Executive Kenneth Chenault said at the time, according to the opinion.

American Express shares fell 32 percent from the end of 2000 to July 18, 2001, when it announced the $826 million charge.

American Express shares closed Tuesday up 17 cents at $52.27 on the New York Stock Exchange.


 

January 27, 2006

Goldman Sachs Forms Strategic
Alliance with ICBC

www.goldmansachs.com

BEIJING – Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited (ICBC) today announced the signing of definitive agreements with The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Allianz Group and American Express Company, which include investments totaling US$3.78 billion in ICBC and wide ranging strategic cooperation initiatives....

The agreements are subject to the approval of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Under the agreements, each of the strategic investors will cooperate with ICBC across a range of business and management areas. Goldman Sachs will assist ICBC to develop further the bank's corporate governance, risk management and internal controls, as well as to provide expertise to enhance ICBC's capabilities in treasury, asset management, corporate and investment banking, non-performing loans disposal and product innovation.

Allianz Group will cooperate with ICBC to provide leading bancassurance products and services to the Bank's clients, while American Express and ICBC will continue to develop their existing strategic cooperation in the bank card business.

Mr. Jiang Jianqing, Chairman of ICBC, said: "I am delighted that ICBC has formed these strategic alliances with three very special partners. Today's announcement marks a new beginning for ICBC's corporate governance reform and business development."

Mr. Henry M. Paulson, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs, said: "Today's agreement strengthens our long-standing commitment to ICBC and to China and its financial sector reform. This represents the beginning of what I am sure will be a long and successful relationship between our organizations."

Mr. Michael Diekmann, Chairman of Allianz Group, said: "China is a strategic market for Allianz and this partnership emphasizes our long-term commitment to the market. This is an excellent investment opportunity that also offers a platform for our strategic expansion in China. Through this agreement, Allianz will become one of ICBĆs most important insurance and investment product providers."

"ICBC has been an excellent card issuing partner for American Express, and we are delighted to deepen our strong, strategic relationship," said Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express. "This investment is a reflection of our confidence in our partner, ICBC, our strong interest in the Chinese market, and our deep commitment to support this market through quality products and services for Chinese consumers that satisfy their growing needs."

ICBC

ICBC is the largest wholesale and retail bank in China by assets and deposits and is a market leader in many business areas including corporate and personal loans, deposits, mortgages, e-banking, custodian services and inter-bank clearing. It provides a wide range of commercial banking services to corporate and individual customers. ICBC has approximately 18,000 outlets and employs 360,000 people across China. It had total assets of RMB6.3 trillion at the end of 2005.

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the oldest and largest investment banking firms. The firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.

Allianz

Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and financial services providers. Founded in 1890, Allianz is present in more than 70 countries with over 162,000 employees. Allianz provides its more than 60 million customers worldwide with a comprehensive range of services in the areas of property and casualty insurance, life and health insurance, asset management and banking. At the end of 2004, Allianz had more than one trillion euros in assets under management.

American Express

American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel, financial and network services company, founded in 1850. It is a world leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, and business services.

Since 1996 American Express has been aggressively pursuing a strategy of opening its merchant network and card product portfolio to third party issuers around the world. By leveraging its global infrastructure and the powerful appeal of the brand, the company aims to gain even broader reach for its network worldwide.

American Express has now established close to 100 card-issuing partnership arrangements in nearly 110 countries. American Express and ICBC entered into a card partnership in March 2004, and the ICBC American Express Card was launched in December 2004.


 

February 18, 2005

American Express unit
accused of fraud

Advisory service charged with giving bad advice

Reuters, MSNBC

NEW YORK - New Hampshire securities regulators have accused the personal finance advisory unit of American Express Co. of defrauding investors by giving incentives to its advisers to push select mutual funds over other funds with better performance.

The New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation, in its complaint filed on Thursday, said it is seeking a fine and restitution of $17.5 million.

"The sales force for the New Hampshire branches of the (American Express Financial Advisors unit) were heavily incentivized to sell proprietary and specially selected mutual fund investment products over other products available for sale," the complaint stated.

The regulators said that up until 2002 the unit, known as AEFA, failed to disclose to customers that its financial advisers were paid higher compensation for selling proprietary products versus outside products.

The complaint says that the failure to disclose the arrangements and the sales practices "operated as a fraud or deceit upon the customers."

American Express could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, American Express said it would spin off the AEFA unit. AEFA has more than 12,000 advisers selling financial advice, funds and insurance to 2.5 million customers.

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6992178/


 

February 1, 2005

American Express to
Spin Off Advisory Unit

By TSC Staff, TheStreet.com

American Express (AXP:NYSE) will spin off its financial adviser and asset-management operation to shareholders, saying the lucrative operation would able to finance itself more efficiently as a separate company.

American Express Financial Advisors will be distributed to shareholders in a tax-free transaction during the third quarter. The operation produced revenue of $7 billion and earnings of $700 million in 2004, compared with the $22 billion of revenue and $2.7 billion of earnings generated by American Express's charge card segment.

AEFA runs a network of more than 12,000 advisers serving about 2.5 million clients in financial planning, asset management and insurance. It runs about $410 billion in assets and over $145 billion in in-force life insurance.

"With direct access to capital markets, AEFA will have greater flexibility and resources to grow its business and capitalize on investor interest in large, successful financial services companies," American Express said in a statement.

The two companies will be independent with separate public ownership, boards and management after the spinoff. They will enter exclusive marketing agreements that will allow AEFA to continue to use the American Express name during a transition period.

Hiving off the advisory unit will also separate operations with fairly distinct cultures. The financial adviser unit does business in an industry that has seen several high-profile scandals over the past five years, including the Wall Street research and mutual fund trading investigations and Eliot Spitzer's probe of the insurance industry. AEFA avoided implication in each of those scandals but did pay $300,000 to the NASD in May 2004 for record-keeping violations.

In February 2002, AEFA agreed to pay $31 million to settle a gender and age-discrimination suit brought by female employees who said they were denied promotions and equal pay at the company. The division was also responsible for a bad bet in junk bonds in 2001 that resulted in about a billion dollars of writedowns for the parent over 12 months.

www.thestreet.com/_gfn/stocks/brokerages/10206576.html


 

December 13, 2004

Citi, Amex Plan Credit Card

By Matthew Goldstein, Senior Writer

Citigroup and American Express are joining forces to issue a new credit card.

The new card will be issued by Citigroup, but will be accepted by merchants that are part of the American Express network, according to a press release. Citibank will be responsible for handling and billing customers.

The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the partnership.

The deal between the two financial services firms reflects the changing landscape in the credit card business following a federal antitrust ruling against MasterCard and Visa. In a landmark case, a New York federal court found that the two big credit card associations had engaged in uncompetitive business practices that had a negative impact on American Express and other card companies.

The court specifically struck down a rule imposed by Visa and MasterCard that had prohibited member banks from issuing cards from other companies. The Supreme Court, in October, refused to overturn the court's ruling.

In the wake of the court decision, American Express filed suit last month against eight banks that allegedly conspired with MasterCard and Visa to engineer a boycott of American Express' charge card. The lawsuit named most of the nation's major banks, but not Citigroup.

At the time, analysts on Wall Street were puzzled by American Express' decision not to name Citigroup as a defendant.


 

May 20, 2004

American Express faces
disciplinary action

NASD focusing on revenue-sharing
arrangements with mutual funds

Associated Press, MSNBC

WASHINGTON - American Express Co. said staff of the National Association of Securities Dealers is leaning toward recommending enforcement action against the financial-services company’s broker-dealer subsidiary because of its revenue-sharing arrangements with mutual funds.

The NASD staff’s preliminary decision to recommend action gives the New York-based company’s financial advisers unit a chance to discuss the allegations with the regulator before it issues a final recommendation.

American Express Financial Advisors “intends to take advantage of this opportunity,” the company said Wednesday in a regulatory filing.

In its notice of possible disciplinary action, the NASD staff argues that aspects of American Express Financial Advisors’ revenue-sharing pacts with mutual funds may have violated federal securities laws, as well as NASD and Securities and Exchange Commission rules and regulations.

Under the arrangements, certain nonproprietary mutual funds paid American Express Financial Advisors to have their shares offered through the company’s national distribution network, according to Wednesday’s filing with the SEC. Many mutual funds and brokerage firms have said they’re under regulatory scrutiny for similar arrangements.

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5022476


 

< < < FLASHBACKS < < <

From The Catbird Seat - Part II:

American Express Bank International

- From The Laundrymen : . . . Over the years, the Justice Department has become more adroit at digging deeper into a bank's affairs and rooting out the laundrymen...

At the end of 1994, the government's wrath was directed at the American Express Bank International, after two of its senior officers were indicted in Houston for helping to wash $40 million belonging to Mexican drug trafficker Juan Garcia Abrego....

A Mexican gas station owner named Ricardo Aguirre Villagomez ... was Abrego's primary laundryman. Under Villagomez's supervision, drug money collected on the streets of Texas was sent through exchange houses and banks along the Mexican border to Switzerland.

From there is was wired to a holding company in the Cayman Islands established for Villagomez by Antonio Giraldi and Maria Lourdes Reategui at the Beverly Hills branch of AMEX. Some of his money was invested in a Blockbuster Video franchise...

But the lion's share went into American real estate. Giraldi and Reategui accepted $29 million as collateral for $19 million worth of property loans, reputedly making Villagomez the bank's biggest customer -- at least until U.S. Customs identified and froze the funds in the Caymans.

Giraldi and Reategui both pleaded not guilty to several charges, including money laundering, but a Brownsville, Texas jury found otherwise. He was sentenced to 10 years, and she got 3½.

The government then went after the bank, fining it $7 million.

American Express Bank International also had to forfeit $40 million of Villagomez's laundered money and assets, and was obliged to spend $3 million on employee training....

For more, GO TO > > > Wall Street


 

From Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate - PartI:

Bedford Property Investors, Inc.

- From a Bedford Properties press release: Bedford Property Investors, Inc. announced the appointment of Scott R. Whitney as Sr. V.P. and CFO. Whitney, 45, has been serving as Sr. VP/CFO of WCI Communities (a Bishop Estate investment) of Naples, Florida since 1995.

Before joining WCI Communities, Whitney was with Equity Group Investments, Inc. Prior to joining Equity Group Investments, Whitney worked with Balcor/American Express, Inc. as V.P. Banking and Sr. Controller.

* * *

From Midweek, 3/7/01, by Robert M. Rees: Years of pursuing the Bishop Estate trustees revealed more than the self-seeking greed and hubris of its five now-deposed incumbents....

Bina Chun, widely referred to as “the queen of the school,” (and wife of Kamehameha Schools’ president, Michael Chun) had her own rewards. In 1992, for example, Bedford Properties paid her a cool million just for negotiating the purchase price of the Kalele Kai condo project with the trustees....

For more, GO TO > > > Paradise Paved; The Grand (and dirty) Ko `Olina


 

Goldman Sachs

The Goldman Sachs Group is a leading global investment banking and securities firm with three principal business lines: Investment banking; Trading and Principal Investments; and Asset Management and Securities Services.

From Goldman Sachs, by Lisa Endlich:

GOLDMAN SACHS had been expanding the size of its partnership steadily for decades. There had been fifty partners in 1973; there were seventy-five in 1983 and one hundred fifty by 1993. But as the size of the partnership increased, the profits of the firm had to grow at breakneck speed if existing partners' income levels were to be maintained....

With his ascendency in 1990, Robert Rubin openly discussed with the partnership the need for an expanding pie....

In addition to the firm's limited partners (retired partners who choose to leave capital in the firm), Goldman Sachs has taken on three groups of financial partners. Sumitomo's investments in 1986 entitled the Japanese bank to 12.5% of the firm's annual profits. Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate, the giant Hawaiian education trust, which also made two major cash infusions into the firm, first in 1992 and again in 1994, receives about 11% of what the firm makes every year. Finally, a group of insurers has injected $225 million into the capital structure.

Goldman Sachs will go down in history as the last major partnership on Wall Street....

Quoting one former partner:

"Greed changed the firm, and the view was to take as much
risk as we can, and make it as fast as we can
."

* * *

From USA Today, May 3, 1999: Trust Scandal Haunts Goldman -- Sullied Bishop Estate Owns 10% of Bank: . . . Daytime television has nothing on the Bishop Estate, a charitable trust that will make a huge windfall in Goldman Sachs' initial public offering expected Tuesday... The trustees of the estate are mired in an explosive scandal with subplots of greed, cronyism, sex and suicide that are worthy of the tawdriest soap opera....

Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate was set up 115 years ago to educate Hawaiian children as stipulated in the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last direct descendant of the king who united the islands. With assets of about $10 billion, it is one of the richest trusts in the USA and the largest private landowner in Hawaii...

Among its assets: a 10% stake in Goldman Sachs, the leading investment bank that is ending its long reign as a private partnership. When Goldman goes public, the estate stands to at least triple the value of its $500 million investment...

* * *

From The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition, May 4, 1999: Goldman Sachs Leaves Little To Chance With Red-Hot IPO.

The IPO which raised $3.66 billion, ranks as the largest financial-services IPO eve ...

Top executives at Goldman, such as Mr. Paulson, received shares in the company valued at as much as $200 million. . .

Goldman itself sold 51 million shares. Two Goldman shareholders, Kamehameha Activities Association and Sumitomo Bank Capital Markets, a unit of Sumitomo Bank, also sold nine million shares each, leaving them with Goldman stakes of 4% and 5%, respectively....

See also: Dan Inouye ... Xiamen International Bank ... Yakuza

For more GO TO > > > Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs


 

Xiamen International Bank

On Sept 28, 1974, Luso International Bank was incorporated in Macau. In 1975, it was acquired by Panin Group (renamed Min Xin Group in 1988), Hong Kong.

In Nov 1985, Panin Group, with three PRC-based institutions, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China; Fujian Investment and Enterprise Corp (renamed Fujian International Trust & Investment Corp); and Construction and Development Corp of Xiamen Special Economic Zone (renamed Xiamen Construction and Development Corp, Ltd.) jointly founded Xiamen International Bank, the first joint venture bank in the People's Republic of China.

Luso International Bank was injected as part of the capital to the bank, thus becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xiamen International Bank.

In Nov 1991, XIB was joined by three more shareholders: Asian Development Bank; The Long-Term Credit Bank of Japan, Ltd.; and Sino Finance Group, Ltd. (owned by Bishop Estate and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, William Simon).

* * *

GreaterThings, by Greg Wongham: The Ripple Effect is one way we, the people of Hawaii, can attempt to tell the rest of the country about the way the Asian-influenced financial world of Hawaii could cost you and your children every penny in your bank.

Hawaii’s political powerbrokers, led by Hawaii (D) Senator Dan Inouye, have been very busy manipulating the financial world from Wall Street to the White House. Inouye knew Wall Street could be had if he were able to get a big powerhouse brokerage firm like Goldman Sachs to make a market for one or two of his big Asian banker friends, like Mochtar Riady’s Lippo Group (who was the center of the “Chinagate” investigation) and his brother-in-law, Mumin Ala Gundawun, who controls Xiamen International Bank.

Other Chinese-Indonesians like Atang Latief and his former son-in-law Sukarman Sukamto (now named Sukamto Sia), played a big role in the “high finance” world that has dominated Hawaii and Hawaii politics for decades. Latief, for example, was credited with controlling 10 offshore banks in Hong Kong.

The $6 billion Kamehameha Schools Trust provided the financial “brick and mortar” used to build the bridge that would span the gap between Asia and U.S. capital markets. The Democratic Party-controlled Kamehameha Schools Trust spent $500 million to purchase 10% of Goldman Sachs stock....

Kamehameha Schools’ lead investment trustee, Henry Peters, stated that they were going to put Xiamen International Bank on the N.Y. stock exchange. This was a plan to create a conduit allowing the American public’s capital to flow through to their business partners in Asia, in some cases subsidizing a communist regime. The Clinton appointment of Rubin as Secretary Treasurer was the other link to Hawaii’s financial and banking world....

* * *

March 8, 2002

China lets first foreign bank
take Chinese clients

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's central bank has given the green light to the first foreign financial institution, Xiamen International Bank, to do business with Chinese clients, a bank official and state newspapers said on Friday.

The Sino-foreign joint venture bank, based in booming Xiamen in the southeastern coastal province of Fujian, had been given approval to provide domestic clients with foreign currency services, they said.

"We are the first foreign financial institution and first joint venture bank to gain approval," an official at the Xiamen International Bank told Reuters by telephone. He declined to say how the new business would affect earnings.

Xiamen International Bank is 10-percent-owned by Japan's Shinsei Bank, 10 percent by the Asian Development Bank and five percent by U.S.-backed Sino-Finance Group Co Ltd.

It is majority-owned by Fujian provincial and municipal government firms.

As part of its commitments for World Trade Organisation entry, China allowed overseas banks to conduct foreign currency business with Chinese residents from February 1.

Foreign banks were formerly only allowed to take foreigners or overseas-invested firms as customers and many are now applying to the central bank to expand their business.

Xiamen International Bank gained its approval on March 4, state newspapers said on Friday.

The bank was set up in November 1985 and has a licence to do yuan business with foreign individuals and companies. Its market coverage spans Fujian, Macau and Hong Kong, according to its Web site.

Min Xin Holdings Ltd has a 36.75 percent stake in the bank, Fujian International Trust and Investment Corp has 12 percent, Xiamen Construction and Development Corp has 7.5 percent and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China has 18.75 percent.

China's central bank said on Thursday foreign banks have to follow the same interest rate guidelines as Chinese banks when taking foreign currency deposits from domestic clients.

Analysts said the guidelines would ensure foreign banking giants, with their more sophisticated products and international names, did not take clients away from Chinese banks by offering more attractive interest rates.

China has pledged to open the financial sector to overseas players gradually in the five years after its WTO entry. Foreign banks will be allowed to do yuan business with Chinese companies in two years and with Chinese individuals in five years.

See also: Zurich Financial Services Group

For more, GO TO > > > The World Trade Organization


 

From Dirty Money, Dirty Politics & Bishop Estate, Part II:

Vernon Jordan - “The Svengali with a telephone.”

From The Age, 2/7/99, by Phillip McCarthy: Bill's fixer a reluctant Starr turn - In 1980, Mr Vernon Jordan, then the charismatic leader of a moderate black civil rights organisation, was a victim of the sort of hate crime that had made a martyr of Dr Martin Luther King 12 years earlier.

Returning to his motel in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, he was shot in the back by a white supremacist who objected to the fairly modest advancement agenda of Mr Jordan's group for urban black enterprise. Mr Jordan survived, but the experience was something of a watershed in his outlook and his life.

Within 18 months, he had left that conspicuous side of public life, with its attendant cranks and threats. He segued into the protectively blurry role of the Washington insider: a platform with great influence, less accountability and better pay.

The target on the podium became the Svengali with the telephone. It's hard to be precise about what exactly Mr Jordan does and he prefers it that way.

The descriptions that coalesce about him include artful facilitator, influence peddler, stealth powerbroker, friend of Bill and, whichever is true, he's good at it.

It all helps explain the aura of pained grimness about Mr Jordan, elegant nonetheless in a stylish gray trenchcoat and hat, as he entered and exited a congressional meeting room during the week after a four-hour deposition in the Monica Lewinsky case.

Being trailed by TV cameras - and being a highly public player in a tawdry and partisan political scandal - is far from Mr Jordan's preferred modus operandi.

In short, it's bad for business.

His special talent, which earns him $US 1 million a year from his law practice and another $US 1.5 million from the 10 companies on whose boards he sits, is to get things done quietly and smoothly.

The Jordan approach is all about making a deft introduction here, doing a favor and collecting a debt there, nudging a legislative position along the way and, significantly, ironing out a delicate situation before it hits the papers.

But for the past year, from the first time he ran the gauntlet of cameras to testify before Mr Kenneth Starr's grand jury, the patrician fix-it man has been part of an unseemly cast that includes Ms Monica Lewinsky, Ms Linda Tripp and Ms Paula Jones.

``Vernon operates in the shadows, out of the glare of publicity,'' says Ms Dee Dee Myers, the former White House press secretary and political commentator. ``So he is extremely uncomfortable with having become a figure out in the open who now galvanises political opinion.''

Trying to finesse the phone calls and meetings with Ms Lewinsky, and his dogged efforts to get her a New York job with Revlon or American Express, is proving to be an artful dodge even for Mr Jordan, although he has done it before for hundreds of others, mostly African-Americans.

Mr Jordan's ascendancy in the '80s and '90s coincided with a time when diversity had become a mantra in America. ``Companies began to want to find blacks to put on boards in order to gain diversity,'' says Mr Jay Lorsch, of Harvard Business School.

``Executives and directors looked around the black community and they were not going to pick Jesse Jackson. So they picked people empathetic to management and who knew how the system works - and Vernon was the most obvious example.''

Mr Jordan, after all, had never been a radical, despite the seemingly heroic bent of his civil rights credentials. His power-base organisations, like the Urban League and the National Negro College Fund, resolutely worked within the system.

In the final months of the Carter administration - which, like Mr Jordan's civil rights groups, was based in the ``new south'' capital of Atlanta - Mr Jordan hit Washington as a star recruit for the powerful law firm headed by one-time Democratic cabinet member, Mr Robert Strauss.

He now oversees a staff of close to 100 registered lobbyists and earns that $US 1 million as a senior partner in his law firm without filing briefs or appearing in court.

His deft touch for his clients through the Reagan and Bush administrations led inevitably to those board invitations; it's no bad thing for a corporation working in an unpredictable legislative environment to have a director with the ability to pull strings.

Apart from Revlon and American Express, Mr Jordan's directorships include J C Penney, Dow Jones, Sara Lee, Xerox, Union Carbide and Bankers Trust. His second wife, Ann, sits on five boards, including the Travelers Group and Johnson & Johnson pharmaceuticals.

In the 1970s and 1980s, when Mr Clinton was a liberally minded politician in Arkansas with solid black support and Mr Jordan was a civil rights lawyer in Atlanta, their shared interests outside politics included golf and, it is suggested, women.

In office, Mr Clinton has entrusted some of the most delicate tasks of his presidency to his old friend. It was Mr Jordan who was delegated to sound out another African American model citizen, General Colin Powell, about becoming Mr Clinton's Secretary of State.

Certainly the extra-curricular interest in women Mr Clinton and Mr Jordan share, as two married men, might have prompted Mr Jordan to go out of his way over Ms Lewinsky.

When he was shot late on that fateful night in 1980, Mr Jordan was reportedly not returning to his hotel alone; he was accompanied by a blonde divorcee who was definitely not his first wife, Shirley.

In the face of stories about her husband's reputation as a womaniser, Ann Jordan has taken an attitude of benign tolerance reminiscent of Hillary Clinton.

``I'm sure women find him attractive,'' she told the Washington Post in 1992. ``I do.''

The dilemma the Lewinsky imbroglio poses for Mr Jordan is that his ability as a fixer and an operator is in danger of being impaired, if not crippled, in the partisan post-Lewinsky rancor of Washington.

Big corporations who deal with both sides of Congress and whoever is in government- like Xerox, Dow Jones and, yes, Revlon - are unlikely to be comfortable with a board member whose presence evokes partisan politics.

A year ago, Revlon withdrew its Jordan-brokered job offer to Ms Lewinsky within a day of the scandal breaking; the last thing the cosmetics giant wanted was to be embroiled in a blow up that forced it into a political corner.

Long after Mr Clinton leaves office, Mr Jordan will still be wanting to trade favors for his clients and secure jobs for his friends. The question is, how much he will be hobbled by the legacy of the departing commander in chief?

* * *

From The Starr Evidence, edited by Phil Kuntz: Monica Lewinsky’s Fifth Interview - Office of the Independent Counsel, 08/01/98 ...

On Dec 11, 1997, LEWINSKY went to the office of VERNON JORDAN for a meeting which had been arranged by GAIL of his office ...

LEWINSKY was very nervous at the meeting ... LEWINSKY told JORDAN, “I’m more nervous with you than when I’m with the President.” . . .

In this visit, which included a turkey sandwich lunch, JORDAN told LEWINSKY the names of the people he had called (for help in getting Lewinsky a job). JORDAN suggested that LEWINSKY write letters to them with detailed wording that he provided, and asked that he receive copies of the letters. JORDAN explained his assistance by saying, “You’re a friend of the President of the United States.” . . .

On Dec 12, 1997 ... LINDA TRIPP met with her attorney, KIRBY BEHRE. ... TRIPP advised LEWINSKY that she had written out the details of the relationship between LEWINSKY and the President, put them in a sealed envelope, and gave them to BEHRE, to be opened in the event of TRIPP’s death.

LEWINSKY was aghast. TRIPP also said that if she was asked about LEWINSKY she, TRIPP, was going to tell the truth.

On Dec 17, 1997 ... LEWINSKY received a phone call from the President. He was not in a jovial mood and had concern in his voice. After about four seconds the President said he would call right back and hung up. About two minutes later, the President called back and said that he had two important things to tell LEWINSKY.

First, BETTY CURRIE’s brother had been killed in a car accident. . . .

Then the President said that he had seen the PAULA JONES witness list and that LEWINSKY was on it. ... The President said that LEWINSKY could always say that she was coming to see BETTY, or that LEWINSKY was bringing papers from Legislative Affairs to the President. The President said that if LEWINSKY did get subpoenaed, call BETTY CURRIE and they would work something out....

LEWINSKY told the President that she had some job interviews scheduled in New York. LEWINSKY also said that maybe she would be gone and the lawyers could not find her. The President said that was a possible solution....

This telephone call lasted between 20 and 45 minutes.

After hanging up, LEWINSKY cried. . . .

# # #

 


 

By its past and present actions, by its technological capabilities, by the merciless nature of its regime, Iraq is unique. As a former chief weapons inspector of the U.N. has said, ‘The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime, itself. Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.’...

“We know that the regime has produced thousands of tons of chemical agents, including mustard gas, sarin nerve gas, VX nerve gas. Saddam Hussein also has experience in using chemical weapons. He has ordered chemical attacks on Iran, and on more than forty villages in his own country. These actions killed or injured at least 20,000 people, more than six times the number of people who died in the attacks of September the 11th....

“Iraq is a land rich in culture, resources, and talent. Freed from the weight of oppression, Iraq's people will be able to share in the progress and prosperity of our time. If military action is necessary, the United States and our allies will help the Iraqi people rebuild their economy, and create the institutions of liberty in a unified Iraq at peace with its neighbors.”...

– George W. Bush, October 7, 2000

* * * * *


 

IRAQ BODY COUNT

 


 

National Priorities Project - Cost of War

 


 

A Timeline of Oil and Violence in Iraq

 


 

DrDebug’s 9/11 Investigation

 


 

THE 10 MOST BRAZEN WAR PROFITEERS

 


 

THE EAGLE HOODED: THE 9-11 COVERUP

PART I - PART II - PART III

 


 

MORE TO COME


 

 

For now, here are some more “birds of a feather” that
you’ll also find building nests in this tree...

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT

ACE UP THE SLEEVE

ACT 221

AIG: THE UN-AMERICAN INSURANCE GROUP

ALLIED WORLD ASSURANCE

ALOHA, HARKEN ENERGY!

AMERICAN EXPRESS

AMERICAN SAVINGS BANK: BEHIND THE BLINDS

APCOA: VULTURES IN THE PARKING LOT

APOLLO ADVISORS

ARBITRATE THIS!

THE BAD FAITH BUZZARDS

THE BANKRUPTCY BUZZARDS

BCCI: THE BANK OF CROOKS & CRIMINALS INT’L

THE BERMUDA FRAUDS

THE BROKEN TRUST BOOK

BROKEN TRUSTS

THE CARLYLE GROUP

THE CHUBB GROUP

CITIGROUP: VAMPIRES IN THE CITY

CNA

CONFESSIONS OF A WHISTLEBLOWER

A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT

THE CROSSROADS GROUP

CATCH A FALLING C.V. STARR

DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS

DIRTY MONEY, DIRTY POLITICS & BISHOP ESTATE

FIRST INSURANCE COMPANY OF HAWAII

THE GREAT NEST EGG ROBBERIES

HAWAIIAN AIR LINES

INVESTIGATING INVESCO

INVESTIGATING INVESTCORP

LETTERS TO THE FBI

LETTER TO THE IRS

LOST GENERATIONS: A BOY, A SCHOOL, A PRINCESS

NESTS OF THE INSURANCE VAMPIRES

HAWAIIAN INSURANCE COMPANIES

I SING THE HAWAIIAN ELECTRIC

THE INDONESIAN CONNECTION

THE KAMEHAMEHA SCHOOLS PENSION PLAN

KEMPER INSURANCE COMPANIES

THE KISSINGER OF DEATH

MARSH & McLENNAN: THE MARSH BIRDS

MARSH & McLENNAN’S KROLL ASSOCIATES

MARSH & McLENNAN’S MARSH AFFINITY SERVICES

MARSH & McLENNAN’S MERCER CONSULTING

MARSH & McLENNAN’S GUY CARPENTER

MARSH & McLENNAN’S PUTNAM

MOCKING DEMOCRACY

OF VAMPIRES & DAISIES

THE PRUDENTIAL: A NEST ON SHAKY GROUND

RICO IN PARADISE

RON REWALD & THE CIA: FLYING HIGH IN HAWAII

THE SILENCE OF THE WHISTLEBLOWERS

THE TORCH OF ERIC SHINE

THE PIRATES OF PUNALUU

THE POOP ON AON

THE PUNA CONNECTION

THE ROYAL & SUNAMERICA

TRANSYLVANIA TRAVELERS IN ST. PAUL

VAMPIRES IN THE VESTA INSURANCE GROUP

VULTURES IN THE NATURE CONSERVANCY

WHAT PRICE WATERHOUSE?

WILLIAM SIMON SAYS...

THE XEROX CONSPIRACY

YAKUZA DOODLE DANDIES

ZEPHYR INSURANCE COMPANY

ZEROING IN ON ZURICH FINANCIAL SERVICES

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Last Update April 29, 2007, by The Catbird