Archive for December 2009

  • 31 Dec 2009 at 12:00 PM

Opening/Closing/Holiday Bell: 12.31.09

Picture 73.pngVIP’s a ‘kinky brute’ (NYP)
Aspatuck Holdings CEO Jason Meyer is being sued by his new(ly estranged) wife for, among other things, calling her a bitch and “ejaculating on her face after she refused to refer to herself as his ‘slave’ and tell him he was ‘the most powerful man on earth’ while they were having sex.” She also had a problem with a photo in which “his ex-wife was wearing a very short black leather dress and holding a whip, and Jason had a mask with metal chains around his body.”
Indictment Is Waived in Galleon Case (Reuters)
Former McKinsey exec Anil Kumar may have struck a deal.

(Anonymous) Hedge Fund Manager On Year-End Closings
n+1: So you spent the last part of the year closing down the books–is that what it’s called?
HFM: Closing the books for the year, which really mainly relates to getting prices for all of the securities, instruments, derivatives in our book so that our year-end financials are totally accurate. It’s actually the worst: a lot of banks don’t close their books for the year on the calendar year, they have a fiscal year, but our fiscal year is the calendar year, and there literally is no day of the year that is worse for the process of getting marks for your whole portfolio than December 31, because everyone is gone. You’re looking for a price on an illiquid security and you call up the bank you dealt with, and the salesperson you deal with is not there, his backup’s not there, his backup’s backup is not there, the trader’s backup is not there, you’re literally getting the most junior person on the desk trying to get someone on his cell phone on the ski slope in Vermont–it’s just about the dumbest time to choose to do it. Every year, two weeks in advance, I send a list to all my counterparties, saying, “Here’s the list of things I need pricing for, really, make sure you have somebody available to price these. And ‘skiing’ is not an excuse; ‘I’m with my family on safari, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro’–not an excuse.” And every year the excuses are, “I’m skiing,” or the guy’s on safari, whatever–it’s incredible. So my New Year’s is always wrecked. I’m waiting around for the last guy to give me the last price.
AT&T Ends Tiger Woods Sponsorship (WSJ)
Narrow-minded thinkers who blew the opportunity to incorporate this into their next campaign. But whatever, you know? No sweat of W’s sack. Piece of shit carrier and its dropped calls was responsible for way too many a night spent sans cocktail waitress.
Woman found stabbed in backcountry Greenwich (Greenwich Time)
100 Sterling Road.
Big Meeting Today, Clothing Optional (CNBC)
Uh, Vikram does this all the time. NBD: “About one in five UK participants in conference calls have called in while naked. Almost half have worn only their underwear while 68 percent have only worn pajamas, a survey by BT Conferencing showed Wednesday. The most popular place to call into a conference is in bed, while “the smallest room in the house, our toilet or somebody else’s, seems to be the second most popular location,” BT said in a statement.”
Should Your Fake Tan Be Taxed? (The Big Money)
Moz? Care to weigh in?
Things To Look Forward To In Early 2010 (People)
Gary Busey’s gonna be a dad!
What’s New, Pussycat? Using the Toilet (WSJ)
Okay, sure: “Mr. Tibbs hops onto the toilet, takes a cautious lap around the seat, pokes his head inside the bowl and checks it out. Then he jumps down and belts out a heart-wrenching meow before jumping back up again. He will proceed with this choreography at least a dozen times as I coax and correct, if necessary. Then he does his business, and I lavish him with treats and praise. Yes, I am toilet-training my cat.”

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  • 30 Dec 2009 at 4:30 PM

Write-Offs: 12.30.09

$$$ Julian Robertson named New Zealand’s first honorary knight [DP]
$$$ The Big Lebowski Gets The Academic Treatment: At times Mr. Owens sounds as if he’s been hitting the minibar himself. He writes about how Leon Trotsky is “doubly implicated” in the White Russian, first because he helped defeat the anti-Communist White Russian army during the Russian civil war, and second because he later fled to Mexico, “Kahlúa’s country of origin.” Mr. Owens suggests that the Dude has a kind of “Trotskian positionality.” [NYT]
$$$ 2010 Will Be Challenging For Goldman [HuffPo]
$$$ WSJ Misleads On Harbinger Capital “Insider Information” Story [HFImplode]

  • 30 Dec 2009 at 11:55 AM

Opening Bell: 12.30.09

Fund Chief Snared By Taps, Turncoats (WSJ)
Tears for only hedge fund manager with the sense of humor to tase his employees and hire midgets as jokes: “That morning, the trading day began early like any other at Galleon’s Madison Avenue offices. Then, an investor who lived in Mr. Rajaratnam’s building called to say he had seen the FBI arrest Mr. Rajaratnam. Galleon employees began texting each other with the news. One trader burst into sobs.”
E-mails inside AIG reveal executives struggling with growing crisis (Washington Post)
In late July, Goldman Sachs, one of the firm’s largest trading partners, challenged Financial Products’ numbers, asserting that Goldman’s calculations showed a significant drop in the swaps’ value. That drop, Goldman contended, triggered provisions in the swaps contracts requiring AIG to post hundreds of millions of dollars in collateral to protect Goldman against the apparent escalation in risk. “They are not budging and are acting irrational,” Tom Athan, a Financial Products executive, wrote on Aug. 2 to Forster after a tense conference call with Goldman employees. “I feel we need Joe [Cassano] to understand the situation 100% and let him decide how he wants to proceed.” Athan added, “This isn’t what I signed up [for]. Where are the big trades, high fives and celebratory closing dinners you promised?”
Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man (WSJ)
Just hold out ’til Friday, li’l fellas! Then you’re free to bite the big one.
Tiger Hunt Sparks Tall Tales (NYP)
Unbelievably, the Tiger Woods and his 97 affairs storyline has resulted in some lies. Thankfully, the Post is here to set the record straight, namely about TDubs and Rachel Uchitel shacking up together. It’s not happening. We can all breathe easy now.
Thundercats Movie Canceled (Vulture)
Will no heroic hedge fund manager step up and finance this thing?
Set of identical twins busted in long-term $2M investment scam (NYDN)
Makara and Tsele Nkhereanye, 38, who live with their mother, maintain their innocence.

In the Loftiest of Buildings, High Art Still Finds a Home In The Lobby
Sure, no mention of the brass Mallomars recently installed in Stamford. Assholes.
GMAC Set for Another Cash Infusion (WSJ)
What’s $3.5 billion among friends?
Cleave Watch: Amanda Drury (DB)
I woke up to emails from several of you claiming sightings of “very aggressive amounts of cleave, even for AD’s standards.” Naturally, I took the time to investigate. This is what she’s wearing today:

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  • 29 Dec 2009 at 5:00 PM

Write-Offs: 12.29.09

$$$ Hovde Capital Advisors: “We Believe Pershing Square Is Out Of Touch.” [PDF]
$$$ Citi: The Bank That Couldn’t Shoot Straight [MarketWatch]
$$$ Equity’s Lost Decade: The Offering [Hedge World]
$$$ Investors Reshape IndyMac [WSJ]
$$$ Delayed gratification is overrated: avoid the temptation to postpone pleasure. JO&C right now! [NYT]
$$$ Vote for the best Post cover of the decade. I like “Holy Shiite.” [NYP]

  • 29 Dec 2009 at 10:55 AM

Opening Bell: 12.29.09

raj rajaratnam air guitar.jpgThe Man Who Wired Silicon Valley (WSJ)
The hedge fund community has been (potentially) robbed of a tremendous human being: “At Galleon, Mr. Rajaratnam took his fondness for pranks and dares to a new level. When executives from stun-gun maker Taser International Inc. came to make an investment pitch around 2005, Mr. Rajaratnam offered $5,000 to anyone who’d agree to be shocked. Employees gathered around as two people propped up trader Keryn Limmer at the elbows and another person fired the weapon. Ms. Limmer’s legs buckled beneath her from the shock. Ms. Limmer declined to comment. That same year, employees arrived at Galleon’s morning meeting to a surprise: In the conference room was a dwarf whom Mr. Rajaratnam introduced as an analyst hired to cover “small-cap” stocks. He was, in fact, an actor hired for an April Fool’s Day gag.”
Ponzi collapses nearly quadrupled in ’09 (AP)
Charles P is not going to be happy to hear this. In all, more than 150 Ponzi schemes collapsed in 2009, compared to about 40 in 2008, according to the AP’s examination of criminal cases at all U.S. attorneys’ offices and the FBI, as well as criminal and civil actions taken by state prosecutors and regulators at both the federal and state levels. Everyone running one of these things, promise me you’ll do better in 2010, okay?
Debriefed: A first look at the X-mas bomber’s explosive underwear (NYDN)
Go ahead, take a peek.
Moran Stanley To Overhaul Pay Plan (WSJ)
The compensation committee has met several times over the last month– once for 7 whole hours!– to discuss how top executives will get paid. Thankfully, no one wants to go the way of Goldman’s all-stock plan. One idea is that 65% (or more) of pay will be subject to clawbacks in the event of future losses. Also, 20% of total compensation would come in “shares awarded based on Morgan’s share price compared with peers’ share prices.” And of course you have John Mack. Not getting paid at all. Again.
Did Tiger Cost Shareholders $12 Billion? (CNBC)
The University of California, Davis says yes. What they don’t answer: did each girl cost shareholders roughly the same amount? Did Jungers and Grubbs cost more?
Ex-Hedge Fund Analyst Finds Calling On YouTube (NPR)
Salman Khan teaches math on the internet. Ping Jiang is hoping to be the next lonelygirl15.
Most cocaine diluted with unsafe livestock drug (SFGate)
Just an FYI: “Most cocaine coming into the United States has been diluted with a veterinary drug that is used to deworm horses and other animals but can cause severe illness and death in humans, public health experts say.”
Departing AIG Counsel Gets Millions as She Exits (WSJ)
Anastasia Kelly is getting a few mill in severance after quitting over being fed up with Ken Feinberg and his “ideas.” So that worked out pretty nicely for her.
Trump Trimmed (NYP)
Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owns the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina and Trump Plaza casino-hotels, “quietly acknowledged yesterday that the properties are worth an estimated $459 million — down from $2 billion in assets when Trump Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in February 2009.”
Top Videos Of 2009 (CNBC)
The network’s top clips for the year include Santelli’s teabagging rants, a conversation with Art Cashin, Obama swatting a fly, the Lingerie Football League and this:

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  • 28 Dec 2009 at 4:20 PM

Write-Offs: 12.28.09

$$$ James Grant Interview: Let The Good Times Roll [NYM]
$$$ Charlie Gasparino: New York Needs Wall Street [HuffPo]
$$$ JP Morgan may scrap £1.5bn London HQ plan over Labour’s attacks on City: “Jamie Dimon made the coded warning to Alistair Darling in an angry phone call after the Government revealed its 50pc super-tax on bonuses in the pre-Budget report. Although Mr Dimon did not explicitly threaten to can the 1.9m square foot Docklands development, he pointedly used it to demonstrate the bank’s commitment to London. A JP Morgan executive stressed: ‘There were no threats made on the call and we have made no decisions on people or buildings based on the super-tax announcement.'” [Telegraph]
$$$ Sex Diaries: The Divorced Trader Living Out His Fantasy Life [DI]

  • 28 Dec 2009 at 10:55 AM

Opening Bell: 12.28.09

Picture 71.pngPonzi schemer Bernie Madoff had dizziness, high blood pressure, not assault injuries (NYDN)
Prison officials claim the report that Bernie Madoff had the shit beat out of him last week is false, and that he was hospitalized simply for dizziness. His lawyer/barnyard specialist Ira Sorkin agrees: “The Bureau of Prisons said that report was not accurate,” Sorkin said. “Indeed, Mr. Madoff was treated for dizzy spells and high blood pressure. That’s all I’m going to say.” Two things to consider here: 1) they’re lying and 2) WHY? What are they trying to cover up?
UBS Case Whistleblower Seeks Prison Postponement (Reuters)
Bradley Birkenfeld the former UBS broker helped out the IRS by letting it know which of his colleagues were in fact helping their clients not pay taxes, would like to pump the brakes on his prison sentence. He’s supposed to report to the big house January 8 for 40 months, but apparently has more people to rat out and would like to see if we can come to some sort of an agreement if you know what I mean and I think you do. Also, he’s still waiting on the money he’s owed for a job well done.

Feds probe banker Allen Stanford’s ties to Congress
(Miami Herald)
Representative Pete Sessions sent this email to the artist formerly known as Sir Stan the day he was charged with possibly running a Ponzi scheme: “I love you and believe in you…If you want my ear/voice, email. –Pete.” When Raj went down, Chuck Schumer shot him a text, “I don’t care what they say, I love my bitch. Don’t let them break you. –C.” Both are an NBD situation.
Bill Gates Takes Noel’s Place In Mustique (NYP)
This is almost too painful to type but we always promised to never keep things from each other, no matter how hard or painful: Walter Noel and the fam did not spend Christmas in Yemanja, for the second year in a row. And they might sell the place, for the cash.
New Hedge Funds Gain Momentum (WSJ)
The guy who started The Children’s Investment Fund will be charging 1.5 & 15, with a five year lockup.

Bloody Fight On The 6 Train
(Gothamist via)
There’s a video. There’s a video.
In the FT’s parallel universe, Goldman Sachs boss is the hero of 2009 (The Guardian)
One UK newspaper is pretty sure the other must be clinically insane, otherwise there’s no other logical explanation for the crowning of Lloyd Blankfein as Man of The Year.
Madoff Son Of A Gun (NYP)
Andy Madoff applied for a gun permit 6 months ago. The NYPD claims, despite evidence to the contrary, that he never got one, because this rumble in the Bronxoutside a Chinese restaurant on the Upper East Side would’ve disqualified him. Also, take a moment with this:
Picture 70.png
Does Golden Pay for the CEOs Sink Stocks? (WSJ)
“Each dollar that goes into the CEO’s pocket takes $100 out of shareholders’ pockets.”

Letterman ‘extorter’ pushing for plea deal
Supposedly Robert Halderman would rather go to jail for one year instead of 15 for his poorly thought out out plan to take David Letterman for a ride, though his attorney claims there’s no such deal in the works, and that they’re going for a full dismissal of the charges. Dream big in 2010.
After Bailouts, Washington’s The Boss (WSJ)
And look who decided to show up:

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  • 24 Dec 2009 at 12:00 PM

Write-Offs: 12.24.09

$$$ Barclays hands out pay rises to investment bankers (some of 150%) [The Guardian]
$$$ Goldman Sachs Responds to The New York Times on Synthetic Collateralized Debt Obligations [GS]
$$$ A bunch of former Bear Stearns employees got drunk together in midtown. [Bloomberg]
$$$ That’s it for us. We hope everyone has a great vacation, celebrating the birth of Christ, or whatever you happen to be doing. Very abbreviated scheduled next week, with exceptions made for Bernie dying or sex tapes of a much-loved hedge fund manager surfacing.

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