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
Former Attorney General and Governor, State of New York; anti-corruption crusader.
~ ~ ~
March 17, 2009
The Real AIG Scandal
It's not the bonuses. It's that AIG's counterparties
are getting paid back in full.
By Eliot Spitzer
Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG's bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG's counterparties getting paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?
For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman's collapse, they feared a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG's inability to pay the counterparties to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold. And who were AIG's trading partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money already.
It all appears, once again, to be the same insiders protecting themselves against sharing the pain and risk of their own bad adventure. The payments to AIG's counterparties are justified with an appeal to the sanctity of contract. If AIG's contracts turned out to be shaky, the theory goes, then the whole edifice of the financial system would collapse.
But wait a moment, aren't we in the midst of reopening contracts all over the place to share the burden of this crisis? From raising taxes—income taxes to sales taxes—to properly reopening labor contracts, we are all being asked to pitch in and carry our share of the burden. Workers around the country are being asked to take pay cuts and accept shorter work weeks so that colleagues won't be laid off. Why can't Wall Street royalty shoulder some of the burden? Why did Goldman have to get back 100 cents on the dollar? Didn't we already give Goldman a $25 billion capital infusion, and aren't they sitting on more than $100 billion in cash? Haven't we been told recently that they are beginning to come back to fiscal stability? If that is so, couldn't they have accepted a discount, and couldn't they have agreed to certain conditions before the AIG dollars—that is, our dollars—flowed?
The appearance that this was all an inside job is overwhelming. AIG was nothing more than a conduit for huge capital flows to the same old suspects, with no reason or explanation.
So here are several questions that should be answered, in public, under oath, to clear the air:
What was the precise conversation among Bernanke, Geithner, Paulson, and
Blankfein that preceded the initial $80 billion grant?
Was it already known who the counterparties were and what the exposure was for each of the counterparties?
What did Goldman, and all the other counterparties, know about AIG's financial condition at the time they executed the swaps or other contracts? Had they done adequate due diligence to see whether they were buying real protection? And why shouldn't they bear a percentage of the risk of failure of their own counterparty?
What is the deeper relationship between Goldman and AIG? Didn't they almost merge a few years ago but did not because Goldman couldn't get its arms around the black box that is AIG? If that is true, why should Goldman get bailed out? After all, they should have known as well as anybody that a big part of AIG's business model was not to pay on insurance it had issued.
Why weren't the counterparties immediately and fully disclosed
Failure to answer these questions will feed the populist rage that is metastasizing very quickly. And it will raise basic questions about the competence of those who are supposedly guiding this economic policy.
Article url: http://www.slate.com/id/2213942/
~ ~ ~
NY Gov. Spitzer linked to
prostitution ring: report
By Daniel Trotta, Yahoo News
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, a Wall Street anti-corruption crusader who campaigned on a theme of ethical reform, apologized for a "private matter" on Monday but made no reference to a New York Times report linking him to a prostitution ring.
Spitzer, a Democrat, said nothing about possibly resigning. Fox News television, citing unnamed sources, said before Spitzer spoke that the governor was expected to resign.
The leader of the minority Republicans in the state assembly, James Tedisco, called for his resignation.
Spitzer, 48, was caught on a federal wiretap arranging to meet with a prostitute at a Washington hotel last month, the Times reported on its Web site.
"I have acted in a way that violated the obligations to my family and that violates my -- or any -- sense of right and wrong. I apologize first, and most importantly, to my family. I apologize to the public whom I promised better," Spitzer told a packed room of reporters in New York City with his wife at his side.
He has been married to Silda Wall Spitzer since 1987 and they have three daughters.
"I am disappointed that I failed to live up to the standard that I expect of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family," Spitzer added.
He did not take questions from reporters and Spitzer's aides declined to comment further.
As New York's state attorney general before being elected governor in November 2006, Spitzer built his reputation going after white-collar crime on Wall Street. As governor, he vowed to clean up state politics.
He was nicknamed The Sheriff of Wall Street and in 2002, after his landmark settlement with 10 of the country's largest securities firms over charges of misleading investors, Time Magazine named him "Crusader of the Year."
The New York Times, citing an administration official, reported that Spitzer had told his top administration officials he had been involved in a prostitution ring.
Spitzer is pledged to support Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York as a superdelegate at the party's convention this summer.
Superdelegates at the convention are party activists who support candidates, in addition to delegates elected during nominating contests around the states ahead of this November's presidential election.
BLOW TO DEMOCRATS
Julian Zelizer, politics and history professor at Princeton University, said the case was a blow to Democrats beyond the state of New York.
"He was a rising star. Before he became governor he was seen as a potential president. ... Whenever you lose a rising star, it's a little demoralizing, " Zelizer said.
Shares of bond insurers fell on the news. Spitzer has been a crucial figure in helping the insurers raise more capital and keep their top credit ratings.
The bond insurers, which guarantee more than $2.4 trillion of debt against default, have been scrambling to get capital as their expected payouts have been surging.
Spitzer is the individual identified as Client 9 in court papers that were filed last week when four people were charged with running a multimillion-dollar international prostitution ring, the Times reported, citing unidentified sources.
Client 9 arranged to meet with a prostitute on February 13 in room 871 of the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, according to court papers.
New York law firm Paul, Weiss said it was representing Spitzer but had no comment. Spitzer previously worked for that law firm.
Reaction to the news noted the contrast between the allegations and Spitzer's high ethical stances.
"Get ready for a schadenfreude festival on Wall Street," said Barry Ritholtz, director of equity research at Fusion IQ in New York.
~ ~ ~
Mar 14, 2008
"SPITZER WAS SILENCED."
THE $200 BILLION BAIL-OUT FOR PREDATOR BANKS
AND SPITZER CHARGES ARE INTIMATELY LINKED
By Greg Palast
Reporting for Air America Radio's Clout*
While New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was paying an 'escort' $4,300 in a hotel room in Washington, just down the road, George Bush's new Federal Reserve Board Chairman, Ben Bernanke, was secretly handing over $200 billion in a tryst with mortgage bank industry speculators.
Both acts were wanton, wicked and lewd. But there's a BIG difference. The Governor was using his own checkbook. Bush's man Bernanke was using ours.
This week, Bernanke's Fed, for the first time in its history, loaned a selected coterie of banks one-fifth of a trillion dollars to guarantee these banks' mortgage-backed junk bonds. The deluge of public loot was an eye-popping windfall to the very banking predators who have brought two million families to the brink of foreclosure.
Up until Wednesday, there was one single, lonely politician who stood in the way of this creepy little assignation at the bankers' bordello: Eliot Spitzer.
Who are they kidding? Spitzer's lynching and the bankers' enriching are intimately tied.
HOW? FOLLOW THE MONEY.
The press has swallowed Wall Street's line that millions of US families are about to lose their homes because they bought homes they couldn't afford or took loans too big for their wallets. Ba-LON-ey. That's blaming the victim.
Here's what happened. Since the Bush regime came to power, a new species of loan became the norm, the 'sub-prime' mortgage and it's variants including loans with teeny 'introductory' interest rates. From out of nowhere, a company called 'Countrywide' became America's top mortgage lender, accounting for one in five home loans, a large chuck of these 'sub-prime's....
Here's how it worked: The Grinning Family, with US average household income, gets a $200,000 mortgage at 4% for two years. Their $955 a month payment is 25% of their income. No problem. Their banker promises them a new mortgage, again at the cheap rate, in two years. But in two years, the promise ain't worth a can of spam and the Grinnings are told to scram - because their house is now worth less than the mortgage. Now, the mortgage hits 9% or $1,609 plus fees to recover the 'discount' they had for two years. Suddenly, payments equal 42% to 50% of pre-tax income. Grinnings move into their Toyota.
Now, what kind of American is 'sub-prime'. Guess. No peeking. Here's a hint: 73% of HIGH INCOME Black and Hispanic borrowers were given sub-prime loans versus 17% of similar-income Whites. Dark-skinned borrowers aren't 'stupid', they had no choice. They were 'steered' as it's called in the mortgage sharking business.
"Steering," sub-prime loans with usurious kickers, fake inducements to over-borrow, called 'fraudulent conveyance' or 'predatory lending' under US law, were almost completely forbidden in the olden days (Clinton Administration and earlier) by federal regulators and state laws as nothing more than fancy loan-sharking.
But when the Bush regime took over, Countrywide and its banking brethren were told to party hardy "it was OK now to steer'm, fake'm, charge'm and take'm."
BUT THERE WAS THIS ANNOYING PARTY-POOPER.
The Attorney General of New York, Eliot Spitzer, who sued these guys to a fare-thee-well. Or tried to.
Instead of regulating the banks that had run amok, Bush's regulators went on the warpath against Spitzer and states attempting to stop predatory practices. Making an unprecedented use of the legal power of 'federal pre-emption', Bush-bots ordered the states to NOT enforce their consumer protection laws.
Indeed, the feds actually filed a lawsuit to block Spitzer's investigation of ugly racial mortgage steering. Bush's banking buddies were especially steamed that Spitzer hammered bank practices across the nation using New York State laws.
Spitzer not only took on Countrywide, he took on their predatory enablers in theinvestment banking community. Behind Countrywide was the Mother Shark, its funder and now owner, Bank of America. Others joined the sharkfest: Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Citigroup's Citibank made mortgage usury their major profit centers. They did this through a bit of financial legerdemain called 'securitization.'
What that means is that they took a bunch of junk mortgages, like the Grinnings, loans about to go down the toilet and re-packaged them into 'tranches' of bonds which were stamped 'AAA' - top grade - by bond rating agencies. These gold-painted turds were sold as sparkling safe investments to US school district pension funds and town governments in Finland (really).
When the housing bubble burst and the paint flaked off, investors were left with the poop and the bankers were left with bonuses. Countrywide's top man, Angelo Mozilo, will 'earn' a $77 million buy-out bonus this year on top of the $656 million - over half a billion dollars - he pulled in from 1998 through 2007.
BUT THERE WERE RUMBLINGS THAT THE PARTY WOULD SOON BE OVER.
Angry regulators, burned investors and the weight of millions of homes about to be boarded up were causing the sharks to sink. Countrywide's stock was down 50%, and Citigroup was off 38%, not pleasing to the Gulf sheiks who now control its biggest share blocks.
Then, on Wednesday of this week, the unthinkable happened. Carlyle Capital went bankrupt. Who? That's Carlyle as in Carlyle Group. James Baker, Senior Counsel. Notable partners, former and past: George Bush, the Bin Laden family and more dictators, potentates, pirates and presidents than you can count.
The Fed had to act. Bernanke opened the vault and dumped $200 billion on the poor little suffering bankers. They got the 'public treasure' and got to keep the Grinning's house. There was no 'quid' of a foreclosure moratorium for the 'pro quo' of public bail-out. Not one family was 'saved,' but not one banker was left behind.
Every mortgage sharking operation shot up in value. Mozilo's Countrywide stock rose 17% in one day. The Citi sheiks saw their company's stock rise $10 billion in an afternoon.
And that very same day the bail-out was decided - what a coinkydink! - the man called "The Sheriff of Wall Street" was cuffed.
SPITZER WAS SILENCED.
Do I believe the banks called Justice and said "Take him down today!" Naw, that's not how the system works. But the big players knew that unless Spitzer was taken out, he would create enough ruckus to spoil the party. Headlines in the financial press, one was 'Wall Street Declares War on Spitzer' - made clear to Bush's enforcers at Justice who their number one target should be. And it wasn't Bin Laden.
It was the night of February 13 when Spitzer made the bone-headed choice to order take-out in his Washington Hotel room. He had just finished signing these words for the Washington Post about predatory loans:
'Not only did the Bush administration do nothing to protect consumers, it embarked on an aggressive and unprecedented campaign to prevent states from protecting their residents from the very problems to which he federal government was turning a blind eye.'
Bush, said Spitzer right in the headline: 'was the 'Predator Lenders' Partner in Crime.' The President, said Spitzer, was a fugitive from justice. And Spitzer was in Washington to launch a campaign to take on the Bush regime and the biggest financial powers on the planet.
Spitzer wrote: When history tells the story of the subprime lending crisis and recounts its devastating effects on the lives of so many innocent homeowners the Bush administration will not be judged favorably."
FALLEN ON HIS OWN GUN
But now, the Administration can rest assured that this love story - of Bush and his bankers - will not be told by history at all ''now that the Sheriff of Wall Street has fallen on his own gun.''
A note on 'Prosecutorial Indiscretion.'
Back in the day when I was an investigator of racketeers for government, the federal prosecutor I was assisting was deciding whether to launch a case based on his negotiations for air-time with 60 Minutes. I'm not allowed to tell you the prosecutor's name, but I want to mention he was recently seen shouting: "Florida is Rudi country! Florida is Rudi country!"
Not all crimes lead to federal bust or even public exposure. It's up to something called 'prosecutorial discretion.'
Funny thing, this "discretion." For example, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, paid Washington DC prostitutes to put him in diapers (ewww!), yet the Senator was not exposed by the US prosecutors busting the pimp-ring that pampered him.
Naming and shaming and ruining Spitzer - rarely done in these cases - was made at the 'discretion' of Bush's Justice Department.
Or maybe we should say, 'indiscretion.'
* Listen to Palast on Clout at http://www.GregPalast.com
Greg Palast, former investigator of financial fraud, is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
FOREIGN PRESS FOUNDATION
Editor: Henk Ruyssenaars
For more, GO TO > > > Confessions of a Whistleblower; Nests Along Wall Street; The Silence of The Whistleblowers; The Antechamber
~ ~ ~
From:"V.K. Durham" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "V.K. DURHAM, DURHAM HOLDING TRUST, TIAS 12087" <email@example.com>
Subject: LEO WANTA HAD ACCESS TO THE RED MERCURY FILE; SO DID "ELLIOT SPITZER"
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 07:33:33 -0500
Ambassador Wanta has sent both Patriotlad and myself very credible, undeniable, irrefutable documentation and evidence.. I really do not think we are objecting to, or 'discrediting' or "denying" Ambassador Wanta.. Of all people.. I know what Ambassador, Queens Knight, Sir Leo Wanta is confronted with.. it's just that MI-6 operative.. associated with Ambassador "Sir" Wanta I personally object to..
Aside from this going as a response to PATRIOTLAD's Articles.. This is also going to those men and women currently investigating this MONEY LAUNDERING all the way back to ROSEBUD and PROJECT HAMMER.
Gentlemen: I believe you will all be interested in this as it corresponds with U.S. Dept. of the Treasury Agent, Marion Aiken (Akien, Akiens, Aikens) ERKAV documents which names many of the same names banks and so forth..
Further, the previous LEO WANTA HAD ACCESS TO GOOD, CLEAN, CLEAR FUNDS IN 1991 contains names of individuals and banks contained in those files hand carried to ELLIOT SPITZER involving the 1991 BANK FAILURES and BRADY BONDS and VINCE FOSTERS & RUSSELL HERMAN'S 'HOMICIDE'S.. and http://www.theantechamber.net/V_K_Durham/More911FinancialTerror.htm .
However there was the tripple "F"s (find 'em, fluck 'em and 'forget 'em', and tripple "D's" of Deny, Discredit and Destroy.. all TOP LEVEL stuff..
"Every single bit of this has been covered up by the Department of Justice since the Clinton Administration.. and ordered Do not investigate per Jamie Gorelick of the DoJ infamous memorandum.
One must inevitably ask WHY!?
LEO WANTA HAD ACCESS TO THE RED MERCURY FILE
HAARETZ: ELIOT SPITZER WAS AIMING TO BE THE FIRST JEWISH AMERICAN PRESIDENT?
Are you aware of these Corporations & Individuals:?
The True Owners of the Federal Reserve
What this doesn't show is that the true owners of the Federal Reserve are eight so-called Jewish families. These families control the entire FED, and only three reside in American. According to page 609 of Called To Serve, that source stated:
The Eight principal stock holders of the US federal reserve are: Rothschilds of London and Berlin, Lazard Bros-Paris, Israel Moses Schiff-Italy, Kuhn and Loeb-Germany, Warburg-Hamburg, Lehman Bros-NY, Goldman and Sachs-NY and Rockefellers-NY.
Do federal income tax revenues pay for any government services and, if so, which government services are funded by federal income taxes?
Answer: No. The money trail is very difficult to follow, in this instance, because the IRS is technically a trust with a domicile in Puerto Rico.
See 31 U.S.C. 1321(a)(62). As such, their records are protected by laws which guarantee the privacy of trust records within that territorial jurisdiction, provided that the trust is not also violating the Sherman Antitrust Act.
They are technically not an "agency" of the federal government, as that term is defined in the Freedom of Information Act and in the Administrative Procedures Act. The governments of the federal territories are expressly excluded from the definition of "agency" in those Acts of Congress. See 5 U.S.C. 551(1)(C). (See also the Answer to Question 5 above.)
All evidence indicates that they are a money laundry, extortion racket, and conspiracy to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1951 and 1961 et seq.
They appear to be laundering huge sums of money into foreign banks, mostly in Europe, and quite possibly into the Vatican. See the national policy on money laundering at 31 U.S.C. 5341.
The final report of the Grace Commission, convened under President Ronald Reagan, quietly admitted that none of the funds they collect from federal income taxes goes to pay for any federal government services. The Grace Commission found that those funds were being used to pay for interest on the federal debt, and income transfer payments to beneficiaries of entitlement programs like federal pension plans. [source: http://www.supremelaw.org/reading.list.htm ]
But, there is more, thanks to my readers who so graciously provide quality information via email.. such as this: "
Spitzer was up to his ears in the 911 cover up.
Spitzer scandals continue.
This comes out of Henk Russenaars [Foreign News Correspondent] Camp..
In 2004, Eliot Spitzer was asked to investigate 9/11 by 66% of New Yorkers. Those pleas were ignored. 51% of the USA wants Bush and Cheney investigated for 9/11, according to a Zogby poll last week.
On the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Brooklyn activist newspaper the New York Megaphone breaks this exclusive story:
NY Governor Eliot Spitzer filed an amicus brief on 1/15/03 on behalf of the World Trade Center's controversial lease-holder, the real estate magnate Larry Silverstein. This document shows that Spitzer, as Attorney General, helped Silverstein get the whopping $4.5 billion windfall for the 9/11 attacks. The record is clear: Spitzer helped reverse a lower court's decision, by making credible Silverstein's argument that the two different plane crashes on 9/11/01 should be compensated as two different terrorist attacks.
His amicus brief has never been reported before today, in print or online. It was discovered in the court archives on the 17th floor of the 2nd Circuit Court (NYC), and released to the New York Megaphone by attorney Carl Person.
In reporter Sander Hicks's exclusive story, author and lawyer Carl Person says: "I was surprised to see that Spitzer had used his position as attorney general to support one private litigant over another. Normally, this is not done."
Hicks' story also covers Governor Spitzer's recent scandals with police spying on rival Joe Bruno, the Roger Stone voice mail threat, as well as new information and interviews regarding the Spitzer links to Kroll executives Michael Cherkasky and Jerome Hauer. Hicks hands in an original interview with Jerome Hauer, probing his documented links to anthrax suspect Steven Hatfill. Hauer is widely believed to be the source of the White House's foreknowledge about the anthrax attacks on 9/11/01.
In 2004, Eliot Spitzer was asked to investigate 9/11 by 66% of New Yorkers. Those pleas were ignored. 51% of the USA wants Bush and Cheney investigated for 9/11, according to a Zogby poll last week.
This is the 6th issue of the New York Megaphone, a quarterly newspaper published by activist writers and "Citizen Journalists Pursuing the Unreported Story" at the Vox Pop coffeehouse and community center in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. http://voxpopnet.net
"The Real Spitzer Scandal" is currently distributed in a print run of 40,000 for the Fall NY Megaphone, distributed throughout NYC. Circulation is estimated to be over 62,000. "The Real Spitzer Scandal" is also online, free and in full, at http://www.nymegaphone.com/node/24
This issue of the New York Megaphone also includes a wide variety of quality original reporting, small business features, and humor.
Hicks' original interview with "bio-terror expert" Jerome Hauer is at http://www.voxpopnet.net/podcasts/hauer.mp3
The Spitzer/Silverstein Amicus Brief is at: http://voxpopnet.net/Documents/spitzerbrief.pdf
The story was reported and written by Sander Hicks, with reporting help from Igor Kossov and Kempshall McAndrew.
Contact: Sander Hicks, Publisher, NY Megaphone
718 940 2084 firstname.lastname@example.org
TO CONTACT GOVERNOR SPITZER'S NYC PR OFFICE:
212 681 4640
"The Real Spitzer Scandal"
"Eliot Spitzer is like the good-looking bouncer in a bar, who is secretly dealing drugs," explained forensic microbiologist Mike Copass. We were in a San Diego bar this July, down near the water in Ocean Beach. Copass had acted as a facilitator of San Diego's 9/11 Citizen's Grand Jury, an extra-legal group which mounted a mock trial in April. Copass has degrees from Stanford and Harvard, and an eager glint in his eye. Despite his preppy appearance, Copass makes some pretty radical allegations:
That Eliot Spitzer acted as a firewall, preventing public disclosure of his friends' roles in the anthrax attacks that occurred shortly after 9/11, in addition to facilitating his associates' windfall from the bloated insurance pay-outs at the World Trade Center. He even accuses Spitzer of covering up the real perpetrators of the 9/11 attack itself.
Last fall, Eliot Spitzer was swept into the governor's mansion with 70 per cent of the vote. His public reputation was that of a heroic fighter of white collar crime. Earlier he bragged about being "very close" to Hillary Clinton. He hinted he wouldn't refuse an invitation to run for vice president, if his friend Hillary got the nomination.
But this summer in Albany, the Spitzer façade cracked. Instead of creating consensus, Spitzer's team spent its time plotting to unseat Republican rivals in the Legislature sometimes at the ballot box, sometimes using the police. His own attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, is now investigating the governor's office's misuse of state troopers to monitor political rival Joe Bruno. To minority leader James Tedisco, Spitzer recently snapped, "I'm a fucking steamroller, and I'll roll over you."
No major media outlet has paid attention to the San Diego Citizens Grand Jury's indictments of Rudy Giuliani, or his former "terror-expert" Jerome Hauer. The Megaphone received documents recently that indicate Eliot Spitzer's social connections may be preventing him from investigating 9/11.
There's a scandal in Albany, but police spying on Bruno is just the tip of the iceberg.
Spitzer & Silverstein: The Amicus Brief
Prescient New York real estate baron Larry Silverstein became primary lease-holder on the World Trade Center a mere six weeks before 9/11. It had never changed hands before. For a down payment, Silverstein put up only $14 million of his own money, and his friends at the powerful investment bank Blackstone Group kicked in another $111 million.
After 9/11, Silverstein demanded a whopping $7 billion insurance payout, in the form of two $3.5 billion payments. He argued the two different plane crashes were two separate "occurrences" of two separate attacks.The Megaphone has now learned that as attorney general, Spitzer got involved behind the scenes, and in the courts, filing an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief on Silverstein's behalf on Jan. 15, 2003.
For years, this brief languished in the files of the public records room on the 17th floor of the Second Circuit Court in Manhattan, until it was discovered and brought to The New York Megaphone by NYC attorney and author Carl Person. The court ended up agreeing with Spitzer and Silverstein, over-turning the decision of a lower court. Spitzer helped midwife a fat compromise and an eventual $4.5 billion payout for Silverstein. The Megaphone's multiple requests for comment from Governor Spitzer were ignored.
Attorney Carl Person told The Megaphone, "I was surprised to see that Spitzer had used his position as attorney general to support one private litigant over another. Normally, this is not done…Silverstein could well have been someone who destroyed evidence concerning the 9/11 events by apparently ordering or consenting to the tearing (pulling) down of 7 WTC and the removal of the debris from his multiple ground leased premises thereafter."
Silverstein's World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on 9/11 without being hit by an airplane. Thirty-seven eyewitnesses working on the ground as firefighters, EMTs, and reporters, recalled being warned in advance the tower was coming down. The official story however, claims a fire ignited a fuel tank in the building, hastening its sudden collapse.
WTC 7 was the NY headquarters of CIA and the SEC office investigating Enron. 9/11 skeptics believe the building was taken down by controlled demolition.
Larry Silverstein himself said in a 2002 episode of PBS's Frontline that on 9/11 he recalled remarking, "Maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it…they made that decision to pull and we watched the building collapse."
Silverstein later claimed that by "pull," he meant removing firefighters, not pulling the building down. However, all firefighters had been "pulled" from the building three hours earlier.
The Kroll Connection
This past August, another scandal radiated from the Spitzer circle. This time it was Nixon's arch-strategist Roger Stone leaving a threatening voice mail for Spitzer's dad, Bernard. Stone allegedly claimed he would subpoena the elder Spitzer for the $5 million in illegal loans Spitzer senior made to his son during his 1998 Attorney General campaign. Stone denied he had made the call. To prove he did, the Spitzer family hired Kroll Associates to trace the call. Why Kroll? Spitzer has a long relationship with this powerful, cryptic security company.
Kroll's CEO on 9/11 was one of Spitzer's old mentors from the Manhattan DA's office, Michael Cherkasky. Cherkasky investigated bank BCCI (which had links to both Islamic terror and the CIA), and the mysterious 1993 World Trade Center (WTC) bombing. Cherkasky's 2002 book Forewarned: Why the Government is Failing to Protect Us, and What We Must Do to Protect Ourselves is a confused mix of fear-mongering and insider's analysis. He sheepishly admits that the CIA was in part culpable for the 1993 WTC bombing, since they helped pull known terrorist "Blind Sheikh" Abdel bin-Rahman into the country. Cherkasky admits the FBI had a mole inside Rahman's 1993 WTC bombing cell, and lays blame for the bombing on the FBI.
After observing the 1993 WTC bombing as an operation penetrated by CIA and FBI, Cherkasky became head of Kroll, the "the CIA of Wall Street."
Kroll took on the management of WTC after the 1993 bombing. Blackstone Group, the same financiers who backed the Larry Silverstein, have also been involved with Kroll, owning big chunks of Kroll stock on occasion, according to SEC reports.
Cherkasky has donated $14,500 to Eliot Spitzer's political campaigns.
The Anthrax Connection
Eliot Spitzer's connection to key 9/11 players extends to fellow life-long Democrat, Jerome Hauer, managing director of Kroll on 9/11. Only Jerome Hauer and his former boss, Rudolph Giuliani, were also indicted by the San Diego Citizens Grand Jury.
According to Bay Area News (a San Francisco-bay based publication) and Wikipedia, Jerome Hauer warned the Bush White House to go on Cipro, the anti-anthrax drug, on 9/11/01. Hauer denied this allegation to The Megaphone. The White House did go on Cipro. Six days later, the anthrax attacks started, and sent the country back into paroxysms of terror.
Government watchdog group Judicial Watch demanded to know who warned the Bush White House, but not the public, about anthrax. The White House stonewalled their Freedom of Information Act requests.
"I read that the White House did know, and they went on the antibiotics," says Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman. He got involved because, "African American employees at Brentwood [US Postal Facility] were basically left out there to twist in the wind when the white guys up on Capitol Hill got immediate treatment."
Post-9/11, Jerome Hauer went on to be Coordinator of the National Institute of Health's investigation of anthrax deaths. His report blamed Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. That assertion has been widely discredited, since the five deaths in 2001 were from a fine, "weaponized" form of anthrax, the "Ames Strain" that only the U.S. military and U.S. federal government possessed.
On 9/11, Jerome Hauer appeared on television with Dan Rather. Rather posited that the 9/11 attacks must have had state sponsorship. Hauer urged Rather to blame Bin Laden only. When Rather voiced suspicions about the way the buildings fell, Hauer offered that they simply came down because they were hit by a plane. Without an investigation, Hauer somehow knew two major parts of 9/11's official story before it emerged.
Hauer is a biological terrorism expert whose resume includes time at Science Applications International Corp (SAIC), a military contractor doing work in nuclear issues and psy-ops, and Bioport, manufacturer of the controversial anthrax vaccine.
Jerry Hauer and anthrax go way back. In May of 1998, he spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations on the topic of "Building a 'Biobomb': Terrorist Challenge." That evening Hauer co-presented on the topic Steven Hatfill. Yes, that Steven Hatfill, the one who later became the FBI's prime suspect in the anthrax mailings.
A year after their CFR presentations, Hatfill and Hauer would become coworkers at SAIC's Center for Counterterrorism Technology and Analysis.
Hatfill had worked at Ft. Detrick, the U.S. Army's bio-weapons lab in Maryland. Hatfill was never convicted, nor even prosecuted, for anything. Today he's suing reporters for defamation. On Aug. 15, a judge ruled that five top national reporters would have to reveal confidential government sources who fingered Hatfill.
In his interview with The Megaphone, Hauer repeatedly referred to the Grand Jury as "a bunch of nutjobs" and he defended Steven Hatfill. But when asked directly if Hatfill was innocent, Hauer was less than clear:
"I think that the FBI should not have said anything about Hatfill until they knew more. I do not believe Hatfill is a murderer. And I think Steve Hatfill is very passionate, but I don't think he's a murderer, and I don't believe he did it."
Hauer was not willing to conclusively say that Hatfill was uninvolved in the anthrax attacks, stating, "I'm not going to get into those details."
Of the five people who died from anthrax exposure, one was a New Yorker. Kathy Nguyen, a hospital worker in the Bronx, was a victim of inhalation anthrax. She died alone in a hospital on October 31, 2001.
A 2004 petition gathered 100,000 signatures begging then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to investigate the real source of the 2001 attacks. A Zogby poll that year likewise found that 66 per cent of voters wanted Eliot Spitzer, to tackle these tough questions. What those poll respondents didn't know is that Spitzer can't investigate 9/11 or anthrax. He would have to indict his friends from Kroll, Jerry Hauer and Michael Cherkasky.
That's the real scandal.
To listen to Sander Hicks's interview with Jerry Hauer, or see the Spitzer/Silverstein Amicus Brief in full, log onto the new www.nymegaphone.com.
Your comments are welcome.
More info on Vox Pop:
The place for "Books, Coffee, Democracy," Vox Pop is a vibrant, fair-trade, community-empowering, consciousness-raising space, on Cortelyou Road, in Flatbush, Brooklyn. In three years, Vox Pop has spawned new activist groups, redefined "community development", and published a muck-raking tabloid, The New York Megaphone.
More info on Sander Hicks:
Sander Hicks is one of the most provocative media activists of his generation. He runs the Drench Kiss Media Corporation's retail dynamo, "Vox Pop." In 1996, he founded Soft Skull Press, Inc. (acquired in 2007 by Winton & Shoemaker). In 2003, Hicks was star of "Horns and Halos" (HBO/Cinemax) the independent publishing documentary that recorded Hicks's attempts to get unpopular truths out about G.W.Bush, through the biography Fortunate Son (Soft Skull, 1999). His own book, The Big Wedding (Vox Pop, 2005) breaks new ground on the working-class intelligence assets and whistle-blowers who tried to stop 9/11 from happening. Hicks has reported for Alternet, GNN, Long Island Press, New York Press, and INN World Report Television (FSTV, Dish Network).
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December 21, 2007
Marsh & McLennan's
CEO Shake Up
Ruthie Ackerman, Forbes
Ailing insurance broker Marsh & McLennan announced on Friday it was hoping to boost shareholder value by replacing its embattled Chief Executive Michael Cherkasky and evaluating its other businesses, making it sound like it may be putting all, or at least some, of its businesses up for sale.
Cherkasky has held the position since October 2004.
The New York-based Marsh & McLennan said it's begun its search for Cherkasky’s replacement and that a change in leadership will help the company move forward. Cherkasky will continue to serve as the CEO while the search is conducted.
Citigroup analyst Keith F. Walsh said that during Cherkasky's three-year tenure its Marsh brokerage unit, its core business, underperformed on sales, margins, and share price, allowing its competitor Aon to usurp its position as the world's largest insurance broker.
Walsh estimates that Cherkasky will receive a severance package of up to $27 million, or 3 cents per share after taxes, based on the company's 2007 proxy statement.
Rob Haines, an analyst at CreditSights, said the company has experienced a lot of negative morale over the last several years as the stock dropped significantly and many employees defected to insurance startups like Integra, or other larger firms. “Cherkasky was really not viewed by the market as an insurance guy,” Haines said. “He wasn’t liked by investors, and not internally, either. But he was a good caretaker.”
Cherkasky’s caretaker role stemmed from his help pulling the company out of a scandal with then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer pounded the company for accepting payments to steer clients from insurers. Spitzer called the payments kickbacks and charges ensued. Cherkasky, a friend of Spitzer’s, was able to negotiate an $800 million settlement. But the deal hurt the company because it was forced to lose a substantial amount of its revenue from insurers.
But Cherkasky was never an insurance guy. He was from a regulatory background, Haines said. And he just wasn’t able to get the company over its hump. “It was one disappointment after another. He had his shot and he didn’t get it done,” Haines said....
Stephen R. Hardis, the non-executive chairman of the board, pointed to the company’s worse-than-expected financial performance and concerns raised by the company’s largest shareholders as the reason for the ouster.
Hardis said the board will evaluate all of its options for enhancing shareholder value, which includes maximizing capital structure, reviewing its mix of businesses, and improving operating performance, especially at its core business, Marsh.
“To that end, we hired Dan Glaser as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh to significantly improve Marsh’s profitability,” Hardis said. “The Board believes that the full recovery of Marsh is essential to maximizing shareholder value in the most prudent and sustainable manner.”
Walsh said he thinks it will take time for Marsh to turn itself around. "While it appears new brokerage head Daniel Glaser has an extensive insurance background, we believe the problems at Marsh will take a long time to resolve," he said. Walsh pointed out that it took Aon two years to turn itself around after it hired Greg Case in April 2005, but now Walsh would much rather invest in Aon or even Willis Group Holdings than Marsh because their management teams have proven they can grow sales, margins and earnings per share despite soft pricing.
Haines thinks Marsh & McLennan will split the company in three and sell off Mercer, its consulting, outsourcing and investment services business and Kroll its security consulting business, to focus on Marsh.
“There are really no synergies between these companies and actually because of the regulatory environment there are now probably negative synergies between the companies,” Haines said.
Marsh & McLennan will most likely look for a replacement for Cherkasky that is willing to split up the company. Word on the Street is that Glaser, a former executive at American International Group hired as the head of the Marsh unit in November, is an obvious choice.
Five years ago Marsh was considered the gold standard in insurance brokerage. But over the last several years it has been crushed. In August the company sold its Putnam asset management unit to Canada’s Great-West Lifeco for $3.9 billion....
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October 14, 2004
Spitzer Sues Marsh, Names
AIG, Ace in Broker Probe
Oct. 14 (Bloomberg) -- New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Marsh & McLennan Cos. and arrested two American International Group Inc. executives in a fraud probe he said touches ``virtually every line of insurance.'' Insurance shares had their biggest decline in more than four years.
Spitzer alleged Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest insurance brokerage, took ``lucrative payoffs'' for steering unsuspecting clients to certain insurers, a fraud that ``jacked up'' prices for companies and schools. He also said American International, Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Ace Ltd. and Munich Re participated in ``bid rigging.''
The allegations mark the third leg of Spitzer's push to rid financial-services companies of corruption. Since June 2003, Spitzer and other regulators have imposed about $3 billion in fines for improper trading in the mutual-fund industry. Last year, he wrested $1.4 billion in settlements from securities firms he said were issuing biased stock research.
``Where is the ethical compass of this industry?'' Spitzer said at a news conference. He wants Marsh to return all profits obtained through ``deceptive acts,'' halt such practices and pay unspecified punitive damages, according to the suit.
The 22-member Standard & Poor's 500 Insurance Index fell 6.9 percent, the biggest decline since April 2000. Fitch Ratings put Marsh on review for a possible cut in its A+ debt rating.
Shares of Marsh & McLennan had a record decline, falling $11.28, or 24 percent, to $34.85. American International fell $6.99, or 10 percent, to $60, the stock's biggest drop in 17 years. Hartford declined $3.78, or 6 percent, to $58.40 and Ace declined $3.84, or 9.5 percent, to $36.47.
Earlier this year Spitzer subpoenaed brokers and insurers including, Aon Corp., Willis Group Holdings Ltd., Hub International Ltd., Chubb Corp. and today said ``numerous civil and criminal cases'' are to come.
Spitzer, 45, said he won't negotiate with the current management of Marsh and urged its board to ``look long and hard'' at the leadership of the company, headed by Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Greenberg, 53.
Marsh said it is conducting an internal review led by Michael Cherkasky, the former chief executive of Kroll Inc. who joined the company when Marsh bought the investigative firm earlier this year. Cherkasky is reporting to Greenberg and the independent directors of the board.
``We are committed to getting all the facts, determining any incidence of improper behavior, and dealing appropriately with any wrongdoing,'' the company said in a statement.
A separate statement from the company's independent directors said they ``had full confidence in the company's leadership.'' The directors won't draw any conclusions ``pending the results'' of the review, which will also tap Robert Fiske, the former U.S. attorney now at law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell.
Spitzer's probe may pit him against three executives from the same family. They are Maurice ``Hank'' Greenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of American International; his son at Marsh; and another son, Evan Greenberg, CEO of Ace.
``It's in the Greenbergs' nature, especially Hank's, to stand up for their rights in this kind of situation,'' said Bert Ely, a consultant in Alexandria, Virginia who runs Ely & Co. ``They are not the types to get bowled over by Spitzer.''
Spitzer, who began investigating conflicts of interest in the insurance industry six months ago, said the American International executives pleaded guilty and are expected to testify in future cases.
Karen Radke, a manager at the company's American Home unit, and Jean-Baptist Tateossian, head of the American Home division that dealt with Marsh & McLennan, pleaded guilty to a single count of ``scheme to defraud'' today before New York Supreme Court Justice Michael Ambrecht, court documents showed. Calls to Roland Rippelle, Tateossian's lawyer, and Jason Brown, Radke's lawyer, weren't returned. Both were released on their own recognizance.
American International said in a statement that it was ``saddened'' by the news of the charges because the company holds itself ``to the highest ethical standards.'' The company said ``any breach of those standards is unacceptable.''
American International spokesman Joe Norton declined to comment on the employees' status with the company.
Ace said in a statement it had been cooperating with Spitzer's investigation since earlier this year and would continue to do so. Munich Re said in a statement that it also was cooperating.
``The Hartford does not condone bid rigging or any other illegal activity,'' said Hartford spokeswoman Cynthia Michener. ``Our corporate policy is very clear.''
Insurers pay fees based on the amount and profitability of business that brokers steer to them, an arrangement brokers have said their clients are aware of. Marsh & McLennan received $800 million in the fees last year, Spitzer said. Net income last year was $1.54 billion.
Spitzer said the companies were involved in rigging bids so that companies buying insurance would think there was a competitive process. The guilty pleas by American International executives will ``permit this case to run higher at AIG'' and other insurance carriers, he said.
American International ``needs to find some way to address the charges against their business integrity,'' said Thomas Russo, who holds 1.3 million shares of the insurer among the $2.8 billion he helps manage at Gardner Russo Gardner.
The fees will probably contribute about 30 cents a share, or 10 percent, to Marsh & McLennan's 2004 earnings, JPMorgan's David Sheusi said in a September report. For Aon, he estimates 29 cents, or 13 percent, and at Willis, 11 cents, or 4 percent. Hub will probably get 19 cents, or 23 percent of profit, while U.S.I. Holdings Corp. is forecast to get 18 cents, or 29 percent of earnings from the fees.
The Risk and Insurance Management Society Inc., which represents the risk managers who buy corporate insurance, in August revised a 1999 policy statement that had supported the disclosure of the fees at the request of a risk manager. Now the group says brokers should tell clients about the fees even if they're not asked.
To contact the reporter on the story: Helen Stock in New York at email@example.com
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Eliot Spitzer is expected to testify regarding Marsh & McLennan’s alleged practices of bribery, bid rigging, over-charging, kickbacks, and other wrongful acts, in an alleged conspiracy with AIG, Ace, Allied World Assurance, Chubb Group, CV Starr, PricewaterhouseCoopers, XL, Zurich and other insurance, accounting, and financial entities.
Mr. Spitzer is also expected to testify regarding Marsh & McLennan’s financial, business, and professional relationships with Jules Kroll, Kroll Associates; Kamehameha Schools/Bishop Estate; PricewaterhouseCoopers; Sumitomo; Carlyle Group; Apollo Advisors; Investcorp; Henry Kissinger; Ace Greenberg, Jeffrey Greenberg; Maurice “Hank” Greenberg; AIG; the Chubb Group, Michael Cherkasky, Jim Nicholson, Linda Lingle, Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson, and others to be named upon discovery. As a “Real Party in Interest” in this case (as he was a forbidden recipient of Harmon’s “psm” letters), he is expected to testify regarding Harmon’s alleged “letter writing campaign”, including how this “campaign” violated the terms of the Settlement Agreement, and what damages Marsh & McLennan sustained as a result of the alleged campaign.
Last Update: April 21, 2009