Search This Blog

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

In America Anything Seems Possible, Creative Bribery Elevated to a Fine Art

Angelo Mozilo, the founder and CEO of Countrywide Mortgage, is one of the chief architects of the banking collapse. Ultimately, the now bankrupt Countrywide, was purchased by Bank of America. Angelo Mozilo had a little slush fund that he operated called the "Friends of Angelo" during Countrywide's heyday.  The "Friends of Angelo" was nothing other than a way of providing bribes to elite high powered people and Congressmen such as Senators Chris Dodd and Kent Conrad. Mortgages did not go through any kind of regular channel, documents were simply routed to Mr. Mozilo who had complete authority over the note. The terms of these loans, or the people who received these secret loans, have not been fully disclosed.

I want to explain something to the un-indoctrinated here. Bribery comes in many shapes. Bribery can be done in hundreds of imaginative ways. Secret little corporate deals, personal loans done under the cloak of a legitimate business, future lucrative jobs, pieces of real estate set aside and sold at heavily discounted values, scholarships arranged for children that would ordinarily not receive them. What I am trying to do is expand your definition of bribery. Money in envelopes is passe.' The only place that practices true cash bribery are unsophisticated areas of the country like New Orleans.

Now let me give you an example of how this is done. A developer wants to build a development that is very lucrative in a small town. Millions of dollars. He has to get approval before starting the project. In a small town the project will have to go through planning and zoning and get approval before getting approval at the city council or county commissioner level. Facilitators such as architects or lawyers, are used to present projects. Very often if not always, several ordinances will stand in the way of project compliance. The life and death of any given multi million dollar project can hinge on some puny and insignificant ordinance and often does. Whether or not the project proceeds- almost entirely rests on whether or not local government chooses to enforce those ordinances and often depends on how they are interpreted by local governing officials. The easiest and quickest way for developers to get a project through- is to determine who in the approval process has all of the clout or power. Who has the final say. Once that official is identified, the developer then crafts a strategy to appeal to that individual. Let's say in this case it is the City Mayor. The developer might send a lawyer to meet with the Mayor. During the course of their initial conversation, the lawyer discovers that the Mayor is in need of a condo. The development is a condo development. An agreement is struck to deliver a condo at a really fantastic price. To avoid detection, an agreement is reached that the condo will be held in a corporate name during the construction phase and a period extending beyond the statute of limitations or the length of the Mayors term in office until such point that the property will be converted to private ownership. Long after anybody is looking. Does this shit happen? All over the world. I have seen it. It is as crooked as hell but it is virtually undetectable and unstoppable. It is sophisticated. In fact, if caught- the parties will have any number of excuses to justify the business deal that will render any potential prosecution useless and they will end your career for having even looked at it. Trust me.

That's why Darrel Issa's subpoenas are so interesting. He is compelling Bank of America to disclose the loans made solely by a man who has already been fined for insider trading. A criminal who should have been prosecuted for felony fraud. A man who had a sophisticated way to bribe and grease those elite people with power and get away with it. In fact, Congress themselves cleared Senators Dodd and Conrad because the potential truth is- they themselves may be involved in similar deals, they may be sympathetic for reasons outside this incident, the deals were done under the cloak of legitimate mortgage financing, or the facts are so difficult to obtain that a successful prosecution can't take place.

Please make no mistake about what I am stating here. The "Friends of Angelo" was nothing other than a way to bribe and grease powerful people with corporate and stockholder assets under the sole discretion of a criminal. Bank of America was ordered to comply with the subpoena on Mar. 7. That was yesterday. I do not know if they have, or will, or if the incriminating documents were destroyed. I am waiting to hear.

I noted that Chris Dodd financed a cottage in Ireland through Countrywide. The terms were never disclosed nor could I find the seller. Interestingly, that cottage was purchased far below existing comps in the neighborhood at that time. Dodd is gone now. His term is over. Now he has found a new career. One wonders how he was able to secure this new gig as a lobbyist. Spending 1.5M on a crooked but influential former congressman is just good business for the MPA. In America, anything seems possible. Anything. You just have to dream big like Senator Dodd and be ethically corruptible. That it seems, is how our culture defines "success."

LOS ANGELES - Former Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, a veteran Washington insider, is Hollywood's new chief lobbyist. The Motion Picture Assn. of America said Tuesday that Dodd will become the new chief executive of the MPAA, the lobbying arm for the main studios that also oversees the film ratings system. Dodd succeeds Dan Glickman, a former Kansas congressman and Secretary of Agriculture, who stepped down a year ago after five years on the job. Dodd will pull down more than $1.5 million in salary, 25 percent greater than the $1.2 million Glickman received. Dodd In selecting Dodd, the MPAA's board is counting on the one-time U.S. presidential...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No where else can I learn so much and be entertained at the same time. Do you ever sleep? How do you find time to dig up all this shit? what ever your secret is, Brian, I hope you never stop.

These SOBs play by a different set of rules than the rest of us. It sure would be nice to see a few of them go down. I won't hold my breath.