Not exactly the same as "cowboy up" but Reuters is reporting Lloyd
Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO has hired an top defense litigation
attorney from DC, Reid Weingarten, a man who represented many senior
executives in his time including former Enron executives in "white
collar" criminal matters:
(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein has hired
Reid Weingarten, a high-profile Washington defense attorney whose past
clients include a former Enron accounting officer, according to a
government source familiar with the matter.
Blankfein, 56, is in his sixth year at the helm of the largest U.S.
investment bank, which has spent two years dodging accusations of
conflicts of interest and fraud. [...]
"Why do you bring in someone like that?" said the source, who was not
authorized to speak publicly. "It says one thing: that they're taking
Blankfein has not been charged in any civil or criminal case, and it
was not immediately clear why he hired Weingarten.
David Wells, a spokesman for Goldman, declined to comment. [...]
Goldman shares fell sharply shortly after Reuters reported
Weingarten's hiring, closing down 4.7 percent at $106.51, their lowest
level since March 2009.
Smoke, fire etc. Certainly the market investors in Goldman Sachs
aren't pleased, probably because Blankfein has made them a lot of
money over what many consider activities that the Department of
Justice should long ago taken a hard look at. In any event, here's
Reid Weingarten, Esq.'s resume of past clients:
A partner with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Weingarten has represented a
wide array of clients in criminal cases. They include former WorldCom
Inc chief Bernard Ebbers, who was later convicted, and former Enron
accounting officer Richard Causey, who pleaded guilty in exchange for
a 5 to 7-year prison term.
In May, Weingarten won the acquittal of former GlaxoSmithKline lawyer
Lauren Stevens on charges of lying and obstructing a probe into the
company's marketing practices.
"I'm used to these monstrously difficult cases where everybody hates
my clients," Weingarten told AmericanLawyer.com in May, although he
described Stevens as a "beloved figure."
Considering the stories that the DOJ has asked the New York Attorney
General to back off criminal investigations of the Wall Street
investment bankers' involvement in the the derivatives scandal, market
manipulation of the housing market, the great foreclosure scam and the
fiscal crisis that led the US government and the Federal Reserve to
pour trillions of dollars into the banking system supposed to keep our
economy from crashing, this is a somewhat surprising development. I'll
certainly be watching to see what if anything develops.
It may be nothing, but in my former life as a banking industry lawyer,
no one hires a gunslinger like Weingarten unless they have something
to hide, have serious fears of prosecution and potential criminal
liability and believe that the need to get the best "hired gun"
available outweighs the negative publicity that such a move typically
generates for the company.
UPDATE: Found this little tidbit buried in a WSJ article that tries
very hard to spin this favorably for Goldman and Blankfein:
The firm was subpoenaed in June by Manhattan prosecutors who are
looking into questions raised in April by the U.S. Senate's Permanent
Subcommittee on Investigations, which was probing the securitization
activities of several companies, including Goldman.
Suggests to me that the initial lawyers who went through the document
search found some things that suggested all was more than a little
hinky in the senior executive suite. Up to now, Goldman has always
taken the position that "rogue traders" of whose activities it had
little knowledge were the rotten apples in an otherwise squeaky clean
barrel. Guess that is no longer necessarily the case.
It also suggest that, since story this was leaked by a "government
source" to reporters either someone in the DOJ is pressuring the
administration to follow through on information it already possesses
regarding the investigation into the role played by Goldman and others
in our fiscal crisis that Wall Street and its "derivatives bubble"
created, and/or pressuring Goldman to dump Blankfein. After all, on
the news that Blankfein had hired Weingarten, GS sock took a 5% hit
UPDATE 2: Just a reminder to review this article in Rolling Stone by
Matt Taibbi regarding the evidence we already know about illegal and
suspicious activities by Goldman Sachs that would justify criminal
prosecutions by the DOJ. A brief excerpt:
But Goldman, as the Levin report makes clear, remains an ascendant
company precisely because it used its canny perception of an upcoming
disaster (one which it helped create, incidentally) as an opportunity
to enrich itself, not only at the expense of clients but ultimately,
through the bailouts and the collateral damage of the wrecked economy,
at the expense of society. The bank seemed to count on the
unwillingness or inability of federal regulators to stop them — and
when called to Washington last year to explain their behavior, Goldman
executives brazenly misled Congress, apparently confident that their
perjury would carry no serious consequences. [...]
But beginning in the mid-Nineties, when former Goldman co-chairman Bob
Rubin served as Bill Clinton's senior economic-policy adviser, the
government began moving toward a regulatory system that relied almost
exclusively on voluntary compliance by the banks. [...]
But spiking almost all criminal referrals wasn't enough for Wall
Street. In 2004, in an extraordinary sequence of regulatory rollbacks
that helped pave the way for the financial crisis, the top five
investment banks — Goldman, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Lehman
Brothers and Bear Stearns — persuaded the government to create a new,
voluntary approach to regulation called Consolidated Supervised
Entities. CSE was the soft touch to end all soft touches. Here is how
the SEC's inspector general described the program's regulatory army:
"The Office of CSE Inspections has only two staff in Washington and
five staff in the New York regional office." [...]
By the end of 2006, Goldman was sitting atop a $6 billion bet on
American home loans. The bet was a byproduct of Goldman having helped
create a new trading index called the ABX, through which it
accumulated huge holdings in mortgage-related securities. But in
December 2006, a series of top Goldman executives — including Viniar,
mortgage chief Daniel Sparks and senior executive Thomas Montag — came
to the conclusion that Goldman was overexposed to mortgages and should
get out from under its huge bet as quickly as possible. Internal memos
indicate that the executives soon became aware of the host of scams
that would crater the global economy: home loans awarded with no
documentation, loans with little or no equity in them. On December
14th, Viniar met with Sparks and other executives, and stressed the
need to get "closer to home" — i.e., to reduce the bank's giant bet on
Sparks followed up that meeting with a seven-point memo laying out how
to unload the bank's mortgages. Entry No. 2 is particularly
noteworthy. "Distribute as much as possible on bonds created from new
loan securitizations," Sparks wrote, "and clean previous positions."
In other words, the bank needed to find suckers to buy as much of its
risky inventory as possible. Goldman was like a car dealership that
realized it had a whole lot full of cars with faulty brakes. Instead
of announcing a recall, it surged ahead with a two-fold plan to make a
fortune: first, by dumping the dangerous products on other people, and
second, by taking out life insurance against the fools who bought the
The DemocRAT Hall Of Shame http://www.democrathallofshame.com/ asks
"Why do you always LIE?"
[Courtesy of Buster Norris]
On Tue, 09 Aug 2011 16:10:39 -0400, Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names
>A little over ten years ago, we were running budget surpluses and
>paying down the national debt.
Budget Deficit (corrected for inflation)
The DemocRATs Hall of Shame!