Thursday, May 05, 2016

Trump's finance chairman (and pal) is a Goldman Sachs alumnus and all-around sleaze

Let's start by quoting something that Alex Jones -- the Trump-supporting King of the Conspiratards -- said to Roger Stone, Trump's friend and right-wing hit man.
My reporters -- again, I don’t know why we’re in the zeitgeist -- all over the country caught the Mexican flags, the beating people up, the George Soros-funded people. That has accelerated Trump.
I'm not quite sure what this passage means. Frankly, this is the sort of "word salad" one might expect from either an avant-garde poet or a diagnosed schizophrenic. However, it's pretty clear that AJ doesn't care for Soros.

Hypocrite that he is, AJ probably won't say one discouraging word about Trump's new National Finance Chairman Steven Mnuchin, "a business associate of Trump’s and also chairman and CEO of Dune Capital Management LP."
In 2003, the new finance director started a hedge fund with $1 billion from George Soros, the liberal New York financier who has spent more than $13 million to support Hillary Clinton and other Democrats this election cycle.

Mnuchin spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., working his way up to partner and becoming head of the mortgage department before joining Hank Paulson in the executive suite, becoming the firm’s chief information officer in 1999.

At Dune, he purchased the remains of IndyMac Bank, the Pasadena, California-based mortgage lender that collapsed in 2008. Notoriously press-shy, the executive endured 2011 protests on the lawn of his Bel Air mansion by foreclosed homeowners angered at his lender's handling of soured mortgages.
Starting his career in the early 1980s as a trainee at Salomon Brothers before moving to Goldman Sachs in 1985, Mnuchin was front and center for the advent of instruments like collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps. He has called securitization “an extremely positive development in terms of being able to finance different parts of the economy and different businesses efficiently.”
The Goldman Sachs connection is interesting. We learn here that Mnuchin was "Co-Head of the Technology Operating Committee and Global Head of e-Commerce at Goldman Sachs."

Side note: As we've discussed in previous posts, Salon has become a pro-Trump "liberal" website. Salon, which bleeds a ton of money every year, stays alive only through donations from a DoD contractor with ties to the intelligence community and even larger donations from hedge fund manager Bill Hambrecht. Salon's CEO is Bill's daughter, Betsy Hambrecht.

Guess what? Like Mnuchin, Betsy Hambrecht is a Goldman Sachs alum.

I'm not sure what it all means (beyond the obvious point that Goldman alumni are freakin' everywhere), but I can tell you this: Once more, Trump has proven himself to be a thorough hypocrite.
Trump often criticized his main competitor Ted Cruz for his links to the bank because of loans used to finance Cruz’s Senate campaign, and because Heidi Cruz was a one-time employee of Goldman. "I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him. Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton,” Trump said in one debate.
So: We are supposed to hate Ted Cruz because Heidi used to work for Goldman. But we're not supposed to hate Trump even though Steve Mnuchin, his good friend and finance chairman, used to work for Goldman.


Trump has also tried to link Soros to ISIS. Should we now try to tie Trump to ISIS via Mnuchin? 

After Goldman, Mnuchin went out to Hollywood to help arrange financing for movies such as Life of Pi and Avatar. Alas, his Hollywood career soured...
But last Fall things got ugly when his film studio, Relativity Media tumbled into bankruptcy late last year. But that's not all. Apparently the other investors who lost their shirts when they learned that a bank tied to Mnuchin managed to draw out $50 million dollars for the company in the weeks just prior to the bankruptcy filing in July.
For more on that scandal -- and quite a scandal it is! -- see this investigation in Variety.
With Relativity’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last week, those high hopes have been dashed, and Mnuchin has been left in a particularly uncomfortable position. The money-man and fellow investors in a Dune Capital fund are said to have lost as much as $80 million — equity that is almost certain to be lost for good, said two sources familiar with the situation. And disgruntled Relativity investors privately are questioning how a bank Mnuchin once headed –OneWest Bank of Pasadena – was allowed by Relativity to drain $50 million from the studio just weeks prior to the July 30 insolvency filing.
Mnuchin's bank, OneWest, has a rather vile history. They make money from foreclosures.

In fact, they had to pay a seven-figure fee after being found guilty of a form of mortgage fraud known as "dual tracking." Also see here:
Two years ago, when Steven Mnuchin moved to Los Angeles to become CEO of OneWest Bank, he sold his five-bedroom duplex co-op apartment for $9 million. The New York Times said that the apartment at 740 Park Avenue was “one of the most prestigious addresses in New York.” But you needn’t feel sorry for Mnuchin. He now lives in a 9-bedroom, 10-bathroom, 22,721 square foot mansion, valued at $26.9 million in LA’s swanky Bel Air neighborhood.

In contrast, Rose Gudiel, 35, lives in a small 1200 square feet, one-story 3-bedroom house in La Puente, a working class suburb of Los Angeles, where she, her father (a warehouse worker), and her brother care for her disabled mother.

Gudiel would like Mnuchin to visit her at her home, because his OneWest Bank is trying to evict her and her family. If Mnuchin won’t come to visit Gudiel, she will visit him, and bring some of her neighbors and friends with her.

Gudiel has become the public face of a burgeoning crusade to defend homeowners from unfair evictions.
OneWest, headquartered in Pasadena, has a considerable track record of mistreating its customers. In 2009, a New York judge called OneWest’s behavior “harsh, repugnant, shocking and repulsive’’ in trying to foreclose on a New York family. The judge branded the bank’s conduct as “inequitable, unconscionable, vexatious and opprobrious.’’
Gudiel and her parents bought their small house in 2005. They made steady mortgage payments until 2009, when one of her brothers died unexpectedly and the family lost his income. The family was two weeks late on the next mortgage payment. When they sent in the payment, OneWest wouldn’t accept it, telling the Gudiels that they needed to apply for a loan modification instead. The Gudiels then spent over a year attempting unsuccessfully to get the bank to modify the loan — even though their income had long since recovered after another brother moved in with them. Then the bank started foreclosure proceedings.
In 2009, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the government agency in charge of overseeing banks, was trying to unload the Pasadena-based IndyMac bank, which was one of the first major lenders to collapse as a result of its portfolio of risky loans and borrowers stopped paying on variable-rate mortgages. According to the Los Angeles Times, “IndyMac specialized in loans that didn’t require much borrower documentation, such as verification of income.”

Mnuchin helped put together a group of investors to buy the bank from FDIC as part of a sweetheart deal. Mnuchin became CEO of the new institution, renamed OneWest. To get the troubled IndyMac bank off its books, FDIC allowed Mnuchin and other investors to buy the bank’s $20.7 billion in loans and other assets for $16 billion. FDIC and the Federal Home Loan Bank provided $9 billion in financing to sweeten the deal. It also agreed to guarantee some of the thrift’s worst assets. OneWest also received a commitment of $1.8 billion in federal bail-out funds, according to ProPublica.

According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, “critics point out that the deal is allowing OneWest’s owners to make billions of dollars in profits while costing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. — and the banking industry that funds it — more than $10 billion.”
If you've ever wondered why banks try so hard to foreclose, instead of working with customers, here's the bottom line (emphasis added)...
The LABJ article also suggests that OneWest Bank makes a tidy profit on each foreclosure. “On bad loans, OneWest, which bought many of the loans at 70 percent of par value, gets the cash from a foreclosure,” according to the LABJ, “and is also reimbursed up to 95 percent of the difference between the original loan value and the foreclosure sale amount.”

In February 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported: “The billionaires’ club of private financiers who took over the remains of IndyMac Bank from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. turned a profit of $1.57 billion last year on the failed mortgage lender — more than they invested less than a year ago.”
Also see here. OneWest seems to specialize in making money by tossing old people out on the street.

With friends like these, how the hell did Trump gain a reputation as a populist?

(By the way: "Mnuchin" is pronounced "Menuhin." The extraordinary violinist Yehudi Menuhin was originally Yehudi Mnuchin.)
Anyone confused by trump sadly is still confused by him because lack of facts.
Thom Hartmann's take is, that Trump could be the next Ronald Reagan. The MSM will clean him up, and the PTB will control him. Just like Reagan. I can see that happening. Bend over and lube up workers.
Rachel Maddow reported last night that 35,000 people lost their homes thanks to Trump's buddy & his billionaire honchos. In one celebrated case where a daughter was attempting to save her elderly parents' home, a protest was organized, marching into the banker's gated community and making him "very afraid."

This dispels the notion that Trump 'will pick the very best people" because the trouble with government is all about management, doncha know. He'll select from the pack of thieves he runs with and call it good, while stroking every racist note. That taco bowl tweet yesterday was classic. See I'm not a racist and neither are you. We can eat Mexican American foodies, so that proves it. Now we can deport every illegal and not feel guilty. What's not to like????

This man is dangerous, as in deadly.

My daughter was a week late with a house payment, which led to three years of wailing and gnashing of teeth as we fought three different banks over foreclosure proceedings. The banks had already seized five of the seven farms in the area but then a big real estate coming out of Atlanta tanked and suddenly the pressure to foreclose eased up. Yep. Let's trust the banks and tRump. She took a bath in legal fees and a huge fine imposed by the bank to refinance her home. They had forty percent of the mortgage paid but stood to lose everything. This country needs no more Republicans in office in any capacity.
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