Will the LeBron James Stimulus Be Good for Cleveland? (NYT)
What FitzGerald and some other Cleveland boosters envision, though, is a LeBron stimulus that enriches the city as a whole. Start, for example, with the restaurants along East Fourth Street, near the arena, whose business dropped significantly after James bolted for Miami. Scalpers are happy, too, and owners of nearby stores that sell T-shirts and jewelry also expect sales to pick up. To get that $500 million estimate, LeRoy Brooks, an emeritus professor of finance at John Carroll University, just outside Cleveland, assumed that all these people making more money will spend it in Cleveland, multiplying the James effect. Brooks told me he now thinks James will add between $163 million and $426 million to the regional economy. He said that he made the first estimate in haste, “on the day after my first grandson was born.” FitzGerald’s staff estimated a more modest bounce. The LeBron stimulus, they concluded, could reach $285 million, including the creation of about 550 new jobs.
Baltimore Banker Reveals His Double Life As A CIA Agent (CBS)
The secret and closed world of the CIA includes espionage, covert operatives, international surveillance—and Baltimore businessman Ed Hale. “I was an agent for the CIA,” Hale said. In a WJZ exclusive, Hale reveals his covert role inside the CIA. “I was the perfect cover because I was all over the world with my vessels and trucking here in America, so I was the perfect person to take somebody and send them out to Afghanistan, Uzbekistan,” Hale said. Hale probably looks familiar. He was the face of First Mariner Bank as chairman and CEO. He appeared in their commercials for years and is credited with developing the Canton Waterfront downtown. He owns the Baltimore Blast.
Republicans Secure Senate Control (Bloomberg)
Republicans roared back in the midterm elections on Tuesday, capturing control of the Senate from Democrats, holding on in crucial governor races and keeping their majority in the U.S. House. In the biggest prize of the night—control of the Senate—Republicans were pushed over the edge with Joni Ernst's victory in Iowa, giving her party their first majority in nearly a decade after picking up six seats Tuesday night...At parties around the country, Republicans were already celebrating. Senator Jerry Moran hugged lobbyists and donors at the National Republican Senatorial Committee party in Washington. In Kansas, staffers for incumbent Senator Pat Roberts broke out their beers before final results were in. And in Louisiana, supporters for Republican Senate candidate Bill Cassidy took a break from watching election returns to offer a quick prayer.
Defiant US Rep. Grimm wins 3rd term amid tax trial (HC)
Republican U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm won a third term in Congress on Tuesday despite a rocky year that included a federal indictment on tax evasion charges and being caught on camera threatening to throw a TV reporter off a balcony. Grimm defeated Democratic challenger Domenic Recchia in the hotly contested fight for New York's 11th Congressional District, which covers Staten Island and a part of Brooklyn. "The bottom line, you had my back when I needed you most, and I'll never forget it," Grimm told supporters in his victory speech...Grimm has pleaded not guilty to hiding more than $1 million in sales and wages while running a small Manhattan restaurant. His trial is set for February...In January, Grimm was seen threatening to throw a TV reporter off a balcony after the journalist asked Grimm about an FBI probe into his campaign finances. During their Oct. 28 debate, Grimm said he apologized for the incident but described himself as "tenacious."
A Recent Surge of Leveraged Loans Rattles Regulators (Dealbook)
As regulators hunt for the next financial bubble, they are homing in on an obscure corner of Wall Street: the debt market where Tom Shannon’s company, a chain of flashy bowling alleys, recently borrowed nearly half a billion dollars. Mr. Shannon’s company, Bowlmor AMF, is one of hundreds with unlovely balance sheets that have tapped this market for more than $2 trillion since the start of last year. “It has all worked out very well for us,” Mr. Shannon said, sitting in the office of one of his bowling alleys, near Times Square. “The payments are very reasonable.” In raising money for Mr. Shannon, Wall Street would appear to be doing its job of matching companies that need capital with investors who can provide it. After banks like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America make loans to the companies, they turn around and sell the debt to hedge funds, pensions and even mom-and-pop mutual funds. These leveraged loans, as the debt is known on Wall Street, funnel money to companies that might otherwise struggle to finance their ambitions. Bank regulators, however, are worried. In recent months, the Federal Reserve and the Officer of the Comptroller of the Currency have intervened to tamp down the market. Leveraged loans are made to companies with low credit ratings that could suffer high losses in a downturn. As a result, the regulators have tried to stop the banks they regulate from arranging certain types of leveraged loan deals.
Irish Agog That Joe Kernen, CNBC Host, Missed Their Exit From U.K. (NYT)
Becky Quick: What has the weaker euro meant, in terms of tourism? Martin Shanahan: So, I think Ireland’s a very globalized economy, so we look to what is happening here as much as we do to what is happening in Europe and we look to what is happening in … Joe Kernen: You have pounds anyway, don’t you still? Shanahan: We have euros. Kernen: You have euros in Ireland? Shanahan: We have euros, yes, which has aided … Kernen: Why do you have euros in Ireland? Shanahan: Why wouldn’t we have euros in Ireland? Quick: It is part of the E.U. Kernen: Huh? Quick: Part of the E.U. Kernen: I’d use the pound. Shanahan: No, we’ve had the euro for some time and we’re very happy with it. Kernen: What about Scotland? I was using Scottish, uh. … Shanahan: Scottish pounds, yeah. Kernen: Scottish pounds. Shanahan: They use sterling. Kernen: They use sterling? Shanahan: They use sterling. But we use euro. Kernen: What? Why would you do that? Shanahan: Why wouldn’t we do that? Kernen: Why didn’t Scotland? No wonder they want to break away. Shanahan: They’re part of the U.K., we’re not. Kernen: Aren’t you right next to, uh. … Shanahan: We’re very close but entirely separate, as you know well. Kernen: It is sort of the same — the same island, isn’t it? Shanahan: And in the North of Ireland they have sterling, but —— Kernen: They do … Shanahan: We use euro, yes. Kernen: It’s just too confusing. … Northern Ireland’s the pound? Shanahan: Northern Ireland’s the pound, yes. Kernen: Oh my God, you guys got to get it together over there.
Buyout Firms Push to Keep Information Under Wraps (WSJ)
Buyout firms, facing scrutiny from regulators on fees and expenses, are trying to keep details of those matters and many others from becoming public through freedom-of-information-law requests being made by journalists, unions, private citizens and others. They have been advising public pension funds to keep secret details about fees, interactions with regulators and other investment data.
Accused Russian Hacker May Be in U.S. Hands Soon (Bloomberg)
A Russian charged with leading the most prolific hacking ring to hit corporate America moved a step closer to a U.S. courtroom instead of the Dutch jail where he’s been held since his arrest two years ago. Vladimir Drinkman was indicted in July 2013 on charges of hacking 17 retailers, financial institutions and payment processors, including Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ), 7-Eleven Inc., Carrefour SA and J.C. Penney Co. (JCP) to steal more than 160 million credit- and debit-card numbers. Since then, the U.S. and Russia have waged a legal and diplomatic battle over where Drinkman, 34, must face justice. The U.S. wants him in federal court in New Jersey. Russia wants to put him on trial there for cybercrime fraud. Both nations seek to extradite him. The U.S. appeared to win today, when Dutch Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten approved Drinkman’s extradition to the U.S. because it asked 14 months earlier than Russia.
Hedgies are drying up like fall leaves (NYP)
One fund that made the top 20 losers on the latest HSBC hedge fund ranking was Jeffrey Altman’s Owl Creek. Altman’s fund was down 5.9 percent through Oct 24 and has lost 10.3 percent year to date. Other losers included Richard Perry’s Perry Partners, which fell 2.12 percent through Oct. 24, and is down 2.91 percent for the year, and Davidson Kempner, down 1.76 percent through Oct. 24 for a year to date return of 4.37 percent. Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Partners was down .13 percent through Oct. 24, still has a 6.1 percent gain this year.
Bid for Allergan Clears a Hurdle (WSJ)
A federal judge said Allergan Inc. raised “serious questions” about the legality of Pershing Square Capital Management LP’s and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. ’s joint $53 billion takeover bid, but he stopped short of blocking them from voting a 9.7% Allergan stake at a shareholder meeting next month. U.S. District Judge David Carter ordered Pershing Square and Valeant to make additional disclosures, including that he had found their alliance may violate federal insider-trading rules. But he declined to strip the shares of their voting rights, as Allergan had sought. Judge Carter said it was possible that Pershing Square’s purchase of Allergan shares—made weeks before Valeant unveiled its offer—broke federal laws meant to keep investors from profiting from advance knowledge of takeover plans. He said the trading was reminiscent of “warehousing” shares for the benefit of a not-yet-unveiled hostile bid, a practice that regulators have outlawed.
IMF’s Post-Crisis Austerity Call Mistaken, Watchdog Says (Bloomberg)
Where the fund went awry was in its 2010 shift away from recommending government stimulus to calling for budget cuts in the biggest advanced economies, according to a report released today by the IMF’s internal watchdog, the Independent Evaluation Office. That turn was inappropriate given the global recovery’s modest pace, the report said. The findings add credence to views of critics such as Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman, who said in 2010 that austerity was a “terrible idea” at the time. The IMF has since shifted its position, calling on countries to step up infrastructure spending at its annual meeting last month. “The recommended policy mix was not appropriate, as monetary expansion is relatively ineffective in boosting private demand following a financial crisis,” according to the report. “Also, the IMF did not sufficiently tailor its advice to countries based on their individual circumstances and access to financing when recommending either expansion or consolidation.”
Canadian seeks woman with ex's name for world trip (UPI)
A Canadian Reddit user said he is seeking a woman with the same name as his ex to use her plane ticket on a round-the-world trip. Jordan Axani, 28, of Toronto, posted on the website that he bought tickets for the three-week trip to destinations including Milan, Paris, Bangkok and New Delhi shortly before he and his girlfriend broke up. "In March I booked a fairly wicked trip around the world for this Christmas for my ex and I," he wrote on Reddit. "While our relationship has come to a close, I am still planning on going on the trip and she is not (naturally). "And because I hate the idea of a ticket around the world going to waste, I am looking for a Canadian named Elizabeth Gallagher who could use the ticket." Axani wrote he isn't seeking any monetary or romantic compensation for the ticket. "I am not looking for anything in return, I am not looking for companionship, romance, drugs, a trade, or to take selfies with you in front the Christmas Market in Prague," he wrote. "If you feel compelled to toss me a couple hundred bucks, great. Really the only thing I ask for is that you enjoy this trip and that it bring you happiness."