THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
OFFICE OF THE U.S. TRUSTEE
David C. Farmer, Successor Trustee
Bobby N. Harmon
(Formerly Mary Lou Woo vs. Harmon and James Nicholson vs. Harmon)
United States District Court, District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
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WILLIAM J. “BILL” CLINTON
William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton (D) was the 42nd President of the United States of America from 1993 to 2001.
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NEW DISCOVERY (07/24/09): More undisclosed relationships between Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, David Farmer, Steven Guttman, Robin Campaniano, Rey Graulty, Wayne Metcalf, Linda Lingle, James Nicholson, Jim Nicholson, Phillip Winn, John Waihee, Barack Obama, George Bush, John McCain, Norm Brownstein, Larry Mizel, Leonard Millman, Gale Norton, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, The Nature Conservancy, Goldman Sachs, Chubb Group, AIG, HUD, AIPAC, HonFed, Investors Equity Insurance Co., etc.
PHILLIP WINN GETS PARDON
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April 26, 2009
Bill, Aides Are Pen$ion Pals;
Ex-Thompson Bigs' Firms Nab Fund Deals
By SUSAN EDELMAN and GINGER ADAMS OTIS
Three former deputies to city Comptroller Bill Thompson now own or work at firms that earn millions of dollars in fees to invest the pension funds he oversees, The Post has found.
Government watchdogs blasted the ex-employees for seemingly exploiting their connections to get high-paying jobs and bring government cash to their private businesses.
Two of Thompson's former top pension managers, Josh Wolf-Powers and Adam Blumenthal, quit their city jobs and founded Blue Wolf Capital Management in 2005.
The private equity firm landed contracts to invest $63 million of city pension funds - and will collect at least $1.2 million in fees, officials said.
Fees paid to firms that manage pension investments have soared in the past five years from under $100 million to $400 million a year, said a source close to the pension funds.
"They're huge moneymakers," said a source familiar with the deals.
Thompson was unavailable for comment, but his spokesman said Wolf- Powers and Blumenthal waited more than a year before seeking business with the pension funds, as city rules require, so "there was no conflict."
Another of Thompson's closest aides, Horatio Sparkes, the ex- deputy comptroller for pension funds, left in 2006 to join Yucaipa Companies, an investment firm led by supermarket magnate and Bill Clinton buddy Ron Burkle.
Yucaipa already had a contract to invest $170 million in 2003, according to city documents. The company got new contracts last year to invest another $360 million for four city pension funds, documents indicate.
While total payments to Yucaipa were not disclosed, records show the company has raked in $9.5 million in fees from the $347 million it invests for the city's biggest pension fund - NYCERS.
Even if the deals follow the letter of the law, they reek of preferential treatment, watchdogs say.
"They use their insider knowledge and past relationships to gain an upper hand and make a wad of cash," said Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union.
A Yucaipa spokesman said that the firm didn't make an offer to hire Sparkes, who joined its Manhattan office, until he quit the Comptroller's Office in 2006 - and that Sparkes wasn't allowed to work on accounts related to the city for over a year.
Thompson's office has come under scrutiny in a widening pay-for- play probe by state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo and the Securities and Exchange Commission last month indicted political adviser Hank Morris for allegedly steering state pension-fund business to investment firms in exchange for kickbacks. Morris denies the charges.
The state scandal was linked to Thompson's office last week, when The Post revealed that Morris had pocketed a placement fee on an $85 million deal between NYCERS and Quadrangle, an investment firm headed by Steven Rattner, now the chief of President Obama's auto- bailout task force.
In addition, Wolf-Powers, Thompson's former managing director for private markets, was quoted as telling Rattner that any investment firm doing business with the city needs a "placement agent," a middleman who charges a finder's fee.
Wolf-Powers has said he never told Rattner to hire Morris.
But Blue Wolf did not use a placement agent in 2008, when it landed contracts to invest $63 million of the city's pension money, the Comptroller's Office confirmed. Thompson's spokesman said the Blue Wolf investment was "reviewed and recommended" by two private- equity consultants hired by the pension funds.
Before getting the contracts, Blue Wolf donated $4,950 to Thompson's campaign for mayor in July 2007. At the same time, Blumenthal, Thompson's former first deputy comptroller and chief financial officer, gave $4,050.
FRIENDS IN HIGH PLACES
Three former deputies of city Comptroller Bill Thompson have gone on to lucrative careers
in private equity, investing pension money they once oversaw.
Josh Wolf-Powers - City comptrollers managing director for private markets (2003-2005)
Adam Blumenthal - First deputy comptroller and chief financial officer (2002-2005)
Blue Wolf lands contracts to invest $63 million in city pension funds in 2007 and 2008. It earns the firm at least $1.2 million in fees.
Wolf-Powers and Blumenthal leave the Comptrollers Office in 2005 and form Blue Wolf Capital Management, a private equity firm.
Blue Wolf donates $4,950 to Thompsons campaign for mayor in 2007; Blumenthal donates $4,050.
Yucaipa receives a contract in 2004 from NYCERS to invest part of its funds and earns $9.5 million in fees. In 2008, it lands other contracts and now handles $530 million in city pension-fund investments.
Until 2005, Yucaipas contacts in the City Comptrollers Office are Josh Wolf-Powers and Adam Blumenthal.
Bill Thompson City comptroller - Oversees $80 billion of city pension funds, including the New York City Employees Retirement System (NYCERS).
In 2006, Sparkes joins Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm founded by Ron Burkle.
In January 2009, Wolf-Powers and Blumenthal hire Mike Musuraca, a NYCERS pension board member who had voted to approve the Blue Wolf investment contract.
Horatio Sparkes - The deputy comptroller for pension funds (2002- 2006)
Donated $500 to Thompson for Mayor in 2008.
(c) 2009 The New York Post. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.
A service of YellowBrix, Inc.
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NEW DISCOVERY (03-15-09): More factual evidence of fraud, bad faith, and undisclosed professional and financial conflicts of interest of Trustee David C. Farmer, Ron Sakamoto, Gerard Jervis, Kamehameha Schools, Hung Wo Ching, Louise Ing, Aloha Airlines, David Banmiller, Ron Burkle, Yucaipa, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Judge Robert Faris, Judge James Duffy, Colbert Matsumoto, etc.:
March 15, 2009
Bill Clinton severs ties with Yucaipa: report
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former President Bill Clinton has severed his connections to Ronald Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. and will not receive a payment once estimated to be up to $20 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the matter.
The Journal said Clinton decided not to claim additional money from Yucaipa earlier this year.
It said people familiar with the matter had thought last year that the payment could have been as much as $20 million. However, the size of the possible payment might have fallen because of the recent economic turmoil.
Clinton started distancing himself from Yucaipa, a private equity firm run by his friend Burkle, in 2007 because Hillary Clinton was planning a run for the Democratic presidential nomination, according to the report.
Hillary Clinton won U.S. Senate approval as secretary of state in January despite renewed Republican concerns about potential conflicts of interest created by her husband's foreign fund-raising.
Spokesmen for Clinton and Yucaipa could not be immediately reached for comment.
(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Kim Coghill)
See also: http://www.kycbs.net/Chief-Clinton.htm
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NEW DISCOVERY (02-25-09): More factual evidence of fraud, bad faith, and undisclosed professional and financial conflicts of interest of Trustee David C. Farmer and Ron Sakamoto, Gerard Jervis, Kamehameha Schools, Hung Wo Ching, Louise Ing, Aloha Airlines, David Banmiller, Ron Burkle, Yucaipa, Bill Clinton, Judge Robert Faris, etc.
Aloha CEO Banmiller's statement to Bankruptcy Court
Editor's note: Here is the statement that David Banmiller, president and chief executive officer of Aloha Airlines, read to the federal Bankruptcy Court on Tuesday after the company's reorganization plan was confirmed by Judge Robert Faris:
THANK YOU, Your Honor, for allowing me this opportunity to address the court. If you perceive a softness in my tone, and perhaps a slip of the tongue here and there, it relates in part to a lack of sleep -- due in part to Your Honor's challenging words of yesterday. I must say, though, that sleep is overrated.
I will not take up much of the court's time, Your Honor, but the significance of this moment in the evolution of Aloha Airlines deserves comment.
In the 60-year history of this fine company, Aloha and its employees have never faced greater challenges: an industry in chaos, 50 percent of U.S. airlines in bankruptcy, unbridled competition, and oil at unprecedented levels.
The employees and local ownership of Aloha have continuously stepped forward, making contribution after contribution for its very survival. Had it not been for such efforts, we would not be standing before you today.
AS YOU KNOW, I am a relative newcomer and have been through a few "economic Vietnams" in this industry, but none as challenging, certainly sometimes frustrating, but on the whole no more satisfying than this experience, and I have enormous respect for everyone involved.
It is always risky to highlight certain individuals and situations in such a case, but I have chosen to take the risk because this accomplishment is all about teamwork, sensitivity when needed, and most of all, focus on the end game with extraordinary people.
We have asked our employees and their union leaders three times in the last several years to step up to tough stuff. In every instance, they made the tough decisions. Their willingness to make sacrifices while maintaining top-quality service to our valued customers, says volumes about the Aloha spirit within the heart and soul of these fine people.
I particularly wish to thank:
» Dave Bird, chairman of (the master executive council for the Air Line Pilots Association);
» Peggy Gordon, president of (the Association of Flight Attendants/Communications Workers of America);
» Randy Kauhane, assistant general chairman of (the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers 141);
» Ken Boon, assistant general chairman of IAM 142;
» David Durkin, president of (the Transport Workers Union).
» The shareholders, and in particular the Chings and Ings, have a long and cherished history with this company. When I joined, I asked to be given the latitude to make the tough decisions without undue influence or avoidance of the myriad of business decisions that had to be made.
The shareholders were true to their word, and allowed the management team to execute, and they put cash behind their words.
» Our management team, some new but with an outstanding support staff comprised of a team of veterans in this business, many who are residents of this state, hung in there, put up with my idiosyncrasies and saw the ranks of VPs dwindle, dynamically increasing their workload -- with never a complaint.
» Hawaii's federal-, state- and county-elected officials, and all of our vendors, who have reached out during this past year. ... Without their support, we also would not have succeeded in getting this far. To them we owe thanks.
» Our customers, for their loyalty bringing cash in the door with every ticket sale. They provided the hope for our company to get through each day.
» Our team of professionals, led by Paul Singerman of Berger Singerman; Char Sakamoto Ishii Lum & Ching led by Betty Ishii; the Giuliani Group led by Marc Bilbao; our lead banker First Hawaiian Bank led by Don Horner; our local counsels Don Gelber and David Farmer; the unsecured creditors' committee chaired by Capt. Michael Feeney and guided by lead counsel Brett Miller; and Sheldon Kline of Thelen Reid.
» And many, many more who made this happen, we thank you.
MY COMMENTS would be far from complete without recognizing the presence of both Richard d'Abo of Yucaipa and Willie Gault of Aloha Aviation Investment Group. Without their financial commitment and support, this company would not be here, especially considering the rejections we faced in the investment community. I personally thank them, as well as Ron Burkle, for their confidence in the employees of this fine company.
And finally, Your Honor, you, too, have made the tough calls, sprinkling wisdom and experience with at times a level of common sense, humor and sensitivity that does your profession honor. You should take great pride, Your Honor, if I am permitted to say, in what has gone on this past year. Hopefully, this will be your last airline case in the islands.
And now, I assume you can renew your AlohaPass membership and continue to be one of our most-valued customers.
www.archives.starbulletin.com/2005/12/04/business/story03.html ~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (02-4-09): More undisclosed conflicts of interest between Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Waihee, Ben Cayetano, Barack Obama, Eric Holder, David Farmer, Aloha Airlines, Yucaipa, The Global Fund, Dee Jay Mailer, AIG, Robin Campaniano, Blackwater, Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs, Sumitomo, Central Pacific Bank, Dan Inouye, Colbert Matsumoto, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Richard Wong, etc.
Clinton Donors Include Saudi Arabia, Blackwater, AIG
By Timothy J. Burger and Kristin Jensen
Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Former President Bill Clinton, meeting a precondition for his wife, Hillary, to become secretary of state, revealed at least $41 million in donations to his foundation from foreign nations such as Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia was the most generous among the countries, giving between $10 million and $25 million, according to the list published on the foundation’s Web site today. Only two donors gave more than $25 million: the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, dedicated to easing poverty for children in developing countries, and the disease relief group UNITAID.
Clinton is trying to forestall criticism that his pursuit of donations, especially from foreign governments, might complicate the work of his wife. President-elect Barack Obama chose New York Senator Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state on Dec. 1, an appointment subject to Senate confirmation.
“Everyone has their magnifying glass out for this one,” said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. “But there is so much else going on that unless there is another Madoff hidden in all this, the story will be overshadowed by events,” he said, referring to alleged fraud mastermind Bernard Madoff.
The William J. Clinton Foundation does charitable work and funded the construction of the presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas. The median gift to the foundation since it was formed in 1997 was $45, and almost 90 percent of all donations were $250 or below, the organization said.
All told, the foundation has raised more than $500 million from more than 200,000 donors. Among the biggest contributors on the 2,922-page list released today are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an Australian government overseas aid program and a Dominican Republic agency dedicated to AIDS. All three gave between $10 million and $25 million.
Norway donated $5 million to $10 million; Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Brunei all contributed between $1 million and $5 million, as did the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office. An Irish government aid program gave at least $500,000. Donations are listed according to a range, making it impossible to know the precise amount of the contribution; foreign government donations may well have topped $100 million.
Groups with ties to foreign leaders or royalty gave to the foundation as well, including the Dubai Foundation and Friends of Saudi Arabia, which each offered up at least $1 million.
And outside of government, a range of foreign interests contributed. Charity lotteries in Sweden and the Netherlands were among the biggest donors. An Indian business association, the Confederation of Indian Industry, donated between $500,000 and $1 million.
One donor whose business may pose a quandary for Hillary Clinton in her next job is Blackwater Training Center Inc., listed as giving between $10,000 to $25,000. On Dec. 8, five Blackwater security guards were charged with manslaughter and weapons violations in the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians.
The list also includes donations from some of the companies embroiled in the financial crisis, including such firms as insurer American International Group Inc. that got government aid. AIG gave between $250,000 and $500,000 to the foundation, according to the disclosure.
Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which filed for bankruptcy in September after the government declined to step in with aid, gave between $100,000 and $250,000. So did Citigroup Inc. and the Merrill Lynch & Co. Foundation. Merrill Lynch agreed to a takeover by Bank of America Corp. on the day Lehman collapsed.
The Bank of America Foundation gave between $500,000 and $1 million, and Citigroup’s Citi Foundation contributed between $1 million and $5 million. Freddie Mac, General Motors Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. each gave between $50,000 and $100,000.
Other financial firms on the givers list include Credit Suisse Group AG and Charles Schwab Corp.
Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, gave between $50,000 and $100,000 to the foundation, according to the disclosure. Bloomberg LP’s founder and majority owner is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Some of the donors are drawing scrutiny. The contributions include $250,000 to $500,000 from Denise Rich, whose husband Marc Rich (see witness Eric Holder) received a controversial pardon from Clinton in his final hours in the White House. Former securities lawyer William Lerach, who is now serving two years in federal prison for his role in a kickback scheme, gave between $100,000 and $250,000.
The list includes at least one of Clinton’s political adversaries. Richard Mellon Scaife, a Pittsburgh media titan who helped finance efforts to discredit Clinton during his presidency, gave $100,000 to $250,000.
The family foundations of two fundraisers who sided with Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries also appear on the disclosure. Film producer David Geffen’s foundation sent in between $500,000 and $1 million. The family foundation of Alan Solomont, who headed Obama’s Northeast steering committee, contributed between $100,000 and $250,000.
Clinton’s foundation, with a focus on health issues, received sizable donations from drugmakers as well. Pfizer Inc. gave between $500,000 and $1 million. Generic drugmakers Mylan Inc. and Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Inc. were among those that contributed from $100,000 to $250,000.
As the global economic crisis sends a chill through fund- raising, humanitarian groups are increasingly looking to less traditional sources, such as Middle Eastern governments. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has tried to work with more Middle Eastern governments and banks to gain support for the treatment programs it sponsors, said Michel Kazatchkine, the Geneva-based group’s executive director.
“There is increasing attention to the Middle East,” said Kazatchkine, who said he recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank to invest jointly in anti-malaria programs.
Clinton’s foundation was key to ramping up global HIV treatment efforts that now serve 3 million people in Africa, negotiating lower prices for drugs and advising countries how to work together to get the best bang for their buck.
The foundation runs its own relief and development efforts, which may make it possible to maintain operations if funding restrictions force cutbacks, said Kevin Frost, executive director of AmFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research.
“My guess is that they would be able to continue, probably on a smaller scale,” if its support is diminished, Frost said.
Donors who gave more than $25 million:
The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation
$10,000,001 to $25,000,000:
AUSAID (Australian government aid program)
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Stephen L. Bing
COPRESIDA-Secretariado Tecnico (Dominican Republic AIDS agency)
Frank Giustra, chief executive officer, The Radcliffe Foundation
The Hunter Foundation
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
The ELMA Foundation
Theodore W. Waitt
$5,000,001 to $10,000,000:
Government of Norway
Nationale Postcode Loterij (Netherlands charity lottery)
Haim Saban and The Saban Family Foundation
The Wasserman Foundation
To contact the reporters on this story: Kristin Jensen in Washington at email@example.com; Timothy J. Burger in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: December 18, 2008 16:45 EST
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GOOGLING FOR CLINTON & THE HAWAIIAN CONNECTION
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NEW DISCOVERY (12-18-08):
December 18, 2008
Saudis, Indians among Clinton foundation donors
By BETH FOUHY and SHARON THEIMER, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The world opened its wallet for Bill Clinton. Governments, corporations and billionaires with their own interests in U.S. foreign policy gave the former president's charity millions of dollars, according to records he released Thursday to lay bare any financial entanglements that could affect his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton as the next secretary of state.
Saudi Arabia, Norway and other foreign governments gave at least $46 million, and donors with ties to India delivered millions more. Corporate donors included the Blackwater security firm, at risk of losing its lucrative government contract to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq, and Web company Yahoo, involved in disputes over surrendering Internet information to Chinese authorities that led to the imprisonment of dissidents there.
Other high-profile Clinton donors don't suggest inevitable collisions between U.S. policies and their giving. Celebrities Barbra Streisand, Steven Spielberg, Paul Newman, Carly Simon and Chevy Chase all gave. Sports figures included New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher and owners of the Indiana Pacers basketball team.
The records account for at least $492 million in contributions to the William J. Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit created by the former president to finance his library in Little Rock, Ark., and charitable efforts in dozens of countries to reduce poverty and treat AIDS.
President-elect Barack Obama made Hillary Clinton's nomination as secretary of state contingent on her husband revealing the foundation's contributors, to address questions about potential conflicts of interest.
The foundation disclosed the names of its 205,000 donors on its Web site Thursday, ending a decade of resistance to identifying them. It released only the names of donors and the range of their contributions. It did not identify each contributor's occupation, employer or nationality or provide any other details. The foundation said separately Thursday that fewer than 3,000 of its donors were foreigners but it did not identify which ones....
It was not immediately clear whether the disclosures will raise any serious challenge to Hillary Clinton's nomination to be secretary of state. The two senior lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sens. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., wrote to colleagues on Thursday and said the list's disclosure "is designed to establish greater transparency and predictability with regard to the activities of the Clinton Foundation in the context of Sen. Clinton's service as secretary of state."
Shortly after the documents were released Thursday, Hillary Clinton made another appearance at the State Department for meetings with transition aides, officials said. The trip was the latest of several to the building for the former first lady since she was nominated by Obama. Her first visit was Dec. 8, after which she had dinner with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
After negotiations with Obama's transition team, Bill Clinton promised to reveal the contributors, submit future foundation activities and paid speeches to an ethics review, step away from the day-to-day operation of his annual charitable conference and inform the State Department about new sources of income and speeches.
According to Clinton's list, Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation. Other government donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman, Italy, Jamaica and Tenerife in the Canary Islands. The Dutch national lottery gave $5 million to $10 million.
The Blackwater Training Center donated $10,001 to $25,000. The State Department will have to decide next year whether to renew Blackwater Worldwide's contract to protect U.S. diplomats in Iraq. A U.S. grand jury has indicted five Blackwater guards on manslaughter and weapons charges stemming from a September 2007 firefight in Baghdad's Nisoor Square in which 17 Iraqis died.
"Blackwater frequently supports charitable organizations and we were honored to make a donation to this one, long before Senator Clinton became the Secretary of State-designee," said Blackwater spokeswoman Anne E. Tyrrell.
Donors also include Yahoo; its co-founder Jerry Yang; Yahoo board member Frank J. Biondi and former Yahoo chief executive Terry Semel, who stepped down in June 2007. Another company where Yang serves on the board, Alibaba.com, does extensive business in China and contributed separately to the foundation.
Eager to tap into China's lucrative markets, Yahoo has fallen under bitter criticism — one congressman publicly called Yang a moral "pygmy" — after the company handed over e-mails that helped the Chinese government identify and ultimately imprison two Chinese journalists. Yang later expressed regret over the incident and urged Rice — who would become Hillary Clinton's predecessor — to negotiate for their freedom.
The foundation's list also underscores ties between the Clintons and India, which could complicate diplomatic perceptions of whether Hillary Clinton can be a neutral broker between India and neighboring Pakistan in a region where Obama will face an early test of his foreign policy leadership. Tensions between the two nuclear nations are high since last month's deadly terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
Amar Singh, a donor in the $1 million to $5 million category, is an Indian politician who played host to Bill Clinton on a visit to India in 2005 and met Hillary Clinton in New York in September to discuss an India-U.S. civil nuclear agreement.
Also in that category was Suzlon Energy Ltd. of Amsterdam, a leading supplier of wind turbines. Its chairman is Tulsi R. Tanti, one of India's wealthiest executives. Tanti announced plans at Clinton's Global Initiative meeting earlier this year for a $5 billion project to develop environmentally friendly power generation in India and China.
Two other Indian interests gave between $500,000 and $1 million each: the Confederation of Indian Industry, an industrial trade association; and Dave Katragadda, an Indian capital manager with holdings in media and entertainment, technology, health care and financial services. Ajit Gulabchand, chairman of the Hindustan Construction Co., gave $250,000 to $500,000.
Other foreign governments also contributed heavily to the foundation.
AUSAID, the Australian government's overseas aid program, and COPRESIDA-Secretariado Tecnico, a Dominican Republic government agency formed to fight AIDS, each gave $10 million to $25 million. Norway gave $5 million to $10 million. Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei and Oman gave $1 million to $5 million each. The government of Jamaica and Italy's Ministry for Environment and Territory gave $50,000 to $100,000 each. The Tenerife Island government donated $25,000 to $50,000.
The biggest donations — more than $25 million each — came from two donors. They are the Children's Investment Fund Foundation, a London-based philanthropic organization founded by hedge fund manager Chris Hohn and his wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn and dedicated to helping children, primarily in Africa and India; and UNITAID, an international drug purchase organization formed by Brazil, France, Chile, Norway and Britain to help provide care for HIV-AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis patients in countries with high disease rates.
(Catbird Curiosity: Why do these foreign countries, government agencies, “philanthropists” and other entities need to give millions to The Clinton Foundation in order to fight poverty, disease and AIDS in Africa, India, and other foreign countries? Can’t they just give it directly to those countries in need???)
The foundation's donor list includes many overseas business interests:
_Saudi businessman Nasser Al-Rashid gave $1 million to $5 million.
_Friends of Saudi Arabia and the Dubai Foundation each gave $1 million to $5 million, as did the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office.
_The Swedish Postcode Lottery gave $500,000 to $1 million.
_China Overseas Real Estate Development and the U.S. Islamic World Conference gave $250,000 to $500,000 apiece.
_The No. 4 person on the Forbes billionaire list, Lakshmi Mittal, the chief executive of international steel company ArcelorMittal, gave $1 million to $5 million. Mittal is a member of the Foreign Investment Council in Kazakhstan, Goldman Sachs' board of directors and the World Economic Forum's International Business Council, according to the biography on his corporate Web site.
_Simon Barcelo, chief executive of Barcelo Hotels & Resorts, gave $500,000 to $1 million. The company's holdings include hotels in Cuba, a communist country subject to U.S. trade sanctions.
_Victor P. Dahdaleh, who gave $1 million to $5 million, is a Canadian investor and philanthropist involved in aluminum production. His business ties have brought allegations of fraud and bribery in a lawsuit filed by a Bahrain aluminum company. The suit seeks more than $1 billion in damages for what it alleges is Dadaleh's involvement in questionable deals in the Middle East, and the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the matter. Dahdaleh has vowed to vigorously contest the charges.
Among other $1 million to $5 million donors:
_Harold Snyder, director for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the largest drug company in Israel. His son, Jay T. Snyder, serves on the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which oversees State Department activities, and served as a senior U.S. adviser to the United Nations, where he worked on international trade and poverty. Jay Snyder donated between $100,000 and $250,000 to the foundation.
_No. 97 on the Forbes billionaire list, Ethiopian-Saudi business tycoon Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi.
_Issam Fares, a former deputy prime minister of Lebanon.
_Mala Gaonkar Haarman, a partner and managing director at the private investment partnership Lone Pine Capital.
_Lukas Lundin, chairman of oil, gas and mining businesses including Tanganyika Oil Company Ltd., an international oil and gas exploration and production company with interests in Syria, and Vostok Nafta Investment Ltd., an investment company that focuses on Russia and other former Soviet republics.
_Victor Pinchuk, son-in-law of the former president of Ukraine. Clinton spoke in 2007 at an annual meeting of Yalta European Strategy, a group Pinchuk founded to promote Ukraine joining the European Union.
The top ranks of Clinton's donor list are heavy with longtime Democratic givers, some notable for their staunch support of Israel
_TV producer Haim Saban and his family foundation, who donated between $5 million and $10 million, splits his time between homes in Israel and California. "I'm a one-issue guy and my issue is Israel," he told The New York Times in 2004.
_Slim-Fast diet foods tycoon S. Daniel Abraham, a donor of between $1 million and $5 million, has been a board member of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which promotes Israel's interests before the U.S. government.
_The American Jewish Committee and the United Nations Foundation donated $100,000 to $250,000.
Clinton thanked his donors in a statement for being "steadfast partners in our work to impact the lives of so many around the world in measurable and meaningful ways."
The former president agreed to step away from direct involvement in the Clinton Global Initiative, an annual charitable conference where businesses and many foreign governments pledge donations to help ameliorate AIDS, poverty and other social ills. He will continue serving as CGI's founding chairman but will not solicit money or sponsorships. The CGI will cease accepting foreign contributions and will not host events outside the United States.
Clinton started raising money for his library before leaving the White House. Over the years, the Clintons repeatedly refused to identify all the foundation donors, and continued to do so during Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Names surfaced nonetheless. Several news organizations unearthed foreign-government donors, and in 2001, Bill Clinton turned over a list of 150 top foundation donors to a House committee investigating his pardon of fugitive businessman Marc Rich, whose ex-wife, Denise Rich, gave the library foundation at least $450,000.
On the Net:
Clinton Foundation contributors: http://www.clintonfoundation.org/contributors
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NEW DISCOVERY (02-04-09): More undisclosed conflicts of interest between David Farmer, James Nicholson, Steven Guttman, Paul Alston, Judith Neustadter Fuqua, John Waihee, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, Alberto Gonzales, Michael Mukasey, Eric Holder, and other witnesses in this case:
June 26, 2008
Pardongate Is The Least of
Eric Holder’s Sins
© Jack Cashill, www.WorldNetDaily.com
“I was wondering when you were going to call me,” so said the irrepressible Nolanda Butler Hill when I phoned last week.
She knew precisely what item of news had prompted me to call: the revelation that Barack Obama had selected Clinton Deputy Attorney General and Ron Brown protege, Eric Holder, to help vet his vice presidential candidates.
As the confidante and business partner of the late Clinton Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, Hill knows from personal experience that Holder’s sins go well beyond his seamy role in the Marc Rich pardon scandal.
In the way of background, in May 1995, Clinton’s unpredictable Attorney General Janet Reno called for an independent counsel to assess whether Ron Brown had “accepted things of value” from Hill in exchange for his influence.
Reno’s pursuit of Brown did not shock either of them. He had been the subject of an inquiry for months. Targeting Hill, however, had no precedent, and it unnerved them both.
By statute, the independent counsel law applied only to political and government figures. “It was unlawful,” says Hill of her own targeting, “I was the only such person in history.”
In time, the independent counsel also targeted Brown’s son, Michael, for laundering money to his father through a scam minority set aside deal with a sleazy pair of Asian-American fundraisers. In Hill’s words, Michael “was as guilty as a goose.”
Hill and Brown both understood that she was being targeted in the hopes that she would roll over on Brown. Her condition for not doing so was that Brown share with her his every point of vulnerability.
Nowhere was Brown more vulnerable than in his unwelcome role as chief bagman for the Clintons’ relentless and often illicit fundraising in the run-up to the 1996 election.
Hill learned virtually every unseemly detail--from Brown’s go-between work with the Chicoms and their American vendors to his wholesale distribution of walking around money to Democratic race hustlers. As Brown understood, Hill knew way too much.
Even before his own mysterious death, Brown worried openly about her life and safety. He went so far as to call Hill’s sister, with whom she stayed from time to time, and insist Hill not be allowed to go out jogging alone.
As soon as Brown died, the independent counsel ceased the investigation into his illicit activities. As to Michael, he pled guilty to a single misdemeanor, accepted a small fine, and was out playing golf with the president a month later.
Not surprisingly, however, the Justice Department kept the pressure on the outspoken Hill, still deeply troubled by the circumstances surrounding Brown’s death.
Hill took heart when, in July 1997, President Clinton appointed Holder to replace Jamie Gorelick as Deputy Attorney General. Although ostensibly second in command, the Deputy AG was the real power in Justice, the Clinton equivalent of a Soviet “political officer.”
Hill knew Holder through Brown, who had been instrumental in getting him his previous job as U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia.
She and her attorney wasted no time in contacting Holder at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting, which was held that year in San Francisco in early August.
Holder, however, did not get to be Deputy AG by being naïve. “The train is already going down the tracks,” he explained to Hill. “It will take your cooperation to stop it.”
The “train” in question was a D.C. grand jury, which was being led to indict Hill. The “cooperation” meant Hill keeping her mouth shut.
Hill clarifies, “He [Holder] told me and my attorney that if I told what I knew about election fundraising I would be indicted.”
Holder was as good as his word. On March 13, 1998, ten days before Hill was to testify in a suit brought by Judicial Watch on the subject of Brown’s fundraising, the Clinton Justice Department indicted Hill on trumped up charges of fraud and tax evasion.
The willfully blind lead of the New York Times called the indictment “a vivid example of how an investigation can outlive its target.”
Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch knew better. In a motion to the court, he would write, “The timing of these events is neither accidental nor coincidental. Ms. Hill’s indictment was likely an effort to retaliate against her and deter her from giving any further damaging testimony at the March 23, 1998 hearing.”
At White House bidding, Holder had Hill indicted to shut her up, and he succeeded. Anxious, alone, and broke, facing as many as seventy years in prison if convicted, Hill chose to negotiate a deal.
On June 15, 1999, a day before her fifty-fifth birthday, she reported to a halfway house in Seagoville, Texas, her silence at least temporarily assured.
As James Sanders, my partner on the TWA 800 investigation, can attest, silencing whistleblowers through bogus prosecution was the modus operandi in the Holder era. Sanders and his wife Elizabeth were indicted and convicted on federal conspiracy charges on Holder’s watch.
Although generally appalled by the Clintons, Hill understands how betrayed they must feel when their very proteges desert them for Obama.
Holder did so early on. “Given Holder’s credentials,” the Chicago Tribune reported breathlessly in August 2007, “it isn’t outside the realm of possibility to suggest he could wind up the nation’s first African-American attorney general should Obama win the White House.”
Hill thinks she knows why Holder jumped ship. He was a key player in a racially exclusive cabal of DC insiders. “He’s so racist it’s not even funny,” she says of Holder, “not only racist but elitist.”
Still, no matter how compromised Holder might be, Obama can ill afford to dismiss him from his vice-presidential selection committee.
Obama has already had to dismiss one of the three selectors. If he dismisses a second, it will become absurdly obvious that the real problem is not Holder or Jim Johnson of Countrywide fame, but Mr. Obama himself
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (08-15-08): Undisclosed conflicts of interests between Senator Dan Inouye, Senator Ted Stevens, VECO Corporation, George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, Shell Oil, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, John Waihee, Bishop Estate, Aloha Petroleum, James Ahloy, Chevron-Texaco, Mark Bennett, Linda Lingle, Tesoro Petroleum, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Enron, Wendy Gramm, Phil Gramm, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Henry Peters, Paul Alston, etc.:
December 6, 1996
ENRON and Shell Win Bid in
Capitalization of YPFB's
LA PAZ, BOLIVIA – Enron Development Corp. and Shell International Gas Ltd. announced today that the government of Bolivia has named the companies the successful capitalizing company for the transportation segment of the state oil and gas company, Yacimientos Petroliferos...
~ ~ ~
March 30, 1998
The following is an excerpt from a 10-K SEC Filing, filed by TESORO PETROLEUM CORP on 3/30/1998:
ACCESS TO NEW MARKETS
A lack of market access has constrained natural gas production in Bolivia. With little internal gas demand, all of the Company's Bolivian natural gas production is sold under contract to the Bolivian government for export to Argentina.
Major developments in South America indicate that new markets will open for the Company's production. Construction of a new 1,900-mile pipeline that will link Bolivia's extensive gas reserves with markets in Brazil commenced in 1997 and is expected to be operational in early 1999.
The owners of the new pipeline include Petrobras (the Brazilian state oil company), other Brazilian investors, Enron Corp., Shell International Gas Ltd., British Gas PLC, El Paso Energy Corp., BHP, and Bolivian pension funds. When completed, the new pipeline will have a capacity of approximately 1 billion cubic feet ("Bcf") per day.
For more, see...
Googling the Ghost of Ken Lay
Aloha, Harken Energy
Citigroup: Vampires in the City
Dirty Gold in Goldman Sachs
Shell Oil: The Shell Game
The Story of Enron
Vultures Up to their Necks in Tesoro Petroleum
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (07-12-08):
Harken Energy & The SEC
~ ~ ~NEW DISCOVERY (06-03-08):
The Comeback Id
Old friends and longtime aides are wringing their hands over Bill Clinton’s post–White House escapades, from the dubious (and secretive) business associations to the media blowups that have bruised his wife’s campaign, to the private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinged posse. Some point to Clinton’s medical traumas; others blame sheer selfishness, and the absence of anyone who can say “no.” Exploring Clintonworld, the author asks if the former president will be consumed by his own worst self.
by Todd S. Purdum, Vanity Fair
It was a wedding straight out of Sex and the City: a rehearsal dinner looking out over the Eiffel Tower from the Trocadero, a garden ceremony and dancing reception in a grand château outside Paris, topped off by a private fireworks display. The groom was a thirtysomething American lawyer with friends in high places, the bride a dark-eyed designer with social sheen, and the guest list a mix of family and what Noël Coward once called Nescafé Society.
But the real cynosure of the occasion last August was the smiling, snowy-haired man who is the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral he attends, the 42nd president of the United States, Bill Clinton. He had come to the City of Light with the motley crew that constitutes some of the post-presidential rat pack to celebrate the marriage of Douglas Band, the man who for the last decade has been his personal aide, gatekeeper, enforcer, and—more recently—counselor in the multifarious business, philanthropic, and political dealings that keep Clinton restlessly circling the globe.
Also in attendance was Ron Burkle, the California supermarket billionaire and investor who is Clinton’s bachelor buddy, fund-raiser, and business partner. Burkle had come with an attractive blonde, described by a fellow guest as “not much older than 19, if she was that.”
Burkle’s usual means of transport is the custom-converted Boeing 757 that Clinton calls “Ron Air” and that Burkle’s own circle of young aides privately refer to as “Air Fuck One.” Clinton himself had arrived on the private plane of another California friend, the real-estate heir, Democratic donor, liberal activist, and sometime movie and music producer Steve Bing, whose colorful private life includes fathering a child out of wedlock with the actress Elizabeth Hurley and suing the billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian for invasion of privacy, alleging that private investigators for Kerkorian swiped Bing’s dental floss out of his trash in a successful effort to prove that Bing’s DNA matched that of a child delivered by Kerkorian’s ex-wife, the former tennis pro Lisa Bonder. (The suit was later settled out of court.)
In fairness, it should be said that Clinton’s entourage that weekend also included his daughter, Chelsea, and her boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, and no one who was there has adduced the slightest evidence that Clinton’s behavior was anything other than proper. Nor, indeed, is there any proof of post-presidential sexual indiscretions on Clinton’s part, despite a steady stream of tabloid speculation and Internet intimations that the Big Dog might be up to his old tricks. On any given visit to London, for example, Clinton is as apt to dine with Tony Blair or Kevin Spacey as with anyone who might raise an eyebrow.
But among the not-so-small cadre of Clinton friends and former aides, concern about the company the boss keeps is persistent, palpable, and pained. No former president of the United States has ever traveled with such a fast crowd, and most 61-year-old American men of Clinton’s generation don’t, either. “I just think those guys are radioactive,” one former aide to Clinton who is still in occasional affectionate touch with him told me recently, referring to Burkle and (to a lesser extent) Bing. “I stay far away from them.”
Another former aide, trusted by Clinton for his good judgment, said, “On the sort of money, women, all that stuff … I’m the bad guy. All this stuff is kept away from me. Whatever they’re doing, they definitely view me as somebody you cannot confide in.”...
Bill Clinton’s relevance—and his presence in public life—is as close to permanent as any politician’s can be. Before touching off a string of controversies in his wife’s campaign this year, he was among the most popular figures on the planet, one of only three Democratic presidents in the 20th century to serve two full terms. His looming presence will make him a factor in the Democratic vice-presidential sweepstakes, the fall campaign, and every future presidential election of his lifetime, whatever his wife’s fate....
Clinton had no use for the string of pure and noble losers that had come to define the Democratic Party’s presidential prospects for so long. He wanted to win, and he knew how. (I should add, by way of disclosure, that my wife, Dee Dee Myers, was Clinton’s first press secretary. They have not been in regular contact since she left the White House, and she has not been a source for this article.)
To know Clinton is, sooner or later, to be exasperated by his indiscipline and disappointed by his shortcomings. But through it all, it has been easy enough to retain an enduring admiration—even affection—for a president whose sins against decorum and the dignity of his office seemed venial in contrast to the systemic indifference, incompetence, corruption, and constitutional predations of his successor’s administration. That is, easy enough until now.
This winter, as Clinton moved with seeming abandon to stain his wife’s presidential campaign in the name of saving it, as disclosures about his dubious associates piled up, as his refusal to disclose the names of donors to his presidential library and foundation and his and his wife’s reluctance to release their income-tax returns created crippling and completely avoidable distractions for Hillary Clinton’s own long-suffering ambition, I found myself asking again and again, What’s the matter with him?
As I sought to answer that question for myself, in conversations with dozens of current and onetime Clinton aides, many of whom I have known all these years (Clinton himself declined to be interviewed), I realized just how much about the former president is not known, and not knowable, at the moment, mostly because of his unapologetic stonewalling. Virtually no one, except Ron Burkle, knows just what Clinton put into Burkle’s investment business, or just what he has done since to earn millions of dollars, with the prospect of reaping millions more. Most of the names of the donors who have contributed some $500 million to Clinton’s library and foundation over the past decade are not known, either. Virtually no one, except his doctors and family, knows the precise state of Clinton’s health. Virtually no one really knows what strategic role he has played in his wife’s campaign....
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (05-11-08): Bill Clinton’s connections with Bernard Schwartz, AIPAC, others:
February 10, 2006
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Dear Friends and Supporters:
Judicial Watch dispatched its investigations team to Little Rock, Arkansas this week to sort through Bill Clinton’s presidential papers, which are housed at Clinton’s Presidential Library. By law, the public may access certain presidential records beginning five years after the president leaves office. For former President Clinton, that day came on January 20.
Led by Chris Farrell, our Director of Investigations, JW’s team is gathering information on the universe of documents available and has begun looking into some of the Clinton files. With Hillary in power in the Senate and Bill throwing his weight around on the world stage, the effort to hold them accountable for their misdeeds is as relevant as ever. Examining even a portion of the records will be a big job. Approximately 80 million pages of presidential papers and 20 million emails are now available. Our investigation team returns today, so I will have a detailed report for you next week on the results of their efforts.
Judicial Watch filed a new brief in its appeal of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration regarding the abortion pill mifepristone (a.k.a. RU-486). Judicial Watch contends that the agency improperly withheld documents pertaining to the rapid approval of the drug by the Clinton administration. (Click here to read the brief.) JW uncovered from FDA documents already released in a response to our request that the agency approved RU-486, which is designed to help kill unborn children, under the "Accelerated Approval of New Drugs for Serious or Life-threatening Illnesses," a measure intended to apply to drugs for illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. Judicial Watch has also learned through its investigation that the FDA, in its rush to push the drug to market, may have ignored clinical studies proving how dangerous the drug is to the women who take it. The serious health complications linked to the drug include internal bleeding and the passing of large blood clots. Just this year, the Centers for Disease Control launched an investigation into five confirmed deaths of women who took the abortion pill.
The question is: Why would a pill created for the expressed purpose of abortion be approved through a process designed for “emergency” life-extending drugs, especially considering the risks to women who use it? I believe the Clinton administration rushed RU-486 through the approval process in order to appease their friends in the pro-abortion lobby. The Clinton FDA, which is supposed to protect the public from dangerous drugs, allowed it to happen. Why does the Bush administration continue to defend this Clinton-era mistake? Judicial Watch will continue to get to the truth in this matter.
I took note of a short Wall Street Journal article this week that Bernard Schwartz has announced he will step down in March as Chairman and Chief Executive of Loral Space & Communications. While much of the article is dedicated to recapping Schwartz’s rise to power on Wall Street, there was one footnote at the end of the piece that I wish had received more attention from reporter Andy Pasztor.
“In the past decade,” Pasztor wrote, “[Schwartz] was dogged by controversies over space-technology exports to China.” This, my friends, doesn’t begin to tell the full story. Bernard Schwartz was a major participant in Bill Clinton’s scheme to sell taxpayer-funded trade mission seats and other government favors in exchange for campaign contributions. Schwartz donated in excess of $1.4 million to the Democratic National Committee and other organizations affiliated with Democrats in exchange for political favors. These favors included a taxpayer-financed trade mission seat and a technology transfer waiver signed by President Clinton which enabled Schwartz to transfer sensitive satellite technology to the Communist Chinese. This technology, incidentally, helped the Chinese better direct their long-range missiles.
It was Judicial Watch, you may recall, that uncovered Bill Clinton’s “Chinagate” scheme. In fact, in a recent ruling, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth credited Judicial Watch with forcing the Clinton Commerce Department to change the policy for selecting participants in trade missions and for prompting both the Federal Election Commission and two congressional committees to investigate the matter. And we sued Schwartz, Clinton, and Gore in a historic racketeering lawsuit alleging they worked together to turn the office of the presidency into a criminal enterprise.
This morning I delivered a statement to the press on behalf of the Congressional Ethics Coalition urging the House and Senate Ethics Committees to investigate the web of scandals involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Abramoff has already pled guilty to three felonies in a plea bargain with federal prosecutors, but the criminal investigation does not preclude the House and Senate from holding hearings of their own and enforcing their ethics standards. As the press has reported, as many as a dozen members of Congress are implicated in bribery schemes involving Abramoff, and yet neither congressional ethics committee plans to investigate the matter. (The Congressional Ethics Coalition was formed in 2004 to promote reasonable reform of the congressional ethics process on Capitol Hill. It is a nonpartisan, ideologically diverse group of leading government reform organizations.)
In a related story, Republicans chose a new leader late last week to replace Congressman Tom DeLay (R-TX), who stepped down as House Majority Leader in response to a number of ethics charges and criminal investigations. Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) now has the task of responding to an embarrassing wave of lobbying scandals gripping Capitol Hill. So it could not have come as good news for The Washington Post to report: “Rep. John A. Boehner…who was elected House majority leader last week, is renting his Capitol Hill apartment from a veteran lobbyist whose clients have direct stakes in legislation Boehner has co-written and that he has overseen as chairman of the Education and the Workforce Committee.”
While it does not appear Boehner has violated House ethics rules or any laws, the story is illustrative of the cozy personal and business relationships between lobbyists and many congressmen...
Thomas Fitton, President
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (04-22-08): David Farmer’s undisclosed connections with AIPAC and former President Bill Clinton:
From Exhibit: “CONNECTING THE DIRTY DOTS TO AIPAC”:
David C. Farmer, Successor-Trustee vs. Harmon
(Formerly Woo vs. Harmon & Nicholson vs. Harmon)
CV05-00030 DAE KSC
U.S. District Court For the District of Hawaii
Judges: David A. Ezra; Kevin S. Chang
A few words of explanation:
In his "MEMORANDUM IN OPPOSITION TO DEBTOR'S MOTION FOR ORDER TO DISAPPROVE APPOINTMENT OF DAVID C. FARMER AS SUCCESSOR TRUSTEE", filed with the Court on August 24, 2007, the Trustee's attorney, Steven Guttman, Esq., of the law firm, Kessner Umebayashi Bain & Matsunaga, stated to the Court:
"... Harmon is once again attempting to create issues of conflict where none exist by attempting to draw connections between phantom dots."...
Mr. Guttman does not elaborate beyond this simple statement of HIS PERSONAL OPINION, as to WHICH of the thousands of connections I have cited that he wishes the Court to accept, without question, as being merely "phantom dots". In other court filings, Mr. Guttman has characterized my Motions as consisting of "conspiracy theories" -- again with no specific references.
Despite these unnamed "phantom dots" and "conspiracy theories", the Court has blithely and unquestionably gone along with Mr. Guttman's opinions and has repeatedly denied ALL Motions that I have made. In fact, both Courts involved have ruled that the Court Clerk shall not accept any future filings from me without the Courts' prior approval - which it has repeatedly declined to give.
Therefore, due to the fact that I continue to discover new, material FACTS almost daily, I am preparing a set of NEW EXHIBITS in which I intend to document the financial, professional, personal, and political connections between the many various entities involved in this case.
~ o ~
The following is a listing of named witnesses in this case who have factual connections with the subject entity. Each underlined name has been linked to a detailed description of that witness to enable the reader to more easily CONNECT THE DOTS TO...
Judge David Ezra
George W. Bush
Judith Neustadter Fuqua
James B. Nicholson
James B. “Jim” Nicholson
LEARN MORE ABOUT AIPAC:
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (04-04-08):
April 4, 2008
By Alex Koppelman, Salon,
Why did Clinton wait to release her tax returns?
On Friday afternoon, Hillary Clinton finally released her and her husband's tax returns. (You can view them here -- if you find anything interesting, feel free to let me know by e-mail, email@example.com .) And that prompts some inevitable questions: What took her campaign so long? Why allow yourself to be dogged by weeks of attacks from Barack Obama's campaign instead of just releasing the returns? Why take the traditional route of someone with bad news to deliver and release the returns on Friday afternoon? What could they have to hide?
The short answer is that, for the moment, we don't really know. That's the point of releasing the information the way the Clinton campaign did. If you're putting out a ton of information on a Friday afternoon, it's because you know that way reporters won't have a chance to filter out the chaff, and you hope that the story dies over the weekend and isn't picked up the following week. In this case, since the Clinton campaign had promised to release the returns around April 15th, and did it slightly earlier, I have to wonder if they saw an opportune moment in this particular weekend, as Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, will be testifying before Congress next week. The Clinton camp is probably hoping that some media attention will shift to Iraq and away from the campaign, and they're probably right.
As of this posting, there has been some information gleaned already, mostly predictable and small if potentially damaging details. There is, for example, information about just how much money Bill Clinton has earned (at least $12 million and possibly as much as $15 million) in a partnership with close friend and billionaire Ron Burkle, who is practically a human minefield for the campaign. And there are some other connections -- both to sources of the Clintons' money, and to managers of it -- that could prove embarrassing.
There may well be a big bombshell waiting in the returns for some enterprising person to find. If there isn't, then here's my theory to explain the campaign's foot-dragging: Simply put, since they left the White House, the Clintons have made a lot of money. Between 2000 and 2007, they grossed a combined $109 million. And though they paid almost $34 million of that to Uncle Sam, and donated another $10 million to charity, that still leaves them a hefty chunk of change. This is, potentially, a political problem.
Before he was elected president, and while he remained in the White House, Bill Clinton could tell voters he felt their pain. That particular line suddenly got a whole lot less believable. And this year, Hillary Clinton has relied on the support of voters who are typically lower on the socioeconomic scale than Obama supporters are. Her campaign has to be at least a little worried that the revelation of the Clintons' newfound wealth might hurt them among this key group.
~ ~ ~
April 4, 2008
Clinton taxes: Yucaipa, InfoUSA, Quellos
A few notes from a first review of the Clinton taxes:
1. There is more than $12.4 million in partnership income from Yucaipa Cos., the investment vehicle of Clinton billionaire buddy Ron Burkle (left). In 2007, there's another $2.75 million in partnership income that likely also comes from Yucaipa. But we don't have an actual return, and the Clinton information sheet doesn't say specifically that it's Yucaipa.
2. At least $800,000 in income from InfoUSA, owned by somewhat controversial Clinton friend Vin Gupta.
3. The Clintons' charitable giving (largely to their foundation) is impressive at $10 million. But the biggest chunk, $3 million, came last year, as she ran for president. They gave $2.5 million in 2004, $1.75 in 2005.
4. Also worthy of note: The returns list various investments in an entities with the name Quellos -- s/a Quellos Alpha Engine LP. Politico suggests this may connect to a somewhat notorious tax shelter promoter.
Posted by John Riley on April 4, 2008 6:08 PM
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~
WILLIAM J. CLINTON FOUNDATION
President Clinton has made finding solutions to global problems a major focus of his more than thirty years in public service. After leaving office, he knew he wanted to continue to address the inequalities in access to health care in the developing world. In particular, he was struck by the disparity in access to readily-available anti-retroviral treatment (ART) between high-income countries and developing countries. President Clinton launched the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI) to expand access to life-saving medicines and help developing countries systematize their approach to HIV/AIDS treatment.
Through your generous donations, the Clinton Foundation can help turn the tide of the AIDS pandemic and bring quality healthcare to people in need around the world....
~ ~ ~
NEW DISCOVERY (04-04-08):
WILLIAM J. CLINTON FOUNDATION
Speech: William J. Clinton’s remarks at the Goldman Sachs & Company 2004 Global Conference
December 3, 2004
New York, NY
Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you, Hank, for that wonderful introduction. I probably should quit while I’m ahead. [LAUGHTER] And thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for the warm welcome.
I admire Hank Paulson very much for many things. His interest in Asia and our long-term relationship with the Asian Pacific community and particularly his leadership of the Nature Conservancy, some of you may not be familiar with it, but it is the principal private organization facilitating the preservation of precious natural land in the United States, and increasingly, in other places on the globe. I don’t think I ever told Hank this. But when I was the Governor of Arkansas, we used the Nature Conservancy more than any other State in the country.
I also want thank the people at Goldman Sachs, many of whom have contributed to the work of my Foundation, and the work we do around the world to try to fight AIDS and extend economic opportunity, to promote education and citizen service and to try to bridge the racial and religious divides that still bedevil the world. And I want thank Goldman Sachs for hiring at least a dozen people, who worked in the White House and other places in the administration. I was worried about what all those young people were going to do when we left office. [LAUGHS] So I am deeply in your debt....
~ ~ ~
January 22, 2008
Bill Clinton May Get
Payout of $20 Million
By: John R. Emswhiller
Former President Clinton stands to reap around $20 million -- and will sever a politically sensitive partnership tie to Dubai -- by ending his high-profile business relationship with the investment firm of billionaire friend Ron Burkle.
Mr. Clinton is negotiating to end his relationship with Mr. Burkle's Yucaipa Cos. as part of a broader effort to protect the presidential campaign of his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, from potential conflicts of interest. Details of Mr. Clinton's involvement in Yucaipa and his efforts to unwind it come from documents and interviews with people familiar with the matter.
The former president has had links to Yucaipa since early 2002, when Mr. Burkle -- a longtime friend and political contributor -- offered him a role there. Mr. Clinton's association with the firm began at a time when he was looking to earn large amounts of money, partly to pay heavy legal bills accumulated to defend himself and Mrs. Clinton from several investigations during his presidency.
Now, as he negotiates with Yucaipa to withdraw from the relationship, he is a wealthy man, thanks partly to tens of millions of dollars he has earned making speeches around the world.
Mr. Clinton initially signed on with Mr. Burkle as a senior adviser to closely held Yucaipa. As part of that arrangement, Mr. Burkle agreed to give Mr. Clinton a share of the profits from two Yucaipa domestic investment funds if their returns reached a certain threshold. Mr. Clinton's adviser arrangement ended in early 2007, five years after it began. But Mr. Clinton still hasn't settled the issue of his payout.
The sales in recent months of Wild Oats Markets Inc. and Pathmark Stores Inc. produced several hundred million dollars in profits for the two Clinton-related Yucaipa domestic funds, which had big shareholdings in the two supermarket chains. Profits from the sales helped to push the funds above the earnings threshold needed to generate a multimillion-dollar payday for the former president, according to public documents related to the sales and other information.
The deals were announced in February and March 2007, respectively -- around the time Mr. Clinton's involvement as an adviser to the domestic funds was set to expire. By not closing out his Yucaipa relationship before those sales were completed, President Clinton probably increased the amount of money ultimately due him, say people familiar with such transactions.
Mr. Clinton is also looking to close out partnership interests in a Yucaipa fund that focuses on investing in foreign companies. This fund -- called Yucaipa Global Partnership Fund LP -- has raised several hundred million dollars from a range of investors. Unlike his deal to advise the two Yucaipa domestic funds, Mr. Clinton invested an undisclosed sum of his own money in the global fund and has a limited partnership interest.
Mr. Clinton is also one of three owners of the global fund's general partner. The others are Mr. Burkle, who is the managing member, and an entity connected to the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum.
Severing the tie to Dubai, a U.S. ally, will remove a potentially tricky problem for Mrs. Clinton. Questions raised about the activities of sovereign wealth funds -- giant pools of money controlled by foreign governments -- have become a campaign issue, as the funds have made a spate of multibillion-dollar investments in such corporate giants as Citigroup Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mrs. Clinton said such purchases are "a source of concern," partly because the foreign funds "lack transparency" and could be used by foreign governments as "instruments of foreign policy."
Mr. Burkle made his fortune by investing in a range of industries, particularly the supermarket business, and is believed to have become a billionaire. He also has become a major fund-raiser for and backer of Democratic Party candidates, including the Clintons. He often opens his Beverly Hills estate, Green Acres, for fund-raising events, and Mr. Clinton has been a frequent house guest there.
Mr. Clinton's duties and activities as a Yucaipa adviser have never been completely clear to outsiders. He has met at times with people involved in various Yucaipa business deals. And the former president's vast global network of contacts probably has been an asset for Mr. Burkle in dealings with business, labor and political leaders. Over the years, Mr. Burkle has said publicly that Mr. Clinton's prestige and connections have helped Yucaipa get its business proposals in front of top corporate decision makers.
Asked about the unwinding of the Yucaipa relationship, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton said the former president "is taking steps to ensure" that there will be "an appropriate transition" for the business relationship should Mrs. Clinton win the Democratic presidential nomination.
The spokesman added it isn't yet known how much Mr. Clinton will receive from his involvement in Yucaipa. A Yucaipa spokesman declined to comment on the firm's relationship with Mr. Clinton.
As part of the effort to sever financial connections that could complicate Mrs. Clinton's presidential bid, the couple in June disclosed that they had sold millions of dollars worth of stock in public companies and put the funds in cash accounts.
The first public sign of Mr. Clinton's pullback from Yucaipa came recently when a Clinton spokesman confirmed, in response to questions from the Journal, that the former president hadn't participated in an investment that the Yucaipa foreign fund made in Xinhua Finance Media Ltd. Top officials of the Beijing-based news and information company have had close ties over the years to China's Communist government.
The Right to Opt Out
Under his arrangement with Yucaipa, Mr. Clinton has the right to opt out of a particular investment, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Clinton exercised that option in the Xinhua case -- possibly out of concern that such an alliance could cause headaches for his wife's presidential bid. Yucaipa invested about $25 million in the company.
In an October filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission concerning the Xinhua investment, Yucaipa disclosed that one member of its global fund's general partnership was Dubai Investment Group (YGP) Ltd., which is connected to a much larger group of entities owned by Sheik Mohammed that has investments around the world.
Since leaving the White House, Mr. Clinton has had various contacts with Dubai. For example, Sheik Mohammed last year pledged financial support to a Clinton charitable initiative, and the former president's foundation has a scholarship program at the American University in Dubai in cooperation with the emirate's ruler.
Other leading American political figures have had business connections with foreign countries, including Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani. Mr. Giuliani's consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, has provided security advice to the government of Qatar.
SOURCE: Wall Street Journal
The Hillary Project - 2007
~ ~ ~
September 26, 2007
Hsu raised big money
for Clinton supporters
Candidates she courted benefit
By Scott Helman, Boston Globe
Disgraced fund-raiser Norman Hsu did a lot more than just pump $850,000 into Hillary Clinton's campaign bank account: He also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for local, state, and federal candidates who have endorsed Clinton or whose support she courted.
A major fund-raiser for Democrats since 2003, Hsu became one of Clinton's biggest bundlers - gathering scores of individual checks and sending them to her campaign. But since revelations last month that Hsu was a fugitive in a 15-year-old California fraud case, Clinton has said she would return the $850,000 she has taken from him and his associates.
In at least some cases, Clinton or her aides directly channeled contributions from Hsu and his network to other politicians supportive of her presidential campaign, according to interviews and campaign finance records. There is nothing illegal about one politician steering wealthy contributors to another, but the New York senator's close ties to Hsu have become an embarrassment for her and her campaign.
Last fall, as the Nevada governor's race was heating up, Clinton agreed to help raise money for Democrat Dina Titus, a prominent party leader in a state that holds a key early presidential caucus. Clinton arranged for Hsu, at the time a little-known New York apparel executive with no apparent reason to take interest in Nevada politics, to give Titus $5,000 on Nov. 3, according to a person with knowledge of Clinton's fund-raising.
And in February, when former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack ended his own White House bid, he was about $450,000 in the red. A month after dropping out, Vilsack endorsed Clinton, and Clinton agreed to help him retire his debts. (Both insisted there was no quid pro quo.)
Over the next few months, some of Clinton's biggest fund-raisers gave Vilsack checks, including Hsu, who kicked in the maximum allowable contribution, $2,300, on May 3 after attending an event organized by Clinton's campaign, Newsweek reported this month. An associate of Hsu's, Paul Su, chipped in $1,000 on the same day.
In other cases, Clinton helped direct Hsu's money to influential politicians who have yet to endorse her but hail from key presidential primary states. Clinton raised at least $6,000 from Hsu and his network last year for Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire, according to Lynch aides. Lynch has no plans to endorse anyone before the state's crucial January primary, aides said.
And at least some of the $17,000 that Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan collected from Hsu and his associates in 2005 and 2006 stems from a Nov. 29, 2005, fund-raising reception for her hosted by Steven Rattner, a New York investment firm executive and major Clinton donor seen as a candidate for US Treasury secretary if Clinton wins. Granholm's office said she has not made an endorsement decision.
Clinton's campaign acknowledged that they urged Hsu to give to fellow Democrats.
"We frequently encourage supporters of ours to donate to other Democrats - Mr. Hsu was no exception," Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said in an e-mail.
Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a separate criminal complaint against Hsu on Thursday, charging him with breaking campaign finance laws by giving to Clinton and other candidates in other people's names and with running a "massive" Ponzi scheme to defraud investors out of more than $60 million.
Clinton's critics have said that her relationship to Hsu dredges up memories of the fund-raising scandals that dogged her husband, Bill, in the White House in the 1990s. Hillary Clinton has sought to limit the damage by vowing more thorough background checks on major donors.
A spokesman for Hsu, Robert Emmers, declined to comment.
Campaign finance records show numerous contributions from Hsu and his associates to Clinton supporters.
In New Hampshire, Senate President Sylvia Larsen's Democratic Caucus committee received $5,000 from Hsu in September 2006; Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan collected more than $20,000 from Hsu and his associates; Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas took in about $11,000; and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California received at least $17,000.
Hsu and his network also gave nearly $50,000 to Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Harkin has not endorsed anyone, but his wife, Ruth, is a major Clinton backer.
In addition, Hsu and his associates have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to state and local Democratic Party organizations and candidates around the country, including more than $100,000 to Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, both of whom have endorsed Clinton. On Feb. 21, Hsu dipped into Chicago city politics, giving $3,500 to Alderman Danny Solis, the brother of Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's campaign manager.
Hsu is hardly the only "Hillraiser" - donors who raise at least $100,000 for Clinton - to have spread his or her largesse in key primary states. For example, Elaine Schuster of Chestnut Hill, one of Clinton's biggest supporters in Massachusetts, gave $5,000 in October 2006 to Chet Culver, then a Democratic candidate for governor of Iowa. Culver is now governor but has not endorsed anyone in the presidential race.
Clinton said in a National Public Radio interview last week that Hsu's past was "a rude awakening to all of us - I mean, not only in my campaign, but the dozens of campaigns going back to, I guess, 2003 and '04 who, you know, took contributions. None of us caught this and we all ran searches."
But the Los Angeles Times reported earlier this month that a California businessman had warned the campaign about Hsu in June and that a Clinton aide dismissed the concerns. "I can tell you with 100 [percent] certainty that Norman Hsu is NOT involved in a ponzi scheme. He is COMPLETELY legit," Samantha Wolf, Clinton's former West Coast campaign finance director, wrote in an e-mail to a California Democratic Party official, the Times reported.
Other Democratic presidential hopefuls have collected money from Hsu and his network, including Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, and Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico. But Clinton has been by far the biggest beneficiary of Hsu, who was reportedly trying to establish himself as one of her elite fund-raisers by pulling in more than $1 million.
Most recipients of his contributions have said they will return the money or donate it to charity.
Scott Helman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Boston Globe
~ ~ ~
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
Feb 26, 2001
PARDONGATE FIGURES GAVE
MONEY TO HILLARY
Contributions Came on November 27, 2000
Nora Lum, Convicted Felon, Gave $2,000 to ‘Friends of Hillary’
and Sought Pardons Through Hillary’s Brother
(Washington, D.C.) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government abuse and corruption, today called attention to $2,000 in contributions by Pardongate/Chinagate figure Nora Lum to Hillary Clinton’s “Friends of Hillary” fundraising operation on November 27, 2000.
Today’s Washington Post reports that Nora and Gene Lum were also seeking pardons from Bill Clinton through Hugh Rodham, Hillary’s brother, around the time the contributions were made. The Lums were not pardoned.
The bribery statutes prohibit not only the granting of government action in return for anything of value, but even special consideration of government action in return for anything of value.
Nora and Gene Lum, who plead guilty to making illegal contributions to Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), were embroiled in scandals involving Bill and Hillary Clinton, former Clinton Chief of Staff Thomas McClarty, the late Ron Brown, and his son Michael Brown, to name a few.
“Why would Nora Lum, a convicted felon, give money to Hillary almost a month after her landside Senate victory? The answer is obvious – the Lums had previous illegal dealings with the Clintons and their ilk – they knew the pardons were for sale and these contributions were meant to ‘grease the wheels’ for ‘special consideration’ of their Hugh Rodham-endorsed pardon by Bill and Hillary Clinton,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
~ ~ ~
From “THE BREACH: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton”, by Peter Baker © 2000:
we are in trouble”
The sergeant at arms moved to the center aisle of the Senate chamber and called out like some medieval town crier in a twentieth-century business suit. “Hear, ye! Hear, ye!’ declared Jim Ziglar. “All persons are commanded to keep silent, on pain of imprisonment, while the House of representatives is exhibiting to the Senate of the United States articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States.”
All one hundred members of the United States Senate sat in their seats, tense and rigid, unusually attentive to every little detail, consumed by the gravity of the task awaiting them on this day, Thursday, January 7, 1999. The chamber that usually bustled with the motion of horse-trading legislators and aides and clerks was unnaturally still.... Most senators had figured the House would never impeach Clinton. Even once it did, many of the senators assumed some deal would be cut in the dead of winter to forestall an actual trial. But they were wrong, and now they had no choice but to confront the issue...
“Mr. President,” the silver-haired Hyde said from the well of the Senate, “the managers on the part of the House of Representatives are here present and ready to present the articles of impeachment, which have been preferred by the House of Representatives against William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States.”...
“Heavenly Father,” began Senator Daniel K. Akaka, delivering the opening prayer, “we are in trouble and we need your help. We’ve come to a point where we don’t know what to do.”...
~ ~ ~
Lott met with a dozen other Republican senators in his hideaway the next morning, Tuesday, January 12, to prepare for the beginning of opening arguments....
The same day, a financial officer at a Washington law firm cut a check for $850,000, slipped it into an overnight envelope, and officially put an end to Jones v. Clinton. Most painful to the president was that he was actually forced to use personal money for some of the payment. His fund-raiser, Terry McAuliff, and other advisors had told him he would not have to pay a dime of the settlement, only to discover that they could not tap into his legal defense fund because its bylaws permitted payments only for attorney fees and legal expenses.
Bob Bennett, Clinton’s lawyer in the Jones case, succeeded in convincing one of the president’s insurers, Chubb Group Insurance, to fork over $475,000 but failed to persuade the other one, State Farm, to contribute. As a result, the final $375,000 was withdrawn from a blind trust that contained the first family’s assets – money that had been made by the first lady when she was a lawyer in Arkansas.
The irony was lost on no one. Hillary Clinton had to pay for Bill Clinton’s problems with women financially as well as emotionally.
~ ~ ~
January 16, 2007
Nightingale at Large
“There are rats in the War Office — also a cat”
Florence Nightingale, 1860
~ ~ ~
McCain & Robert S. Bennett
Nightingale at Large
Again I’m going to deviate from my guideline (obviously no longer a “rule”) and reproduce an article, Paul Krugman’s column “The Texas Strategy” from Monday’s Times. He explains Bush’s “surge” by analogy to the Savings & Loan scandle. Very apt.
Krugman is leading up to future columns on John McCain, who was involved in that scandle as one of the “Keating Five” and also likely to be the Republican candidate for President in 2008. We will hear a lot about McCain’s ethics and McCain on Ethics. I hope we also hear a bit about Robert S. Bennett, likely to be prominent on McCain’s team and in his administration. I am assuming the Democrats are not going to make much of an effort to run their candidate for president against McCain. McCain is very tough. And Bennett serves his clients better than Karl Rove served Bush.
Bennett arranged McCain’s escape from the “Keating Five” part of the S&L scandle in which Keating purchased five Senators, including McCain, to block investigation of his failing bank. Bennett is near the top of all the defense lawyers in Washington. He has defended Enron, KPMG in “the largest ever tax shelter fraud” case, Clark Clifford in the BCCI case, Caspar Weinberger in the Iran-Contra case, Bill Clinton in his multi-million dollar indiscretion cases, Rostenkowski, and recently Judith Miller in the fallout from her selling Iraq War lies case.
Here is the column from the Times:
January 15, 2007
Paul Krugman, “The Texas Strategy”
Hundreds of news articles and opinion pieces have described President Bush’s decision to escalate the Iraq war as a “Hail Mary pass.”
But that’s the wrong metaphor.
Mr. Bush isn’t Roger Staubach, trying to pull out a win for the Dallas Cowboys. He’s Charles Keating, using other people’s money to keep Lincoln Savings going long after it should have been shut down — and squandering the life savings of thousands of investors, not to mention billions in taxpayer dollars, along the way.
The parallel is actually quite exact. During the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s, people like Mr. Keating kept failed banks going by faking financial success. Mr. Bush has kept a failed war going by faking military success.
The “surge” is just another stalling tactic, designed to buy more time.
Oh, and one of the favorite techniques used by the owners of savings and loan associations to generate phony profits — it involved making high-interest loans to crooked or flaky real estate developers — came to be known as the “Texas strategy.”
What was the point of the Texas strategy? Bank owners were certainly gambling — with other people’s money, of course — in the hope of a miraculous recovery that would bail out their negative balance sheets.
But the real point of the racket was a form of looting: as long as they could keep reporting high paper profits, S.&L. owners could keep rewarding themselves with salaries, dividends and sweetheart business deals.
Mr. Keating paid himself a million dollars just weeks before his holding company collapsed.
Which brings us to Iraq. The administration has spent the last three years pretending that its splendid little war isn’t a big disaster. There have been the bromides (we’re making “good progress”); the promises (we have a “strategy for victory”); and, as always, attacks on the media for not reporting the good news from Iraq.
Who you gonna believe, the president or your lying eyes?
Now Mr. Bush has grudgingly sort- of admitted that things aren’t going well — but he says his “new way forward” will fix everything.
So it’s still the Texas strategy: the war’s architects are trying to keep their failed venture going as long as possible.
The Hail Mary aspect — the off chance that somehow, things really will turn out all right — is the least of their motivations. The real intent is a form of looting. I’m not talking mainly about old-fashioned war profiteering, although there is no question that profiteering is taking place on an epic scale. No, I’m saying that the hawks want to keep this war going because it’s to their personal and political benefit.
True, Mr. Bush can’t win another election with phony claims of success in Iraq, the way he did in 2004. But escalation buys him another year or two to claim that we’re making progress — and it gives him another chance to prove that he’s the Decider, beyond accountability.
And as for pundits who promoted the war and are now trying to sell the surge: for a little while longer they can be Very Important People who have the president’s ear.
Meanwhile, the nation pays the price. The heaviest burden — in death, shattered bodies, broken families and ruined careers — falls on those who serve. To find the personnel for the Bush escalation, the Pentagon must lengthen deployments in Iraq and shorten training time at home.
And the back-door draft has become a life sentence: there is no limit on the cumulative amount of time citizen-soldiers can be required to serve on active duty. Mama, don’t let your children grow up to be reservists.
The rest of us will pay a financial price for the hundreds of billions squandered in Iraq and, more important, a price in reduced security.
Escalation won’t bring victory in Iraq, but it might bring defeat in Afghanistan, which the administration will continue to neglect. And it has pushed the military to the breaking point.
Mr. Bush calls his critics “irresponsible,” saying that they don’t have an alternative to his strategy. But they do: setting a timetable for withdrawal, so that we can cut our losses, and trying to save what can be saved. It isn’t a strategy for victory because that’s no longer an option. It’s a strategy for acknowledging reality.
The lesson of the savings and loan scandal was that when a bank has failed, you shouldn’t let the owner string you along with promises — you should shut the thing down. We should do the same with Mr. Bush’s failed war.
–end of Krugman column–
* * *
FOR MORE SEE: VULTURES IN THE MEADOWS
~ ~ ~
HAWAIIAN BANKS LINK: China-US Campaign
Scandal and Illicit Capital Flow
The Link Between Mochtar Riady and
the Clinton Administration.
By Greg Wongham, greaterthings.com
The problems with the FDIC/Donna Tanoue and the two big Hawaii banks will undoubtedly effect people throughout the country. I believe that the Hawaii links to Mochtar Riady are attempting to gain access to the American capital market through Riady’s brother-in-law, Mumin Ala Gundawun. Riady was too hot (BCCI, Chinagate), so they wisely chose to approach their plan via the Hawaii connection.
Sec. Treas., Robert Rubin played a major role in setting up this new bank scandal by lobbying for repeal of the Bank Holding Company Act. The purpose for this action is to allow Bank Holding companies (Hawaii’s Pacific Century Financial Corp and BancWest) to expand their financial services, thus allowing them to become full service securities brokerages. This seems like an ideal front to legitimize their deals to the American capital markets....
Overview. I am the producer/host of a public access TV show called “Corruption in Hawaii.” I have spent 6 years exposing different aspects of the Hawaii machine....
During the month of August ... a segment of my show (was) titled, “What does Hawaii’s Bank Losses Mean to You?” The show featured a guest who described the losses he experienced in his family trust which was handled by Pacific Century Financial Corp (formerly Bank of Hawaii). He lost $1 million, plus $300 thousand in legal fees.
Numerous people called and said that they too, had experienced significant losses. Last week the public access station pulled the segment of the show. The next day the CEO of Pacific Century resigned. Two of the board of directors for the public access station are with the two big banks....
The important points in this story revolve around the fact that Hawaii’s Democratic machine played a major role in the Chinagate scenario that grew out of the investigation into illegal foreign campaign fundraising.
The machine headed by Hawaii’s political godfather, Senator Dan Inouye was being investigated by the FBI during former (R) President George Bush’s tenure. The basis of the investigation stemmed from allegations of extortion and bribery aimed at the administration of former (D) Gov. John Waihee. The investigation was killed by Clinton’s friend Webster Hubbell, the number three man in the Justice Dept under Janet Reno. (AP story by J. Solomon: FBI failed to act of fund-raising of ex-Hawaii couple.)...
Eventually the investigation focused on Indonesian banking tycoon, Mochtar Riady and his Lippo Group. The basis of the story I am trying to relay to you is that Hawaii’s Democratic Machine used the billions of dollars of the Kamehameha Schools / Bishop Estate assets to undertake the task of underwriting and orchestrating the initial public offering of the Xiamen International Bank on the Hang Seng and the NY Stock Exchange.
This would have the effect of legitimizing a Communist Chinese banking entity on the biggest stock exchange in the U.S. and opening the doors allowing American money to capitalize a communist regime....
It begins in 1963 to 1970, when a group of Hawaii legislators killed a Bank Examiner Bill. They were already employed as legal counsel or otherwise associated with the top banks. This, I felt, was a good point to begin telling you the story because it begins to reflect a pattern of using politically appointed people to legally white-wash or cover-up the wrong-doing of the big banking and financial interests here in Hawaii.
Today the same thing is happening, and this time they were successful in persuading President Clinton to push Hawaii’s Donna Tanoue to become the head of the FDIC. The significance in this is that the only time anyone here in Hawaii ever heard of Ms Tanoue was when she was tapped to cover-up the scandals that arose when 9 out of 20 of Hawaii’s Industrial banks failed. Many of them were linked to former (D) Gov. George Ariyoshi and the high ranking Democratic ‘old boys’. The results were that no one was convicted or sentenced to do time and the people of Hawaii ended up footing the bills....
The point is ... that once again Hawaii’s top banks are in a financial tail-spin and Donna Tanoue has been conveniently positioned to allow the banks to expand throughout Asia, the Pacific-Rim and the western part of the U.S....
~ ~ ~
June 12, 1995
City has Fasi legal bills under wraps
The case involves ousting Maunalani
people for a golf-country club
BY IAN Y. LIND, Star-Bulletin
Bills for more than $300,000 in legal services by a private law firm defending former Mayor Frank Fasi are secret, a city official says.
Corporation Counsel Darolyn Lendio said the bills will remain confidential, at least for now, although they have been paid with public funds.
The invoices submitted by the law firm of Fujiyama Duffy & Fujiyama are considered "privileged and confidential" because they are part of pending litigation, Lendio said in a letter earlier this week.
The Star-Bulletin had requested access to the records after the City Council voted in April to authorize an additional $100,000 to be paid to the law firm, bringing the total paid out so far to nearly $360,000.
"We may reconsider your request once the litigation is completed," Lendio wrote.
Hugh Jones, staff attorney for the Office of Information Practices, said Hawaii law generally requires public disclosure of billing records and government contracts. Although his office has not issued a formal opinion on the matter, Jones pointed to a publication of the American Bar Association which concluded that such information is not exempt from public disclosure.
The firm represents Fasi in a federal lawsuit by Windward Oahu residents who were displaced by the controversial Royal Hawaiian Country Club in Maunawili. The 1989 suit alleges that the golf course developers made illegal contributions to Fasi's 1988 re-election campaign in exchange for favorable city action on their development.
The law firm was hired to represent Fasi in 1991 after the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ruled that city attorneys could not continue to represent the mayor because of various ethical conflicts.
The case took on renewed life last year after the Federal Election Commission found that dozens of foreign businesses and individuals violated federal law by contributing to political candidates in Hawaii between 1986 and 1992. The Royal Hawaiian Country Club and its owner, YY Valley Corp., along with major stockholders, were fined $46,000 by the FEC for illegal contributions.
Federal law prohibits foreign nationals from contributing to candidates or taking part in corporate decisions by organizations or political action committees making such contributions.
The FEC also found evidence that the Maunawili developers violated state law by contributing more than allowed by state law, and by concealing the actual source of the funds. A complaint now is pending before the state Campaign Spending Commission.
Lendio said her office scrutinizes the legal bills "to ensure conformity with the custom and practice in the legal community," and to assure that "costs expended are reasonable and necessary for the vigorous defense of the City and its officers."
She refused, however, to allow public review of the bills.
City records show the Fujiyama firm was paid $45,399.27 from October 1991 through June 1994. Following Fasi's resignation as mayor in July 1994, the pace of the court action and the payments have increased, with the following payments reported by the city:
Nov. 25, 1994: $23,873.78
Jan. 23, 1995: $15,892.06
Feb. 2, 1995: $74,834.89
March 15, 1995: $59,032.11
March 21, 1995: $40,967.89
An additional $86,960.93 in costs remained unpaid as of mid-April, according to a City Council resolution authorizing the most recent payments.
Copyright 1995 Honolulu Star-Bulletin
From PBS - Frontline:
Anthony P. Locricchio is an attorney who represented Hawaiian farmers in a lawsuit against Japanese golf course developers. Locricchio and others also alleged in a 1989 Federal Elections Commission complaint that foreign nationals made illegal contributions to local politicians. Five years later, FEC investigators found more than 100 violations of federal election campaign law.
An interview with Anthony P. Locricchio
Locricchio: Basically, Hawaii was a place for native Hawaiians until the missionary families came...and did very well. They became the sugar industry and really the major economic businesses in Hawaii. They really caused the overthrow of the monarchy and caused the United States to intervene...
Until Hawaii became a state, it was really run by that group. But at that point, a revolution occurred, which was a coalition of Japanese-Americans, [and] Hawaiians, and the Democrats took over on a promise of land reform and dispersing the power.
Q: By revolution, you mean a political revolution?
Locricchio: A political revolution.
Q: The ruling political class, if you will, before this time had been pretty much a Republican, ruling class, planter-associated, big company-associated group. And then in the postwar 1950s, as Hawaii approached statehood, there came this more populist thrust, which expressed itself in the Democratic party.
Locricchio: It's been almost exclusively [Democratic since statehood], with only a token Republican counterbalance...In a very short time the ideals of the political revolution got washed out, and it again became a power base that was susceptible to political corruption as it had been in the past....
Q: Then there comes a period in the mid-1980s when the economy is susceptible to foreign involvement. There really truly was a Japanese economic invasion.
Locricchio: We were responsible for blowing the whistle on what was going on here to the Federal Elections Commission, and 110 politicians had to give back money to the Japanese. What we may have simply done was force under the table political influence that had been above the table before that.
Q: What was the money game here? What was the interest?
Locricchio: The game was possible...because of the huge imbalance between the yen and the dollar. One of the most beautiful places on earth suddenly became a bargain place, and Hawaii, a very tiny place, vied with California and New York for first place or second place as the largest investment of Japanese dollars in the United States. When we're talking about places the size of California or New York, you realize how great the investment had to be here....
It was for sale, it was cheap, and you found willing collaborators. The takeover of Hawaii economically and the loss of the environmental protections and protections for our people only occurred because lawyers, accountants, [and] political beings, were ready, willing and able to help sell their birthright.
Q: For a buck.
Locricchio: No, they were very smart. It was for several bucks.
Q: Where would you see Japanese investment?
Locricchio: It started with the tourist industry, with hotels, resorts, golf courses, and then started to move into restaurants, office buildings, really through the entire fabric of the economy. And the usual economic rules were thrown overboard.
For example,...a hotel might sell to a Japanese interest for $30 million. Two months later, it would sell for $60 million. In four months, it would be $120 million....You would have had to, with some of these hotels, rented out rooms at $500 a day and had 100% occupancy to meet the debt service. And for these excellent Japanese business people, there was a total ignoring of standard economics.
...Hawaiians couldn't afford to live in Hawaii. We had, during this period of time and really before that, too, a huge outflow of people at the bottom of the economic sector, especially native Hawaiians. When I was head of Legal Aid, and I would go for meetings on the West Coast with some of my clients from here, immediately our hotel would fill up with expatriate Hawaiians who were homesick and when it was time for us to leave would cry at the airport. They couldn't afford to live in their own homeland because of what was going on here.
Q: And yet it had gotten to the point where Japanese people would have a second vacation home there...
Locricchio: You had to understand that in Japan, the cost of living, and especially housing, was so high that the American dream of owning your house was unavailable to the bulk of the Japanese population. They ended up having to compensate by having Gucci clothes and those kinds of externals. So they would come in tour groups into Waikiki and parts of Hawaii to buy up condos, etc., because those were a great bargain, and could be a place to retire to, or you could say you owned property somewhere. And Hawaii, because of Hawaii Five-O and the various international television programs, was the status place. All of those elements combined to make Hawaii a victim of its own beauty.
Q: Where does golf course development fit in this?
Locricchio: [There] was a mad passion for golf in Japan, and the law in Japan was changed so that all conservation land, recreational land, agricultural land, overnight suddenly became available for golf courses.
Some 2,000 golf courses were in Japan, and there was an effort to hugely increase that number because it was so expensive to be a member.
...There was a group in Japan of farmers, housewives and indigenous people who rose up to react against that and were effective in stopping over 1,500 golf courses from coming into effect. What happened is Japan then had to export its golf course desire, and Hawaii became one of the targets.
Q: How easy was it to come in here and set down? Did Hawaii have any regulations in place governing land acquisition for golf development?
Locricchio: It should have been very difficult, because Hawaii is the only state in the country which has a constitutional protection for agricultural land. You were required, before you changed the use of agricultural land, to have a two-thirds vote to approve those kinds of changes by constitutional amendment....
For the Japanese,...not only was the land a great bargain, but buying the politicians was a great bargain. They used to joke about how little money, how little yen it took to buy influence. They were able to change the law and to get the Constitution ignored.
...The people who were involved in agricultural subsistence farming then became the targets, and the Japanese land owners were getting them thrown out and buying up the land, so they had no place to farm. In this very short period of time, within five years, you went from a predominantly agricultural-supported economy to literally a disappearance of agricultural land for local farmers. And it was a tragic loss that is still the case.
Q: You have your Japanese investor. You have a developer. You have your eye on a piece of land in Hawaii. Tens, maybe even hundreds of millions of dollars are ultimately involved, but the land is not designated for development use. So what you need to do along the way, you're telling me, is first gain influence with the politicians. That turns out to be easy enough. Who else do you need?
Locricchio: You need to hit all the levels of politics....So getting the state law changed was not enough. You then had to go to the local mayor. And he told you to hire his attorney and to give contributions to his campaign. And again, that was fairly easy, and in terms of yen contributions a wonderful bargain.
Q: And when push came to shove, how would it play out? How would people be literally removed from the land they'd be farming?
Locricchio: ...We had situations where the police were actually used to help threaten and terrorize the farmers on these lands. They would come in with false eviction notices, with a policeman in uniform, and these farmers were uneducated, didn't know they were false evictions....They left because they were told, "You'd better get out, or we'll carry you out."
Q: You mean the police were privately employed for these purposes?
Locricchio: We have a unique situation here...where police are permitted to work on their off hours for private land owners and private businesses. They're permitted to wear their uniforms, to carry their guns, and to have many of the police powers they have as public police officers. So very often we were fighting the army of the Japanese land owner who was our local police. And we lost those fights, because our police were on the payroll of foreign nationals.
...Or, if they didn't use the police posse and used somebody else, you'd go to make a criminal complaint, and absolutely nothing would happen. Whether cattle were shot, cattle were stolen [or] you had eye witnesses, absolutely no police action would be taken....
...[Even] though we lived here and experienced it, we got numbed by our Americanism. We kept thinking, "This will work out. We will be able to stop this." Because Americans are ultimately optimistic....Even though we're angry at our government,...we still believe deep down the American democratic system will prevail. And that was our stupidity.
Q: One of the things you observed during this Japanese economic invasion of Hawaii was the willing participation of all levels of Hawaiian residents (as opposed to native Hawaiians.) This was presumably motivated by what? Getting a piece of the action?
Locricchio: Money. Hawaiian professionals had experienced other economic invasions, but they'd never seen anything like the Japanese invasion. Law firms overnight moved into marble-encrusted quarters because suddenly their Japanese clients were paying huge legal bills. Middle men who had operated in political arenas and gotten mediocre money for it suddenly saw opportunities to make tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars, and moved quickly, effectively, and were there, at the right place, the right time, for a very high price.
Q: So what they did was help supply the grease.
Locricchio: That's right. It couldn't have worked without the local establishment supplying the grease, giving the direction.
Q: Place Gene and Nora Lum in this spectrum of players.
Locricchio: Gene and Nora Lum come out of nowhere in the mid-1980s....They placed themselves through luck or happenstance in with major players who were developing major resorts that were totally financed by Japanese foreign dollars. And because of an ignorance of the system, Nora and Gene were able to convince these players of their contacts.
Q: So Nora and Gene Lum present themselves to these money people as fixers. They can work one end of the political machine to the other and help get things done, help clear the way. Can you give us an example?
Locricchio: There are three key examples [of when] the Lums really use their fixer skills: One that affects a project outside of Hawaii, and two here in Hawaii. The one that I'm most familiar with is the one that's here in the valley I live in, and that's how I became acquainted with them.
....Mount Olomana is one of Hawaii's scenic treasures. It's Japanese-owned, and we believe...Nora Lum...was partially responsible for bringing the Japanese land buyer to this valley and buying 1,090 acres of land here in Hawaii for only $7 million. In Hawaii, that's an incredible bargain.
After they were able to buy the state legislative vote change, that land became worth $40-50 million overnight....They made a profit of $30-40 million overnight.
Q: At least a paper profit in terms of value. And the reason it was suddenly so much more valuable is because with the change of law, they could develop it for a golf course. What is there now?
A: Finally, there is a golf course. It was delayed for several years while we fought against it. An uphill battle, to say the least, no pun intended with the mountain. They actually built a golf course on the side of a mountain. It is a ridiculous location for a golf course, but in Japan they were selling memberships at $250,000 per membership. That did not even give the owners of the membership a piece of the land. They just got a membership, and then they would have fees over and above that on an annual basis.
Q: It was a membership in a golf course that had not yet been built and whose construction depended on the change in the law.
A: They had to get zoning changes, law changes, conditional use permits, and instead they sold the memberships to finance it before they ever built the course. Fortunately we were able to stop that kind of thing occurring in the future by going to Japan, where we found a very receptive [legislature] who, to protect their own citizens, then changed the law so that no sales in Japan could occur until the golf course was built. That didn't effect this one because it had already occurred.
Q: Who were the people with the money who connected with the Lums?
Locricchio: That spectrum of people was everyone from legitimate Japanese established businesses and the largest corporations in Japan to the criminal yakuza, which is the Japanese Mafia,...[and] secretaries, who came in to buy condos. This became the Hong Kong bargain: get your suits tailored there because they're the cheapest.
Q: What is the interest of the yakuza in Hawaiian golf development?
Locricchio: ...The incredible amounts of money....Before we went into Japan with a story of what was going on here, there were reservations for thousands of memberships at $250,000 each, which was hundreds of millions of dollars before the golf course would even be built. There was an incredible amount of money to be made during this window before the Japanese economic bubble burst.
Q: Who acquired land for the golf course project in which the Lums were involved?
Locricchio: Pachinko parlor owners, of the largest pachinko parlor chain. A quasi-legal form of gambling in Japan is pachinko parlors. Historically, to run those you needed yakuza or organized crime approvals. And the people who own this particular golf course were Korean nationals who were living in Japan, using Japanese names [and] came into Hawaii using their Japanese name and not their actual name....When we found out what [developer Yasuo Yasuda's] real name was, we found out there was a criminal record....
And so when we screamed, "You're letting this guy with a criminal background come in here. Aren't you inspecting it?" the state says, "Gee, we'll look into that," etc. The immigration people who hadn't been bought moved to remove the guy from Hawaii once they found out he didn't reveal his criminal background on his visa application. He was back here in no time at all. How he got back in, we don't know. We know that it took very high political influence to bring him back in, in spite of the zeal and desire of the local INS to get him out of here.
Q: So we have a Korean national with dubious ties to the Japanese syndicate and an interest in golf course development in Hawaii. What about the farmers who still lived on the land?
Locricchio: ...Because we were able to raise a fairly high political outcry of the community here, they had to agree to protect the farmers...They agreed to move the farmers to another location that wouldn't conflict with their golf course...They got approvals based on that [and] it was the number one condition that they had to abide by. They then went in and made contributions to the local city government [that was] to enforce those conditions.
We even got the city council to demand that the mayor investigate by unanimous vote--[for the] first time ever--the violations of those conditions. The mayor refused. No investigation was ever made, and the bulk of the farmers were forced to leave by threat, false police eviction notices, [and] Wild West tactics, including killing the bulls and stealing cattle.
Q: Tell me about that.
A: The bulk of the farmers were told by quasi-government officials, dressed up in police uniforms, that they had to leave immediately....The remainder, the few that were left, contacted me...They had only 48 hours to get out of Dodge and were petrified. We were able to keep them there for about four more years through all kinds of legal tactics.
Q: But what had been their legal claim to the land? They were leasees?
Locricchio: They were leasees who had been told they would be offered the land by the former land owner. And when the land owner died, and his trustees took over, they sold the land on the condition that the new buyers had to deal with the farmers....
Q: How were people forced from their homes?
Locricchio: Either they were intimidated off [the land] or finally the rancher's cattle were stolen, killed, and they were threatened by cowboys with guns, and they had to flee from their land, leaving their cattle unprotected. They went to the police, nothing happened.
Paniolo is the Hawaiian term for cowboy. Some of these people were known to be associated with Hawaiian crime syndicates, and the knowledge of who they were brought fear to local people. They picked up and ran, which was a very wise thing to do.
Q: In this particular case we're talking here, were these paniolos literally on horseback?
Locricchio: Oh yes. Most people don't realize that the largest privately-owned cattle ranch is here in Hawaii on the Big Island. Cattle has always been a big part of Hawaiian involvement, and we have our own history and culture of good, legitimate, wonderful Hawaiian cowboys who ranched. And so even this island, which is the most populated, had [its] paniolos, and many times they made side money by other kinds of activities.
Q: So one day, the Japanese golf course development interests through the Lums employ a group of paniolos and others to forcefully evict a group of ranchers and farmers from the site of their proposed golf course.
Locricchio: They targeted the rancher [Leonard Wong] first we believe as a lesson to the rest, as a "Here's what's going to happen to you if you don't get out of here."...They actually went in, and the paniolos came with trucks to haul the cattle out...
Q: Gene Lum was with these riders when they came in?
Locricchio: Gene Lum was there, went to see [Leonard and Cheryl Wong] the night before, told them they were going to move their cattle just temporarily while this activity was going on in the valley, and it would be best if they didn't come the next day, because there'd be a lot of confusion. They suspected that something might be going on, showed up and saw not only their cattle were being taken, their fences were being wrapped up, their watering troths, [but] everything was being stolen right in front of their eyes. And when they called up the police on 911, they didn't come. When we went to the police afterwards, no action was taken.
Q: And I gather that the Wong's prize stud bull perished in this exercise.
Locricchio: We were fortunate because one of the residents here at the valley...is a great telescope person, and he was president of the community association up above. And he actually watched the paniolos run down this prize bull [and] shoot it. They had their butchering equipment with them, sawed up the meat, put it in meat trays they brought along. So they fully intended to do this.
Gene Lum later told the press that they had to kill the bull because it charged these riders who were there to protect people. He did not tell the press that he pocketed the money from the sale [of the cattle to a dairy]. Fortunately for us, it was the undoing of Gene Lum's activities in this valley because it brought down huge media coverage, and Gene Lum made the unpardonable political fixture sin of being caught publicly doing no-nos. And taking the cover off the corruption that was going on.
Q: The preferred method being to move silently and quietly and out of sight.
Locricchio: He was immediately fired as fixer attorney.
Q: Gene Lum and this group of paniolos arrive bearing carving trays and butchering utensils, chase down this prize bull, carve him up, butcher it, and sell the meat?
Locricchio: Gene Lum was the traditional Western movie fixer. He never went and got his hand bloody. He got the money, he put it in his pocket, and did not get involved with the actual [carnage]. To picture Gene Lum on a horse defies my imagination.
Q: Can you imagine this would have occurred without his knowledge?
Locricchio: Oh no, he was there. He was on the scene....He was with state officials who were doing other activities on the land at that day. He knew exactly what was going on. He was there the night before at our peoples' houses....Even Gene Lum would not deny that he knew what was going on and went to the press afterwards and talked about his involvement.
Q: How did this effect the relationship between the developers and the Lums?
Locricchio: It caused a major breakdown.
We believe that money paid to state officials was to stop a public government road from being used by the public. All arrangements had been made at that very point to have the [Old Government Road] that ran smack-dab through the middle of this golf course transferred quietly to the foreign owner. That road goes through some of the most beautiful vistas in all of Hawaii, breathtaking.
...Suddenly the floodlight was on that whole transaction, and on the state officials who were trying to hush [it up and] quickly move it through. Suddenly the mask was ripped off, and to this day Old Government Road still moves through that golf course, thanks to Gene Lum's blunder and stupidity,... except that if you go on it you take your life in your hands. There are dogs set to attack you...
Q: Even though it's still a public road?
Locricchio: Even though it's still a public road, because you couldn't get protection....[It] cost the landowner a fortune because he had to change his golf course plans...around the eventuality that the public would be walking through the middle of the sixth and seventh fairway and etc., etc.
Q: And he was thereafter finished with the Lums.
Locricchio: He then said good-bye to the Lums, and the Lums moved on to greener pastures.
Q: The picture you're drawing for me here is of this beautiful, lush, lovely paradise on earth. It is an island being exploited with the assistance of local residents for money in a sort of Wild West, anything goes free-for-all, in which two folks - Gene and Nora Lum - operate on a fairly small-time level. Yet somehow they are drawn into the circle of the very most powerful politicians in the country. How in the world were they chosen by the late US Commerce Secretary Ronald H. Brown and the national Democratic party?
Locricchio: Our theory is their connection with Gov. John Waihee, whom they had met and had [enough of] a relationship to have breakfast with him to discuss the turning over of this road. And we know that after that [the conveyance of the road is suddenly placed] on the Department of Land and Natural Resources official agenda...So they had the clout, the knowledge, the background with the governor.
The governor was the...first governor in the United States to support Bill Clinton's climb to the Democratic nomination for president. Clinton was a real long, long shot at that point, and John Waihee and Clinton became very close friends...We really believe there was a Cabinet position that was to be given to Waihee, who was at the end of his government term. He couldn't run for governor again,...[and] the first election of Clinton, brought into play Ron Brown and his fundraising activities and Waihee's association.
Unfortunately, just prior to the inauguration, Waihee...flew the Hawaiian flag above the American flag as a symbol of what had occurred here. And while that was deemed to be a very honorable thing to do in very certain circles in Hawaii, it was regarded as tantamount to treason in Washington. Sen. [Daniel K.] Inouye was furious...and at that point any hope of getting Waihee confirmed was lost...
Q: If Ron Brown, going into the 1992 election cycle, were to come to Hawaii and were to participate in a fundraising benefit , one of the people he would contact would obviously be Gov. Waihee. At such an event it would not be remarkable, then, that he would come to meet a Gene and a Nora Lum?
Locricchio: We believe that's what happened. And again, where they were effective with local entities, as providing the money and being in the government circles, their relationship with Waihee at the very least got them an introduction to Ron Brown.
Q: There was another golf course development that the Lums were involved in on the Big Island of Hawaii. They, in fact, represented themselves as having an ownership position in this. Do you know anything about that project?
Locricchio: ....They go in and get an option to purchase inexpensive, relatively non-usable agricultural land where they're going to have to change zoning and get government approvals. They make large contributions to the then-mayor of the Big Island, using various family members' names, but clearly our belief is that it all comes from the same source. And, strangely enough, the mayor and the planning commission, whom she appoints, does allow this change over large community opposition.
To buy the land, they needed loans and mortgage security and so forth, and some of it comes from a place called Oklahoma. And we find out later that liens are placed on this land in the Big Island to secure the purchase of an Oklahoma company, and this land is...wild lava-strewn land that ain't nothin' been built on. The approvals have expired,...and the security is far in excess of its value. If an appraiser went out and did a valuation on it, it would have been far, far lower than the security. And yet they're able to use their Hawaii political influence...to purchase land in Oklahoma, to move them from the Hawaii stage to the national government influence stage.
Q: Now as you know, local politicians and local authorities may not have been overly interested in rooting out such near corruption, if not out-and-out corruption, but federal law enforcement authorities became very interested in some of these activities. Did you ever have contact with federal officials?
Locricchio: On several occasions, as this whole thing developed, we were contacted by the FBI. Early on, they had concerns, because the law was about to change and you didn't need visas anymore,...about this opening the door for organized crime from Japan coming in through Hawaii into the United States....
...Australia had a similar invasion of Japanese on its Gold Coast, and their fear was Japanese criminal interest money and they appointed a special investigator to watch over that influence in Australia. That investigator was based, not in Australia, but in Hawaii. It gives you some idea of the importance of Hawaii for international involvement of yakuza or Japanese crime.
However, in March of 1996 I was asked to come in and speak with the FBI...Their principal interest was information about Gene and Nora Lum in 1996, and my understanding was that after they interviewed me and took down oral statements that they were interested in a deposition which Gene and Nora had given in our case, in which Gene claimed he had no income whatsoever.
About five days before that deposition, there was a $5 million check conveyed to Gene Lum that was put in his bank account, when he said under oath he did not have any money...They made the comment, "Liar, liar, pants are on fire," when they looked at Gene's statements.
Q: And they knew about the $5 million in his account?
Q: And where did that money come from?
Locricchio: It came from part of this oil and gas lease pre-purchase at what appeared to be an inflated above-market purchase... by various government agencies in Oklahoma. And it was one of several checks. We actually had a copy of a check, but we didn't get that until after the deposition, until some time afterwards.
Q: Eventually the Lums left Hawaii, where they were these low to mid-level fixers for various moneyed interests, to go to California, where they more or less entered full-time politics through Ron Brown, setting up the Asia-Pacific Advisory Council-Vote. Had you heard of that?
Locricchio: We knew that they were involved in getting political contributions. It was so part of their make-up that it wasn't a great surprise. We also heard Ron Brown's name, we knew of his major involvement, and I used to live for a brief time in California, and politics, Democratic politics in the Bay area, was Ron Brown. Nothing happened, whether it was local or state politics, without Ron Brown's involvement...
Q: So it didn't surprise you that if they were going to be involved in the fundraising game, that there be an association with Ron Brown, who was basically the chief fund-raiser for Democrats then?
Locricchio: We were surprised only in that stupid blunders by Lum had occurred in both the Big Island and here in Maunawili Valley, and we thought that anybody recommending the Lums would warn higher level folks, "Watch yourself," because the Lums have an ability to bring down huge media attention on you because they're not careful.
I think the real key to the Lums was they were taught here in Hawaii, don't bother to be careful, you can commit acts that would be deemed criminal and ain't nothin' gonna happen to you. So they got educated in Hawaii, and they transferred that education to the national scene.
..These were the most experienced political operators because of their training in Hawaii, which had been a success story for Asian-Americans becoming part of the Democratic process and monies being used as part of that process.
Q: And that, in fact, may well have been what Ron Brown recognized, any warnings he may have received about the Lums notwithstanding.
Locricchio: These people had their masters degree in Asian-American politics, and--whether they had the contacts or not--were skilled in making it appear they did have the contacts. The other thing you must remember is they'd been successful. They got the Maunawili approvals. They got the approvals on the Big Island. So they had been successful, and they could wave their successes and their ability to use those properties, or their own properties, to help out Democrats in problems.
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"America's Holy Warriors"
Erik Prince is "the secretive, mega-millionaire, right-wing Christian founder of Blackwater, the private security firm that has built a formidable mercenary force in Iraq," Chris Hedges wrote December 31, 2006, in Truthdig
Prince "champions his company as a patriotic extension of the U.S. military. His employees, in an act as cynical as it is deceitful, take an oath of loyalty to the Constitution. These mercenary units in Iraq, including Blackwater, contain some 20,000 fighters. They unleash indiscriminate and wanton violence against unarmed Iraqis, have no accountability and are beyond the reach of legitimate authority. The appearance of these paramilitary fighters, heavily armed and wearing their trademark black uniforms, patrolling the streets of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, gave us a grim taste of the future. It was a stark reminder that the tyranny we impose on others we will one day impose on ourselves," Hedges wrote.
"The new 'counsel of record' for the North Carolina-based company is none other than former Whitewater investigator Kenneth Starr — the independent counsel in the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal," Jeremy Scahill and Garrett Ordower reported online October 26, 2006, in The Nation.
"Starr was brought in last week by Blackwater to filemotions in front of the US Supreme Court in a case stemming from the killing of four Blackwater contractors in the Iraqi city of Fallujah on March 31, 2004."
"There are undeniable benefits to having Starr, the US Solicitor General under President George H.W. Bush, represent Blackwater—a highly partisan GOP company—in front of a Supreme Court stacked with Bush appointees.
Starr also has a personal connection to Blackwater. Starr and Joseph Schmitz, the general counsel and chief operating officer of Blackwater's parent company, the Prince Group, have both worked closely with the arch-conservative Washington Legal Foundation. Since 1993 Starr has served on the legal policy advisory board of the organization for which Schmitz has frequently acted as a spokesperson and attorney," Scahill and Ordower wrote.
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ONCE UPON A TIME IN ARKANSAS
The Castle Grande Deal
~ ~ ~
From Corporate Predators: Can General Electric save America's treasures?
Bill and Hillary Clinton seem to think so.
But Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner is not so sure.
On July 14, GE Chair and CEO Jack Welch basked in the glow of media flashbulbs and television camera lights as he joined First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in announcing a $5 million contribution by his company to help preserve and restore Thomas A. Edison's "invention factory" in West Orange, New Jersey.
The donation was made as part of Hillary Clinton's "Save America's Treasures" tour, intended to highlight and raise money to address the disrepair into which many U.S. historic sites, buildings and objects have fallen.
Though it did not manage to achieve the media bounce of Ralph Lauren's $10 million contribution to repair the "Star Spangled Banner," ... GE did garner substantial publicity for its contribution. Notably, GE's network, NBC, did a segment on the "Today Show"on the Save America's Treasure tour and GE's generous participation.
Just days before Welch joined Hillary Clinton for their joint photo-op, EPA Administrator Carol Browner was on a more solemn mission in Albany, New York.
In an unprecedented move during her tenure at the EPA, Browner appeared before a state legislative committee. Testifying before the Environmental Conservation Committee of the New York Assembly, she condemned a GE advertising campaign which she said is endangering the public health.
A million tons of GE-dumped PCBs (polychorinate biphenyls) now line the bottom of a 200-mile stretch of Hudson River, making it the largest Superfund site in the United States. GE is aggressively campaigning against a potential government-ordered cleanup of the area, which could cost the corporation hundreds of millions of dollars.
"GE would have the people of the Hudson River believe, and I quote, 'Living in a PCB-laden area is not dangerous,'" Browner testified. "The science tells us the opposite is true." The federal government banned PCBs in 1977 because they are believed to cause cancer and contribute to a range of other health problems.
Browner worried that the GE public relations offensive would undermine health official efforts to deter people from eating fish from the river. PCB contamination has rendered the fish hazardous.
Surely no company doing so much to destroy the natural environment deserves the smiley-face association with a First Lady-led crusade to "Save America's Treasures."
The stark contrast between preserving Edison's "invention factory" and the science-out-of-control PCB trashing of the Hudson River highlights more than GE's duplicity. It sheds light on the dangers of corporate philanthropy, especially in private-public partnerships. . . .
Typically, the public relations payback on the corporate gift far outdistances the actural amount spent on the corporate contribution.
Too often, the positive PR happy-talk drowns out voices raising concerns about serious corporate misdeeds.
The dynamic is most troubling when the company gains credit for contributing relatively small dollar amounts to quintessentially public functions-- like restoring historic sites or funding schools-- that simultaneously help justify systemic government under-funding in those areas.
Let the federal government restore Thomas Edison's invention factory and other historic sites.
Let General Electric clean up the Hudson River.
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Bill Clinton is expected to testify regarding her business, professional, and personal relationships with Robert S. Bennett, Ron Rewald, Diane Plotts, William J. Clinton, Kenneth Starr, Vince Foster, Robert Fisk, Janet Reno, Monica Lewinski, Vernon Jordan, Xerox, Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, Chubb Group, AIG, C.V. Starr, The Starr Foundation, Webster Hubbell, V.K. Durham, CIA, Gene & Nora Lum, John Huang, Paul Alston, Sam Pryor, Dan Case, Steve Case, Suzanne Case, Jeffrey Case, Aon, Walter Carpenter, Jr., Judith Neustadter Fuqua, William S. Richardson, George Ariyoshi, John Waihee, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, Linda Lingle, Mark Bennett, Earl Anzai, Hugh Jones, Ralph Boyd, Jack Abramoff, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Goldman Sachs, Richard Rainwater, James Ahloy, Aloha Petroleum, Harken Energy, Chevron-Texaco, Gale Norton, The Nature Conservancy, Faye Kurren, Judge Barry Kurren, Dan Inouye, Daniel Akaka, John Peyton, John O’Neill, Frederick Black, Donald Hodel, Carol Muranaka, Curtis Ching, Gayle Lau, Carole Lam, Kyle “Dusty” Foggo, Robert Kihune, Harriet Miers, Bruce Babbitt, Norman Mineta, Nancy Pelosi, Judge Kevin Chang, Judge David Ezra, Bank of Credit & Commerce International, Mark McConaghy, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Blackstone Group, Ron Brown, Marc Rich, Helen Cullen, Quintanta Petroleum, Marsh & McLennan, James Baker III, Norm Brownstein, Gayle Norton, Island Insurance Company, Warren Price III, David Farmer, Blackwater U.S.A., Erik Prince, Citigroup, Colin Powell, Ron Burkle, VMS Realty Partners, Trinity Investments, LLC, Jon Miho, George Ruff, Charles Sweeney, Bill Richardson, William Cohen, Bernard Schwartz, and others to be named upon discovery.
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