For one man, a long Kafkaeqsue nightmare is finally coming to an end.
While it seems like an eternity, it has actually only been eight years since Angelo Mozilo was self-exiled to a Southern California mega-estate, forced to wile away his days investing his fortune and ignoring the idea that he was the Darth Vader of the modern American economy. Yeah, he had helped to originate more than $400 billion in loans the year before the loan market imploded in on itself, and many of those loans (and the ones he made in the years before) turned out to be a major cause of that crash and the wider panic that followed it. And yeah, many of those loans were generated by a program that practically begged to be called out callously immoral. And sure, Countrywide became a multi-billion dollar tumor that almost killed Bank of America from the inside. But did Mozilo really have to live every sunny and gorgeous Santa Barbara day of the last two years under the threat of that DoJ investigation? It was the not knowing that really must have been the torture...
U.S. prosecutors have abandoned their case against Angelo Mozilo, a pioneer of the risky subprime mortgages that fueled the financial crisis, after a two-year quest to bring a civil suit against him.
Free at last, free at last! Thank political inertia almighty, Angelo Mozilo is free at last!
The Justice Department sent a letter informing Mozilo, the co-founder of Countrywide Financial Corp., that it isn’t moving ahead with any action against him, according to people familiar with the matter. That effectively ends nearly a decade of U.S. scrutiny of a man who became a face of risky lending practices and later an emblem of the government’s mixed success in holding individuals accountable.
And what a face. We can picture so easily a smile of relief unfolding across that face like the creases in a leather armchair being smoothed out by a descending derriere.
Interviewed in late 2014, shortly after news of prosecutors’ civil pursuit became public, he denied any wrongdoing and said the national real-estate collapse, not Countrywide’s lending, was at the root of the crisis.
“Countrywide or Mozilo didn’t cause any of that,” he said at the time.
Finally, it seems, Johnny Law is agreeing with Mozilo's argument. It was the sh!tty real estate market that caused the crisis, not the mortgages sold by Countrywide that did or didn't prop it up until that sector became a fetid rotting stanchion, holding up a corner of the economy.
We expect the apologies to Mozilo are pouring in from his government tormentors?
David Siegel, an attorney for Mozilo, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The Justice Department, through a spokesman, declined to comment.
We hope you enjoy your weekend as much as Angelo Mozilo.