The defendants in the case – Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm – worked for GE Capital, the finance arm of General Electric. Along with virtually every major bank and finance company on Wall Street – not just GE, but J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS, Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Wachovia and more – these three Wall Street wiseguys spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America. The banks achieved this gigantic rip-off by secretly colluding to rig the public bids on municipal bonds, a business worth $3.7 trillion. By conspiring to lower the interest rates that towns earn on these investments, the banks systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes – from “virtually every state, district and territory in the United States,” according to one settlement. And they did it so cleverly that the victims never even knew they were being cheated. No thumbs were broken, and nobody ended up in a landfill in New Jersey, but money disappeared, lots and lots of it, and its manner of disappearance had a familiar name: organized crime.
to see what the chickens were up to, of course
The Vatican has brought in the Fox News correspondent in Rome to help improve its communications strategy as it tries to cope with one of its most serious scandals in decades, The Associated Press learned Saturday.
Greg Burke will become a senior communications adviser in the Vatican’s secretariat of state, people familiar with the matter told AP.
If you are surprised to learn that the home of the Whopper — not to mention the bacon sundae — would find itself the subject of complex financial machinations, you shouldn’t be. Burger King has long been an enrichment scheme for clever financiers, who have sucked hundreds of millions of dollars out of it over the years. Maybe it will be different this time. Or maybe not.
Financial engineering has been part of the Burger King story for so long that it’s hard to believe there is still anything worth plucking from its carcass. “It’s been run as a cash cow for Wall Street,” said Bob Goldin, an executive vice president of Technomic, a food service consulting firm. Along the way it’s had 13 chief executives in 25 years, numerous strategy shifts and marketing campaigns — and has been constantly starved for cash. But, hey, the private equity guys got theirs. And isn’t that what really matters?
In 2002, Goldman Sachs, along with two private equity firms, TGP and … hmmm … Bain Capital, teamed up to buy Burger King. This is exactly the kind of situation private equity firms like to trumpet: taking over a downtrodden company and nursing it back to health. And to get them their due, Burger King’s new owners did some good, stabilizing both the company and the franchisees, many of whom were in worse shape than Burger King itself.
But the private equity investors also cut themselves an incredibly sweet deal. Their $1.5 billion purchase price included only $210 million of their own money; the rest was borrowed. They immediately began taking out tens of millions of dollars in fees. Four years later, they took Burger King public. But, first, they rewarded themselves with a $448 million dividend. In all, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the firms received $511 million in dividend, fees, expense reimbursements and interest” — while still retaining a 76 percent stake.
Does it need to be said that Burger King was soon back to its old struggling self? Or that the solution, once again, was to sell to another private equity firm? Of course not! In 2010, Bain, Goldman and TPG cashed out, selling Burger King to 3G Capital, for $3.3 billion. In sum, the original private equity troika reaped a fortune by selling a company that was in nearly as much trouble as it had been when they first bought it. Surely this represents the apotheosis of financial engineering.
The man known as the “father of computer science” would have been celebrating his 100th birthday on Saturday.
A Philadelphia monsignor tasked with investigating abuse claims has become the highest-ranking US church official to be convicted of covering up child sex allegations.
Monsignor William Lynn, who was secretary of the archdiocese from 1994 to 2001, was found guilty on Friday of one count of endangering the welfare of a child.
The jury acquitted Lynn, who oversaw hundreds of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, on counts of conspiracy and another charge of child endangerment…
The jury deliberated 13 days before reaching the mixed decision in the trial of Lynn, who, prosecutors charged, covered up child sex abuse allegations, often by transferring priests to unsuspecting parishes.
Barbara Dorris, outreach director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the verdict put the church on notice that it can no longer “shield and protect” abusive priests and expect to get away with it.
A U.S. court judge on Friday dismissed Apple’s smartphone patent claims against Motorola after holding a rehearing on Wednesday, possibly putting an end to the nearly two-year conflict.
Judge Richard Posner sitting by designation on the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois dismissed Apple’s patent suit against Motorola “with prejudice,” meaning that the assertions can’t be reargued in front of that particular court, after giving the iPhone maker a second chance at an injunction earlier this week.
The judge, who has been an outspoken critic of Apple’s court tactics, temporarily canceled Apple’s trial in early June citing lack of injury but decided to rehear the case two weeks later. During the second hearing Apple once again argued for injunctive relief against Motorola’s alleged infringement on four patents regarding heuristics, UI elements and wireless technology. The court was unimpressed with both the assertions as well as Apple’s injunction request that asked the Droid maker to switch to its own solution within three months.
Well, that settles that then…
After 10 years of archaeological investigations, researchers have concluded that Stonehenge was built as a monument to unify the peoples of Britain, after a long period of conflict and regional difference between eastern and western Britain.