June 2012

  • News

    Chesapeake Will Get Rid Of Voted-Out Directors When It’s Good And Ready

    Shareholder democracy is for the most part a very training-wheels sort of democracy. If you […]

    / Jun 8, 2012 at 4:46 PM
  • News

    UBS Not Sweating The Small Stuff

    UBS is sitting on losses that could be as high as $350 million stemming from […]

    / Jun 8, 2012 at 2:42 PM
  • Banks, News

    Let’s Talk About: Basel III

    The Fed last night unleashed eight zillion pages of Basel III implementation on the universe and I’m tempted to be like “open thread, tell us about your hopes and fears for capital regulation.” So do that! Or don’t because it is super boring, that is also a valid approach. Still I guess we should discuss.

    Starting slow though. Banks have to have capital, meaning that they have to fund some of their assets with things that are long-lived and loss-absorbing, like common equity, rather than with things that have to be paid back soon and at face value. The reason for this is that the rest of banks’ assets are funded with things that we really do want to be paid back soon and at face value, like deposits, and if the value of those assets declines you don’t want those deposits to be wiped out.

    The rules say that you need capital equal to a percentage of your assets. The game is deciding (1) what that percentage is, (2) what is capital (proceeds from selling common stock, and actual earnings, yes, but, like, deferred tax assets?), and (3) how you count assets (you might want more capital to shield you from losses in, say, social media stocks than you would to shield you from losses in Treasury bonds, so regulators use “risk-weighted assets,” so that $1 of corporate bonds counts as $1 of assets, $1 of Treasuries counts as $0 of assets, and $1 of Facebook stock counts as $3 of assets*).

    Anyway, here are the required capital levels:

    / Jun 8, 2012 at 1:17 PM
  • I will sell this house today

    Sleep Where Dan Loeb Hath Slept

    The Third Point founder is reportedly looking for a buyer for his 10,674-square-foot penthouse at 15 Central Park West. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, people hear that Loeb “wants $100 million,” which would represent a 122.22% return (DL and his wife bought the place for $45 million in 2008). While perhaps a tad pricey, consider that back in November, Sandy Weill was able to get $88 million for his 15CPW apartment, a relative dump at 6,744-square-feet.* As for the Loebs, they are apparently “in search of something larger,” if you’ve got any leads. It seems pretty obvious that a fellow hedge fund manager with a 20,000 square foot UES mansion** and a liquidity problem might want to get in touch but we’ll let him come to that in his own time.

    Apartment Hunting For The Superrich [NYT]

    *Weill told prospective buyers that he’d be donating the money to charity but maybe they would’ve done this for him anyway.
    **Selling points: Indoor pool, bar and lounge with a closet.

    / Jun 8, 2012 at 10:23 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.08.12

    Capital Rule Is One Size Fits All (WSJ)
    The Federal Reserve shocked bankers Thursday by approving a proposal that would force even the smallest lenders to comply with the elaborate international bank-capital standards known as Basel III. The draft requirements would apply to all 7,307 U.S. banks, according to a proposal circulated by the Fed. Many bankers had expected regulators to exempt some small lenders from the new rules, which are aimed at shoring up the biggest global banks whose troubles fueled the financial crisis. While the core Basel III rules will apply to all banks, other aspects of the new regime single out the biggest, most complex banks for tougher treatment than their smaller peers. The Fed, for instance, has embraced slapping a handful of the biggest U.S. banks with a capital surcharge of between 1% and 2.5%. The Fed has yet to introduce the specific proposal.

    Europe’s Vulnerable East Braces for Possible Greek Exit (WSJ)
    Government officials and central bankers in the European Union’s eastern wing say they are in better shape to weather any storm than they were four years ago when the collapse of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers sparked a global financial crisis. But they are still vulnerable. Investors fearful that Greek elections next week will spark Athens’s disorderly departure from the euro have already been selling Polish, Hungarian, Romanian and Czech assets, hitting local currencies and stock markets. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose heavily indebted country is considered especially at risk, said “work has begun” on strengthening defenses “so that such a quake doesn’t bring Hungary down on one knee.”

    Euro Breakup Precedent Seen When 15 State-Ruble Zone Fell Apart (Bloomberg)
    The 1992 Soviet experience tells us “an exit like this is messy and leads to loss of income and inflation, and people are right to be scared of it,” said Harold James, a professor of history at Princeton University.

    ‘Bargain’ Bid as Warren Buffett Lunch Auction Goes Into Final Day (CNBC)
    With just over 24 hours to go, the high bid for lunch with Warren Buffett is just over $200,000. That’s around 8 percent of last year’s record $2,626,411 winning bid by Ted Weschler, who is now working for Buffett as a Berkshire Hathaway portfolio manager. Ted also won the previous year’s auction with a bid of $2,626,311.

    Bear Stearns Accord Turns Another Page (WSJ)
    Former top executives at Bear Stearns Cos., including James E. Cayne and Alan “Ace” Greenberg, have agreed to a $275 million settlement of a shareholder lawsuit over the demise of the Wall Street firm four years ago. The deal with investors led by the State of Michigan Retirement Systems puts to an end the last major dispute surrounding the demise of Bear Stearns, whose near-collapse in March 2008 marked the beginning of the worst period of the financial crisis. Mr. Cayne, a former CEO, and Mr. Greenberg, who was Mr. Cayne’s mentor and predecessor, and the other former top executives named in the lawsuit won’t have to pay any of the settlement, according to people close to them. The money will come from a $9 billion fund set aside by J.P. Morgan Chase. for litigation and other expenses in 2008, when it bought Bear Stearns in a cut-price deal blessed by the government.

    Woman who allegedly ran down boyfriend after he damaged her iPhone says she still loves him (NYP)
    Jasmine Diaz told her Bronx Central Booking cellmate that she is still in love with Franklyn Hernandez, her 17-year old boyfriend who she’s accused of running down with an SUV after he accidentally damaged her iPhone. “She says she loves him and she feels like s —t, ” the 21-year-old cellmate, Michelle Rodriguez, said after being released on a shoplifting charge. Diaz, 25, was held without bail after her arraignment on manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident for allegedly mowing down Hernandez early Wednesday morning a block away from his home on Morris Ave and E. 165th St. “Franklyn jumped in front of the vehicle and I just kept going,” she told investigators, a prosecutor said in court. Wearing a matching blue jean jacket and pants, Rodriguez said Diaz was pensive while awaiting her turn to see the judge.

    Bernanke Sees Risks To Economy From Europe To U.S. Budget (Bloomberg)
    Bernanke also warned lawmakers that “a severe tightening of fiscal policy at the beginning of next year that is built into current law — the so-called fiscal cliff — would, if allowed to occur, pose a significant threat to the recovery.”

    Prosecutors Hone Gupta Case (WSJ)
    Using a variety of charts and graphs, Mr. Barnacle described a repetitive, and potentially damning, pattern: Mr. Gupta would call into meetings by the boards or committees at Goldman or Procter & Gamble Co, where he was also a director, and shortly thereafter a call from one of his associated phone lines would reach out to Mr. Rajaratnam.

    Harvard Professor: ‘Greece Is Beyond Repair’ (CNBC)
    “The best situation for Greece is to leave the euro zone, devalue a new currency, and be able therefore to grow again,” he said. “Letting Greece go will be painful in the short run but will be better for Greece, and for Europe, in the long-run,” said Feldstein, who is also president emeritus of the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, and also served as chief economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan.

    Lightbulb eating record holder charged in string of bank robberies (NYP)
    R.J. Williams, 22, who holds the world record for wolfing down a light bulb in 33 seconds, was busted yesterday after a failed bank robbery attempt in Brooklyn, cops said. Williams, who lives on the Upper West Side, allegedly scored nearly $14,000 after knocking off seven branches in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. He was nabbed when he fled an Apple Bank yesterday in Midwood. Williams had begun to write a note to a teller on a deposit slip at one of the counters when employees started staring at him, police said, because he previously tried to rob the bank on Friday.

    / Jun 8, 2012 at 7:11 AM
  • News

    Layoffs Watch ’12: UBS

    The firings continue, and the timing is impeccable.

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 6:34 PM
  • News

    Rajat Gupta, Champion Multitasker

    Surely everyone has been on a boring call in listen-only mode, and gotten another call, […]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 5:46 PM
  • News

    This Is A Clip Of A Greek Politician Aggressively Throwing Water In A Rival’s Face, Flailing His Arms/Fists At Another*

    Mentioned earlier but now with video, which is essential.

    *Apparently he was set off by the woman in orange mentioning his alleged involvement in a 2007 armed robbery.

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 4:25 PM
  • News

    Dick Bové: If You Don’t Take Reality Into Account, Bank Stocks Have Never Been Hotter

    “The fundamentals of the industry have never been better. It is only the unknown, unquantifiable, […]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 3:07 PM
  • bring a cup

    “Warren Buffett’s bodyguard punched me in the head, and it hurt”

    Thinking about getting pawsy with Warren Buffett? Here’s a delightful first-person account of what might be in store for you.

    The bodyguard, Dan Clark, didn’t mean for it to hurt, he was just demonstrating a fighting move called the brachial stun. That’s a strike to the side of the neck using a chopping motion with the hands — but when Clark hit me with it in a slow speed demonstration, the sudden burst of force whipped my whole head to the right, crashing my teeth together so hard that I thought I would lose a filling. That’s what Dan Clark is like — even his demonstrations are intense. He’s the kind of guy who throws around phrases like the “muay Thai clench with a double knee strike,” and who, when he emails you to invite you to his training session, reminds you politely to bring a cup. All of it — the gym, the training, and especially the punch — combine to send a clear message: Don’t mess with Buffett, or any of Clark’s other clients. And that’s kind of the point.

    Billionaire Security: Behind the Scenes with Warren Buffett’s Bodyguard [CNBC]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 1:56 PM
  • M&A, News

    CVR Energy Shareholders Surprised To Find Carl Icahn Acting Like A Corporate Raider

    If you want to buy a company you can do it in one of two […]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM
  • GC: That sunscreen's not gonna rub itself in

    Would-Be Goldman Partners Will Have To Work Extra Hard This Year To Gain Brotherhood Of The Sach Status

    As Goldman Sachs shrinks, its elite inner circle will also be getting smaller. The Wall […]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 12:12 PM
  • News

    Macquarie Investment Banker No Fan Of The ‘Turn Off All Electronic Devices’ Rule

    So Alan James didn’t and this happened:

    One of Macquarie Group’s top banking executives in the US was offloaded from a Qantas plane in Los Angeles for alleged disruptive behaviour after refusing to turn off his mobile phone. The incident on board QF108 resulted in Alan James, a New York-based senior managing director for Macquarie, being offloaded from the plane in LA on May 22 and later stopped from taking a connecting flight to Sydney. The first incident occurred when a flight attendant told Mr James, who was seated in business class, to turn off his mobile phone while the Qantas aircraft was taxiing at New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport. The second involved a conversation with one of Qantas’s airport staff at LA International Airport, at which point he was refused travel on another Qantas plane to Sydney…was allowed to take another Qantas flight to Sydney the following day. The airline’s policy is to ban disruptive passengers from flying for 24 hours.

    A spokeswoman for the FBI confirmed that it was notified about an incident on board the flight between New York and LA but no federal charges were filed.

    Obviously what’s unclear at this time is how egregious James’ violation of the rule was (e.g. was he shouting into his phone moments before takeoff or simply scrolling through picture of Miranda Kerr, which he knew would be prohibited once he reached HQ? Reaming someone out about “this deal going up in flames” or quietly finishing an email to a reporter about how the NBA lockout was affecting his business?). These are the questions we need answering.

    Macquarie exec ordered off Qantas plane [Sydney Morning Herald]
    Investment banker kicked off flight from JFK to LAX after ‘refusing to turn off cell phone’ [NYP]

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.07.12

    French, Greek Unemployment Rise (WSJ)
    The unemployment rate in France rose to 9.6% in the three months through March, the highest rate since 1999 and up from 9.3% in the final quarter of last year, national statistics agency Insee said Thursday…Data for Greece showed unemployment in the crisis-stricken country rose to a record high in March, with the proportion of young people without jobs topping 50% and women facing a higher rate of joblessness than men, Elstat, the country’s statistics agency, said Thursday. The number of people without jobs climbed to 1.075 million, or 21.9% of the workforce

    Finnish Leader Says U.S. Worried About Europe Banks (Bloomberg)
    FYI: U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke are concerned about the European banking industry, Finnish Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen said after meeting the two U.S. officials.

    Euro Co-Creator: We Made Mistakes (CNBC)
    Thygesen told “Squawk Box Europe” that the problems only became obvious after the euro had been introduced. “And there the efforts to continue consolidation, to make structural reforms, petered out,” he said. He nevertheless admitted there was possible “some naivety” when the euro was created. “It’s possible there was an over-estimation of the positive effects of the single market on economies,” he said. “In that sense there was possibly some naivety.”

    Nasdaq CEO ‘can’t wait for [his] life to get back to normal’ after Facebook IPO disaster (NYP, related)
    Nasdaq chief Robert Greifeld is pretty confident he will keep his job following the botched Facebook IPO, but he concedes the episode has come at a tremendous personal and professional cost. “I can’t wait for my life to get back to normal,” Greifeld conceded to a friend during a golf tournament this weekend.

    Greek Far Right Politician Attacks 2 Women on Live TV (CNBC)
    Tensions ahead of fresh elections in Greece on June 17 spilled over in a televised political debate on Thursday when a spokesman for the far right Golden Dawn party physically attacked two female members of parliament from opposing political parties throwing water at one and punches at another. Video of the incident, posted on Youtube but since removed, shows Ilias Kasidiaris in heated exchanges with Syriza party deputy Rena Dourou. The video shows both politicians shouting over the other. Communist party member of parliament Liana Kanellis is also involved. Toward the end of the footage, Kasidiaris picks up a glass of water and throws it across the table at Dourou. Kanellis then jumps back out of her seat next to him and throws a number of papers at him. His reacts by pushing Kanellis and then striking her multiple times.

    Officials Grilled On JPMorgan (WSJ)
    A proposed regulation barring banks from trading with their own money would have forced J.P. Morgan Chase to document and more carefully evaluate the risks it took in its trading activities that have led to a multibillion-dollar loss, a top Federal Reserve official said. The comments from Fed governor Daniel Tarullo is the latest evidence of how the bank’s big loss is shaping the debate on banking regulation. Senators grilled top banking officials Wednesday on how J.P. Morgan was able to place large, risky bets without raising the alarm among regulators or members of top management…Republicans on the panel, who in years past might have come more firmly to the bank’s defense, instead used the high-profile hearing to praise Mr. Tarullo’s opening remarks, in which he said that the J.P. Morgan loss was a reminder of the importance of thicker, higher-quality capital cushions, especially at the biggest, most complex banks

    Officials Say Fed May Need To Act (WSJ)
    A trio of Federal Reserve officials warned of risks to the health of the U.S. recovery and said the central bank might need to take new actions to support economic growth. Most notable among them, Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen cited risks that the rate of inflation could drop below the Fed’s 2% goal or economic growth would slow. Fed action might be justified merely “to insure against adverse shocks” that might derail the recovery, she said, adding it could also be needed if the Fed concludes the recovery “is unlikely to proceed at a satisfactory pace.”

    NYSE rips Nasdaq’s ‘cheap’ FB trick (NYP)
    NYSE Chief Duncan Niederauer, already irked at Greifeld because of his failed attempt to take over the Big Board, got overheated again yesterday after Nasdaq announced a plan to discount trading fees as part of a make-nice offering to its clients. “This is tantamount to forcing the industry to subsidize Nasdaq’s missteps and would establish a harmful precedent that could have far-reaching implications for the markets, investors and the public interest,” NYSE wrote in a terse statement.

    Zach Morris: ‘Saved By the Bell’ was NOT a ‘great’ show (NYDN)
    “It’s not a great show,” Mark-Paul Gosselaar said yesterday. “The writing is kind of hokey … it’s very much a piece of that time.” But though he felt the show lacked substance, he says it definitely taught him and his castmates a great deal about working hard in the industry. “It taught me to have a strong work ethic, and to take it very seriously,” he said. “Even though we had fun, the one thing the producers instilled in us is that this is a business. “You can still have all your fun, but you have to do your job, and then you can reap all the benefits at the end.”

    / Jun 7, 2012 at 8:46 AM
  • Write-Offs

    Write-Offs: 06.06.12

    $$$ Beige Book Notes Moderate Expansion Amid Uncertainty [WSJ] $$$ ECB Holds Rates Flat, for […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 7:32 PM
  • News

    Facebook Is Number 1 (Among Short-Sellers)

    No large U.S. company is attracting more attention from short sellers than Facebook, amid bets […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 7:29 PM
  • News

    Volcker Rule Would Have Required JPMorgan Whale To Look Himself In The Mirror And Ask “Is This Really What I Want To Do With My Life?”

    It looks like London Whale Bruno Iksil is currently vacationing in a quantum state between […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 6:45 PM
  • News

    Nasdaq Officials Are Sorry About The Whole…Y’Know

    They’ve reviewed the tapes and it appears an apology is in order.

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 5:24 PM
  • Hedge Funds

    Dear Paulson Investors

    Paulson, the billionaire hedge-fund manager seeking to reverse record losses in 2011, posted a 13 […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM
  • News

    Donald Trump Offers How-To-Guide Re: Dealing With Disgruntled Employees Turned Whistleblowers

    Got an unhappy employee (or former employee) on your hands who’s decided to channel his or her anger by penning an Op-Ed in a major publication detailing egregious acts being committed at your firm and/or going to the Feds with allegations of fraud? Not sure how to handle the fallout? Why not take a page from Donald Trump’s playabook? He found himself in a similar situation with regard to Sheena Monnin, a first-year Miss Pennsylvania who “resigned her crown” over the weekend, claiming that the Miss USA pageant is “rigged.” Here’s how Don dealt with the matter and how anyone thinking about taking a more hands-on approach to dealing with disgruntled employees might too:

    Threaten to sue.

    “We’re going to bring a lawsuit against this girl,” Trump, who co-owns the Miss Universe Organization with NBCUniversal, told NBC’s “Today” show co-anchor Ann Curry on a phone interview; he used similar language in a phoner with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

    Note that you’ve already conducted a thorough investigation into the employee’s claims and that your internal probe has revealed them to be baseless.

    Monnin announced Tuesday on her Facebook page she was turning in her tiara after she: “Witnessed another contestant who said she saw the list of the Top 5 BEFORE THE SHOW EVER STARTED proceed to call out in order who the Top 5 were before they were announced on stage. Apparently the morning of June 3rd she saw a folder lying open to a page that said ‘FINAL SHOW Telecast, June 3, 2012′ and she saw the places for Top 5 already filled in.” “They’ve done an investigation,” Trump said today. “I just found out about it — they just reported to me about five minutes ago. The person that supposedly showed the list totally denies that that ever took place.”

    Suggest, by saying outright, that the outburst can chalked up to the fact that this person didn’t receive the promotion she thought she deserved. Make it clear that she was not partner material. Sixth-year VP material at best.

    Asked his first impression of Monnin, Trump said, “I saw her there. My impressions were she didn’t have a chance of being in the Top 15 — not even close. And all this is, is a girl who went there, lost, wasn’t in the 15, and she’s angry at the pageant system. Later, he added, “I never felt she had a chance. And all this is is buyer’s remorse.”

    Donald Trump says he’ll sue ex-Miss Pennsylvania over her claims of Miss USA fraud [WaPo]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 3:08 PM
  • News

    How Your CNBC Sausage Gets Made (Update)

    Step 1: Come up with story idea, say, about how small businesses are being hurt due to the NBA lockout
    Step 2: Reach out to Twitter followers, ask them to corroborate said story
    Step 3: Wait.
    Step 4: Practice asking Kate Upton to be your Valentine. [“Will you, Kaaa” voice cracks. “Will you, Kate Upton..” No, that’s stupid. “Kate I would be most honored if you..”]
    Step 5: Daydream about how you and “Katie” will tell your families you eloped.
    Step 6: Marvel at your good fortune when a guy, who in real life is a bored teenager but over the internet seems like a legit businessman, emails you to say that he runs an escort service in New York, “mostly for away team players after games but some Knicks and Nets too; they are high rollers and I’m not getting the constant business I that I need to stay running.”
    Step 7: Double fist pump the air and shout “Yes, D-Rove, you got this!”
    Step 8: Breathe, tell yourself to calm down and reel it in.
    Step 9: Put on your reporter hat and ask “Henry James” some questions like, “How much money would say you’re losing? What cut do you then get? What is the cheapest woman and what is the most expensive woman? I assume it’s by the hour and what is the typical # of hours?”
    Step 10: Make no attempt to verify source is who he says he is, that his business exists, that you’re not being taken for a ride.
    Step 11: Cut, print.

    How A Teenager With A Fake Escort Service Duped Darren Rovell And CNBC [Deadspin]
    Related: SI Swimsuit Model Doesn’t Have To Worry About Things Getting Weird With CNBC Reporter Because He’s Known Her Since She Was 17

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 1:55 PM
  • News

    The Underwriters Weren’t The Only Ones Stabilizing Facebook When It Opened

    There is much to ponder about Nasdaq’s slow-moving plans to compensate the people it screwed […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 10:47 AM
  • News

    Promising Start-Up Just Needs Some Hungry Investors Who Believe In It, A Break On FAA Regulations

    Meanwhile, the creators of TacoCopter, a service for delivering tacos with drone-like miniature helicopters, would […]

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 9:40 AM
  • Opening Bell

    Opening Bell: 06.06.12

    Greece Warns of Going Broke as Tax Proceeds Dry Up (NYT)
    Government coffers could be empty as soon as July, shortly after this month’s pivotal elections. In the worst case, Athens might have to temporarily stop paying for salaries and pensions, along with imports of fuel, food and pharmaceuticals. Officials, scrambling for solutions, have considered dipping into funds that are supposed to be for Greece’s troubled banks. Some are even suggesting doling out i.o.u.’s.

    Spain Warns It Needs Help (WSJ)
    Oh, hey, in case it was unclear: “Spain made its most explicit suggestion yet that it would seek help from Europe for its struggling banks, as the country’s budget minister said high interest rates on Spanish bonds were a signal the government risks losing access to financial markets.”

    Nobel Winner Stiglitz Sees More Recession Odds In Romney (Bloomberg)
    History shows that the adoption of fiscal austerity when an economy is weak can have disastrous consequences, as happened in the U.S. in 1929 on the eve of the Great Depression, Stiglitz told Bloomberg editors and reporters in New York Monday. “The Romney plan is going to slow down the economy, worsen the jobs deficit and significantly increase the likelihood of a recession,” said Stiglitz.

    US Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton (CNBC)
    In a taped interview aired with CNBC, the 42nd president called the current economic conditions a “recession” and said overzealous Republican plans to cut the deficit threaten to plunge the country further into the debt abyss.

    Blanked Bankers Double As Bonuses Disappear, Survey Shows (Bloomberg)
    The proportion of investment bankers who got no bonuses last year more than doubled to about 14 percent, a poll by executive-search firm Options Group shows. The percentage of employees who weren’t given an annual award rose from 6 percent in 2010, a report yesterday from the New York-based company said. Getting no bonus, or being “blanked” by your employer, isn’t the smear it once was because base salaries increased after the 2008 financial crisis, said Michael Karp, managing partner of Options Group.

    The pizza has ‘sex’tra toppings (NYP)
    An Italian eatery just steps from Yankee Stadium is charging customers for slices of pizza — and sex with their wait staff, a new lawsuit claims. Yankee fans heading to Stadium Pizza after ball games are treated to a smorgasbord of waitresses and bartenders moonlighting as prostitutes, according to a lawyer for former employee Olga Contreras, who is suing the restaurant’s owners for sexual harassment, said her lawyers, Matthew Blit and Amanda Gudis. Contreras says she has spotted one worker frequently giving oral sex, and customers disappearing into the restroom with the staff.

    Morgan Stanley May Sell Piece of Commodities Unit (CNBC)
    Worried about the potential impact of new regulations, Morgan Stanley is considering selling a minority stake in its commodities business, say people familiar with the matter, and has held preliminary conversations with potential suitors in recent months about how a deal could look.

    Geithner Said To Seek U.S. Bankers’ Dodd-Frank Objections (Bloomberg)
    Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has challenged bankers to give him specifics on their longstanding complaint that the Dodd-Frank Act is imposing costly, confusing and burdensome regulations on them, according to four people familiar with the matter…Geithner offered to use his ability to reach across agencies to better coordinate and streamline rules if he found the report convincing, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the study. The complaints include the handling of so-called stress tests of banks’ ability to weather a crisis, capital requirements and restrictions on mortgage servicing.

    Feds probing Nasdaq’s $10.7M FB profit (NYP)
    …some of the issues the agency is believed to be looking at is whether the exchange made its trades ahead of clients and other participants, sources said. The regulators also is looking into whether the trading systems at other Nasdaq member firms made matters worse.

    Italy To Push ‘Pink Quotas’ (WSJ)
    A new law requires Italian listed and state-owned companies to ensure that one-third of their board members are women by 2015. Currently, only around 6% of the total number of corporate board members in Italy are women—one of the lowest levels in Europe and a number that reflects how few women work here.

    Gold Bugs Defy Bear-Market Threat With Soros Buying (Bloomberg)
    Bank of America was joined by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley and Barclays Plc in urging investors to buy in December and January. Now, after gold fell 10 percent in a four-month slide through May, they say prices will rebound this year or next as the Federal Reserve shores up the world’s biggest economy by easing monetary policy and devaluing the dollar. Billionaire George Soros bought more in the first quarter and hedge-fund manager John Paulson held on to the biggest stake in the SPDR Gold Trust, the largest exchange-traded product backed by bullion, Securities and Exchange Commission filings show. Some investors are refusing to capitulate even after failed elections in Greece drove the euro to a two-year low against the dollar and gold slumped as much as 21 percent in December from the record $1,923.70 set in September.

    Oregon woman wins $900K after contracting herpes from sex partner (NYDN)
    “He was 69, my client was a very attractive 49. My argument to the jury was he just wanted to sink his hooks into her,” the plaintiff’s attorney said. The jury found that the man was 75% at fault, while the woman was 25% responsible. The jurors also decided that by exposing her to the STD, the man committed battery and made her suffer greatly.

    / Jun 6, 2012 at 8:39 AM
  • News

    Former Madoff Employee Pleads Guilty To *A* Madoff Securities Scam Just Not *The* Madoff Securities Scam

    You know what has got to suck? When you decide to start charging stuff that doesn’t fall under “business expenses” to your corporate card and engage in a few other amateur hours scams that probably wouldn’t have been found out (or, if discovered, not taken to the authorities because your boss had high tolerance for fraud) but then they are because the CEO of your firm had to go and engage in the largest Ponzi scheme on record, which shone an uncomfortable light on company personnel and all of the cheese, popcorn, and salsa of the month clubs you joined (for example).  Craig Kugel knows what we’re talking about.

    The son of a longtime trader for convicted Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to conspiracy and other criminal charges Tuesday, but denied any involvement in the decades-long fraud. Craig Kugel, the son of David L. Kugel, a former supervisory trader in Madoff’s proprietary-trading operation, admitted to filing false forms that claimed people were on the Madoff payroll when they didn’t actually work for the firm and to not declaring as income personal expenses charged to the firm’s corporate credit card. Those individuals were paid salary and benefits, but weren’t actual employees, he said. “I am sorry for my lapses in judgment in committing these federal crimes, but I want to make clear I had nothing to do with the Madoff Ponzi scheme and I was never involved in the Madoff trading operation,” Craig Kugel said at a hearing before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan.

    Ex-Madoff Employee Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy [WSJ]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 6:18 PM
  • News

    Fourth-Highest-Paid Bank CEO Made Negative Ten Million Dollars in 2011

    Here is a fun thing we can do, which is put arbitrary numbers in a […]

    / Jun 5, 2012 at 4:43 PM