"After fighting to keep his grip on the bank he helped build from a scrappy Southern outsider to the nation's largest in assets, [BofA] Chief Executive Kenneth D. Lewis said he will resign by year end. ... Even as the board backed Mr. Lewis publicly, there were signs that his interests and the bank's were diverging. Mr. Lewis has hired his own lawyers, former US Attorney Mary Jo White and James Wyatt III, a criminal-defense expert in Charlotte, while the board and the bank have separate representation on the various lawsuits and investigations relating to the bank's purchase of Merrill Lynch", Dan Fitzpatrick and Joann Lublin at the WSJ, 1 October 2009, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125434715693053835.html.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Ken Lewis Whistleblower?-3
"When [BofA] bought Merrill Lynch last winter, the political class applauded and called CEO Ken Lewis a solid citizen. Now, from the safety of noncrisis hindsight, our politicians claim that the bank's shareholders may have been mistreated. Few of those shareholders are complaining, given the profits Merrill has been generating for the bank in recent months, but the pols apparently want a scapegoat for bailouts and bonuses. Mr. Lewis fits the bill. ... Of course, proxies rarely make anything clear, because, like all SEC-mandated disclosures, they are created to ensure regulatory compliance rather than inform invstors. Was this one worse than average? ... Anyone who cared enough to read the proxy probably consumer enough financial news to understand that BofA was willing to pay to maintain Merrill's principal asset--its employees. ... But count us as skeptical that BofA managers would risk violating securities laws in order to make sure that other people could collect large bonuses, or to hide another firm's losses so they could have the privilege of overpaying to acquire it. ... If Mr. Cuomo wants to do a public service, he could focus on the government's own role in this episode. ... Here's a theory of the case that won't help Mr. Cuomo become governor, and won't help Mr. [Edolphus] Towns make headlines, but might even be true and fair: Amid the autumn and winter financial panic, everyone involved was operating under tremendous pressure with incomplete information. Federal officials all but ordered Mr. Lewis to buy Merrill and they certainly knew all about the bonuses", original italics, my emphasis, Editorial at the WSJ, 21 September 2009, link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204518504574419050445773522.html.
It is inconceivable that Zimbabwe Ben and Hank Paulson didn't know.
Uh oh. Ken, watch your new lawyers like a hawk. You hired Mary Jo "Ping Pong Ball Fed" White. You don't know who your lawyers represent. My advice: get a Roy Cohn, if you can find one. One who would be unafraid to let the Fed, Treasury and DOJ know: If you come down, you will crash their whole corrupt system.