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« Who Is Most Heinous...Paulson, Lewis Or Bernanke? | Main | The Banking Oligarchy Attacks Elizabeth Warren And STSS »

A Good Day For The Good Guys

I remember the weekend in question last September very clearly.  Fannie and Freddie had failed. AIG was teetering.  A meeting was called, ostensibly to find a buyer for Lehman Brothers (Barclays ultimately balked at the absence of Fed assistance-sharp Brits!), but the surprise was Ken Lewis hooking up with John Thain, and Bank of America buying the tangled morass that was Merrill Lynch.

BAC paid a huge premium for Merrill and that outrage notwithstanding, the purchase itself was the most idiotic in the banking space since Wachovia gorged on Golden West Financial at the peak of the bubble in May 2006.  Every soul on the street outside of Bill Miller knew Lewis overpaid and that Merrill's balance sheet was a radioactive nightmare. The criticism was so uniform in the days that followed that we assumed that it had to have been an 'encouraged marriage.'  Lewis couldn't be so dense as to believe he struck a good deal.

I think the jury is still out on whether Lewis was prodded to do the deal, or even whether he was offered future assistance from the FedTreas if he agreed to take on Merrill's liabilities.  Regardless, Lewis still overshot massively. Granting a premium for Merrill at the time was a low point in bank deal-making history, and offered a hint that he had lost his mind. He and his board should not be approved by shareholders when they vote next month. 

And then there was today.  A day of rare, exquisite joy as the 'he-said, he-said, he-said' romp around the Cuomo subpoena was played out before millions of smiling viewers.  Cuomo, Lewis, Bernanke and Paulson.  It couldn't get any better for payback junkies.  But then it did. There were rebuttals, contradictions, restatements, and denials. It was a good day for the home team, a day for laughing and smirking and feeling that maybe, just maybe, the guilty will be punished after all. 

Without polling, I believe most of us desire intense social and psychological pain for one man in particular, Henry Paulson.  And for once, we got what we wanted. 

Here's a toast to today's circus and to the dream that Bernanke is not re-appointed, that Paulson is indicted, and that Ken Lewis loses his motherfreakin'  J-O-B.



bank bailouts, bailout, bail out

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Reader Comments (10)

What would Thomas Jefferson Do?


Growing up is hard to do—especially in public. After his disastrous start, the Treasury secretary is scrambling to learn on the job. But how long can we afford to wait?

Apr 24, 2009 at 1:08 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's letter to the SEC and Senate Banking Committee on the Bank of America, Merrill Lynch Merger provides strong evidence of coercion to commit securities fraud by former Treasury Secretary Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, and actual securities fraud by Bank of America CEO Kenneth D. Lewis.

Apr 24, 2009 at 2:08 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
Outstanding read. Has some interesting quotes from Barofsky who was present for the Ken Lewis testimony.

Apr 24, 2009 at 2:15 AM | Registered CommenterDailyBail
If you're licking your chops for indictments (don't hold your breath while you're doing all that licking) Karl Denninger makes some really good points about how Bernanke, Paulson AND Lewis could be indictable. Karl also makes the excellent point that the Bear Stearns/JP Morgan bailout and the BAC/Countrywide deal should be revisted -- by a prosecutor.

Apr 24, 2009 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
There is NO justice in a Country where decisions for the public are made in PRIVATE. THERE IS SOMETHING TO HIDE....and uncovering the truth will be more damaging than admission of guilt up front! Americans are a forgiving people but WE WILL NOT TOLERATE....TREASON and CONSPIRACY. The above described behavior is BOTH!!!!!!!!!
Apr 24, 2009 at 12:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterAin't Bullshittin'
You are really jumping the gun on this -- Cuomo is of the Spitzerian "attention whore" school of prosecution -- i.e., do what you gotta do to get a lot of ink and air-time and never mind actually locking anyone up.

This is all part of rat-faced andy's gubernatorial bid: "look at me, I got to the bottom of this!!" Paulson will not be indicted. Hell, he wont even ever be deposed.
Apr 24, 2009 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterChubbz De Linquente

You're probably right about Andy's motives, but let's look at this as a "little green shoot" or a "mustard seed." We have to think of these incompetent losers who rule us as useful idiots and try to use them to our advantage. There's no reason in the world that an "attention whore" can't be tricked into putting out a little for the little guy.

Let's call his office right now and tell them we expect Paulson and Bernanke to get raked over the coals:

General Helpline: 1-800-771-7755

Executive Office NYC: 212-416-8000

Albany Office: 518-474-5481
Apr 24, 2009 at 2:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H
You might also want to contact the Investor Protection Bureau of the Office of the Attorney General.

Phone: 212-416-8222
Fax: 212-417-8816

And here's the Complaint Form. It's in PDF, but you can type in the fields and email it to someone at the AG's office. Lots of fun to be had here, especially if you consider the TARP funds "your" investment. Question #13. "Did you complain to the company?" and Question #15. "To whom did you complain?" have real comedic potential.

Apr 24, 2009 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames H

We all know how Barofsky uses the term "investigation" very loosely. He sends letters to TARP recipients asking how much was received and what they did with it - sort of a non-binding self-reporting request. This is not Dun & Bradstreet! Barofsky has subpoena power but refuses to use it. Elizabeth Warren would have used it. Eliot Spitzer would have used it. Andrew Cuomo does use it. Barosky better start using it if he wants any credibility.
Apr 24, 2009 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble
This is exciting news in regards to the three stooges otherwise know as Kenny, Benny and Hoe. The look on Paulson's face in the picture above is classic and this is going on the refrigerator next to last year's Christmas pictures. It says, "I just sharted my pants at the heat I'm about to take." LOL
Apr 24, 2009 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterspideydouble

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