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Thread: Congressional Investigations: Incredible Profiteering from Disaster.

  1. #1
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    Congressional Investigations: Incredible Profiteering from Disaster.

    Hello all,

    If this doesn't make you sick...nothing will:

    http://finance.comcast.net/www/news....06/1079684.xml

    Congress opens hearings on financial meltdown.


    By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Writer
    8 HOURS AGO

    WASHINGTON - Days from becoming the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, Lehman Brothers steered millions to departing executives even while pleading for a federal rescue, Congress was told Monday.

    As well, executives who feared for their bonuses in the company's last months were told not to worry, according to documents cited at a congressional hearing. One executive said he was embarrassed when employees suggested that Lehman executives forgo bonuses, and cracked: "I'm not sure what's in the water."

    The first hearing into what caused the nation's financial markets to collapse last month, precipitating a $700 billion bailout, opened with finger-pointing and glimpses into internal company documents from Lehman's chaotic last hours.

    Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the giant investment bank was "a company in which there was no accountability for failure." Lehman's collapse set off a panic that within days had President Bush and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson asking Congress to pass the rescue plan for the financial sector.

    Richard S. Fuld Jr., chief executive officer of Lehman Brothers, declared to the committee "I take full responsibility for the decisions that I made and for the actions that I took." He defended his actions as "prudent and appropriate" based on information he had at the time.

    "I feel horrible about what happened," he said.

    Waxman questioned Fuld on whether it was true he took home some $480 million in compensation since 2000, and asked: "Is that fair?"

    Fuld took off his glasses, held them, and looked uncomfortable. He said his compensation was not quite that much.

    "We had a compensation committee that spent a tremendous amount of time making sure that the interests of the executives and the employees were aligned with shareholders," he said. Fuld said he took home over $300 million in those years _ some $60 million in cash compensation.

    Waxman read excerpts from Lehman documents in which a recommendation that top management should forgo bonuses was apparently brushed aside. He also cited a Sept. 11 request to Lehman's compensation board that three executives leaving the company be given $20 million in "special payments."

    "In other words, even as Mr. Fuld was pleading with Secretary Paulson for a federal rescue, Lehman continued to squander millions on executive compensation," Waxman said before Fuld appeared as a witness.

    The government let Lehman go under Sept. 15, only to bail out insurance giant American International Group the next day, in a cascading series of financial shocks and failures that put Washington on track for the multibillion-dollar rescue starting the end of that week.

    Waxman described that plan as a life-support measure. "It may keep our economy from collapsing but it won't make it healthy again," he said.

    That sentiment echoed on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones industrials sank below 10,000 on Monday for the first time in four years. Investors fear the crisis will weigh down the global economy and the bailout won't work quickly to loosen credit markets.

    The rescue plan, now law, was so rushed that the usual congressional scrutiny is only coming now, after the fact.

    "Although it comes too late to help Lehman Brothers, the so-called bailout program will have to make wrenching choices, picking winners and losers from a shattered and fragile economic landscape," said Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the committee's senior Republican.

    Waxman said that in January, Fuld and his board were warned the company's "liquidity can disappear quite fast."

    Despite that warning, he said, "Mr. Fuld depleted Lehman's capital reserves by over $10 billion through year-end bonuses, stock buybacks, and dividend payments."

    Waxman quoted Fuld as saying in one document, "Don't worry" to the suggestion that executives go without bonuses.

    That suggestion came from Lehman's money management subsidiary, Neuberger Berman. Waxman quoted George H. Walker, President Bush's cousin and a Lehman executive who oversaw some Neuberger Berman employees, as responding with a dismissive tone to the idea of going without bonuses.

    "Sorry team," he wrote to the executive committee, according to Waxman. "I'm not sure what's in the water at 605 Third Avenue today.... I'm embarrassed and I apologize."

    Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said: "I wonder how he sleeps at night."
    Fuld said in his statement that the company did everything it could to limits its risks and save itself.

    "In the end, despite all our efforts, we were overwhelmed, others were overwhelmed, and still other institutions would have been overwhelmed had the government not stepped in to save them," he said.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Really, someone please tell me the difference between these businessmen and the worst of organized crime leaders...except that there seems to be no law against giving out bonuses during a complete business failure. Pleading for government help through tax payer money while doling out tens of millions in "compensation at the same time they are failing and setting off a panic the likes of which have not been seen since 1929. OUTRAGEOUS...absolutely OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!

    PUKE!

    Korbel
    Last edited by korbel; 10-07-2008 at 12:01 AM.
    Korbie: of the Boston Red Sox Nation...the NBA Champion Boston Celtics Pride...and...the New England Patriots Dynasty!

  2. #2
    I'm watching this right now on CSPAN and I've never watched CSPAN before but I suspect CSPAN is about to become the most watched channel on TV. I saw Richard Fuld testify and he was raked over the coals. This is supposed to go on for a month. This is reality television.
    I don't necessarily agree with everything I say - Marshall McLuhan

  3. #3
    Name Retired.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima
    Fuld said he'd take full reponsibilty for his actions....yeah right...easy to say but what will the pay back be?
    As long as I'm concerned he is a "terrorist" of the worst kind.
    This guy should rot in jail. A quick death from a heart attack would be too lenient.
    Hello Maxima,

    I don't think he was saying he is going to give back $350,000,000 he received for failing.

    Right,

    Korbel
    Korbie: of the Boston Red Sox Nation...the NBA Champion Boston Celtics Pride...and...the New England Patriots Dynasty!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Maxima
    Fuld said he'd take full reponsibilty for his actions....yeah right...easy to say but what will the pay back be?
    As long as I'm concerned he is a "terrorist" of the worst kind.
    This guy should rot in jail. A quick death from a heart attack would be too lenient.
    Agreed, I believe that most corporate executives are the worst crooks. I do not know how they can live themselves. If fail at what they do, thier answer is to lay people off that cannot afford it, and these executives still get their bonuses. Their pay is also way out of line for what they do. Just think about how many jobs at worker bee pay just their bonus would be.

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