Bess Levin

Posts by Bess Levin

Along with sole custody, Ms. Griffin wants to “permanently remove the children to New York City, where the family has a residence.” Mr. Griffin filed a motion late last week seeking more access to his children. A source close to Mr. Griffin called the father of three a devoted dad who’s been known to dress as Spider-Man for a school Halloween party and as a prince for a daughter’s birthday party that had a princess theme. And he’s a familiar face at the Lab School, where his two oldest children attend, the source said. [Chicago Business, earlier]

  • 02 Sep 2014 at 8:36 PM

Write-Offs: 09.02.2014

$$$ Liquidity Rules Coming to Wall Street [WSJ]

$$$ Oaktree Is Said to Seek $10 Billion for Distressed Fund [Bloomberg]

$$$ Warren Buffett, Breaking Bad Superfan, Got a Very Detailed Walter White Birthday Cake [DI via Matt]

$$$ Regulator Sets Risk-Management Standards for Banks [WSJ]

$$$ Brawl erupts after groom paws waitress at his own wedding [AP] Read more »

  • 02 Sep 2014 at 6:12 PM

OH NO HE DI’INT: Ken Griffin Divorce Edition

Back in July, after he filed for divorce from his wife of 11 years, we noted that Ken Griffin’s title as World’s Richest Illinoisan was in peril. In light of the fact that even if Anne Dias Griffin took half, the Citadel founder would still be worth over $1 billion, this comment may have seemed a tad dramatic. Following today’s report that Anne wants their prenuptial agreement voided, though, and is clearly playing the hardest of ball, it doesn’t seem dramatic in the slightest. She’s going after him for everything, and if the idea of her demanding not just cash, homes, and art but the keys to the hedge fund sounds laughable than laugh it up! Also, if the (soon-to-be-ex-) Mrs. needs any pointers on playing dirty, she (allegedly!) needn’t look far. Read more »

At least 10 Swiss banks have withdrawn from a U.S. programme aimed at settling a tax dispute between them and the United States, Swiss newspaper NZZ am Sonntag said on Sunday, quoting unnamed sources. Around 100 Swiss banks came forward at the end of last year to work with U.S. authorities in a programme brokered by the Swiss government to help the banks make amends for aiding tax evasion. “At least 10 banks that had decided at the end of 2013 to pay a fine have withdrawn their decision,” NZZ am Sonntag said, quoting unnamed lawyers and auditors. It did not name the banks concerned. The newspaper said the banks were convinced they had not systematically broken U.S. law and lawyers of the U.S. Department of Justice had actually been surprised to see them take part in the programme and did not object to the banks leaving the programme. [Reuters]

Such as:

1. Is it standard practice at Credit Suisse to tell traders at other banks, “Hey, we might buy this stock”? Because Zoe Henderson has worked in a lot of offices and people do that all the time.

Credit Suisse has accused the trader, Zoe Henderson, of improperly sharing client communications with her husband, a London-based trader at a rival bank, via electronic chat rooms, the people said…At Credit Suisse, the examination of chat-room records revealed that Ms. Henderson, who has been at the bank since 2004, on multiple occasions during the past several years shared Credit Suisse communications with her husband, Toby Henderson, a London-based equities trader at Royal Bank of Canada, according to the people familiar with the probe. Some of the communications described Credit Suisse clients’ interest in buying or selling stocks, price ranges of upcoming public offerings, or updates on corporate mergers or other deals, the people said…Ms. Henderson has told Credit Suisse lawyers that it was normal practice for traders other than her to send messages indicating interest in certain stocks to traders at rival banks, and that the practice didn’t hurt clients, according to a person familiar with the probe.

2. Why were Credit Suisse traders (allegedly!) making viewings of adult videos a group activity?

2a. …in the office? Read more »

  • 02 Sep 2014 at 1:06 PM

Allowance Watch ’14: Citigroup

The Financial Times reports that Citi senior staff in Europe have received letters that essentially read:

To whom it may concern:

Please enjoy this extra money we’ll be depositing into your account each month, which is in no way, shape, or form to be construed as a bonus. Nod if you understand what we’re saying.

Best,
Citi Read more »

In June 2008, at the last Countrywide shareholder meeting after the company had been bought by Bank of America, founder Angelo Mozilo made a bold statement, telling those assembled, “[Bank of America] will reap the benefits of what we have sowed.” While one might quibble over the definition of the word “benefit,” the bank was unquestionably on the reaping end of what Mozilo and Co had sowed, namely a lot of predatory lending and mortgage messiness that ultimately grew and blossomed into approximately $71 billion worth of fines and BofA CEO Brian Moynihan’s near-nervous breakdown. Though mum when Bank of America was writing checks to resolve issues it inherited from CFC, Mozilo did deign to pick up the phone and chat with Bloomberg last week, following the news that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles intends to sue him over the not-so-great job he did. And thank god he did, because there is a lot we needed to be filled in on re: what Ang has been doing/thinking/feeling these last 6 years.

  • Like, his plans to build an old-timey Western town: “…a project in Templeton, a small Southern California town where he’s requested permits to build a two-story retail and office building on a vacant lot. Architectural sketches show a style suited for a quaint Western main street. ‘It’s a throwback to a century ago,’ Mozilo said. ‘I love America. I love everything about America.’”
  • His belief in, if not consumption of, Taco Bell: “One investment is a stake in a building that houses a Taco Bell outside Phoenix. Mozilo said he hasn’t eaten there because he stays away from chicken and beef.
  • His work giving the next generation a crash course in Finance 101: Mozilo Style: “Mozilo decided to teach undergraduates what he knows about finance last year. The former trustee of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, said he spent about two weeks in Italy at Gonzaga-in-Florence, housed in the Mozilo Center overlooking a 16th-century Medici garden. ‘I taught them the basics of finance based on my own experiences,’ he said. ‘I really enjoyed being among them. It was very refreshing for me.’”

The most interesting development, however, is probably his newfound penchant for speaking in the third person when denying any and all blame re: what went down at Countrywide. In short, Mozilo thinks those pointing fingers should go home and take a good look in the mirror. Read more »

  • 02 Sep 2014 at 12:11 PM

Boone Pickens Basically A Porn Star: 5th Wife

Investor T. Boone Pickens is 85 year-old, an age at which most people have long since stopped working and are generally taking it easy. That he is still pounding the pavement and “logging 500 hours a year jetting around the country to give speeches and interviews about the miracle of the American oil-and-gas boom” makes him something of an anomaly, and his longevity is the focus of a profile over at Forbes. What do we learn? That TBP keeps his eyesight sharp with monthly experimental injections “into the centre of his eyeball” and daily gym routine “A mile on the treadmill. Fifty sit-ups. Two sets of 20 squats while wearing a 60-pound weight vest. A couple of sets of 150-pound pull-downs.” In addition to keeping him alive and moving, the exercise apparently had the added benefit of keeping his latest bride happy: Read more »