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The New York Palace Hotel (formerly The Helmsley Palace)

455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street

New York, NY 10022

 

The 50th Street Entrance

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The Villard Houses were brownstone residences built by Henry Villard in 1884. Villard was a railway promoter and financier, who took over the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881. The architect was McKim, Mead & White. The firm also designed the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan. The six residence building was clad in quarried brownstone and wrapped around a u-shaped courtyard representative of a 15th century Italian palazzo. Four homes opened onto the courtyard while two had entrances on 51st Street.

 

Villard moved into the corner residence at 451 Madison, at the corner of 50th Street for just a short while before declaring bankruptcy. Much of the interior decoration is still visible today in the restaurant Gilt (formerly Le Cirque 2000).

 

In the 1940’s the Villard House was known as Women's Military Services Club. It served women in the military that could stay there for .50 cents a night. By the late 60’s the Archdiocese of New York owned the complex.

 

In the early 70’s Harry Helmsley found the perfect location in which to build his dream hotel. The Villard House was located on New York's Madison Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 

Helmsley negotiated a 99 year lease on the site from the the Archdiocese of New York and proposed gutting the interiors of the Villard and putting a 51-story hotel on top of it. The preservationists prevailed and Helmsley’s plan was changed to save most of the interiors of the Villard houses, though the buildings' rear facades were demolished and incorporated in to the new 51-story hotel. long-term ground lease, which runs for decades. The Archdiocese of New York receives $10 million annually in ground rent.

 

Helmsley commissioned architects Emery Roth & Sons and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer to design the modern structure and integrate the 1884 houses. The tower’s façade is a dark bronze reflective glass that was to blend with the Villard Houses. Started in 1977, the 905-room hotel project was completed in 1980.

 

Leona Helmsley spent a great deal of time and energy managing the decorating and staffing of the hotel. Leona took seriously her role as President of Helmsley Hotels and was determined to give her guests unprecedented service.

 

On September 15, 1980, the opulent Helmsley Palace Hotel opened. At the time The Helmsley Palace had the highest hotel rates in the city. An early print advertisement featuring Leona had the by-line: “It’s the only palace in the world where the Queen stands guard”

 

The hotel has four Triplex Suites. Situated at the top of the tower and occupying the four corners, each 2-bedroom suite is spread over three floors and include a private roof terrace.

 

In 1982, the limited partners in the Helmsley Palace Hotel partnership forced an arbitration proceeding after Harry Helmsley, in his role as general partner demanded more money from the limited partners for cost overruns in building the hotel. The limited partners said the Helmsley’s had mismanaged the business and had hurt the partnership through several self-dealing transactions. The arbitrators ruled in favor of the limited partners and forced the Helmsley’s to pay the cost overruns and an additional $3.5 million to the partnership.

 

Leona Helmsley, was convicted of income tax fraud in August 1989 - (“We don’t pay taxes … only the little people do”). Leona was convicted of 33 felony counts of trying to defraud the government and IRS, including mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns (essentially running millions of dollars of personal expenses through the Helmsley Palace and Park Lane books)

 

Harry Helmsley was indicted on similar charges in 1988, but was found too ill to stand trial. He died in 1997.

 

Following appeals Leona Helmsley was imprisoned from 1992-1993.

 

The limited partners in the Palace partnership were rightfully concerned during the Helmsley’s legal mess that the hotel was in desperate need for another general partner. The limited partners contended Helmsley Enterprises breached its fiduciary duties in managing and operating the partnership. They sought through the courts to remove the Helmsleys as general partner, and to appoint a receiver until a new general partner and manager can be found or the hotel be sold. They also sought restoration of any money the Helmsleys may have diverted to their affiliates through self-dealing.

 

Helmsley operated the Helmsley Palace hotel until 1992. She was known to fire managers from her jail cell.

 

Interstate Hotels was appointed by the court as the hotel’s receiver. The hotel changed its name to The New York Palace Hotel. The receiver received 6 qualified bids for the hotel.

 

In November 1993 The Royal Family of Brunei agreed to buy the New York Palace for $202 million (the highest offer). The agreement to buy the Palace is with Amedeo Hotels Limited Partnership, an investment company in Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, contracted with Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

 

The hotel is comprised of three structures: the899-room 55-story hotel tower, the 5-story Villard House, and the 2-story Maloney & Porcelli restaurant.

 

The wealth of the royal family of Brunei, a tiny oil-rich sultanate on the island of Borneo, is controlled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, whose estimated worth of $33 billion makes him one of the world's richest men. He and his family also own the 263-room Beverly Hills Hotel in California, bought for $187 million in 1987, and the Dorchester Hotel in London, bought for about $85 million in 1985.

 

The Royal Family’s new wealth comes from a constant flow of royalties into their private bank accounts from Shell Oil, who they joint ventured with to extract Brunei’s only natural resource.

 

The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah younger brother is Prince Jefri Bolkiah who was the finance minister of Brunei from 1986 to 1998 and thus the chairman of The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) responsible for overseas investments. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle, which included a private Boeing 747 and 2,000 automobiles. Hotels he controlled included The New York Palace Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and Plaza Athénée in Paris.

 

Following an audit in 1987 The Brunei government charged Prince Jefri with embezzling $14.8 billion and he was removed as chairman of BEI.

 

In July 2008 BEI signed management contracts with the Dorchester Group to operate the New York Plaza and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

 

Prince Jefri’s two main legal and financial advisors, the British husband and wife lawyers Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman were dispatched by the Prince to the New York Palace in 2004 to protect his interests. The two were involved in many aspects of Prince Jefri’s business affairs and they held powers of attorney to act of his behalf.

 

So In November 2005, Zaman claims Jefri gave them a 17-year lease on a 2,800-square-foot apartment on the third floor of the hotel, which rented as a suite for $20,000 a night. The prince gave the apartment to them rent-free for the first five years After that, the charge would be $500 a month, with an option to renew for 51 years. According the Vanity Fair this was done so the sultan if ever was successful in taking over the hotel, he would have to deal with them for the rest of his life.

 

In February 2006, John Segreti, the managing director of the Palace, dropped dead at 52 of a pulmonary embolism. Segreti formerly was the chief operating officer at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, in Hong Kon).

 

In March 2006 Faith Zaman was appointed Managing Director of the Palace. Her annual salary included 5 percent of the hotel’s gross operating profit, a car allowance of $100,000 per year, and free use of the company credit card for personal expenses. Also the prince gave her control of a second lease at a low price for the Maloney & Porcelli steak house on the hotel’s ground floor, on East 50th Street.

 

Meanwhile Derbyshire was working hard on finding a way for Jefri to cash in on two of his biggest assets the New York Palace and Hotel Bel-Air. A prospective buyer, Ty Warner (owner of the Four Seasons New York), was found who had agreed to acquiring the two hotels for $800 million. The sell certainly would have breached the government of Brunei’s freeze of Prince Jefri’s assets and further, what bank in the world could be used to deposit the proceeds and hide it from the government of Brunei.

 

The sell never occurred. Prince Jefri filed a suit against Derbyshire and Zaman seeking to recover $7 million in questionable expenses, Derbyshire and Zaman countersued for $13 million in contractual wages never received. In December 2010 the New York City jury awarded Derbyshire and Zaman $21 million.

 

Prince Jefri, a father of 17 with four wives, has swapped a decadent lifestyle for a fugitive existence. He is reported to have been allowed back in Brunei.

 

In 1997, with a new name--Le Cirque 2000--the restaurant moved from the Mayfair to the New York Palace Hotel and its landmark, the Villard Houses. Designer Adam Tihany gave Le Cirque its dazzling new look, and, as the opening approached, Siro Maccioni told New York magazine, "They're either going to give us a medal or exile us to Kilimanjaro."

 

In 2006 Siro Maccioni moved Le Cirque from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building on East 58th Street.

 

John Segretti, the hotel’s managing director, decided The Palace Hotel should operate its own restaurant in the Villard space. In December 2005 it opened the 52-seat restaurant GILT with the interior design done by Patrick Jouin. The executive chef was Paul Liebrandt. The NY Times food critic panned Gilt two months after opening describing some entrees as “no larger than a hockey puck”. Shortly after Liebrandt was fired. In 2009 GILT was awarded Twp Michelin Stars under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Bogle.

 

In July 2011 Northwood Investors acquired the New York Plaza for approximately $400 million. The price is low by NYC standards – held down due to the $10 million dollar a year ground lease. The seller Brunei Investment Agency also owns the Dorchester Collection of luxury hotels. The New York Palace is no longer affiliated with the Dorchester Collection.

 

Northwood Investors is a privately-held real estate investment advisor that was founded in 2006 by John Z. Kukral, the former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. It also owns the Alden Houston Hotel and The Radisson Hotel Boston.

 

Northwood has appointed David Chase to general manager of The New York Palace. Most recently he was the pre-opening general manager of Trump SoHo New York.

 

Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released its 2013 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes:

 

•Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH)

•CIA Director John Brennan

•Senator Saxby Chambliss

•Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

•Attorney General Eric Holder

•Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner

•Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano

•President Barack Obama

•Senator Harry Reid (D-NV)

•Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

 

Dishonorable Mentions for 2013 include:

•Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

•Outgoing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) / Incoming Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D)

•Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ)

•National Security Adviser Susan Rice

  

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH):

 

House Speaker John Boehner has apparently become a master at what Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer calls the “Tollbooth Strategy.” As Schweizer explains in his new book, Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets: “You pay money at a tollbooth in order to use a road or bridge. The methodology in Washington is similar: if someone wants a bill passed, charge them money to allow the bill to move down the legislative highway.” According to Schweizer, Boehner apparently used the Tollbooth Strategy to collect more than $200,000 in political donations from executives just days before holding votes on bills critically important to their industries.

 

The first bill was the Wireless Tax Fairness Act. Strongly supported by big phone companies like AT&T and Verizon, it sailed through the House Judiciary Committee, and was expected to immediately come to the floor for a full House vote. Instead of scheduling the bill for a vote, however, Boehner allowed it to languish on the calendar for the next three months. What finally prompted Boehner to bring the bill to a vote? As Schweizer explains it: “The day before the vote, Boehner’s campaign collected the toll: thirty-three checks from wireless industry executives, totaling almost $40,000.”

 

According to Schweizer, two more bills on which Boehner employed the Tollbooth Strategy were the Access to Capital for Job Creators Act and the Small Company Capital Formation Act. Brokers and venture capitalists and investment firms strongly supported the proposed law. Explains Schweizer in Extortion: “The Speaker of the House took in $91,000 in the forty-eight hours of October 30 and 31 from investment banks and private equity firms, two days before the vote. During the same time period, he took in $46,500 from self-described ‘investors’ and another $32,450 from bank holding companies. With the tolls paid, the votes took place on the full House floor. Both passed easily.”

  

CIA Director John Brennan:

 

In mid-December 2013, Judicial Watch obtained and released the full transcript of a May 7, 2012, teleconference between then-White House top counterterror adviser (now CIA Director) John Brennan and various TV terrorism consultants in which Brennen revealed that the U.S. and its allies had “inside control over any plot” in its efforts to thwart a May 2012 terrorism bomb plot, thus blowing the cover on undercover agents within al Qaeda.

 

The Brennan revelation of “inside control” – an intelligence community euphemism for spies within an enemy operation – reportedly helped lead to the disclosure of a previously well-kept secret at the heart of a joint U.S.-British-Saudi undercover terrorism operation inside Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). According to a Reuters May 18, 2012, report:

 

The next day’s headlines were filled with news of a U.S. spy planted inside Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who had acquired the latest, non-metallic model of the underwear bomb and handed it over to U.S. authorities.

 

At stake was an operation that could not have been more sensitive — the successful penetration by Western spies of AQAP, al Qaeda’s most creative and lethal affiliate. As a result of leaks, the undercover operation had to be shut down.

 

In the transcript obtained by Judicial Watch, Brennan led the teleconference where he addressed the top terror consultants for ABC, NBC, CNN, and CBS including Caitlin Hayden, Frances Townsend, Richard Clarke, Roger Cressey, and Juan Zarate. In an apparent attempt to soft-peddle the thwarted terrorist attack, Brennan twice exposed the covert operation; first at the outset of the call, then as the conference drew to a close:

 

BRENNAN: The device itself, as I think the FBI statement said quite clearly, never posed a threat to the American public or the public … Well, as we, well know, Al Qaeda has tried to carry out simultaneous types of attacks, and so we were confident that we had inside control over the – any plot that might have been associated with this device.

 

CLARKE: If it gets asked. There was no active threat because we had insider control …

 

BRENNAN: I would not disagree with the way you put that, at all.

 

It should also be noted that records obtained by Judicial Watch in May 2012, through a Freedom of Information lawsuit, indicate that Brennan helped orchestrate the administration’s attempt to influence the storyline of the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” A transcript of a July 14, 2011, meeting between Defense Department officials, including Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers, and filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reveals that Boal met directly with White House officials on at least two occasions regarding the film: “I took your guidance and spoke to the WH and had a good meeting with Brennan and McDonough and I plan to follow up with them; and they were forward leaning and interested in sharing their point of view; command and control; so that was great, thank you,” Boal said according to the transcript. During Brennan’s February 2013 CIA confirmation hearings, he confirmed he had met with Boal “on how White House officials viewed the opportunities and risks associated with a film about the raid that killed bin Laden.”

 

Brennan, of course, was not the only Obama administration official who attempted to curry favor with “Zero Dark Thirty” filmmakers. In early December Judicial Watch released more than 200 pages of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), including a previously unreleased CIA internal report, confirming that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed classified information at a June 24, 2011, bin Laden assault awards ceremony attended by filmmaker Mark Boal. Significantly, the entire transcript of the Panetta speech provided to Judicial Watch by the CIA was classified “Top Secret.” More than 90 lines are redacted for security reasons, further confirming that significant portions of the speech should not have been made in front of the filmmaker who lacked top security clearance.

  

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA):

 

Sen. Saxby Chambliss makes the “Ten Worst” list for what he actually did in 2012, but which was finally exposed in 2013. Just as with House Speaker Boehner, Chambliss’s misdeeds were revealed in Peter Schweizer’s book Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets. In fact, Chambliss is highlighted as one of the key abusers who used leadership PAC loopholes to convert campaign cash into lavish lifestyle upgrades for themselves and their family members.

 

As the New York Times reported:

 

The book details the extravagant expenses of Senator Saxby Chambliss, Republican of Georgia, for instance, whose leadership PAC spent $10,000 on golf at Pebble Beach, nearly $27,000 at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and $107,752 at the exclusive Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Fla. The amount Mr. Chambliss spent at the Breakers in the 2012 election cycle, the book reports, is three times what the senator gave to the National Republican Senatorial Committee during the same period.

 

When Chambliss’s campaign was asked about the flagrantly lavish spending, they responded that all spending was reported according to the law. Though it may be legal, it is a clear abuse. And one has to wonder if the hardworking Georgians who sacrificed their scarce funds to support Chambliss’ re-election would be comfortable knowing their campaign contributions were used to support the “lifestyles of the rich and famous.”

  

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

 

On January 23, 2013, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified to congressional committees regarding the terrorist attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, which led to the murder of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American citizens. At times evasive, at other times defensive and aggressive, Clinton delivered her version of events in the days before and after the murders in Benghazi. And, in the end, the Secretary of State pretended to take “responsibility,” but gave a predictable response regarding who is to blame: “…the level of responsibility for the failures…was set at the Assistant Secretary of State level and below,” Clinton said, referring to an investigation of the incident. In other words, this was not my fault.

 

At one point in her testimony, in what is, perhaps, the epitome of Obama-era contempt for accountability, Clinton yelled “What difference does it make?” in response to a reasonable question about why the attack transpired and why the administration told an obvious lie about an obscure Internet video as the cause of the attack.

 

If the mere mention of the contrived video scenario triggered Clinton’s emotional outburst, it is certainly understandable. Remember, it was Clinton herself who was instrumental in advancing the false narrative that the video sparked the attacks. For example, at a September 14, 2012, event honoring the victims, Clinton said, “We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen the rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful video that we had nothing to do with.” To this day, she has not set the record straight.

 

In addition to Hillary Clinton’s apparent cover-up of the role she played in the Benghazi tragedy and its aftermath, she left office in another ethical cloud about conflicts of interest in the activities of her longtime top aide Huma Abedin. Abedin left the State Department in February 2013, and in May 2013, Politico broke the story that, since June 2012, she had been working as a “special government employee” (SGE), a consultant position allowing her to represent outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. While working as an SGE, Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.

 

And compounding the corruption scenario were the potential for conflicts of interest between Hillary Clinton’s role as Secretary of State and Bill Clinton’s international ventures, which grew increasingly controversial in late 2008 when the former president released a list of donors to his library and foundation in what he termed “a deal between” Obama “and Hillary.” According to an Associated Press wire story, “Saudi Arabia gave $10 million to $25 million to the foundation. Other government donors include Norway, Kuwait, Qatar, Brunei, Oman …”

  

Attorney General Eric Holder:

 

Attorney General Holder has become a regular on the Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians list.

 

In May 2013, Holder may well have committed perjury when he was involved in a back-and-forth with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about whether the Department of Justice (DOJ) could prosecute reporters under the Espionage Act for publishing classified material. In response to Johnson’s interrogatories Holder made the following statement: “In regard to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material – this is not something I’ve ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be wise policy.”

 

Since Holder made that statement, NBC news reported that the attorney general had approved a search warrant for the email account and phone records of Fox News reporter James Rosen. As Hotair.com said at the time: “There is no other way to view this except as a lie. Even if Holder wasn’t under oath, that would constitute a felony punishable by up to five years in prison. It certainly should produce at least a resignation, and almost assuredly would require the appointment of a special prosecutor ….”

 

Time and again in recent years, Judicial Watch has had to take legal action to prevent Holder’s DOJ from bludgeoning states over taking steps to prevent voter fraud. After a June Supreme Court ruling striking down a Voting Rights Act requirement requiring certain states and local jurisdictions to get permission from the DOJ or a federal judge before enacting voting law changes, Holder announced his intention to skirt the law. In a speech in September at a convention of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Holder vowed that the DOJ would find ways to try to accomplish the goals of the section of the law that was struck down.

 

As a result, Judicial Watch went to court in North Carolina in early December to defend the State of North Carolina against a DOJ lawsuit to prevent enforcement of the state’s recently passed law HB 589, which simply requires that voters present a photo ID before casting their ballots. As PJ Media explains it:

 

Judicial Watch uncovered collusion between radical leftist groups and the administration to attack voter integrity laws around the nation. Indeed, the [Judicial Watch] brief notes:

 

On July 29, 2013, a group of political activists attended a meeting at the White House with Attorney General Holder, Labor Secretary (and former Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights) Tom Perez, and President Obama. Those attending included representatives from the ACLU, the NAACP, and the Rev. Al Sharpton. Mr. Sharpton told an interviewer for MSNBC that, based on what he heard at that meeting, he expected action regarding North Carolina ‘when this governor signs the bill.’

 

The DOJ is similarly assaulting Texas in federal court as part of this ideological effort to suppress efforts to protect election integrity.

 

More than a dozen states—including Kansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Wisconsin—have similar laws that require voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls, and Obama’s attorney general has launched a campaign to challenge them all.

 

The Holder DOJ is clearly hostile to the idea of one person, one vote, one time.

 

Yet, even with all of that, Holder’s malfeasance doesn’t stop there. In August Judicial Watch released DOJ documents highlighting over $4.2 million in accrued travel expenses by Mr. Holder from March 2008 until August 2012; of which $697,525.20 were personal travel expenses. All, of course, at taxpayer expense. Add to this Holder’s continued stonewalling on the “Fast & Furious” gun-running scandal and it is all too obvious that Eric Holder’s corruption knows no limits.

  

Former IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller / Former IRS Official Lois Lerner:

 

Steve Miller, then head of the IRS, resigned in May 2013, after admitting to the targeting of anti-Obama Tea Party groups during the 2012 presidential election, which he offhandedly tossed off as “horrible customer service.” Under Miller, the IRS purposely stonewalledthe approval of nonprofit applications from “Tea Party” and other conservative groups that were seeking tax exempt status. According to a report by the agency’s inspector general released in May 2013, for more than 18 months beginning in early 2010: “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention.”

 

As reported by CNN:

 

Among the criteria used by IRS officials to flag applications was a “Be On the Look Out” list, or a BOLO, which was discontinued in 2012 according to the report. The criteria on the BOLO included:

•Whether “Tea Party,” “Patriots” or “9/12 Project” was referenced in the case file.

•Whether the issues outlined in the application included government spending, government debt or taxes.

•Whether there was advocating or lobbying to “make America a better place to live.”

•Whether a statement in the case file criticized how the country is being run.

•Whether it advocated education about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

 

Miller was eagerly aided in his suppression of conservative groups by former IRS Director of Exempt Organizations Lois Lerner. Subpoenaed to testify before Congress in May 2013, Lerner disdainfully refused to answer inquiries, demanding full immunity concerning her role in the targeting scandal. Eventually, the IRS acknowledged that while she was in charge, IRS agents improperly targeted Tea Party groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status from 2010-2012. Lerner retired from the IRS on September 23 with full benefits, even after an internal investigation found she was guilty of “neglect of duties” and was going to call for her firing, according to news reports.

 

Subsequent to Lerner’s lavish retirement, Judicial Watch, in October 2013, obtained email exchanges between her and enforcement attorneys at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) indicating that under Lerner’s direction, the IRS provided detailed, confidential information concerning the tax exempt application status and returns of conservative groups to the FEC – in violation of federal law.

 

Not only did Miller and Lerner deliberately target conservative organizations for IRS harassment, they both lied about it in separate appearances before Congress. In July 2012, Miller was asked at a congressional hearing, “What kind of … action is taking place at this time that you are aware of” to address complaints that groups seeking nonprofit status were being harassed. Claiming that an overload of applications had caused the problem, Miller covered up the fact that he had learned two months earlier that conservative groups were being inappropriately singled out for extra scrutiny. In May 2013, Lerner told a congressional committee that she found out about the harassment when she read about it “in the press” in early 2012. But, according to the IG report timeline, she was informed in June 2011 about the IRS’s BOLO criteria that included words such as “Tea Party” or “patriots.”

 

The true damage wrought by the Miller/Lerner witch-hunt may never be fully known. One can certainly speculate as to impact the Tea Party movement could have made had Miller and Lerner not cowed much of it into silence with their ruthless, reckless assault on Barack Obama’s political opponents. In short, the Obama IRS duo may have perfected the formula for stealing an election in plain sight.

  

Former DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:

 

In August 2013 Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano stepped down from her post expressing both “pride and regret” – the regret stemming from her failure to help push through the so-called Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The truth is, however, that Napolitano actually played a major role in doing an end run around existing immigration law by helping President Obama implement his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive in lieu of DREAM Act passage.

 

Documents obtained by Judicial Watch in June 2013 revealed that Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) abandoned required background checks in 2012, adopting, instead, costly “lean and lite” procedures in effort to keep up with the flood of amnesty applications resulting from the DACA directive.

 

The documents also revealed that, contrary to Napolitano’s claim that DACA applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “through no fault of their own,” the directive actually created a new avenue of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to an agency memo from District 15 Director David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”

 

The Obama/Napolitano stealth amnesty policy received a setback in July 2013 when the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas left DACA hanging by a string as he dismissed a challenge strictly due to jurisdictional issues. While the court determined that it did not have authority to hear the case, Judge Reed O’Connor agreed that program is likely unconstitutional, saying, “[T]he Court finds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim challenging the Directive and Morton Memorandum as contrary to the provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.”

 

In an earlier ruling handed down in April, Judge O’Connor stated clearly that, “DHS does not have discretion to refuse to initiate removal proceedings when the requirements of Section 1225(b)(2)(A) are satisfied.” That section requires the agents to place aliens who are not “clearly and beyond a doubt entitled to be admitted” to the United States into removal proceedings.

 

DHS malfeasance did not stop there. And, in fact, according to a court order filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas on December 13, DHS has actually enabled cartel trafficking of minors, delivering those minors to illegals living inside the United States and completing criminal transactions for illegal immigrants. The court document details a guilty plea from Mirtha Veronica Nava-Martinez for being paid to smuggle a 10-year-old El Salvadoran female into the United States. Nava-Martinez was hired by Patricia Elizabeth Salmeron Santos, the mother of the 10-year-old, who was living illegally in Virginia after being denied legal entry into the U.S. in 2001. According to U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen who wrote the court order: “The DHS officials were notified that Salmeron-Santos instigated this illegal conduct. Yet, instead of arresting Salmeron-Santos for instigating the conspiracy to violate our border security laws, the DHS delivers the child to her – thus successfully completing the mission of the criminal conspiracy. It did not arrest her. It did not prosecute her. It did not even initiate deportation proceedings for her. This DHS policy is a dangerous course of action.”

 

Napolitano’s legacy is one that has gutted, for political reasons, the very immigration laws she swore to uphold.

  

President Barack Obama:

 

President Barack Obama actually tops this “Top Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list for 2013 as the driving force behind so many of the misdeeds. This is Obama’s seventh straight year on the list, dating back all the way to 2007 (in 2006, he earned a “Dishonorable Mention”). He is a master at catch-me-if-you-can, corrupt politics. This year, he has again acted as a one-man Congress, rewriting entire sections of federal law on his own. Not only is his administration secretive and dishonest; its callous disregard for the rule of law undermines our constitutional republic. Examples include:

•Perhaps Obama’s most outrageous actions over the past year were his continual lies about the ability of Americans to keep their own health insurance under Obamacare. According the Free Beacon, Obama misled the American people a total of 36 times between 2008 and 2013 with his promise, “If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” And according to NBC News, Obama knew, even as he repeated his lie, that “more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them:”

 

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date – the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example – the policy would not be grandfathered.

 

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

 

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

•Throughout 2013, the Obama family continued to use the White House as its own personal travel bureau and the taxpayers as their personal expense account.

•Though Obama quickly disavowed any knowledge of the IRS assault on Tea Party and other conservative groups leading up to the 2012 presidential election, the fact is that it was the president himself who fingered the groups for what might be called “special handling.” Consider Obama’s own hostile and aggressive statements, made just as his IRS officials were gearing up their assault:

 

August 9, 2010: During his weekly radio address, Obama warned of “attack ads run by shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names.” The President said: We don’t know who’s behind these ads and we don’t know who’s paying for them . . . you don’t know if it’s a foreign controlled corporation. … The only people who don’t want to disclose the truth are people with something to hide.”

 

September 20, 2010: Speaking in Philadelphia, Obama once again warned that “nobody knows” the identities of the individuals who support conservative groups.

 

September 22, 2010: Speaking in New York, Obama warned against groups opposing his policies “[posing] as non-for-profit social and welfare trade groups” and he claimed such groups were “guided by seasoned Republican political operatives” and potentially supported by some unidentified “foreign controlled entity.”

 

October 14, 2010: Obama attacked organizations with “benign sounding” names as “a problem for democracy.”

 

Little wonder that after their boss sounded the call to attack, Obama’s IRS appointees obeyed the command. And even less wonder that, caught red-handed, Obama first claimed total ignorance and, when the ploy failed, simply labeled it all a “phony scandal.”

•According to the Galen Institute, Obama has now unilaterally rewritten the Obamacare law as passed by Congress 14 times by executive fiat, with the majority of those changes coming in 2013. Those changes include such major overhauls as the congressional opt-out, eviscerating the individual mandate, and delaying the employer mandate. The latest Obama fix came on December 20, when he suddenly moved to allow hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bone “catastrophic” plans. As National Review observed, “Of course, like every other exemption from Obamacare the latest fix is supposed to last only a year, raising the prospect that people will be kicked off their catastrophic coverage as soon as the 2014 election is safely in the political rear-view mirror.”

  

Senator Harry Reid (D-NV):

 

Last year, Harry Reid made the Judicial Watch Ten Worst list for his influence-peddling scandal involving ENN Energy Group, a Chinese “green energy” company for which Reid “applied his political muscle” – and which just happened to be a major client of the Nevada law firm in which Reid’s son, Rory, is a principal.

 

This year Reid makes the Ten Worst list again. His “friends” list is examined by Frontpage.com:

 

On Monday, Harry Reid’s close friend and donor, Harvey Whittemore was sentenced to two years in prison for funneling more than $130,000 in illegal campaign funds to Sen. Harry Reid’s re-election committee in 2007 …

 

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Reid and Whittemore go way back; four of Reid’s sons were hired by the law firm in which Harvey Whittemore was a senior partner. Sen. Reid and Whittemore were involved in very big land deals, including federal legislation to help the development of Coyote Springs.

 

None of which is surprising, since Reid has long-since made funneling money to his family’s enterprises his stock-in-trade. According to Peter Schweizer, writing for Fox News, “Sen. Reid has sponsored at least $47 million in earmarks that directly benefitted organizations that one of his sons, Key Reid, [RW1] either lobbies for or is affiliated with.”

 

While not teaming up with family members to fleece taxpayers, Reid was teaming up with President Obama to use executive authority to skirt the law. Obama and Reid have long opposed a proposed nuclear waste dump in Yucca Mountain, Nevada, which has already cost U.S. taxpayers an astounding $15 billion, according to various federal audits. So, Obama simply instructed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC) to decline to conduct the statutorily mandated Yucca Mountain licensing process, essentially destroying the project.

 

In mid-August, a federal appellate court ruled that Obama “is simply flouting the law.” According to the court, “It is no overstatement to say that our constitutional system of separation of powers would be significantly altered if we were to allow executive and independent agencies to disregard federal law in the manner asserted in this case by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

 

Topping off the year, on November 21, 2013, – a day which should live in congressional infamy – Reid gutted the long-standing filibuster rules of the U.S. Senate in order to grease the path for Barack Obama’s court appointees. The new Reid rule prevents the minority party from filibustering any nominations other than nods to the Supreme Court. And to effect the change, Reid first triggered the “nuclear option,” which allows a change to Senate rules by majority vote (and which he had adamantly opposed in 2005, calling it “illegal” and “unAmerican”). Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused Reid of attempting “break the rules of the Senate … in order to change the rules of the Senate.” Not surprisingly, as the Wall Street Journal editorialized, an ancillary benefit of the rule change is that it will get judges on the DC Court of Appeals who are more friendly to Reid’s agenda.

  

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius:

 

It’s a wonder Secretary Sebelius was still around to do damage in 2013 after last year’s fiasco for which she appeared on the Ten Most Wanted list. The Obama administration’s own lawyers determined Sebelius could be fired for violating federal law when reports surfaced that she had campaigned for Obama while acting in her official capacity as an executive branch official during the last presidential campaign. This made Kathleen Sebelius the first member ever of a president’s cabinet to be found guilty of violating the Hatch Act.

 

In 2013, rather than solicit votes, Sebelius solicited financial support for President Obama’s huge health care disaster. In May, Secretary Sebelius was caught hitting health care companies up for cash to fund Obamacare after Congress rejected all of the administration’s requests.

 

But, that was just for openers – because in October Sebelius redefined the term “incompetence” when she oversaw the disastrous launch of the Obamacare website. As Mercedes Schlapp wrote in US News:

 

She refused to listen to the IT experts who expressed serious concerns about the launch as early as March of 2013. Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer said in a meeting that he was “pretty nervous” about the exchanges being ready for October 1. Prior to the launch, one insurance executive also stated, “the extent of the problems was pretty enormous.”

 

Yet the American people are forced to settle for mediocrity from their leaders who play political games rather than deliver effective products.

 

Pressed by Congress to explain the disastrous, costly website rollout, Sebelius rolled her eyes, shrugged her shoulders and caustically replied, “Whatever” blithely dismissing the lies and the fraud that have become part and parcel of Obamacare. The fact is, were Sebelius in the private sector, she would probably be prosecuted for fraud.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

  

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

 

In late December, documents obtained by Judicial Watch revealed that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently used his top mayoral staff to work on Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) – of which Bloomberg is a co-founder – at taxpayer expense. Included in the documents were emails revealing that Bloomberg aid John Feinblatt worked closely with MAIG executive Mark Glaze on the following:

•On December 14, 2013, Glaze and Feinblatt discussed MAIG lobbying efforts in the state of Colorado.

•On the day following the Sandy Hook tragedy, Glaze and Feinblatt conferred on how they could “”keep the mayor ahead of congress, the white house, the press.”

•On December 17 and 18 and email exchange makes it clear that Feinblatt was involved in the day-to-day operations of MAIG, including media buys by the organization.

•On December 19, an email from Glaze to Feinblatt indicates that Feinblatt was directly involved in MAIG finances.

  

Outgoing Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) / Incoming Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D):

 

The citizens of Virginia got a dubious “twofer” in 2013, as both their outgoing and incoming governors were revealed as having been embroiled in apparently shady dealings, to put it mildly.

 

In April 2013, outgoing Governor McDonnell became the subject of an FBI probe because of his possible quid-pro-quo dealings with Jonnie R. Williams Sr., the chief executive of Star Scientific, a company that makes a tobacco-derived dietary supplement. Williams allegedly paid $15,000 to cover catering expenses at the June 2011 wedding of McDonnell’s daughter at the time the McDonnell family was actively promoting the supplement. And that’s just the beginning. According to The Washington Post report on the relationship, “Williams’s company donated $28,500 worth of flights to McDonnell’s successful 2009 campaign for governor and $80,000 worth of air travel to his political action committee after the election, the Post reported. Williams also allowed the governor’s family to borrow a Ferrari and stay at a western Virginia vacation home he owns in July 2011.”

 

In mid-December, federal prosecutors told McDonnell that he and his wife would be charged in connection with the scandal. Senior Justice Department officials delayed the decision, however, reportedly to wait until after McDonnell leaves office.

 

For his part, incoming Governor Terry McAuliffe is preparing for his inauguration with a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation hanging over his head. Perhaps Mother Jones magazine best explains the latest McAuliffe scandal:

 

When McAuliffe in 2009 created GreenTech, a now-troubled electric-car company, he turned to an old pal for assistance in courting foreign investors: Tony Rodham, who is best known as one of Hillary Clinton’s embarrassing brothers. A former repo man, prison guard, and private eye, Rodham by then had a long history of trying to cash in on his famous sister’s connections and generally causing problems for her…

 

But McAuliffe somehow thought Rodham was just the guy to help him with his electric-car venture. Rodham owns a company that solicits foreign investors for American projects (deals that allow these foreign investors secure US visas). GreenTech relied heavily on foreign investors.

 

According to The Washington Post: “In May, the SEC subpoenaed documents from GreenTech Automotive and bank records from a sister company, Gulf Coast Funds Management of McLean. The investigation is focused, at least in part, on alleged claims that the company ‘guarantees returns’ to the investors, according to government documents.”

  

Former Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ):

 

Former three-term Republican Congressman Rick Renzi first made the Judicial Watch Ten Worst list back in 2008, when was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy, extortion, money laundering and wire fraud. At the time, we said, “He allegedly used his influence on a House Natural Resources Committee to orchestrate a land swap with the federal government that financially benefited himself and his associates. The 49-year-old lawmaker, who owns an insurance business, is also charged with embezzling more than $400,000 from insurance clients to fund his congressional campaign.” Well, now we can drop the “allegedly” – because in June, 2013, Renzi was convicted on 17 counts of extortion, racketeering and other federal charges. And in October, he was sentenced to three years in prison.

  

National Security Adviser Susan Rice:

 

Last year, Susan Rice shared Ten Worst dishonors with Hillary Clinton for their dual roles in the high-profile campaign to portray the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as solely related to a privately produced YouTube video that was offensive to Muslims. On the Sunday following the attack, Rice repeatedly stated on five different network TV news programs that the Benghazi assault had been a spontaneous reaction to an obscure online video mocking Mohammed, rather than a planned terrorist attack.

 

This year, Rice makes the Ten Worst list all on her own by joining with Barack Obama to add insult to injury by pulling an end-run around the United States Congress. Realizing that after her campaign of deception involving Benghazi, she could not be approved by the Senate for the job of Secretary of State she so clearly coveted, Rice accepted the position of National Security Advisor, which requires no Senate approval. Thus, her duplicity could be rewarded – without the American people having any say whatsoever in the matter.

 

•) The Inspiration Behind this French Brooch Necklace (•

 

This particular creation was inspired by a French, 13th century gold ring brooch decorated with rubies and sapphires in tall collets encircled with foliage. We have named our own piece with an inscription that was common during this era: "Ami Amet Deli Pencet", which translated from French means "think of a friend who loves you".

 

True to the period we wanted this to be a versatile adornment, so we chose to include a little inspiration from a portrait of Sir Christoper Hatton, circa 1589, in which he wore a cameo suspended from a luxurious set of gold chains around his neck. In our own creation we've substituted the thick chains with fine, gold filgree leaves and stems, cultivating a more delicate art piece to grace a woman's gentle throat, while still being substantial enough for a man.

 

We say "inspired" because we don't recreate pieces, but rather conjure up our own jewelled magic based on the spirit of authentic renaissance adornments that capture our imagination, and that allow us to both explore and share some of the rich, historical context behind them.

 

Jewelry was worn by all ages and genders in the middle ages, and often had functional purposes as well as decorative ones. Pieces were often ornate and elaborate, with courtly love appearing as a central theme in many creations. This is the "intent" that this necklace was infused with during it's creation.

 

As influence increased toward the latter half of the thirteenth century so so the demand for jewellery outside of court circles. As a result, laws were passed in an attempt to prevent the lower classes from wearing jewellery at all. Edward III introduced a law in England in 1363 forbidding the families of artisans and yeoman from wearing "belts,

collars, clasps, rings, garters, brooches, ribbons, chains, bands or seals, or any other thing whatsoever of gold or silver", though this proved a rather difficult thing to enforce. Imagine trying to make that law work in Second Life *grins*

 

Curious about the historical details behind this ring and other jewelry from it's time period? We've shared some of our favourite facts with you on this below.

 

(See the section called: •) This Collection's Historical Roots and Inspirations (• )

  

•) Collection features (•

 

Alchemy is the art of turning something base into something of value, and that's exactly what we have in mind when we dig into the earth for raw metals and stones to conjure up collections of mystical and mythical body art.

 

Our creations draw on an eclectic mix of personal cravings and a desire for authenticity and historical relevance. While many inworld jewellers feature traditional stone cuts, polish and scripted sparkle, we embrace a more natural approach to creation, adopting the beauty of unpredictable earthstone shapes, cabochon cuts and a painstaking attention to the details of natural lighting and shine. We treat our renaissance gems as beautiful pieces of personal, natural art.

 

From baroque trinkets to Byzantine, hammered metal and gusseted jewels, we craft a quixotic mix of personal treasures decadent enough to tantalize the appetites of gypsies, kings and whores.

 

Our second collection draws on the raw decadence of ancient metals and powerful stones, invested with the intent of "courtly love" through a set of real life rituals infused into a delicate sigil concealed against your skin. With a lust for the kind of lavish personal adornment that made Roman and medieval cultures so distinctive in their styles, we set out to drape you in tasteful motifs of jewelled antiquities, metals with rich patinas, delicious age, and a constellation of both powerful and healing talismans and stones.

 

Our "intentional jewelry" is much more than simple adornment. Each piece is a tool that can be used to invoke a level of magic in your own first and second life. A carefully chosen set of first life rituals were used in it's creation, including a combination of incense, oils and candle magic. We anoint our tools (including our computers) with oils blended for consecration, creativity and balance. In the creation of this piece we used both "consecration" and "attraction" oils.

  

Just add magic ...

 

Our "intentional jewelry" is much more than simple adornment. Each piece is a tool that can be used to invoke a level of magic in your own first and second life. A carefully chosen set of first life rituals were used in it's creation, including a combination of incense, oils and candle magic. We anoint our tools (including our computers) with oils blended for consecration, creativity and balance.

 

We've included a little guide to help you understand a bit more about the stones we chose, the planets that they are associated with, and some of the ways that you might use them in your own rituals through this inworld jewelry to invest your intentions.

 

For more information on how we use magic in our work and what our views are regarding magic, please see the "magic" tab on our website for more information. alchemyimmortalis.com

 

The necklace arrives tucked into a bottle of elixir that renames itself and converts to a beautiful alchemy prop when unpacked. We tend to use dual use packagers because we value practicality. Dual use means, once an item or items are unpacked, your unpacker becomes a decorative item. Nifty! It's like recycling. Don't fill up the landfill with prim packaging and risk your mother boxing your ears.

 

The potion bottle that the packaging transforms into is a special edition, containing an authentic Gypsy rose love potion and spell that you can make as part of your own kitchen witchery. We chose this particular potion and spell because of it's relevance to the intention of "courtly love" that this piece of jewelry is infused with.

 

*** Please note that we do NOT advocate using any potion or practice in a way that compromises the free will of/causes harm to another person or thing.

  

And a dash of relentless, loving care ...

 

If your belief system doesn't include magic, we wanted to appeal to your appreciation for realism, quality and thoughtful construction. This item is mostly sculptwork (sculpted prims) so care was taken in minimising LOD falloff by not overstressing the verts. We also used design elements that are more resistant to LOD falloff to camoflague any shortcomings so that enjoyment of this item could be had at reasonable distances.

 

All of the texture work is hand painted on the model directly. The textures are not simply applied but matched to the depressions and curves of every single prim within the design. Although we can easily and realistically cast light using our 3D programme, we hand paint the shadows for a more artistic appearance that better matches our overall sim design and theme. One is not better than the other, as it's like choosing between a photograph and a painting. We actually have a variable mix of both depending on the piece, but tend towards mostly hand painted as it better marries our pieces to our overall sim concept. Each piece you buy from us is crafted as part of a greater whole and lends a finished wholeness to its design.

 

The textures are hand drawn, not photo sourced. Our jewelry is completely created by us and for us, to give our users a rare uniqueness to their items because exclusivity is ultimately what gives a virtual item it's personality when many produced items tend to share particle effect base and texture sources.

 

And a healthy pinch of scripted resource stewardship ...

 

We've scripted this collection to be low lag overall, and anytime we script that is our main objective. We also want something to be extremely easy to use or we know that you simply won't use it. That's no good at all. We like items to move if they are designed to mimic RL elements. The coding behind the scenes is clean and sharp...not very exciting to anyone disinterested in geeky things like that, but believe me when we tell you we celebrate and salivate when we conquer aspects of messy code we've seen inworld in the past. Always expect our items to be cleanly coded, interactive if we can manage it, and have a usefulness beyond simply looking pretty.

  

Here's to living a more magical life!

-- Alchemy and Immortalis Cyannis.

  

•) This Collection's Historical Roots and Inspirations (•

 

Jewelry was worn by all ages and genders in the middle ages, and often had functional purposes as well as decorative ones. Pieces were often ornate and elaborate, with courtly love appearing as a central theme in many creations.

 

As influence increased toward the latter half of the thirteenth century so so the demand for jewellery outside of court circles. As a result, laws were passed in an attempt to prevent the lower classes from wearing jewellery at all. Edward III introduced a law in England in 1363 forbidding the families of artisans and yeoman from wearing "belts, collars, clasps, rings, garters, brooches, ribbons, chains, bands or seals, or any other thing whatsoever of gold or silver", though this proved a rather difficult thing to enforce. Imagine trying to make that law work in Second Life *grins*

 

•) Metals and Stones (•

 

Most medieval jewelry was crafted with gold and silver, decorated with colourful enamels, niello (a black alloy of silver, sulphur and lead) and gemstones. Rubies, sapphires and pearls were favourite choices, and markedly different from the faceted cuts set into jewelry today. Medieval gems were generally polished instead, creating pebble-like shapes with soft pools of colour. This cabochon cut is what gives jewelry from this period such a distinctively rustic look and feel.

 

While the colour of stones added to the beauty of a piece, they were often chosen for their healing or spiritual powers. This was a widely embraced part of the culture during middle ages, and something we personally embrace as we set out to craft new collections of "intentionally created" jewelled art at Alchemy Immortalis.

 

•) Magical Properties and Healing Powers (•

 

Much was written about these powers, including eleventh century references to stones such as sapphires, which were considered to possess the power to protect one against physical injury, fear, fraud and envy, and also to protect one's chastity. While sapphires were revered for their significance as a sign of peace and reconciliation, they were also thought to have the ability to promote the healing of ulcers, eye conditions and headaches. Some gemstones contained fossilized fish teeth (known as toadstones), and were also embedded into jewelry because they were thought to have similar healing powers.

 

You will sometimes find that stones have been drilled. This was done in the belief that it would increase the effectiveness of the stone's power.

 

Because of this belief in the magical and healing properties of many stones, they were often set into jewelry in a way that provided direct contact with the skin. Open-backed settings were a common feature of rings and pendants, thought to increase the effectiveness of a stone's magical or healing powers.

 

In addition to precious stones, other substances were sometimes used to infuse jewelry with special powers. For instance, the "unicorn horn" -- the name given to the horn of the dolphin-like Narwhal at the time -- was sometimes cut into semi-circular pieces and mounted on gold chains as a means of detecting poison.

 

•) Pendants (•

 

Pendants were prolific during the Renaissance, and again worn by both genders and all ages. Men and children tended to wear them hung on a chain around their neck, while women often fixed them to their girdles, bodices, sleeves or ruffles with ribbons or pins. Intended to hang freely, the backs were often as ornately decorated as the fronts.

 

Artisans of the time tended to craft pendants out of gold and enamels, generously nestled in beds of precious stones, such as diamonds or ambergris, and the naturally shaped baroque pearls which became wildly popular at the end of the 16th century.

 

•) Design as a Nod to an Expanding World (•

 

The beginning of the sixteenth century was marked by the excitement of exploration by sea, and the wild and perilous journeys embarked on to trade with distant continents. This was celebrated in the crafting of elaborately jewelled pieces that included galleons, sea monsters and mermaids at the time.

 

•) Personal Expression (•

 

People living in the renaissance often chose pieces of jewelry for the same reasons that many of us do today: as an expression of some unique aspect of their personality or the things they care most about. As we do now, people would sometimes choose jewelled pieces bearing an animal or symbol as a nod to some personal context or joke.

 

Certain animals and talismans had particular significance at the time. For instance, the "salamander" was considered to be a sign of passionate love, as it was believed to thrive in fire. Cupid was another popular symbol during this time, often found on pendants as a sign of courtly love.

 

Insignias were also a popular form of symbolic personal decoration, with the initials of a husband and wife perhaps being engraved into a ring or pendant in celebration of marriage.

 

•) All Roads Lead to Rome (•

 

A revived interest in the arts of ancient Greece and Rome had a heavy influence in the design of much renaissance jewelry. Pediments and pillars were motifs borrowed from

ancient architecture. Historical figures and characters from mythology came to life again through elaborately designed pieces of jewelry bearing their likeness carved into cameos and elements of gold. While religion had long been a major influence in personal adornment, mythical figures such as Hercules, Cupid, Apollo, Daphne, Leda and the Swan began to take their place as prominent fixtures in jeweled art.

 

Greek and Roman craftsman had created highly prized pieces engraved into carnelian and other stones. Carved Byzantine pieces were similarly valued antiquities. The Renaissance fueled a renewed dedication to this intricate art, inspiring a prolific collection of cameos, where the design is carved in relief, and intaglios where the design is a more subtle etching into the surface of a gem.

 

While a variety of gemstones and even shells were sometimes used for these pieces, multi-layered onyx and sardonyx were the preferred materials for this time period, revealing

contrasting shades of glossy brown and white.

  

•) A Guide on the Powers and Use of the Stones(•

 

Ruby

 

Rubies are associated with Mars, which rules physical strength and symbolizes predominantly male energy. Philosophically, Mars represents a need to temper primal urges while at the same to embracing the fire within. Rubies can give the wearer clairvoyance and guards against deception.

 

A ruby can can be useful at times when you want to summon up strength, energy, creativity, sexuality, confidence, courage, adventure. It can also be a helpful stone to set in order to draw success to you when engaging in sports or combat, or entering a new venture that has high risk.

 

The Ruby is a powerful heart stone, healing the heart, protecting against the loss of heart energy, and dissolving emotional congestion. Rubies heal and balance emotions, making you more emotionally aware and helping you to connect with others emotionally. Rubies have an intense and vivid energy, stimulating loving emotions, helping with the expression of love, and facilitating states of passion and bliss.

 

Rubies can also be used to shield you against psychic and emotion attacks. They're a good stone for Aries, Leo and Cancer.

 

Sapphire

 

Sapphires are associated with the planet Jupiter, whose historical alchemical value was it's optimistic characteristics. Jupiter was often called on to temper Saturn's dark moods, and tends to be recognized as a planet of the higher mind. It also represents generosity, goodness and opportunity.

 

Much was written about the powers of stones in the middle ages, including eleventh century references to sapphires, which were considered to possess the power to protect one against physical injury, fear, fraud and envy, and also to protect one's chastity. While sapphires were revered for their significance as a sign of peace and reconciliation, they were also thought to have the ability to promote the healing of ulcers, eye conditions and headaches. Some gemstones contained fossilized fish teeth (known as toadstones), and were also embedded into jewelry because they were thought to have similar healing powers.

 

You will sometimes find that stones have been drilled. This was done in the belief that it would increase the effectiveness of the stone's power.

 

Because of this belief in the magical and healing properties of many stones, they were often set into jewelry in a way that provided direct contact with the skin. Open-backed settings were a common feature of rings and pendants, thought to increase the effectiveness of a stone's magical or healing powers.

 

Jupiter is known as the 'great teacher'. It is associated with wisdom, optimism and honour. It's stones, including sapphires, are associated with higher education, religion, law, philosophy, gurus, rules, law, judges and physicians. These stones are also used in rituals focusing on humanitarian and protecting roles, your values, beliefs, friends and aspirations.

 

They are also used in business and personal rituals based on the principles of growth, expansion, prosperity and good fortune, as well as those focusing on your inner sense of justice and morality, your ideals and higher goals, and mercy.

 

In healing sapphires govern blood and have traditionally been used for rituals involving the liver, pituitary gland and the disposition of fats.

 

Jupiter stones also govern long distance and foreign travel, adventurers, languages and foreign cultures. They are associated with the urge for freedom and exploration, fun and laughter, joy, confidence, optimism, generosity and even sports.

 

You might choose to set the stones in your jewelry to sapphires when you want to focus on financial aspects in your life, or at the start of new undertakings when you are focusing on activities of expansion, philanthropy, gain and increase. They are also used when you are seeking favors from grandparents, aunts and uncles, advisers (doctors, lawyers, accountants, astrologers). You may also use them when you are seeking advice or consultation, including in settling disputes.

 

Bloodstone

 

Like a Ruby, Bloodstone (also known as Heliotrope) is associated with Mars, which rules physical strength and symbolizes predominantly male energy. Philosophically, Mars represents a need to temper primal urges while at the same to embracing the fire within. Bloodstone can give the wearer clairvoyance and guards against deception.

 

It can be useful at times when you want to summon up strength, energy, creativity, sexuality, confidence, courage, adventure. It can also be a helpful stone to set in order to draw success to you when engaging in sports or combat, or entering a new venture that has high risk.

 

Legend suggests that Bloodstone was first formed by drops of blood staining the stones at the foot of the cross at Christ's crucifixion. It is a powerful healing stone, valuable for grounding negative energy and cleansing the body. It can be used to increase enery and strength, and in helping to overcome fearfulness

and worry.

 

You can also set Bloodstone when you want to enhance intuition and creativity, or to combat fatigue, irritability and confusion.

 

Carnelian

 

Carnelian is a stone associated with both the Sun and Mercury. It provides a great stablizing energy, protecting the wearer against envy, fear and rage, and helping to banish sorrow. It can be used in rituals where courage is required to make big decisions and launch new ventures, drawing prosperity.

 

As a sun stone it can also be used for healing and health, and it's alignment with Mercury can be particularly helpful when healing nervous disorders. Sun stones can also be used to summon up the kinds of creative forces that give vitality to endeavors such as acting and the stage, hobbies and activities marking the fun side of life.

 

This stone can also be set when summoning favours from friends or those in a position of authority over you.

 

As a stone associated with Mercury it can pave the way for success in forms of communication such as writing, journalism and giving speeches, as well as fuel success in studies and education. It can be empowering when seeking a new job, and where a reflectivity and rational thinking is required.

 

Hematite

 

Hematite is associated with Saturn, and is a very protective and detoxifying stone. Lore suggests that hematite was formed from drops of dragons blood.

 

It's known as the "stone of the mind", enhancing memory, original thinking and technical knowledge. It can help focus energy and dissolve negativity, calming and grounding you during times of stress or worry.

 

Hematite can also be used to help you find your own gifts and to release any limitations that you may have imposed on yourself. Set Hematite when in need of balance and equilibrium, or when having difficulty focusing energies.

 

While Saturn at times played a role in more sinister alchemical processes, it also represents order and a gravitational pull to balance and moderation. Alchemists drew on the power of Saturn when they wanted to take matters into their own hands, so using it's associated stones can reinforce the desire to call your own energy into focus in a very powerful way.

 

As a stone of Saturn, hematite can be used in rituals where you want to summon physical or emotional endurance and patience during hardships. You can set it when you want to give up bad habits and unhealthy choices, and make repairs.

 

It can be invoked in a focus on longterm goals, gains and planning, including career longevity, rewards and investments.

 

Saturn's stones can also be used when seeking favours from elders who we are not related to, or from difficult people.

 

It can also be used to attract "kind" love.

  

85th Pennsylvania Infantry

This is what William Cutler wrote about this gentleman:

COL. EVERHARD BIERER, attorney at law. The Bierers, or Behrers, according to the German orthography, were a numerous, influential and wealthy family in Wurtemburg (sic), Germany, where they held various honorable position in the civil and military service of the State. George Bierer, a grand uncle of the Colonel, commanded a regiment in the Austrian army during the middle of the eighteenth century, and was created a Baron for distinguished military services, particularly at the siege of Belgrade, Servia, in 1788-89. Col. Bierer is of pure German lineage, his parents being both born in Wurtemburg (sic), the father, Everhard Bierer, born at Wiernshelm, January 6, 1795; the mother, Catherine M. Ruckenbrodt, at Maimsheim, October 28, 1798, and both emigrated with their parents to America in 1804 and settled in Pennsylvania. Everhard Bierer and wife were members of the Lutheran Church, and passed their married life in Uniontown, Fayette Co., Penn., where the subject of this sketch was born January 9, 1827, and where his mother died July 15, 1858, and his father August 2, 1876. He received a liberal education in the private schools and at Madison College in his native town, where he graduated in 1845, having completed a special course embracing the higher mathematics natural and mental sciences, the Latin language and English literature. Leaving the college he entered the office of Joshua B. Howell, Esq. (afterward Colonel of the Eighty-fifth Pennsylvania Volunteers, and who was killed before Richmond in 1864), and was admitted to the bar in March, 1848. He practiced his profession successfully until April 23, 1861, when he left his office and raised a company of volunteers and entered the military service of the United States as Captain of Company F, Eleventh Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. He served in the Army of the Potomac, and was in the battles of Drainsville, Mechanicsville and Gaines' Hill,(SIC) where, when the whole of Fitz John Porter's corps was broken and retiring back toward the Chickahominy River, Captain Bierer rallied part of the regiment, including his company, for probably the last ineffectual stand on that bloody field, and he was captured with his command June 27, 1862, and taken to Libby Prison, from which he was released by exchange on the 14th of the following August. Six days afterward he was granted twenty days' leave of absence on account of sickness, and went home, but on learning by telegraph of the impending battle at Bull Run, he returned to the army and rejoined his command on the day of the battle. August 30, and in a few days afterward, September 14, 1862, participated in the engagement at South Mountain, Md., where he was severely wounded in the left arm, the ball passing through the elbow joint and lodging in the forearm, from which it was not extracted until the 25th of the following November, and from which he is crippled in his arm for life. Having become convalescent, October 24, he was appointed Commandant of Camp Curtin, Harrisburg, Penn., with the rank of Colonel, where he organized the 171st, 172d, 173d, 176th, 177th and 178th Regiments Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and November 18 was commissioned Colonel of the One Hundred and Seventy-first. After serving in various parts of southeastern Virginia and in North Carolina, his regiment was ordered to Washington, N. C., where he was placed in command of a brigade and in temporary command of the military district of the Pamlico. He was also at several times in command of Gen. Prince's Division, Eighteenth Army Corps, Major-Gen. J. G. Foster commanding. He was in an engagement at Blount's Creek, near Washington, N. C., April 7, 1863, commanding a brigade under Gen. F. B. Spinola. Spinola's forces were obliged to retire before superior numbers under the Rebel General Hill. To Col. Bierer was assigned the command of the Rear Guard. The duty was critical, the enemy crowding upon him in heavy force nearly the entire night. In the midst of intense darkness, through pine forests and cypress swamps the march was conducted, and he finally succeeded in bringing off the column with the trains and all the wounded. July 1, 1863, he returned with his regiment to Virginia and went with General Dix on his expedition to Richmond. The expedition marched from the White House landing to within eight or ten miles of Richmond, and after some skirmishing with the Rebels, Dix ordered its return to Fortress Monroe. Col. Bierer with his regiment went to Washington, thence to Harper's Ferry, where he joined General Meade, and on the 7th of that month was given a permanent brigade command, and assigned to duty as Military Commandant of the District of the Monocacy, embracing all Western Maryland, with headquarters at Frederick City, Md. September 26, 1863, he was mustered out of the service the regiment's term of enlistment having expired on the 8th of the previous August. During January, February and March, 1864, Col. Bierer served in the Veteran Reserve Corps, but not liking that service, resigned his command and permanently retired from the army. In October, 1865, he removed from Pennsylvania to Kansas and settled on a beautiful farm one mile east of Hiawatha, Brown County, and resumed the practice of his profession. The Colonel was originally a Democrat, and as the nominee of that party was elected in 1850 the first District Attorney of Fayette County, Penn., for a term of three years. Believing that the Democratic party had become the mere propagandist of slavery he became a Republican in 1856, led the forlorn hope for Fremont in Fayette County, Penn., Democracy, and had the satisfaction of seeing the county carried for Lincoln in 1860 by a majority vote of one in a poll of about 10,000. He became during the war a person friend of Abraham Lincoln, and always regarded him as the greatest and best man of the age. In 1864 he was elected one of the Presidential Electors by the Republican party of Pennsylvania, and in 1868 was the Representative from Brown County in the Kansas Legislature by the suffrages of the same party. In 1868 he voted for Grant, but with considerable reluctance, as he could not endorse the reconstruction and financial policy of the party, and in 1870 renounced all connection with the Republican party. His vote in 1872 was cast for Greeley, and in 1876 for Tilden, whom he considered honestly elected, and regarded the action of the majority of the Electoral Commission as a gross fraud and outrage, perpetrated deliberately for partisan purposes and resulting in seating a President who was not elected to the office. He became a member of Fort Necessity No. 254, I. O. O. F. at Uniontown, Penn., in February, 1852, and subsequently joined the Encampment. Has been District Deputy Grand Master, and District Grand Patriarch of the order in Pennsylvania, where he is still a member both of Grand Lodge and Grand Encampment. He was also made a Mason at Uniontown in 1864, and has attained the higher degrees of the order, and is at present affiliated with Hiawatha Lodge No. 35, A. F. & A. M. He is quite liberal and decidedly individualized in his religious opinions and beliefs. He accepts the inspirations of the moral and religious teachings of Scripture, the divine lawship and preexistence of Jesus, the efficacy of His example for purposes of redemption, and a condition of future rewards and punishments; denies the inspiration of the historical records and the ceremonial and civil laws of the Jews, the doctrine of the Trinity, vicarious sacrifice and eternal punishment; accepts a salvation by conduct, not by belief, and includes all the family of the Great Father who act according to their highest conception of right. He has been a very careful student of both the Old and New Testament writings, and his present views are the result of a thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures and extensive knowledge of Ecclesiastic history and Polemics. He has also studied carefully the Koran, the Buddhist and Brahminical Scriptures and the teachings of Confucius, which have also to some extent influenced and modified his religious belief. He was married April 8, 1852, at Brownsville, Fayette Co., Penn., to Ellen, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Troutman Smouse, a lady of extensive family connections in Alleghany County, Md., and in Bedford and Somerset counties, Penn. Her maternal grandfather was a soldier in the war of the Revolution. They are the parents of eight children, six sons and two daughters, all of whom are living. The eldest son, Everhard, graduated from Kansas University in the class of 1877, and is now an Examiner in the Pension Office in Washington, D. C.; the second son is now one of the leading merchants in Hiawatha. In person Col. Bierer is stout and robust, nearly six feet in height, of iron frame, and was never sick excepting during the latter part of his confinement in Libby. He is the sixth in a family of seven sons and four daughters, all of whom are yet living and in good health, the oldest of whom is sixty-six years of age, and the youngest forty-four.

 

Col. E. Bierer.

 

Colonel Everard Bierer was among the early settlers of Brown County. Although he did not remove here until October, 1865, when he located on a farm one mile east of Hiawatha. He had been here, however, in 1857 and made investments in real estate and returned to the east again. He is a Pennsylvanian, having been born in Uniontown, January 9, 1827. After receiving an education in the district and private schools of his county, Col. Bierer was sent to the Madison college of his place where he graduated in the higher mathematics, the sciences, languages and English literature. After leaving college he read law In the office of Joshua B. Howell of his native city and was admitted to the bar in 1848, being only twenty-one years of age. Always a patriotic citizen it was but natural that when the war broke out Col. Bierer was interested in the cause of the union and on April 18, 1861, he quit the lawyer's

office and organized a company of volunteers and entered the service of the United States as Captain of Co. F, 11th Regiment of Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. He served in the Army of the Potomac and when the whole of Fitz John Porter's corps was broken and retiring Captain Bierer rallied part of the regiment

with his company and was captured with his command June 2, 1862, and taken to Libby Prison, from which he was released August 14th of that year. Returning to the army he was severely wounded in the battle of South Mountain September 14,

1862, from which wound he is crippled in his left arm for life. Becoming convalescent on October 24th he was appointed Commandent of Camp Curtin,

Harrisburg, Pa., with the rank of colonel. Here he organized the 171st. 172nd, 173rd, 176th, 177th and 178th Regiments, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and November 18th was commissioned colonel of the 171st. September 26, 1863, he was

mustered out of the service with his regiment. In January, February and March, 1864, Colonel Bierer served in the Veteran Reserve Corps, but resigned his command and retired permanently from the army. Although he was never a politician in the common understanding of that term as to having sought office

numberless times have the friends in the party to which he belonged insisted he make the race for office. In 1850 he was elected the first district attorney of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. In 1864 the Republicans made him the nominee for Presidential elector in Pennsylvania and he wis elected in 1867, two years after removing to this county, he was elected representative from the eleventh district to the Kansas Legislature and once he made the race for congress in this district. On April 8, 1852, Col. Everard Blerer and Ellen Smouse were married at Brownsville,

Fayette County, Pa. To them eight children were born, six sons and two daughters.

Col. and Mrs. Bierer are both members of the Congregational Church of Hiawatha. As a lodge man Col. Bierer belongs to the Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

 

The Hiawatha Daily World, Tuesday, December 27, 1910, Pg. 1

Volume 2, No. 90

 

DEATHS.

 

Bierer--Col. Everard Bierer died at his home Monday night, Dec. 26, about 11 o'clock. He had been ill for a year or more with cancer on his face. Col. Everard Bierer was among the early settlers of this county, coming here and investing in real estate in 1857, but returning east and then moving here in October, 1865, locating on the Drummond farm, where A. Schrack resides, a mile east of town. He was born in Uniontown, Pa., Jan. 9, 1827, and would therefore have been 84 years old had he lived a couple of weeks longer. He was educated in the district and private schools of his county first and then he attended the Madison college there where he graduated in the higher mathematics, sciences, languages and English literature. After this he read law in the office of Joshua B. Howell, of Uniontown, and was admitted to the bar in 1848. Always a patriotic citizen it was natural when the war broke out that he became identified with the cause of the Union, son on April 18, 1861, he quit the law office and organized a company of volunteers and entered the service of the United States as Captain Co. F, 11th Regiment of Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps. He served in the army of the Potomac and when the whole of Fitz John Porter's corps was broken and retiring, Captain Bierer rallied part of the regiment with his company, but was captured with his command, June 2, 1862, and taken to Libby prison, where he was held until August 14. Returning to the army he was severely wounded at the battle of South Mountain, Sept. 14, 1862, from which wound his left arm was crippled for life. October 24 he was appointed commandant of Camp Curtin at Harrisburg, with rank of Colonel, an appellation that attached to his name the remainder of his life. Here he organized the 171st, 172nd, 173rd, 176th, 177th and 178th regiments Pennsylvania volunteer infantry and was commissioned colonel of the 171st and on Sept. 26, 1873, was mustered out of the service with his regiment. In January, February and March, 1864, he served in the Veteran Reserve corps, but resigned and retired permanently from the army. In 1850 he was elected the first district attorney of Fayette county, Pennsylvania. In 1864 he was elected presidential elector on the Republican ticket. In 1857, two years after coming to Brown county, he was elected representative, and once made the race for congress in this district. He married Miss Ellen Smouse, April 8, 1852, at Brownsville, Pa. To them eight children were born, six sons and two daughters. He was a Congregationalist, Mason and Odd Fellow. Col. Bierer was present and made a speech near the old cottonwood court house in the park at the returning soldiers reception Oct. 8, 1865. Dec. 8, 1865, he opened a law office in the little building where the residence of Mr. Gillet no stands. He served as president of the first National bank at one time, with marked ability as he was a fine financier and thus rounded up a busy life full of activity and momentus events. Of the sons: Everard Jr., is a law assistant at the attorney general's office, Washington; Samuel is at the head of the big department store of Bierer, Shadel & Co., Hiawatha; A. G. Curtin is an ex-Oklahoma supreme judge and Bion holds an important position in the United States navy. The daughters are: Mrs. Jas. L. Shadel, of Hiawatha, and Mrs. John Bokay, of Brown county. Col. Bierer stood high as a citizen of this community with which he was so long identified. He was a well read man, enterprising and useful. He had stood the ravages of war, the privations of early settlement, had been honored, and lived to reach a ripe old age, spending 45 of his years in Hiawatha.

 

The New York Palace Hotel (formerly The Helmsley Palace)

455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street

New York, NY 10022

 

The 55-story tower seen from Park Avenue and 51st Street.

---------------------------

 

The Villard Houses were brownstone residences built by Henry Villard in 1884. Villard was a railway promoter and financier, who took over the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881. The architect was McKim, Mead & White. The firm also designed the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan. The six residence building was clad in quarried brownstone and wrapped around a u-shaped courtyard representative of a 15th century Italian palazzo. Four homes opened onto the courtyard while two had entrances on 51st Street.

 

Villard moved into the corner residence at 451 Madison, at the corner of 50th Street for just a short while before declaring bankruptcy. Much of the interior decoration is still visible today in the restaurant Gilt (formerly Le Cirque 2000).

 

In the 1940’s the Villard House was known as Women's Military Services Club. It served women in the military that could stay there for .50 cents a night. By the late 60’s the Archdiocese of New York owned the complex.

 

In the early 70’s Harry Helmsley found the perfect location in which to build his dream hotel. The Villard House was located on New York's Madison Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 

Helmsley negotiated a 99 year lease on the site from the the Archdiocese of New York and proposed gutting the interiors of the Villard and putting a 51-story hotel on top of it. The preservationists prevailed and Helmsley’s plan was changed to save most of the interiors of the Villard houses, though the buildings' rear facades were demolished and incorporated in to the new 51-story hotel. long-term ground lease, which runs for decades. The Archdiocese of New York receives $10 million annually in ground rent.

 

Helmsley commissioned architects Emery Roth & Sons and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer to design the modern structure and integrate the 1884 houses. The tower’s façade is a dark bronze reflective glass that was to blend with the Villard Houses. Started in 1977, the 905-room hotel project was completed in 1980.

 

Leona Helmsley spent a great deal of time and energy managing the decorating and staffing of the hotel. Leona took seriously her role as President of Helmsley Hotels and was determined to give her guests unprecedented service.

 

On September 15, 1980, the opulent Helmsley Palace Hotel opened. At the time The Helmsley Palace had the highest hotel rates in the city. An early print advertisement featuring Leona had the by-line: “It’s the only palace in the world where the Queen stands guard”

 

The hotel has four Triplex Suites. Situated at the top of the tower and occupying the four corners, each 2-bedroom suite is spread over three floors and include a private roof terrace.

 

In 1982, the limited partners in the Helmsley Palace Hotel partnership forced an arbitration proceeding after Harry Helmsley, in his role as general partner demanded more money from the limited partners for cost overruns in building the hotel. The limited partners said the Helmsley’s had mismanaged the business and had hurt the partnership through several self-dealing transactions. The arbitrators ruled in favor of the limited partners and forced the Helmsley’s to pay the cost overruns and an additional $3.5 million to the partnership.

 

Leona Helmsley, was convicted of income tax fraud in August 1989 - (“We don’t pay taxes … only the little people do”). Leona was convicted of 33 felony counts of trying to defraud the government and IRS, including mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns (essentially running millions of dollars of personal expenses through the Helmsley Palace and Park Lane books)

 

Harry Helmsley was indicted on similar charges in 1988, but was found too ill to stand trial. He died in 1997.

 

Following appeals Leona Helmsley was imprisoned from 1992-1993.

 

The limited partners in the Palace partnership were rightfully concerned during the Helmsley’s legal mess that the hotel was in desperate need for another general partner. The limited partners contended Helmsley Enterprises breached its fiduciary duties in managing and operating the partnership. They sought through the courts to remove the Helmsleys as general partner, and to appoint a receiver until a new general partner and manager can be found or the hotel be sold. They also sought restoration of any money the Helmsleys may have diverted to their affiliates through self-dealing.

 

Helmsley operated the Helmsley Palace hotel until 1992. She was known to fire managers from her jail cell.

 

Interstate Hotels was appointed by the court as the hotel’s receiver. The hotel changed its name to The New York Palace Hotel. The receiver received 6 qualified bids for the hotel.

 

In November 1993 The Royal Family of Brunei agreed to buy the New York Palace for $202 million (the highest offer). The agreement to buy the Palace is with Amedeo Hotels Limited Partnership, an investment company in Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, contracted with Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

 

The hotel is comprised of three structures: the899-room 55-story hotel tower, the 5-story Villard House, and the 2-story Maloney & Porcelli restaurant.

 

The wealth of the royal family of Brunei, a tiny oil-rich sultanate on the island of Borneo, is controlled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, whose estimated worth of $33 billion makes him one of the world's richest men. He and his family also own the 263-room Beverly Hills Hotel in California, bought for $187 million in 1987, and the Dorchester Hotel in London, bought for about $85 million in 1985.

 

The Royal Family’s new wealth comes from a constant flow of royalties into their private bank accounts from Shell Oil, who they joint ventured with to extract Brunei’s only natural resource.

 

The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah younger brother is Prince Jefri Bolkiah who was the finance minister of Brunei from 1986 to 1998 and thus the chairman of The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) responsible for overseas investments. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle, which included a private Boeing 747 and 2,000 automobiles. Hotels he controlled included The New York Palace Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and Plaza Athénée in Paris.

 

Following an audit in 1987 The Brunei government charged Prince Jefri with embezzling $14.8 billion and he was removed as chairman of BEI.

 

In July 2008 BEI signed management contracts with the Dorchester Group to operate the New York Plaza and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

 

Prince Jefri’s two main legal and financial advisors, the British husband and wife lawyers Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman were dispatched by the Prince to the New York Palace in 2004 to protect his interests. The two were involved in many aspects of Prince Jefri’s business affairs and they held powers of attorney to act of his behalf.

 

So In November 2005, Zaman claims Jefri gave them a 17-year lease on a 2,800-square-foot apartment on the third floor of the hotel, which rented as a suite for $20,000 a night. The prince gave the apartment to them rent-free for the first five years After that, the charge would be $500 a month, with an option to renew for 51 years. According the Vanity Fair this was done so the sultan if ever was successful in taking over the hotel, he would have to deal with them for the rest of his life.

 

In February 2006, John Segreti, the managing director of the Palace, dropped dead at 52 of a pulmonary embolism. Segreti formerly was the chief operating officer at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, in Hong Kon).

 

In March 2006 Faith Zaman was appointed Managing Director of the Palace. Her annual salary included 5 percent of the hotel’s gross operating profit, a car allowance of $100,000 per year, and free use of the company credit card for personal expenses. Also the prince gave her control of a second lease at a low price for the Maloney & Porcelli steak house on the hotel’s ground floor, on East 50th Street.

 

Meanwhile Derbyshire was working hard on finding a way for Jefri to cash in on two of his biggest assets the New York Palace and Hotel Bel-Air. A prospective buyer, Ty Warner (owner of the Four Seasons New York), was found who had agreed to acquiring the two hotels for $800 million. The sell certainly would have breached the government of Brunei’s freeze of Prince Jefri’s assets and further, what bank in the world could be used to deposit the proceeds and hide it from the government of Brunei.

 

The sell never occurred. Prince Jefri filed a suit against Derbyshire and Zaman seeking to recover $7 million in questionable expenses, Derbyshire and Zaman countersued for $13 million in contractual wages never received. In December 2010 the New York City jury awarded Derbyshire and Zaman $21 million.

 

Prince Jefri, a father of 17 with four wives, has swapped a decadent lifestyle for a fugitive existence. He is reported to have been allowed back in Brunei.

 

In 1997, with a new name--Le Cirque 2000--the restaurant moved from the Mayfair to the New York Palace Hotel and its landmark, the Villard Houses. Designer Adam Tihany gave Le Cirque its dazzling new look, and, as the opening approached, Siro Maccioni told New York magazine, "They're either going to give us a medal or exile us to Kilimanjaro."

 

In 2006 Siro Maccioni moved Le Cirque from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building on East 58th Street.

 

John Segretti, the hotel’s managing director, decided The Palace Hotel should operate its own restaurant in the Villard space. In December 2005 it opened the 52-seat restaurant GILT with the interior design done by Patrick Jouin. The executive chef was Paul Liebrandt. The NY Times food critic panned Gilt two months after opening describing some entrees as “no larger than a hockey puck”. Shortly after Liebrandt was fired. In 2009 GILT was awarded Twp Michelin Stars under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Bogle.

 

In July 2011 Northwood Investors acquired the New York Plaza for approximately $400 million. The price is low by NYC standards – held down due to the $10 million dollar a year ground lease. The seller Brunei Investment Agency also owns the Dorchester Collection of luxury hotels. The New York Palace is no longer affiliated with the Dorchester Collection.

 

Northwood Investors is a privately-held real estate investment advisor that was founded in 2006 by John Z. Kukral, the former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. It also owns the Alden Houston Hotel and The Radisson Hotel Boston.

 

Northwood has appointed David Chase to general manager of The New York Palace. Most recently he was the pre-opening general manager of Trump SoHo New York.

 

The New York Palace Hotel (formerly The Helmsley Palace)

455 Madison Avenue at 50th Street

New York, NY 10022

 

Maloney & Porcelli Steakhouse restaurant leases 11,000 square feet in detached building on 50th Street owned by the New York Palace Hotel.

-----------------------------

The Villard Houses were brownstone residences built by Henry Villard in 1884. Villard was a railway promoter and financier, who took over the Northern Pacific Railroad in 1881. The architect was McKim, Mead & White. The firm also designed the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan. The six residence building was clad in quarried brownstone and wrapped around a u-shaped courtyard representative of a 15th century Italian palazzo. Four homes opened onto the courtyard while two had entrances on 51st Street.

 

Villard moved into the corner residence at 451 Madison, at the corner of 50th Street for just a short while before declaring bankruptcy. Much of the interior decoration is still visible today in the restaurant Gilt (formerly Le Cirque 2000).

 

In the 1940’s the Villard House was known as Women's Military Services Club. It served women in the military that could stay there for .50 cents a night. By the late 60’s the Archdiocese of New York owned the complex.

 

In the early 70’s Harry Helmsley found the perfect location in which to build his dream hotel. The Villard House was located on New York's Madison Avenue, across the street from St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 

Helmsley negotiated a 99 year lease on the site from the the Archdiocese of New York and proposed gutting the interiors of the Villard and putting a 51-story hotel on top of it. The preservationists prevailed and Helmsley’s plan was changed to save most of the interiors of the Villard houses, though the buildings' rear facades were demolished and incorporated in to the new 51-story hotel. long-term ground lease, which runs for decades. The Archdiocese of New York receives $10 million annually in ground rent.

 

Helmsley commissioned architects Emery Roth & Sons and Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer to design the modern structure and integrate the 1884 houses. The tower’s façade is a dark bronze reflective glass that was to blend with the Villard Houses. Started in 1977, the 905-room hotel project was completed in 1980.

 

Leona Helmsley spent a great deal of time and energy managing the decorating and staffing of the hotel. Leona took seriously her role as President of Helmsley Hotels and was determined to give her guests unprecedented service.

 

On September 15, 1980, the opulent Helmsley Palace Hotel opened. At the time The Helmsley Palace had the highest hotel rates in the city. An early print advertisement featuring Leona had the by-line: “It’s the only palace in the world where the Queen stands guard”

 

The hotel has four Triplex Suites. Situated at the top of the tower and occupying the four corners, each 2-bedroom suite is spread over three floors and include a private roof terrace.

 

In 1982, the limited partners in the Helmsley Palace Hotel partnership forced an arbitration proceeding after Harry Helmsley, in his role as general partner demanded more money from the limited partners for cost overruns in building the hotel. The limited partners said the Helmsley’s had mismanaged the business and had hurt the partnership through several self-dealing transactions. The arbitrators ruled in favor of the limited partners and forced the Helmsley’s to pay the cost overruns and an additional $3.5 million to the partnership.

 

Leona Helmsley, was convicted of income tax fraud in August 1989 - (“We don’t pay taxes … only the little people do”). Leona was convicted of 33 felony counts of trying to defraud the government and IRS, including mail fraud, tax evasion and filing false tax returns (essentially running millions of dollars of personal expenses through the Helmsley Palace and Park Lane books)

 

Harry Helmsley was indicted on similar charges in 1988, but was found too ill to stand trial. He died in 1997.

 

Following appeals Leona Helmsley was imprisoned from 1992-1993.

 

The limited partners in the Palace partnership were rightfully concerned during the Helmsley’s legal mess that the hotel was in desperate need for another general partner. The limited partners contended Helmsley Enterprises breached its fiduciary duties in managing and operating the partnership. They sought through the courts to remove the Helmsleys as general partner, and to appoint a receiver until a new general partner and manager can be found or the hotel be sold. They also sought restoration of any money the Helmsleys may have diverted to their affiliates through self-dealing.

 

Helmsley operated the Helmsley Palace hotel until 1992. She was known to fire managers from her jail cell.

 

Interstate Hotels was appointed by the court as the hotel’s receiver. The hotel changed its name to The New York Palace Hotel. The receiver received 6 qualified bids for the hotel.

 

In November 1993 The Royal Family of Brunei agreed to buy the New York Palace for $202 million (the highest offer). The agreement to buy the Palace is with Amedeo Hotels Limited Partnership, an investment company in Brunei. The Sultan of Brunei, through its development company, Amedeo Limited, contracted with Harman Jablin Architects for the complete renovation of the hotel and Villard Houses.

 

The hotel is comprised of three structures: the899-room 55-story hotel tower, the 5-story Villard House, and the 2-story Maloney & Porcelli restaurant.

 

The wealth of the royal family of Brunei, a tiny oil-rich sultanate on the island of Borneo, is controlled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, whose estimated worth of $33 billion makes him one of the world's richest men. He and his family also own the 263-room Beverly Hills Hotel in California, bought for $187 million in 1987, and the Dorchester Hotel in London, bought for about $85 million in 1985.

 

The Royal Family’s new wealth comes from a constant flow of royalties into their private bank accounts from Shell Oil, who they joint ventured with to extract Brunei’s only natural resource.

 

The Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah younger brother is Prince Jefri Bolkiah who was the finance minister of Brunei from 1986 to 1998 and thus the chairman of The Brunei Investment Agency (BIA) responsible for overseas investments. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle, which included a private Boeing 747 and 2,000 automobiles. Hotels he controlled included The New York Palace Hotel, Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles and Plaza Athénée in Paris.

 

Following an audit in 1987 The Brunei government charged Prince Jefri with embezzling $14.8 billion and he was removed as chairman of BEI.

 

In July 2008 BEI signed management contracts with the Dorchester Group to operate the New York Plaza and the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles.

 

Prince Jefri’s two main legal and financial advisors, the British husband and wife lawyers Thomas Derbyshire and Faith Zaman were dispatched by the Prince to the New York Palace in 2004 to protect his interests. The two were involved in many aspects of Prince Jefri’s business affairs and they held powers of attorney to act of his behalf.

 

So In November 2005, Zaman claims Jefri gave them a 17-year lease on a 2,800-square-foot apartment on the third floor of the hotel, which rented as a suite for $20,000 a night. The prince gave the apartment to them rent-free for the first five years After that, the charge would be $500 a month, with an option to renew for 51 years. According the Vanity Fair this was done so the sultan if ever was successful in taking over the hotel, he would have to deal with them for the rest of his life.

 

In February 2006, John Segreti, the managing director of the Palace, dropped dead at 52 of a pulmonary embolism. Segreti formerly was the chief operating officer at Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, in Hong Kon).

 

In March 2006 Faith Zaman was appointed Managing Director of the Palace. Her annual salary included 5 percent of the hotel’s gross operating profit, a car allowance of $100,000 per year, and free use of the company credit card for personal expenses. Also the prince gave her control of a second lease at a low price for the Maloney & Porcelli steak house on the hotel’s ground floor, on East 50th Street.

 

Meanwhile Derbyshire was working hard on finding a way for Jefri to cash in on two of his biggest assets the New York Palace and Hotel Bel-Air. A prospective buyer, Ty Warner (owner of the Four Seasons New York), was found who had agreed to acquiring the two hotels for $800 million. The sell certainly would have breached the government of Brunei’s freeze of Prince Jefri’s assets and further, what bank in the world could be used to deposit the proceeds and hide it from the government of Brunei.

 

The sell never occurred. Prince Jefri filed a suit against Derbyshire and Zaman seeking to recover $7 million in questionable expenses, Derbyshire and Zaman countersued for $13 million in contractual wages never received. In December 2010 the New York City jury awarded Derbyshire and Zaman $21 million.

 

Prince Jefri, a father of 17 with four wives, has swapped a decadent lifestyle for a fugitive existence. He is reported to have been allowed back in Brunei.

 

In 1997, with a new name--Le Cirque 2000--the restaurant moved from the Mayfair to the New York Palace Hotel and its landmark, the Villard Houses. Designer Adam Tihany gave Le Cirque its dazzling new look, and, as the opening approached, Siro Maccioni told New York magazine, "They're either going to give us a medal or exile us to Kilimanjaro."

 

In 2006 Siro Maccioni moved Le Cirque from the Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg building on East 58th Street.

 

John Segretti, the hotel’s managing director, decided The Palace Hotel should operate its own restaurant in the Villard space. In December 2005 it opened the 52-seat restaurant GILT with the interior design done by Patrick Jouin. The executive chef was Paul Liebrandt. The NY Times food critic panned Gilt two months after opening describing some entrees as “no larger than a hockey puck”. Shortly after Liebrandt was fired. In 2009 GILT was awarded Twp Michelin Stars under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Bogle.

 

In July 2011 Northwood Investors acquired the New York Plaza for approximately $400 million. The price is low by NYC standards – held down due to the $10 million dollar a year ground lease. The seller Brunei Investment Agency also owns the Dorchester Collection of luxury hotels. The New York Palace is no longer affiliated with the Dorchester Collection.

 

Northwood Investors is a privately-held real estate investment advisor that was founded in 2006 by John Z. Kukral, the former President and CEO of Blackstone Real Estate Advisors. It also owns the Alden Houston Hotel and The Radisson Hotel Boston.

 

Northwood has appointed David Chase to general manager of The New York Palace. Most recently he was the pre-opening general manager of Trump SoHo New York.

 

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The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to propose rule amendments to improve investor protection and enhance transparency in the municipal securities market. If you are an issuer, or need to get your stock or company registered, call a great SEC Lawyer today.

 

SEC PROPOSES RULE AMENDMENTS TO IMPROVE MUNICIPAL SECURITIES DISCLOSURES

 

Rule 15c2-12 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 requires brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers that are acting as underwriters in primary offerings of municipal securities subject to the Rule, to reasonably determine, among other things, that the issuer or obligated person has agreed to provide to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) timely notice of certain events. The amendments proposed by the SEC today would add two new event notices:

 

Incurrence of a financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, if material, or agreement to covenants, events of default, remedies, priority rights, or other similar terms of a financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, any of which affect security holders, if material; and

 

Default, event of acceleration, termination event, modification of terms, or other similar events under the terms of the financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, any of which reflect financial difficulties.

 

“Today the SEC took steps to empower investors by improving their access to current information about the financial obligations incurred by municipal issuers and conduit borrowers,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael S. Piwowar.

 

These proposed amendments would provide timely access to important information regarding certain financial obligations incurred by issuers and obligated persons that could impact such entities’ liquidity and overall creditworthiness.

 

The public comment period will remain open for 60 days following publication of the proposing release in the Federal Register.

 

FACT SHEET (SEC Open Meeting)

 

Action

 

The Commission will consider whether to propose amendments designed to better inform investors and other market participants about the current financial condition of issuers of municipal securities and obligated persons. Specifically, the proposed amendments would facilitate timely access to important information regarding certain financial obligations incurred by issuers and obligated persons, which could impact an issuer’s or obligated person’s liquidity and overall creditworthiness and create risks for existing security holders.

 

Highlights

 

The proposed amendments to Exchange Act Rule 15c2-12 would amend the list of event notices that a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer acting as an underwriter in a primary offering of municipal securities subject to the Rule must reasonably determine that an issuer or obligated person has undertaken, in a written agreement for the benefit of holders of municipal securities, to provide to the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board within ten business days of the event’s occurrence.

 

Specifically, the proposed amendments would add two new events to the list included in the Rule:

 

Incurrence of a financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, if material, or agreement to covenants, events of default, remedies, priority rights, or other similar terms of a financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, any of which affect security holders, if material and

 

Default, event of acceleration, termination event, modification of terms, or other similar events under the terms of the financial obligation of the issuer or obligated person, any of which reflect financial difficulties

 

The proposed amendments also would set forth a definition for the term “financial obligation.”

 

Background

 

Adopted in 1989, Rule 15c2-12 is designed to address fraud and manipulation in the municipal securities market by prohibiting the underwriting of municipal securities and subsequent recommendation of those municipal securities by brokers, dealers, and municipal securities dealers for which adequate information is not available.

 

What’s Next

 

The Commission will seek public comment on the proposed amendments to Rule 15c2-12 for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

 

SEC VOTES TO SEEK PUBLIC INPUT ON POSSIBLE CHANGE TO INDUSTRY GUIDE 3

 

The Securities and Exchange Commission today voted to publish a request for public comment on disclosures called for by Industry Guide 3 – Statistical Disclosure by Bank Holding Companies.

 

Specifically, the Commission is soliciting public input on whether Guide 3 continues to elicit the information that investors need for informed investment and voting decisions. The Commission also seeks comment on whether there are new types of disclosures about the activities of bank holding companies that investors would find important.

 

“As an agency designed to serve the American people, it is imperative to constantly look back on the SEC’s rules and engage the public on ways to improve,” said SEC Acting Chairman Michael Piwowar. “Today, we are asking for public comment on whether Industry Guide 3 continues to elicit the information that investors need for informed investment and voting decisions.”

 

The request for comment will be published on the SEC website and in the Federal Register. The comment period will remain open for 60 days.

   

FACT SHEET (SEC Open Meeting)

 

Highlights

 

The request for comment seeks public input on statistical and other disclosures provided by bank holding company registrants. Among other things, the request for comment covers:

 

Existing disclosure guidance for bank holding companies called for by Guide 3, as well as other sources of disclosure for bank holding companies and other registrants in the financial services industry

 

Potential improvements to the disclosure regime, which could include new disclosures, the elimination of duplicative or overlapping disclosures, or revisions to current disclosures

 

The scope and applicability of Guide 3

 

The effects of regulation on bank holding companies, including with regard to their operations, capital structures, dividend policies and treatment in bankruptcy

 

For each of these topics, the request for comment presents specific questions for public comment.

 

Background

 

Industry Guide 3 was first published in 1976 as a convenient reference to the statistical disclosures sought by the staff of the Division of Corporation Finance in registration statement and other disclosure documents filed by bank holding companies. The financial services industry is dynamic and has changed dramatically since Guide 3 was first published. Consequently, our disclosure guidance may not in all cases reflect recent industry developments or changes in accounting standards related to financial and other reporting requirements.

 

Free Consultation with SEC Lawyer

 

When you need an SEC lawyer, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

 

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Finding Your Name on Russia’s Hit List

The nerve-gas poisoning of a former KGB agent in the U.K. has Moscow’s foes spooked.

 

March 29, 2018, 3:39 AM PDT Updated on March 29, 2018, 8:35 AM PDT - Bloomberg.com

 

It was just before 10 p.m. on Feb. 12, Boris Karpichkov’s 59th birthday, when the former KGB agent got an unexpected call at his home in the U.K. It was a Russian secret service friend phoning covertly from mainland Europe to warn him of a hit list with eight names on it. Karpichkov, who’d defected to Britain in 1998, was on the list. So was Sergei Skripal, another ex-Russian double agent.

 

Karpichkov initially dismissed the warning—he’d faced death threats before. Three weeks later, he changed his mind. On March 4, Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were rushed to a hospital after collapsing in a crowded shopping mall in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury in southwestern England. British officials determined the two—who remain hospitalized and may never fully recover—were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in what the U.K. says is the first offensive use of a chemical weapon in Europe since World War II. A local policeman was also hospitalized, and as many as 130 other people in Salisbury may have been exposed.

 

The attack, which London and its allies blamed on Vladimir Putin’s government, led the U.K. to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. The U.S., along with NATO and 25 other allies of the U.K., followed on March 26 and 27, kicking out about 130 Russian diplomats. Britain is facing calls to crack down on illicit Russian money. Russia, which denies responsibility in the Skripal attack, has vowed to retaliate in kind for the expulsions.

 

The Skripal case disturbingly echoes the 2006 death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed with radioactive polonium slipped into his tea in London. A week after Skripal’s poisoning, a second Russian exile and Putin critic was murdered at his London home. Police are reexamining 14 suspicious deaths in the U.K., dating to 2003, of opponents of Moscow and others with links to Russia.

 

Karpichkov arrives for a secret meeting with Bloomberg Businessweek in London in a black hat and dark glasses, clearly anxious. He says he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because he’s living in constant fear and gets only four hours of sleep a night. He’s installed closed-circuit surveillance cameras around his home at his own expense. “How long is it going to go on? Who is going to be next?” Karpichkov demands to know from the British authorities. “I can ask to be removed to Mars or to the moon. What will it change? Nothing.”

 

While Prime Minister Theresa May scored a diplomatic coup by persuading many other nations to expel Russian diplomats, the trail of corpses raises the question: Why have British authorities been so slow to act? Billions of dollars of Russian money have rushed into the U.K. since the 1990s, but billionaire oligarchs with ties to Putin have been allowed to remain. Britain said on March 28 that it would review visas for 700 wealthy Russians. When she was minister in charge of interior affairs, May “fought like a tiger” to stop a public inquiry into the Litvinenko murder for fear of causing a total rupture with Russia, says Jeff Rooker, an opposition Labour member in the Upper House of Parliament. “London is the capital of money laundering,” he says. May at the time said “international relations” were a factor in the decision not to allow a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death.

 

The 14 suspicious deaths have been attributed to suicides, natural causes, and accidents and not treated as murders. A British lawyer with links to Russia died in a mysterious helicopter crash in 2004. The badly decomposed body of another man, a British spy, was found in 2010 in a locked sports bag in the bathroom of his London apartment. In 2013, Boris Berezovsky, a Putin foe, was found hanged in his bathroom. In 2016 a U.K. scientist who helped detect the amount of polonium in Litvinenko’s body was found dead in his kitchen from stab wounds.

 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on whether Russia was involved in the deaths, saying only that Moscow is ready to consider helping in the investigation if London asks. The Foreign Ministry on March 28 accused Britain of “systematically” failing to protect Russian citizens.

 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former billionaire and Kremlin opponent who was freed after 10 years in prison and now lives in exile in London, believes there’s worse to come. “A nuclear weapon has already been used, a chemical one, too, which leaves just a biological one in the arsenal, and this time no one will be able to do anything,” he says.

 

Now living in an undisclosed U.K. location under an assumed name, Karpichkov already survived two attacks in New Zealand. After a beggar threw dust in his face in central Auckland in November 2006—a few weeks after Litvinenko was poisoned—Karpichkov lost 30 kilograms, one-third of his body weight, in two months. Four months later he fell ill again after finding mysterious amethyst-colored crystals on the carpet in his home.

 

In the 1980s, Karpichkov rose to the rank of major in the KGB; he kept working for Russian intelligence in his home country of Latvia after it gained independence in 1991. He later was a CIA informant and defected to the West with boxes of secret documents. He says the British should offer him better protection. Chris Phillips, who from 2005 to 2011 headed the U.K.’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office, wants the police to ensure Karpichkov’s safety. He says of the hit list given to the ex-spy, “I would certainly be concerned if I were them.”

 

On the list are several other Russian defectors, as well as Bill Browder, a U.S.-born British financier who’s become public enemy No. 1 for Russia’s government since he started campaigning for sanctions against Russian officials over the death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. investment fund. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after uncovering an alleged $230 million tax fraud. Three years later, a Russian whistleblower who provided information to Swiss authorities about the same fraud died near his U.K. home. In one of the 14 suspicious deaths, he collapsed while jogging after ingesting a rare toxic Chinese plant that triggers cardiac arrest.

 

“My life has been at risk for years,” says Browder, whose London office is accessible only to people escorted by security. He called for action to rein in illegal Russian money flows from corrupt officials and oligarchs into the U.K. The Skripal attack should be a “wake-up call for Britain,” Browder says.

 

Complicating the task of the British police are the close links between organized crime and the Russian intelligence agencies. Five Berezovsky business associates died in mysterious circumstances from 2008 to 2014, one suffering a heart attack, two jumping under subway trains, one falling off the roof of a department store, and the last plunging to his death from an apartment to be impaled on railings.

 

Russian secret services can use all kinds of drugs to stage murders that don’t appear to be homicides, according to former counterterrorism chief Phillips. “Any trained assassin knows there is more than one way to kill someone,” he says.

 

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of the dead spy, who succeeded only after a lengthy legal battle to get a public inquiry that pointed the finger at Putin for the assassination, also urges a crackdown on dirty Russian money. “Do you want another incident like this? Or do you want British citizens to decide that their government can’t protect them?” she asks.

 

Karpichkov, who was trained as a KGB assassin though he says he never killed, echoes that sentiment. “If it was me tasked to take someone out in this country, it is doable—not only in the United Kingdom, basically anywhere in the world,” he says, before pulling on his hat and sunglasses and vanishing. —With Stepan Kravchenko

  

Finding Your Name on Russia’s Hit List

The nerve-gas poisoning of a former KGB agent in the U.K. has Moscow’s foes spooked.

 

March 29, 2018, 3:39 AM PDT Updated on March 29, 2018, 8:35 AM PDT - Bloomberg.com

 

It was just before 10 p.m. on Feb. 12, Boris Karpichkov’s 59th birthday, when the former KGB agent got an unexpected call at his home in the U.K. It was a Russian secret service friend phoning covertly from mainland Europe to warn him of a hit list with eight names on it. Karpichkov, who’d defected to Britain in 1998, was on the list. So was Sergei Skripal, another ex-Russian double agent.

 

Karpichkov initially dismissed the warning—he’d faced death threats before. Three weeks later, he changed his mind. On March 4, Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were rushed to a hospital after collapsing in a crowded shopping mall in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury in southwestern England. British officials determined the two—who remain hospitalized and may never fully recover—were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in what the U.K. says is the first offensive use of a chemical weapon in Europe since World War II. A local policeman was also hospitalized, and as many as 130 other people in Salisbury may have been exposed.

 

The attack, which London and its allies blamed on Vladimir Putin’s government, led the U.K. to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. The U.S., along with NATO and 25 other allies of the U.K., followed on March 26 and 27, kicking out about 130 Russian diplomats. Britain is facing calls to crack down on illicit Russian money. Russia, which denies responsibility in the Skripal attack, has vowed to retaliate in kind for the expulsions.

 

The Skripal case disturbingly echoes the 2006 death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed with radioactive polonium slipped into his tea in London. A week after Skripal’s poisoning, a second Russian exile and Putin critic was murdered at his London home. Police are reexamining 14 suspicious deaths in the U.K., dating to 2003, of opponents of Moscow and others with links to Russia.

 

Karpichkov arrives for a secret meeting with Bloomberg Businessweek in London in a black hat and dark glasses, clearly anxious. He says he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because he’s living in constant fear and gets only four hours of sleep a night. He’s installed closed-circuit surveillance cameras around his home at his own expense. “How long is it going to go on? Who is going to be next?” Karpichkov demands to know from the British authorities. “I can ask to be removed to Mars or to the moon. What will it change? Nothing.”

 

While Prime Minister Theresa May scored a diplomatic coup by persuading many other nations to expel Russian diplomats, the trail of corpses raises the question: Why have British authorities been so slow to act? Billions of dollars of Russian money have rushed into the U.K. since the 1990s, but billionaire oligarchs with ties to Putin have been allowed to remain. Britain said on March 28 that it would review visas for 700 wealthy Russians. When she was minister in charge of interior affairs, May “fought like a tiger” to stop a public inquiry into the Litvinenko murder for fear of causing a total rupture with Russia, says Jeff Rooker, an opposition Labour member in the Upper House of Parliament. “London is the capital of money laundering,” he says. May at the time said “international relations” were a factor in the decision not to allow a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death.

 

The 14 suspicious deaths have been attributed to suicides, natural causes, and accidents and not treated as murders. A British lawyer with links to Russia died in a mysterious helicopter crash in 2004. The badly decomposed body of another man, a British spy, was found in 2010 in a locked sports bag in the bathroom of his London apartment. In 2013, Boris Berezovsky, a Putin foe, was found hanged in his bathroom. In 2016 a U.K. scientist who helped detect the amount of polonium in Litvinenko’s body was found dead in his kitchen from stab wounds.

 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on whether Russia was involved in the deaths, saying only that Moscow is ready to consider helping in the investigation if London asks. The Foreign Ministry on March 28 accused Britain of “systematically” failing to protect Russian citizens.

 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former billionaire and Kremlin opponent who was freed after 10 years in prison and now lives in exile in London, believes there’s worse to come. “A nuclear weapon has already been used, a chemical one, too, which leaves just a biological one in the arsenal, and this time no one will be able to do anything,” he says.

 

Now living in an undisclosed U.K. location under an assumed name, Karpichkov already survived two attacks in New Zealand. After a beggar threw dust in his face in central Auckland in November 2006—a few weeks after Litvinenko was poisoned—Karpichkov lost 30 kilograms, one-third of his body weight, in two months. Four months later he fell ill again after finding mysterious amethyst-colored crystals on the carpet in his home.

 

In the 1980s, Karpichkov rose to the rank of major in the KGB; he kept working for Russian intelligence in his home country of Latvia after it gained independence in 1991. He later was a CIA informant and defected to the West with boxes of secret documents. He says the British should offer him better protection. Chris Phillips, who from 2005 to 2011 headed the U.K.’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office, wants the police to ensure Karpichkov’s safety. He says of the hit list given to the ex-spy, “I would certainly be concerned if I were them.”

 

On the list are several other Russian defectors, as well as Bill Browder, a U.S.-born British financier who’s become public enemy No. 1 for Russia’s government since he started campaigning for sanctions against Russian officials over the death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. investment fund. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after uncovering an alleged $230 million tax fraud. Three years later, a Russian whistleblower who provided information to Swiss authorities about the same fraud died near his U.K. home. In one of the 14 suspicious deaths, he collapsed while jogging after ingesting a rare toxic Chinese plant that triggers cardiac arrest.

 

“My life has been at risk for years,” says Browder, whose London office is accessible only to people escorted by security. He called for action to rein in illegal Russian money flows from corrupt officials and oligarchs into the U.K. The Skripal attack should be a “wake-up call for Britain,” Browder says.

 

Complicating the task of the British police are the close links between organized crime and the Russian intelligence agencies. Five Berezovsky business associates died in mysterious circumstances from 2008 to 2014, one suffering a heart attack, two jumping under subway trains, one falling off the roof of a department store, and the last plunging to his death from an apartment to be impaled on railings.

 

Russian secret services can use all kinds of drugs to stage murders that don’t appear to be homicides, according to former counterterrorism chief Phillips. “Any trained assassin knows there is more than one way to kill someone,” he says.

 

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of the dead spy, who succeeded only after a lengthy legal battle to get a public inquiry that pointed the finger at Putin for the assassination, also urges a crackdown on dirty Russian money. “Do you want another incident like this? Or do you want British citizens to decide that their government can’t protect them?” she asks.

 

Karpichkov, who was trained as a KGB assassin though he says he never killed, echoes that sentiment. “If it was me tasked to take someone out in this country, it is doable—not only in the United Kingdom, basically anywhere in the world,” he says, before pulling on his hat and sunglasses and vanishing. —With Stepan Kravchenko

  

Finding Your Name on Russia’s Hit List

The nerve-gas poisoning of a former KGB agent in the U.K. has Moscow’s foes spooked.

 

March 29, 2018, 3:39 AM PDT Updated on March 29, 2018, 8:35 AM PDT - Bloomberg.com

 

It was just before 10 p.m. on Feb. 12, Boris Karpichkov’s 59th birthday, when the former KGB agent got an unexpected call at his home in the U.K. It was a Russian secret service friend phoning covertly from mainland Europe to warn him of a hit list with eight names on it. Karpichkov, who’d defected to Britain in 1998, was on the list. So was Sergei Skripal, another ex-Russian double agent.

 

Karpichkov initially dismissed the warning—he’d faced death threats before. Three weeks later, he changed his mind. On March 4, Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were rushed to a hospital after collapsing in a crowded shopping mall in the sleepy cathedral city of Salisbury in southwestern England. British officials determined the two—who remain hospitalized and may never fully recover—were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent in what the U.K. says is the first offensive use of a chemical weapon in Europe since World War II. A local policeman was also hospitalized, and as many as 130 other people in Salisbury may have been exposed.

 

The attack, which London and its allies blamed on Vladimir Putin’s government, led the U.K. to expel dozens of Russian diplomats. The U.S., along with NATO and 25 other allies of the U.K., followed on March 26 and 27, kicking out about 130 Russian diplomats. Britain is facing calls to crack down on illicit Russian money. Russia, which denies responsibility in the Skripal attack, has vowed to retaliate in kind for the expulsions.

 

The Skripal case disturbingly echoes the 2006 death of ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed with radioactive polonium slipped into his tea in London. A week after Skripal’s poisoning, a second Russian exile and Putin critic was murdered at his London home. Police are reexamining 14 suspicious deaths in the U.K., dating to 2003, of opponents of Moscow and others with links to Russia.

 

Karpichkov arrives for a secret meeting with Bloomberg Businessweek in London in a black hat and dark glasses, clearly anxious. He says he’s suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder because he’s living in constant fear and gets only four hours of sleep a night. He’s installed closed-circuit surveillance cameras around his home at his own expense. “How long is it going to go on? Who is going to be next?” Karpichkov demands to know from the British authorities. “I can ask to be removed to Mars or to the moon. What will it change? Nothing.”

 

While Prime Minister Theresa May scored a diplomatic coup by persuading many other nations to expel Russian diplomats, the trail of corpses raises the question: Why have British authorities been so slow to act? Billions of dollars of Russian money have rushed into the U.K. since the 1990s, but billionaire oligarchs with ties to Putin have been allowed to remain. Britain said on March 28 that it would review visas for 700 wealthy Russians. When she was minister in charge of interior affairs, May “fought like a tiger” to stop a public inquiry into the Litvinenko murder for fear of causing a total rupture with Russia, says Jeff Rooker, an opposition Labour member in the Upper House of Parliament. “London is the capital of money laundering,” he says. May at the time said “international relations” were a factor in the decision not to allow a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death.

 

The 14 suspicious deaths have been attributed to suicides, natural causes, and accidents and not treated as murders. A British lawyer with links to Russia died in a mysterious helicopter crash in 2004. The badly decomposed body of another man, a British spy, was found in 2010 in a locked sports bag in the bathroom of his London apartment. In 2013, Boris Berezovsky, a Putin foe, was found hanged in his bathroom. In 2016 a U.K. scientist who helped detect the amount of polonium in Litvinenko’s body was found dead in his kitchen from stab wounds.

 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, declined to comment on whether Russia was involved in the deaths, saying only that Moscow is ready to consider helping in the investigation if London asks. The Foreign Ministry on March 28 accused Britain of “systematically” failing to protect Russian citizens.

 

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former billionaire and Kremlin opponent who was freed after 10 years in prison and now lives in exile in London, believes there’s worse to come. “A nuclear weapon has already been used, a chemical one, too, which leaves just a biological one in the arsenal, and this time no one will be able to do anything,” he says.

 

Now living in an undisclosed U.K. location under an assumed name, Karpichkov already survived two attacks in New Zealand. After a beggar threw dust in his face in central Auckland in November 2006—a few weeks after Litvinenko was poisoned—Karpichkov lost 30 kilograms, one-third of his body weight, in two months. Four months later he fell ill again after finding mysterious amethyst-colored crystals on the carpet in his home.

 

In the 1980s, Karpichkov rose to the rank of major in the KGB; he kept working for Russian intelligence in his home country of Latvia after it gained independence in 1991. He later was a CIA informant and defected to the West with boxes of secret documents. He says the British should offer him better protection. Chris Phillips, who from 2005 to 2011 headed the U.K.’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office, wants the police to ensure Karpichkov’s safety. He says of the hit list given to the ex-spy, “I would certainly be concerned if I were them.”

 

On the list are several other Russian defectors, as well as Bill Browder, a U.S.-born British financier who’s become public enemy No. 1 for Russia’s government since he started campaigning for sanctions against Russian officials over the death of Sergei Magnitsky, the tax lawyer for Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management Ltd. investment fund. Magnitsky died in a Moscow prison in 2009 after uncovering an alleged $230 million tax fraud. Three years later, a Russian whistleblower who provided information to Swiss authorities about the same fraud died near his U.K. home. In one of the 14 suspicious deaths, he collapsed while jogging after ingesting a rare toxic Chinese plant that triggers cardiac arrest.

 

“My life has been at risk for years,” says Browder, whose London office is accessible only to people escorted by security. He called for action to rein in illegal Russian money flows from corrupt officials and oligarchs into the U.K. The Skripal attack should be a “wake-up call for Britain,” Browder says.

 

Complicating the task of the British police are the close links between organized crime and the Russian intelligence agencies. Five Berezovsky business associates died in mysterious circumstances from 2008 to 2014, one suffering a heart attack, two jumping under subway trains, one falling off the roof of a department store, and the last plunging to his death from an apartment to be impaled on railings.

 

Russian secret services can use all kinds of drugs to stage murders that don’t appear to be homicides, according to former counterterrorism chief Phillips. “Any trained assassin knows there is more than one way to kill someone,” he says.

 

Marina Litvinenko, the widow of the dead spy, who succeeded only after a lengthy legal battle to get a public inquiry that pointed the finger at Putin for the assassination, also urges a crackdown on dirty Russian money. “Do you want another incident like this? Or do you want British citizens to decide that their government can’t protect them?” she asks.

 

Karpichkov, who was trained as a KGB assassin though he says he never killed, echoes that sentiment. “If it was me tasked to take someone out in this country, it is doable—not only in the United Kingdom, basically anywhere in the world,” he says, before pulling on his hat and sunglasses and vanishing. —With Stepan Kravchenko

  

Banking scams, fake banks, naked robbery of hundreds of millions of yuan—all are dismissed by the Chinese regime’s banking authorities as “isolated incidents.” Victims don’t believe that, and across multiple provinces the state banking fraud has victimized individuals and corporations alike.

 

According to reports by the China Banking Regulatory Commission and local police, account holders in many provinces including Zhejiang and Anhui in the east, Henan in central China, and Hunan in the south-central part of the country, have mysteriously lost savings kept in China’s state-run banks.

 

In February 2014, a man identified as Zhang found that his account with the Hangzhou United Bank had been virtually emptied of its contents—over 2 million yuan (US$320,000). After consultations with the bank, Zhang discovered that the money had disappeared soon after he made the deposit.

 

Zhang was only one of forty-some fraud victims, who had been robbed of 95 million yuan by the Hangzhou bank. Official investigation found that the perpetrators bribed bank workers to trick the account holders into making deposits that would then be stolen.

Mr. Liu, from Yiwu County in Zhejiang Province, deposited about 2.5 million yuan in the Ningbo and Fenghua sub-branches of a state-run bank. In 2013, he found only 4 yuan left in the accounts, according to a report by the Chinese paper National Business Daily.Neither are private firms safe from such fraud. According to official reports, last October and on Jan. 9 the liquor company Luzhou Laojiao lost 500 million yuan to bank theft. The thieves worked from the China Agricultural Bank’s Changsha sub-branch and the Nanyang branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, which is the world’s largest by total assets.

 

In its annual inspection of accounts, the Wuhan-based Dongfeng Motor corporation discovered that 100 million yuan (US$16 million) of its assets had vanished, as reported by the Beijing News. Bank personnel, colluding with outsiders, had committed the theft.

 

Li Zhiyong, a securities company manager in Wuhan, cooperated with workers from six different banks to make fake investments. He was able to siphon off 630 million yuan from ten Chinese state-run workplaces.In at least one case the bank itself was a fraud. On Jan. 23, the Chinese online news service NetEase reported that the so-called “Rural Economic Special Cooperative,” based in Nanjing, had duped 200 victims into giving up 200 million yuan by posing as a state-run bank.

No Remedy

 

Because the policies of Chinese banks usually force the account holder to shoulder responsibility for his or her assets, Guangzhou lawyer Shi Wenyu said the victims’ chances of retrieving their savings are virtually nil.

 

Reinforced by the one-party state’s atmosphere of unbridled corruption, and given the apparent lack of concern by the relevant authorities, there is little sign that the fraud will be comprehensively dealt with anytime soon.

 

On Jan. 23, Pan Gongsheng, vice-president of a state-run bank, offered reassuring words in saying, “these incidents should not have happened, but currently they are extremely isolated cases.”

 

China’s netizens are not buying Pan’s take on the situation.

 

“There are absolutely no specific measures or prevention programs in place.” one comment reads. “When will they finally stop investigating, and step up to protect the account holders? The Banking Regulatory Commission is trying to hide its failure to perform its duties.”

 

Other netizens’ comments:

 

“Whether its Pan Gongsheng or the Regulatory Commission vice-chairman Wang Zhaoxing, is there any difference in the garbage they spout?”

 

“Doesn’t the Regulatory Commission take any responsibility? As this new year begins, not even money stored in the bank is secure.”

 

“They’ve talked quite a lot, and stress over and over again the need for strict investigation and improvement. But they won’t admit that our money is gone.”

 

A sorrowful bank customer sums up the situation: “We entrusted you with our money. If it is taken by anyone other than the account holder, you need to replace it!”

PRESS PLAY

  

i love you, i know

yello (1983)

  

an essay that cites TONS of quotes and incidents from the recent congressional meeting regarding FACEBOOK taking over the world and why you should have invested when i told you to invest... i did. just so proof would equal pudding.

  

(FYI the stock went up to 208 from 164 two weeks after this essay was written. it's back down to what it was at that time again. facebook is spreading its profits into subsids now, so it's not on my BUY NOW list. but if you can smell out the little geniuses facebook intends to buy, you might be able to find some juicy investments. i still believe that tesla will produce some kind of design innovation that will be purchasable for worldwide distribution...)

  

"CONGRESS MAN, YES" & several of the reasons why USURER'S LOGIC makes FACEBOOK the future press darlings of 2018 and beyond based on the CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS + transcript notes and observations by scott richard

  

usury sucks for everyone. even those who profit.

  

and we don't FIGHT USURY.

  

we fk it until it destroys everything around us.

  

FB means fk buddy, literally, not facebook...

   

anyway, i know from great and long experience that americans graft their identity concepts from the products and services they use and abuse.

   

you can't go broke betting on the fall.

   

to not buy FACEBOOK stock would be like turning down a 50% off willy wonka chocolate bar that ALSO comes with a free golden ticket to the chocolate factory.

   

so while i listened and periodically watched the 5 hours of boring and often JUVENILE hearings, i couldn't help thinking how clever deception really is. FACEBOOK does soooo many things that you have no idea about.

   

where did you think all that FAKE money was going?

   

and it was sooooo touching when a couple of the congress people dared to ask when mark would stop selling OPIOID DRUGS off FACEBOOK. he conveniently said, never.

   

but don't worry, the u.s. sent it's least qualified people to talk to FACEBOOK about this, lol.

   

i mean, the vast majority of these congresspeople were like children who have no clue about adult concepts.

   

for example, not one congressperson asked if those "privacy settings" weren't hackable -- as in something so FKING SIMPLE like "well, a hacker can hack past those infantile settings." instead, they gave zuckerberg the legal opportunity to talk-stall his way out of their four minutes. it was EMBARRASSING to see how stupid most of these congresspeople really are and how unlearned about important tech philosophy. most of them had no idea even what "privacy settings" were, so many spent their four minutes being "schooled". fking waste. that's like sending me to the olympics for weightlifting...

   

so the first problem is that congresspeople don't really know a lot about anything. in general, they are "OUT OF THE GD LOOP" when it comes to understanding worldwide things like the fking INTERNET!!??! they know a little about a lot.

   

anyway, each congressperson was given four minutes to ask zuckerberg questions about what happened.

   

the LARGE majority wasted these minutes with grandstanding. only a handful seemed to have an inkling of what the real reach and danger and anti-American stance that FACEBOOK has against the united states.

   

so instead of gathering relevant testimony and commitment from FACEBOOK on super important legal issues regarding citizenship protection and unethical information exchange, they paraded themselves for THEIR fake american constituent's votes. it was DISGUSTING. how fking shallow bipartisan azzhoes really are.

   

instead of REPRESENTING AMERICA, they represented their own careers.

   

and honestly, every single person on MEDZ or overeating or over drinking these days is acting like an ANTI-AMERICAN. supremacy is also a form of ANTI-AMERICANISM.

   

we've reached a point where our daily choices are becoming ANTI-AMERICAN and in violation of other citizens' rights to be free. but i guess we don't see it clearly, mostly.

   

in the city, it is much more obvious. especially a FAKE SANCTUARY city like san francisco, the sanctuary is REALLY being given to the monied and the foreign investors, not the locals. it's a FAKE moniker for investors, not a representation of anything more. but most people are like these congresspeople -- out to get more votes from their base. but that's not AMERICAN. that's just regional self-interest.

   

thankfully, there were a few exceptions and those ones were AWESOME to hear. they were incredibly revealing. and it is clear that their voices are being thrown out. so that's a drag, but you can't really stop FACEBOOK. they are not a social platform. they are the world's largest company and they fund TONS of stuff around the globe.

   

for example, FACEBOOK is going to have the largest WORLDWIDE "counterterrorism" team. already there team is competitive with world powers. soon, they will be larger than any nation's.

   

now, those of us who are in the know, well, we KNOW that the COUNTERTERRORISTS are the real terrorists.

   

if you listen to the 9/11 commission report you would know this, too. or, if you listened to anything the islamic world is saying you'd know this, too. but i already know you don't listen to those people.

   

doesn't change the truth -- the COUNTERRERRORISTS are the real terrorists.

   

so now FACEBOOK will be the leading force in this deception.

   

already they have over 200 people working full time in 30 different languages in counterterrorism.

   

if you don't get what this means, you should go read my facebook farewell that i wrote about two years ago when i stopped contributing to the largest surveillance system ever built and used against humanity.

   

i had written a similar program concept in the 90s. it was called CYBERBUDDY.

   

the idea was you would input your info into a program (we call them apps now) that tracked your emotional and physical world by remembering everything you input and being able to remind you of things -- how you felt about others, what had happened and what others had done to you.

   

and, as all the social media programs do, it would have a backside that was constantly selling your information to buyers.

   

but the user never knew this.

   

anyway, that's exactly what FACEBOOK did. and let's be honest, FACEBOOK was CHOSEN.

   

it's not that great.

  

there were way better platform possibilities. but the world cartels needed something legit, so they chose the HARVARD-based platform. and it worked. they inserted the most deviant and self-revealing and WORSE betraying platform known to humans.

   

this congressperson is holding up a chart. it shows FACEBOOK's profits.

   

they are escalating exponentially. from 1 billion in 2006 to 26 billion in 2016 and then WATCH THE FKING LEAP!!!!

   

40 BILLION dollars in 2017.

   

buy now. you won't be crying later.

   

anyway, zuckerberg intends to have more than 20,000 people working on counterterrorism within a year or so. they are also building an endless array of surveillance and algorithmic tools that will affect ALL world trade. they are also deeply involved in ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE development.

   

basically, if you wanted an anti christ of jewish origins, you are looking at the rise of the kingship. but if you're not scared and don't go that way right away, dip into OVERHEAD STUDIES to see just how amazingly controlling all of this is when you also have KILL DRONES and security enforcement.

   

already OVERHEAD STUDIES are being used against the u.s. population to imprison us.

   

anyway, for most people this will seem crazy and like a new gibberish. so be it.

   

i started to take notes about a third of the way into process when i started to get a feel for how the "hearings" work. it was new for me, but i'll post the transcript of my notes which are a lot of actual transcriptting.

   

the republicans are all for it and that's why you should bet on FACEBOOK. especially since the majority of FACEBOOK's users are and will be NOT from america. so our "opinion" of this is just that.

   

FACEBOOK is bigger than the u.s. government and for the record, the whole counterterrorism surveillance team works from outside the u.s.

   

where there are different laws...

   

okay, so here's the transcript which i LAUGHINGLY call:

   

CONGRESS MAN, YES

  

because this is the tactic zuckerberg and his lawyers realized was the WINNING COMBO.

   

who knew congresspeople were so fking stupid? especially from the stupid states. geez.

   

no wonder so many extra-foreigners are making a bid at stealing so much of the united states' property.

  

it must be fking easy with so many dum fks.

   

and to those congress people who used this momentous occasion to further their careers instead of protecting the american public, FKU!!!!!

   

*********************************

   

PRESS PLAY

  

no stars

  

figures on a beach

   

the partial notes:

   

CONGRESSMAN, YES

   

i would love to be a congressperson, but to be one, i would have to not understand any of this. so why are they “representing” us??!?!?!

   

zuckerbergs tactics.

   

agree with the person.

  

deflect away from the topic by using their weakness and lack of knowledge.

  

obscure the truth. pretend you’re not a MASSIVE CONGLOMERATE but a calendar site for connecting people’s lives HALLMARK.

   

once zuckerberg figures out how to run the clock down, he takes over everytime.

   

some senators (usually republican) have long winded and meaningless monologues followed by easy to answer questions of no importance except to wind the four minute clock down.

   

20K employees for content control.

   

some senators (usually democratic) try to get him to answer YES OR NO questions. his tactic for stalling in this case is deflect back to their misunderstanding of the precise language or meaning. it makes them look dumb (a lot of the are and don’t understand why FACEBOOK is such a walking/talking front for a secret information and collection agency as well as worldwide product mouthpiece)

   

the best questions take all four minutes and then zuckerberg can deflect easily. fk that!!!

   

NOT A SINGLE CONGRESS PERSON (well, maybe one, but he petered out oddly) got through their questions. most had MANY left and were forced to “submit” them for consideration. BULLSHIT!!!!

   

SMASHFACE his “prank” site.

   

"we’re getting ready to overreact”

  

we do nothing or we overreact!

  

you need to save your ship?

   

diamond and silk. african american women.

  

what is unsafe about two women supporting donald trump?

   

mr. schrader from oregon.

   

do you delete and save.

  

yes.. all things saved.

  

document retention policy.

  

preserve mails/conversations

  

testified that you don’t sell information.

  

but others do. aren’t you complicit?

  

"complaint only” enforcement.

   

kennedy democrat

   

wasted the whole time trying to explain himself.

  

“i’m sorry, i don’t understand your question.”

  

targeting options are shared likes. shared by facebook.

  

ad ranking. meta data. behaviors. newsfeed. relevancy vs. GIVING to advertisers.

  

how do people then “own” their own data?

  

then gets lost in the process and time runs out.

  

part of the rub

  

second you focus the individual instead of societal impact… you’re out of time.

  

but news and media. blah blah blah

   

mr flores. texas

   

large oil company monopoly 1800s 1900s

  

telecom company monopoly in the70s

  

thanks for being good.

  

wasted the whole time with a bizarre lecture.

  

conservatives are mad about BIAS.

  

they can’t see past their stupidity.

   

policy responses.

  

ideological agnosticism regarding their users public facing activities

  

finally, some questions. do you believe FACEBOOK SHOULD BE IDEOLOGICALLY NEUTRAL?

   

i agree we should be a platform for all ideas. [cuts him off and moves to next question. bam! yeah!!

   

with respect to privacy we need a baseline when we talk about a virtual person, name address websites visited, picture, etc. ownership issue is the individual’s creation.

   

they own it.

  

do you agree.

  

yes.

   

use of data issue and full disclosure for unlimited time.

  

easy understand.

   

runs out of time.

   

california

  

mr cardenas

  

biggest business model and totally unregulated.

  

shows shareholder revenues table

  

2009 net revenue less than a billion dollars

  

26 billion for 2016

  

40 billion dollars for 2017

  

CEO of cambridge analytica stepped down during the meeting.

  

does that solve the issue around the controversy.

  

no, two issues. how were they able to buy data from a developer that people chose to share it with? but some of the info originated on facebook.

  

people had it on facebook and CHOSE to share their AND their friend’s information…

  

question:

  

buy information to add or augment to build around them their profile.

   

we just recently announced that we’ve stopped working with data brokers as part of the ad system.

  

yes, standard practice.

  

you did engage in it.

  

yes. until we announced we were shutting it did.

   

facebook threatened to sue the guardian if it revelaed the cambridge analytica story.

  

hey maybe you don’t want to do that.

   

“there may have been an specific factual inaccuracy.”

  

however they did go through with it regardless.

  

then ONLY then did facebook apologize for 89 million users info ending up in other people’s hands.

  

  

it’s time that you FACEBOOK want to be a leader and american you can be a leader.

  

are you committed to being a leader. you can in fact do right by users of facebook.

   

time’s out. two second answer?

   

"i am definitely committed to taking a broader review of our responsibility. not so that we don’t just give people tools but so they are used for good.”

   

first five or ten minute , ten minute recess.

  

5;40

   

TWENTY FUCKING MINUTES LATER…

   

mre. brooks indiana

  

platform of facebook and other platforms help keep us safe from terrorists and recruitment of women and children to join terrorist organizations.

  

facebook didn’t exist before 9/11

  

isis and al acaida use these platforms.

  

terrorism recruitment.

  

now terrorists use social media.

  

then you talked about dangerous or objectionable content needing to be reported but what if they don’t? what if people just assume that someone else is reporting.

  

what is the leadership role of facebook, our role in stopping recruitment.

  

thank you for the question. there is no place for that in our network.

  

we’ve developed a number of tools so that 99% of isis and al acaida is flagged before we even see it.

  

we’re proud of it as a model for removing "harmful content".

  

as of march 29th there were ISIS videos, executions,

  

april 9th five pages of hezbollah content

  

what is the mechanism?

  

is it AI

  

2-0K people?

  

what are you using.

   

this is just within a week.

   

counter terrorism team at facebook with 200 people.

  

other content reviewers not in the 200.

   

NCTC produces analysis, maintains the authoritative database of known and suspected terrorists, shares information, and conducts strategic operational planning. NCTC is staffed by more than 1,000 personnel from across the IC, the Federal government, and Federal contractors. NCTC’s workforce represents approximately 20 different departments and agencies—a tribute to the recognition by the intelligence, homeland security, and law enforcement communities of NCTC’s role in protecting the Nation against terrorist threats.

   

just focused on counter terrorism.

  

30 languages.

  

AI tools in development

  

proactively flag content and sources

   

owns wassap? .

   

how are they helping the to stop the recruiting.

   

WOW BACK TO THE ORIGINAL POINTS : WHAT THE FUCK IS FACEBOOK?!?!?

   

cue WILD WILD COUNTRY

   

correction plea: whether web blogs would be able to download your info. they are not we only store them temporarily. we convert them into ad interests. which can be controlled.

   

mr. ruiz

  

D california

  

“i’m also taking a ‘broad’ view…”

  

what went wrong here and what can be better to protect users?

  

why did facebook NOT notify the FTC in 2015 when you first discovered this happened and did your legal company say you were under no responsibility?

  

didn’t believe it was a legal obligation.

  

does facebook need the trust of its users.

  

is this a weakness that you are not required to report a violation.

  

broader view of responsibilities of responsibility.

  

what about other CEOs.

  

two days of head the fTc doesn’t have the correct tools and we can’t rely on companies.

   

would it be helpful if there is an entity to oversee?

  

details matter. agency or law

   

we’re realizing there’s a lot of holes in the system.

  

no one can monitor.

   

both look forward to following up.

   

mr. mullin oklahoma

   

i prefer you use the term congress man or woman.

  

commend zuckerberg for seeing things through its growth period.

  

very talented.

  

and hiring the right people who “get the job done”.

  

isn’t it the consumer’s responsibility to control the content they release.

   

i agree with what you’re saying.

  

do the device settings really protect the information?

  

as a user of facebook how can someone control content in a realm without it being collected.

  

you collect info for that purpose

  

yes we do that so the “ad experience” can be more useful the advertisers and the users.

  

value base.

  

but if i’m a customer how do i keep that from happening.

  

yes there is a setting.

  

you can turn that off and we won’t do it.

  

we offer a lot of settings in every way from content to interests to search results, sign ins to alternate apps.

  

we try to make the controls easy.. it’s a broad service.

  

so they can contersfigure it the way they want.

   

TIME

   

california

  

mr.peters E

  

technology has outpaced the law.

  

iwant to take you at your word that you value personal privacy.

  

know that pirvacy protection is not a bottom line issue.

  

shareholders. it doesn’t drive profits and it may interfere with profits.

  

would it not be appropriate when we define this duty to assess financial penalties to the company.

  

it’s something we could consider, but i’d push back on the idea that their’s a conflict between what people want and business interests.

  

i think a lot of these hard decisions come down to different people with different interests. people want to bring their AND friends info. others want it locked down. it’s not a business question it’s which interests do you weigh more.

  

what did the europeans get right about regulations?

  

they’re a lot of things the europeans do.

  

the gdpr is a positive step for the internet and codifies many things.

  

making them visible and affirmative consent is good and more should be done.

  

what did they get wrong.

  

i need to thank about that more.

  

submit it in writing.

  

might have actually finished his questions before 4 minutes. either way, he doesn’t appear to pursue his time until its end.

   

mr. hudson north carolina

  

ft bragg

  

thanks for dropping by.

  

men are prohibited from having social media profiles.

  

we learned each one was hacked.

  

almost asking to be hacked.

  

are you aware of the security concerns that creates.

  

i’m not specifically aware of that threat.

  

there are many issues we focus on and try to take a broad view of that.

  

collusion with the intelligence community would be good.

  

i’d love to follow up on that.

  

you say facebook is a platform for all ideas.

  

but it doesn’t seem like christian beliefs and conservative beliefs.

  

diamond and silk come up again.

  

this is a very serious concern.

  

i asked my constituents on facebook today and they all wanted to know about personal privacy. i think there is an issue you need to deal with and you recognize this based on your testimony today.

  

what is the standard that facebook uses to determine what is offensive or controversial

  

a couple of standards.

  

strongest one is physical harm or threats are first.

  

but then there is a broader form of hate speech or broadly uncomfortable speech.

  

isn’t that difficult to define? what standards does facebook use to try to determine what is hate speech vs. speech you may just disagree with?

   

time runs out.

   

new york

  

mister collins R

  

thank you coming.

  

you don’t know what you know until you know it.

  

facebook doesn’t sell data.

  

now we all know you don’t sell data.

  

we’re all here because a third party app developer broke the rules.

  

it’s hard to anticipate a bad actor.

  

clearly you took actions after 2014.

  

what did change?

  

before the change someone could share info about their friends.

  

then we said you can’t.

  

more praises.

  

who is going to protect us from facebook?

  

i thought it was an out of bounds kind of comment.

  

you’re doing good and i sincerely know in my heart you believe in keeping things equal.

  

you have 27K employees.

  

operating under a consent decree.

  

so when someone said do we need more legislation.

  

i said no.

  

he’s doing the best he can with 27K people.

  

i think it was beneficial.

  

we don’t need legislation.

  

we now know things we didn’t know beforehand.

   

mr Wahlberg

  

michigan R

   

thank you mister zuckerberg.

  

listened to both sides of the aisle.

  

three starter questions.

  

who were the bad actors?

  

i don’t remember the specifics of early on.

  

we saw app developers who asked for permission to see stuff.

  

content.

  

we should review these apps and they should only have a reason to access it.

  

stopped bringing friends’ info.

  

secondly, can facebook insure that every single app is not misusing their data?

  

it would be difficult to ever guaranty to say there are no bad actors.

  

every problem around security is an arms’ race where people abuse systems.

  

our responsibility is to make that as hard as possible for a company of our scale and it is growing with our scale.

  

that’s a good answer. it’s honest. LOL FKING LOUD you stoopid fk. your brain is childish. how can you be a congress person?!?!?

  

thirdly, can you assure me that ads and content are not being denied based on particular views.

  

congressman yes, politically.

  

i hear political speech.

  

we certainly won’t be advertising terrorists.

  

screeengrab of an ad that contained shocking or distasteful + violence.

  

it was an “algorithm” problem.

  

it was pro-life.

  

that causes us some concerns.

  

light touch in regulation.

  

time.

   

mrs walters

  

california R

  

misuse of consumer data and what controls users have over their info.

  

you have indicated they have granular control over their own content.

  

she asks the most basic question.

  

it’s a time waster. she doesn’t understand the app.

  

but sadly, she’s so serious. so dum.

  

her second question doesn’t even seem like a question of relevance. she says that california has been heralded by many on this committee for its privacy initiatives and yet given that you and tech companies are in california and we’re still experiencing privacy issues how do you square the two?

  

i think privacy is not something that you can ever...

  

it’s it’s our understanding of the issues and people as the interact online only grows over time and we’ll adjust to social norms or we’ll put rules into place…

   

TIME

   

merl dingell

  

michigan

   

married to the king o twitter.

  

four hours.

  

some striking things.

  

you didn’t know key facts for a CEO

  

you didn’t know about major court cases regarding your privacy policies against your company.

  

you didn’t know that the FTC doesn’t have fining authority and that facebook couldn’t have recieved fines for the 2011 consent order .

  

you didn’t know what a shadow profile was.

  

you didn’t know how many apps you need to audit.

  

you didn’t know how many firms had been sold data by dr. culgan other than cambridge analytica.

  

and yes we were all paying attention yesterday.

  

you don’t even know all the information facebook is collecting from its users.

  

you have trackers all over the world.

  

on most of the sites we see the facebook like and share buttons.

  

and with the facebook pixel people may not even see the logo.

  

it doesn’t matter if you have those tools facebook is able to collect info from all of us.

   

so i want to ask you:

  

how many facebook buttons are on non-facebook pages?

  

congresswoman i don’t know the answer off the top of my head but we’ll get back to you.

  

is the number over one hundred million?

  

i believe we have served the like button on more pages than that. but i don’t know the number that have the like buttons on actively.

  

how many chunks of non pixel code are there on non-facebook pages?

  

congress woman you are asking for specific stats that i don’t have off the top of my head but we can follow up.

  

could we get that back in 72 hours.

  

transparency.

  

do you know now whether there were fourth parties involved?

  

are you hiding the truth that has taken three years to appear.

  

i am convinced there are others out there.

  

we are going to try to find the fourth parties.

  

we will ban them from the platform and take action that they delete the data.

  

and you will make it public.

  

yes.

  

like water and air we need clear rules.

   

mr. costello

  

pennsylvania R

   

echoes the idiot’s comments — dumshit collins from ny.

  

they probably get kickback from the same tong.

  

we americans have a non codified idea about our privacy rights.

  

how do we make them understandable?

  

first, if you look at gdpr what pieces do you feel would fit in american juris prudence.

  

not just you but smaller companies as well.

  

well, making sure people have control over what they are sharing. and to be able to delete it. second, people should have the tools to make decisions. third piece is that some sensitive technolidies like face recognition that your get special consent for. if we make it too hard we will lose to innovative countries. like china.

  

do you believe that you should be able to use AI with a non facebook user?

  

that’s a good question and we should probably have control over it and we’re going to ask people around the world in our upcoming push.

  

in general for sensitive technologies you do want consent.

  

is facebook EVER a publisher in your mind as the term is legally used.

  

how is the term leagally used?

  

would you ever be responsible for the content you put onto your platform?

  

yes. but the vast majority of content on facebook isn’t commissioned or posted by facebook.

  

runs out of time while asking how the data might be slighted .

   

georgiaR

  

mister carter

   

did you know that 91 people die every day from opioid addiction.

  

2 and half million addicted.

  

it’s bringing the life expectancy down.

  

i ask you this because you have ads for illicit drugs and your responsibility.

  

will you help.

  

yes i will.

  

did you know there are groups that have provided evidence that ivory is traded on facebook.

  

i was not aware of that

  

some conservation groups claim that facebook is contributing to the extinction of the elephant.

  

did you know that piracy of movies is challenging their profits.

  

i believe that has been an issue for a long time.

  

so you did know.

  

hate speech may be difficult but these things are not.

  

i don’t want to legislate morality but we need a commitment from you that you will help us.

  

you want to see a mess, let the federal government into this!

  

more than 20, 000 people will be working on security and content review and we need to build more tools, too.

   

duncan carolinaR

   

been on facebook since 2007

  

it’s like a downhill in real time.

  

great staff.

  

so i asked my facebook crowd and they want to know about being discriminated.

   

user privacy and censorship.

  

first amendment is cited.

  

why not have a community standard for the community that is a mirror of the first amendment without algorithms that have a viewpoint that is neutral.

  

well we don’t want to spread allowed hate. if you care about safety we don’t want people to spread info that can cause harm. allow the broadest spectrum

  

pontificating congress man continues to please and confuse himself.

  

ends with what will you do to assure the user that they are treated equally.

  

well, i think we make a lot of mistakes in content review that don’t focus on one political persuasion. i think it’s unfortunate when that happens because the people think it’s focused on them.

  

thanks facebook and concludes.

   

mr, cramer

  

north dakota R

   

we need to make sure we don’t overreact.

  

this is an important national discussion.

  

the consumer and industry or other companies share a responsibility.

  

but your answer weren’t reassuring about drug sites.

  

can’t you give it your best?

  

can’t you make taking down drugs more important?

  

its certainly far more dangerous than a couple of xian women being discriminated against.

  

yes congressman, we are making efforts.

  

unfortunately the enforcement isn’t perfect.

  

i don’t expect it to be perfect but i expect it to be a higher thought.

  

you need to have less liberal content reviewers.

  

you should look in the middle of the north american continent.

  

come to bismarck north dakota.

  

we’re common sensical and more diverse than maybe even facebook.

  

maybe we could have a nice big center somewhere?

  

we republicans don’t want the web hyper regulated.

  

don’ you think you should have privacy protection.

  

well, first, the majority of our content reviewers are not in silicon valley they are around the world in different places.

  

for net neutrality i think there is a big difference between internet providers and the platforms on top of them.

  

the big reason that well, i think about my own experience.

  

i only had one provider.

  

platforms there are just many more.

  

the average american uses 8 apps.

  

there are more choices.

  

they can reach large scale.

   

they close saying that they wan to look into more of the topics.

  

like they’ve all had their first internet class in social media platforms.

  

they thank him.

  

they appreciate his answers.

  

they will submit more questions in writing.

  

the aclu submits a letter and so do a bunch of other groups.

  

it’s a long list.

   

answer them within ten days of receipt.

  

ten days for questions to be submitted.

  

(Clay Williams / Flickr)

 

As small businesses disappear from the city, and bodegas and hardware stores and music venues are supplanted by chain drugstores and bank branches, or sit vacant for months, it’s worth remembering that New York City had commercial rent controls for 18 years, from 1945 to 1963. Yet much milder measures to restrain runaway rent increases have been blocked in the City Council for more than 30 years.

 

That may change this fall: The City Council plans to hold a hearing on the Small Business Jobs Survival Act (SBJSA) in the last week of October, according to Small Business Committee chair Mark Gjonaj (D-Bronx). Sponsored by Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Manhattan), the bill would require landlords to tell commercial tenants 180 days before their lease expires whether they intend to renew it or state a valid legal reason why they won’t, enable the tenant to get a 10-year lease, and empower tenants to demand arbitration if they believe the rent increase is too much.

 

“It looks like we’re going to pass this,” says David Eisenbach of Friends of SBJSA, a coalition of small businesses, residents, and advocacy groups backing the bill. “We’re extremely optimistic that the essential principles of the bill will remain intact.”

 

Steve Barrison, executive vice president of the Small Business Congress, is much more pessimistic. He predicts the bill will be watered down under pressure from the real estate lobby, or killed on the grounds of vague legal objections. “How could you think it’s not going to be touched?” he asks.

 

“I am committed to hearing this bill, and seeing it through the legislative process,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson said in an email to Gothamist. “Preserving small businesses is a top priority of mine, and I know they are hurting. The Council is actively working on solutions.”

 

However, a spokesperson declined to say whether Johnson supported the bill as is.

 

Councilman Rodriguez says he hopes the hearing will enable his colleagues “to hear the stories of local small businesses who are closing” because they have “no control over rent increases.” He cites the Galicia, a Spanish restaurant in his Washington Heights neighborhood that closed in June when its rent was raised from $7,000 a month to $25,000.

 

Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (William Alatriste / City Council)

 

The measure is opposed by the powerful real estate lobby. Real Estate Board of New York [REBNY] chair John Banks argues that the idea that “retail vacancies are rampant” is a myth, and that businesses are not closing just because of high rents, but from higher minimum wages, fines from city agencies, and “anti-business sentiment” such as community boards denying liquor licenses.

 

Similar arbitration measures have been introduced since 1986. They came closest to passing in 2009, when 32 of the 51 Councilmembers sponsored the legislation, but then-Speaker Christine Quinn prevented it from coming to the floor. This year’s version has only 15 sponsors. Three of the five Small Business Committee members have signed on, but Gjonaj has not.

 

“Every single day we wait, we’re losing businesses. We’re losing 1,100 to 1,200 mom-and-pop businesses a month,” says Barrison. Since he got involved with the Small Business Congress in the early 1990s, he says, the group’s membership has fallen from 365,000 to 120,000.

 

“The number-one issue is the unfair lease-renewal process,” he adds. “Tenants don’t have rights.” Under the SBJSA, he continues, landlords will still have the power, but “this will give the little guy a chance.”

 

The 10-year lease provision is crucial, Barrison explains, because it gives business owners a secure period in which they can invest in their enterprises or sell out to someone who knows the business has a future, instead of getting one- or two-year leases with massive rent increases. By giving tenants these rights, Barrison says the bill will also stop the practice of landlords demanding under-the-table payments for lease renewals, which he says is extremely common against immigrants.

 

“I just hope it passes, and doesn’t get watered down in any way,” says Jenny Dubnau, a painter and SBJSA activist who expects to lose her Long Island City studio when her three-year lease expires.

 

Several Councilmembers who once supported the bill, however, switched sides once they attained higher office, saying the bill had legal problems. Advocates cite Mayor Bill de Blasio, Public Advocate Letitia James, and former Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as examples of politicians who changed their minds. “They won’t attack the merits of the bill, just on these vague legal issues,” says Eisenbach.

 

A spokesperson for James, who recently won the Democratic primary to become the party’s candidate for Attorney General, declined to comment.

 

Asked for de Blasio’s position on the legislation, the Mayor’s Office also did not respond.

 

The key legal question is not whether the proposed regulations are constitutional, but whether the city has the authority to enact them without authorization from the state. The New York City Bar Association issued a report last month that said no, arguing that state law prohibits the city from enacting stronger residential rent controls than the state’s, and that the rights to a 10-year lease and binding arbitration were “tantamount to rent controls.”

 

“SBJSA does not place any limitations on the amount of rent that may be charged,” Friends of SBSJA responded. “Therefore it is not ‘rent control’ and the city is well within its power to pass SBJSA.”

 

“The [bar association] paper is a bit of a fraud,” says a lawyer who has worked with the coalition who did not want to be identified because he does not officially represent them. “They set up a straw man by equating the SBJSA with rent control.”

 

The city corporation counsel said in 1988 that there was no state law prohibiting local commercial rent-protection legislation as long as landlords retained reasonable rights. In a 2009 memo opposing the bill, the Council’s general counsel wrote that that the state Court of Appeals had made it clear that “appropriately crafted legislation based upon adequate finding and addressing a major problem in the City would withstand scrutiny.”

 

(Stefan Georgi / Flickr)

 

The city’s 1945-63 commercial rent-control law was a wartime-emergency measure authorized by the state. It limited rent increases to 15 percent at first, with provisions for arbitration when the lease was renewed again. The Court of Appeals upheld it several times, holding that it did not unconstitutionally interfere with property rights and that it guaranteed landlords a fair return on their investment. However, the state legislature gradually weakened it, decontrolling vacant storefronts in 1950, and letting the law expire in 1963.

 

“We the city have the legal right to do it,” contends Councilmember Rodriguez.

 

Former Manhattan Borough President Ruth Messinger, who first introduced the bill as a Councilmember in 1986, says she doesn’t remember legal issues “as being central” to the debate.

 

In her Upper West Side neighborhood, rent increases were already afflicting businesses more than 30 years ago. “I was hearing from every possible small business owner in my district,” she recalls. With the area gentrifying, landlords were “clearly interested in displacing businesses,” often tripling their rents at the last minute and then leaving the space vacant until they got a bid from a bank or a franchise.

 

The opposition, she says, was “really just real estate,” but she was unable to get the bill out of committee or raise any interest from Mayor Ed Koch’s administration.

 

Now, she says, “I don’t get any sense of anyone in City Hall seeing this as a real challenge to neighborhoods.”

 

Barrison, the head of the Small Business Congress, frames the fate of the bill this way: “The real question is, do they want to stop the loss of small businesses? Or are they afraid to stand up to REBNY?”

 

ift.tt/2Q0JApy

ift.tt/2PfKpe1

 

Former San Antonio attorney Todd Prins’ crimes continue to take their toll even though he’s now locked up in a North Texas prison.

 

Prins, who admitted to brazenly fabricating court documents and forging judges’ signatures, used some of the $2.4 million generated from an unauthorized foreclosure sale on a Houston house to take a European vacation with his family, pay taxes and reimburse two San Antonio legal clients.

 

The Houston company that bought the house, but never took ownership, got back about $1.6 million that was seized by the FBI and another $82,374 that Prins paid to the IRS. The company sued Prins and the two clients for the return of the rest.

 

On Sept. 28, in a 177-page ruling, a Houston bankruptcy judge issued a judgment against Prins for about $716,000. The judge, however, refused to order Prins’ two clients to pay back the money they received from him as a result of the foreclosure sale.

 

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeff Bohm was unsparing in his criticism of Prins, describing him as “unscrupulous” and a “crafty liar who was very skilled at hiding his thieving and skullduggery from his clients.”

 

Bohm wrote, “This attorney has no moral compass whatsoever, and his perfidy has resulted in litigation among his former clients, friends and various third parties that did not have the displeasure of knowing him.

 

“While he deservedly spends time behind bars — he has recently been sentenced to six years in prison for his illegal greed — the individuals and entities he deceived and cheated are left duking it out over who has a superior claim to the remaining proceeds he stole,” the judge added.

 

Elbar Investments Inc., which tried to buy the Houston house at foreclosure, hasn’t decided whether it will appeal Bohm’s ruling.

 

“It’s just an interesting ruling, that’s all I can tell you,” said Richard Battaglia, a Houston attorney representing Elbar.

 

Prins, 52, is incarcerated in a low-security federal prison in Seagoville in Dallas County after pleading guilty last year to a single count of wire fraud. His prison sentence, which is scheduled to end in September 2023, will be followed by three years of supervised release. He also must pay $3 million in restitution to his victims, including Elbar.

 

Prins surrendered his law license in March 2017.

 

‘Horrible ripple effect’

 

While still an attorney, Prins strung along some of his clients by forging judges’ signatures and fabricating court documents in their cases. He also admitted to stealing, shifting funds around and raiding his law firm’s trust account for his own use.

 

“I created a horrible ripple effect,” Prins said at his May sentencing. “It was a ripple effect that damaged clients, friends, family, everyone around me. I’m truly sorry for that.”

 

Elbar’s lawsuit involved the house at 5506 Holly Springs Drive, which the judge described as being in the “very toney west Houston neighborhood of Tanglewood.” The property was owned by Triple Gate Investments.

 

Triple Gate fell into default on a more than $1.5 million note from a lender. Prins, representing the lender, sent out various letters to Triple Gate demanding payment, according to the judge’s ruling.

 

In late 2015, Triple Gate principal Oluyemisi Okedokun conveyed the property to herself and partner Felix Amos without the lender’s knowledge.

 

Prins’ law firm posted the property for an Oct. 4, 2016, foreclosure sale, Bohm wrote in his ruling. Before the sale, though, Okedokun filed for bankruptcy — a common legal maneuver that usually halts a foreclosure.

 

Nevertheless, Prins made the “unilateral decision” to proceed with the foreclosure — believing the property was still owned by Triple Gate, Bohm said in the ruling. Prins never made any effort to verify the ownership prior to the sale, the judge added.

 

Elbar, which specializes in buying property at foreclosure sales, bought the house for $2.4 million. It hoped to resell the property for $3.5 million, which would represent a 45 percent return on its investment.

 

Prins later said he believed the property’s conveyance from Triple Gate to Okedokun was a “fraudulent transfer,” according to evidence presented during a February trial held by Bohm.

 

Despite notice of Okedokun’s bankruptcy and a stay on the foreclosure, an Elbar official testified that it it went ahead and wired the $2.4 million to the Prins law firm’s trust account two days after the sale.

 

Prins, though, never provided Elbar with title to the property after receiving the $2.4 million.

 

Prins realized the $2.4 million would be “‘tied up’ for a matter of time” because of Okedokun’s bankruptcy, “and he saw these circumstances as an opportunity to use the proceeds for his own use,” Bohm wrote.

 

The lawyer wired $2 million of the funds from his firm’s trust account to one of its operating accounts two weeks after the foreclosure sale.

 

Then, from Oct. 19 to Dec. 12, 2016, Prins “freely spent” some of the money in the operating account for “his own personal and business needs,” Bohm said in his ruling, which was based on testimony and evidence submitted during the trial.

 

Prins charged “tens of thousands of dollars” while on a monthlong trip to London, Scotland and Denmark. At least $20,000 went to attorneys representing Prins in his personal bankruptcy and for his criminal defense lawyers — even though he had not yet been indicted.

 

He also used the money to make purchases at Office Depot, Central Market and Gamestop, and to pay CPS Energy and Time Warner Cable bills, the judge added.

 

Prins tapped the operating account to pay $164,807 to longtime client TransWorld Leasing Corp., a San Antonio company that leases cars, airplanes, medical equipment and other items.

 

Prins also returned $300,000 to another client — a principal of a San Antonio partnership connected with the Gabriel family, which operates a business that sells wine, liquor and beer — with money from another law firm operating account.

 

TransWorld Leasing

 

Prins had represented TransWorld and its owners, Leonard and Peggy Cash, since 1999, according to Bohm’s ruling. Prins and his wife, Paula, even became the Cashes’ friends.

 

TransWorld had tax troubles in the early 2000s due to an employee’s “misdeeds,” Bohm wrote. The company cut a nearly $231,000 check in 2008 to the Prins law firm’s trust account to cover past due taxes after the Bexar County tax assessor-collector’s office sued.

 

Peggy Cash questioned why she couldn’t make the check out to the tax assessor-collector. Prins told her “this is the way things were done” so the tax assessor-collector could “avoid receiving a bad check from the taxpayer,” according to Bohm’s ruling.

 

In a deposition, Prins said he paid the taxes. But in his ruling, Bohm said TransWorld is currently in a nearly $500,000 dispute with the tax assessor-collector over these monies. The judge added, though, that the “record is murky” about how many tax disputes TransWorld has had during the years it was represented by Prins. Peggy Cash believed the nearly $500,000 dispute related to taxes previously paid off and disposed of by Prins, according to the ruling..

 

In January 2016, when Leonard Cash was dying of cancer, Prins said he paid $143,000 for TransWorld’s alleged tax obligations, Bohm wrote. This was done without the Cashes’ knowledge. That same month, Peggy Cash learned that TransWorld appeared on a list of delinquent taxpayers.

 

The Cashes then contacted Prins, who told them the nearly $231,000 had been “misapplied” by the tax assessor-collector.

 

Nevertheless, a few months later Prins told the Cashes the tax assessor-collector wanted TransWorld to deposit $169,807 of “good faith” money in his law firm’s trust account while he worked out the tax issues, according to Bohm’s ruling. When Peggy Cash questioned why the money had to go into a trust account, Prins said it was “just a formality.”

 

Leonard Cash wanted the tax issues resolved. He “did not want to leave (his wife) saddled with a major tax problem for TransWorld upon his death,” Bohm wrote. For six months, Leonard Cash followed up with Prins.

 

Due to “increasing pressure” from Leonard Cash and “a sense of duty to ‘do right’ by the Cashes,” Prins issued a check to TransWorld for $164,807 on Oct. 16, 2016.

 

The Cashes believed it was the return of their “good faith” money, less $5,000 that Prins said he settled with the tax assessor-collector for, Bohm wrote. Leonard Cash died at age 75 in January 2017.

 

In June 2017, Prins entered into the plea deal with federal prosecutors. Bohm wondered why TransWorld was not included in the plea agreement because Prins likely never paid the tax assessor-collector the $231,000 it gave him.

 

Bexar County has a pending lawsuit against TransWorld to collect about $464,000 in alleged delinquent taxes, penalties and interest for the years 2003 through 2005. Albert Uresti, Bexar County tax assessor-collector, called it “one of the top delinquent accounts.” TransWorld has disputed the claims in the suit.

 

“Although we are sympathetic to (TransWorld’s) plight, Bexar County taxpayers should not have to bear the burden for delinquent taxes caused by the apparent oversight by TransWorld Leasing, including possible bad actions by their attorney, Todd Prins,” Uresti said in an email.

 

Peggy Cash did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Industry Drive Partners

 

Prins also had another client, James Pfirrmann, husband of Eleanor Gabriel, who is part of the Gabriel family business that sells wine, liquor and beer.

 

Pfirrmann and his sister-in-law, Inez Gabriel, were general partners of Industry Drive Partners — a partnership that owns the liquor business’ corporate office off Wetmore Road near San Antonio International Airport.

 

In October 2015, Pfirrmann withdrew $300,000 from Industry Drive’s bank account and gave it to Prins to deposit in his law firm’s trust account, according to Bohm’s ruling.

 

Industry Drive sued Pfirrmann two months later seeking the return of the $300,000.

 

According to the judge’s ruling, the parties reached a settlement after a meeting on Oct. 4, 2016 — the same day as the Houston foreclosure sale.

 

On Nov. 4, 2016, however, Inez Gabriel was informed by her attorney that Prins had “an issue,” Bohm wrote. She demanded the return of the $300,000 placed in the trust account at Prins’ law firm.

 

That same day, Prins transferred $300,000 from the trust account to a law firm operating account. He then delivered a $300,000 check to Industry Drive.

 

Only $100,000 of the original $2.4 million remained in the trust account, Bohm wrote.

 

A lawyer for Industry Drive did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Questions swirl

 

Allegations that Prins had committed fraud against other clients emerged during a San Antonio bankruptcy court hearing on Nov. 7, 2016. Prins and his wife had filed for a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in September 2016.

 

Questions were swirling about the Houston foreclosure. Prins failed to appear at a Nov. 8, 2016, bankruptcy court hearing in Houston because he was “too ill.” Expenditures from his law firm’s trust account, however, later showed that was a “blatant lie” because Prins was in London then, Bohm said in his ruling.

 

After the hearing, Battaglia, Elbar’s lawyer, emailed Prins and asked for its money back, according to Bohm’s ruling.

 

Meanwhile, Prins was emailing edited screenshots to the lender on the Houston house to falsely show that his law firm still had more than $3 million in its trust account, Bohm wrote. Prins even impersonated a bank employee to falsely confirm the balance in the trust account was $3.1 million, the judge added.

 

On Dec. 7, 2016, Bohm directed Prins to wire the $2.4 million to a bankruptcy trustee no later than Dec. 12. Prins failed to wire the money as ordered. The FBI, though, had seized $1.6 million left in one of his law firm’s operating accounts.

 

A week later, Prins failed to appear at another court hearing. Bohm found Prins in contempt of court and directed U.S. marshals to take him into custody. Prins voluntarily surrendered the following day.

 

Prins refused to answer questions about transfers out of the law firm trust account during a court hearing, instead exercising his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Following a six-hour recess, Bohm ruled Prins had waived the privilege and therefore had to answer questions about the $2.4 million that went into the trust account.

 

An admission

 

At that point, Prins said that even if federal agents had not seized the money, he would not have been able to wire the $2.4 million to the bankruptcy trustee, according to the judge’s ruling.

 

Prins admitted to spending many of the proceeds and transferring substantial sums to TransWorld and Industry Drive, Bohm said. The court sanctioned Prins in March 2017, ordering that he was liable to Elbar for $800,000.

 

On Jan. 2, 2017, Elbar filed its lawsuit against various parties, including Prins, TransWorld and Industry Drive, in an attempt to get its money back and “be made whole,” Bohm wrote.

 

Okedokun and Amos, also named in the suit but later dismissed, were indicted on health care fraud in April 2017. They are scheduled to go to trial in January. The Houston house they owned was sold by the bankruptcy trustee. The $1.7 million in net proceeds from the sale were placed into the court’s registry the following month.

 

The proceeds from the sale were enough to pay back Triple Gate’s lender, owed nearly $1.6 million. But Elbar asserted it should receive some or all of the money. It appears the lender will get most the money, however.

 

Bohm held a three-day trial in February on Elbar’s claims and took nearly eight months to issue his lengthy ruling. In it, he declined to order TransWorld and Industry Drive to pay Elbar.

 

While Bohm found Elbar was a victim of Prins’ bad acts, the judge ruled the company “broke the law” by “snubbing” the stay on the foreclosure that went into effect when Okedokun filed for bankruptcy to stop the foreclosure on the Houston house.

 

“Because of this stark fact, Elbar must suffer the loss on its claim(s) (against TransWorld and Industry Drive) for money … because it purposefully created the situation — by wiring the proceeds knowing that the stay was in effect — and it was in the best position to have avoided it,” Bohm ruled.

 

Patrick Danner is a San Antonio-based staff writer covering banking and civil courts. Read him on our free site, mySA.com, and on our subscriber site, ExpressNews.com. | pdanner@express-news.net | Twitter: @AlamoPD

 

  

As an investor, it’s important to understand the differences between stocks vs. real estate. While each investment has its perks, there are some things you should know about before spending your money. Learn more about what’s right for you in our latest post!

 

Both real estate and the stock market are popular ways in which to invest your money. Some people swear by one or the other, however, both have amazing potential when handled correctly. Below, we offer some pros and cons as well as questions to ask yourself in order to determine if you should invest in stocks or real estate!

 

The Benefits of Real Estate Investment:

 

Tangible

 

Real estate is a tangible investment meaning you can physically see and touch it. You know it’s there and it isn’t going anywhere, greatly reducing your risk of fraud. Owning property has many great psychological benefits as well. You’ll feel a sense of pride when telling people about the property you own.

 

Long Term Appreciation

 

Your real estate investment is likely to appreciate over time. This isn’t always true for stocks. Some companies are here today, gone tomorrow, making the stock market much more volatile. In most cases, the value of your property will go up over time, even if the market stalls here and there.

 

Tax Deductions

 

Real estate investment offers all kinds of tax breaks for investors. The 1031 exchange will allow you to defer taxes as long as you reinvest your proceeds into a like-kind investment. You can also deduct things like interest, property management, business travel, your home office, and more.

 

Lower Risk of Fraud

 

You can see the property, check it out, make repairs and upgrades as you wish. The stock market leaves much more room for fraud.

 

More Control

 

You decide how the money is spent as opposed to a board of directors. If you want to redo the roof, you do it. Add an addition? That’s up to you too. You decide how to reinvest into the property, giving you the opportunity to maximize the value of the property.

 

What to watch out for…

 

You don’t want to find yourself getting stuck with one kind of property investment or location. It’s best to diversify your real estate investments, buying properties in different areas and of different types. Single-family rentals, multi-family rentals, apartment buildings, and commercial real estate can all be great income producing assets.

 

Another thing to be mindful of are the fluctuating holding costs. Insurance rates can change. Taxes can go up. You may find yourself without a renter at some point, forcing you to cover all of the monthly ownership costs yourself. Utilities can vary depending on the time of year, making your investment more costly during these times.

 

The Benefits of The Stock Market:

 

Diversification

 

Stocks offer a wider range of diversification options, giving you the opportunity to build wealth at a faster rate. However, this will often require an aggressive portfolio that carries some risk.

 

Liquidity

 

Stocks can be easier to sell if you need the money right away. Investment properties, especially duplexes and apartment complexes will have a smaller number of interested parties than a single-family property would.

 

No Work

 

Owning stock requires very little from you other than making that initial investment. From there, you will only have to watch the market, buying and selling as needed. Many investors choose long-term stock investment as a hands-off way to collect dividends.

 

What to watch out for…

 

The stock market can be very volatile, there is a lot of fluctuation, which can pay off in some ways, but be detrimental in many others. When watching stock prices go up and down throughout the day, you may become more prone to buying and selling based on emotion, rather than by the facts along.

 

Ask yourself these questions…

 

How Hands On Do You Want To Be?

 

Investing in the stock market won’t require much from you other than making the purchase and selling when the time is right. Investing will likely require more of your time and be more of a hands-on process, however, the returns can be well worth the effort.

 

What Kind of Returns Are You Expecting?

 

Before you invest in stocks or real estate, it’s important to have a clear vision of what you wish to accomplish. How hands-on do you want to be? How quickly are you expecting your returns and for how much? By knowing what you need and what you want to achieve, you’ll be able to make the investment that is right for you.

 

Of course, when making any sort of financial decision, it is important to speak with your accountant, financial planner, lawyer, or all of the above!

 

To learn more about stocks vs. real estate in Dallas , send us a message or give us a call today!

 

The post Stocks vs. Real Estate – A Guide For Dallas Investors appeared first on Sell My House Fast Dallas.

 

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Why are penny stocks risky?

Penny stocks have many risks. Investors who purchase them in large quantities can suffer huge losses because they are:

 

High risk

The target of “pump and dump” schemes where the stocks are bought in large amounts and then sold at a higher price after the price has been falsely pumped up.

Given little oversight, which makes them subject to manipulation.

It also can be very hard to determine the true value of a penny stock.

Investors can be wronged in many different ways. Often, the investor should have been advised of more suitable investments for their needs before they purchased the products. The investment fraud lawyers at The Frankowski Firm have years of experience advocating on behalf of clients whose brokers, advisors and investment firms mismanaged their investments and failed to adequately advise them of potential pitfalls.

A warning to all professional women…if you receive an offer for membership to the National Association of Professional Women (NAPW), please be aware that it is a scam*.

 

Recently I received an unsolicited notice from NAPW indicating that I was eligible for membership at “no cost or obligation.” The membership offer was sent to my work address and contained my official job title, so I’m assuming that my contact information was sold to them by a conference I have attended in the past or through a separate professional organization I recently joined at the request of my company. I went to the NAPW website to do a bit of research. They seemed legit – offering local and national networking opportunities; seminars/webinars; discounts; etc. In hindsight, my research should have continued into the realm of consulting the all-knowing Google....however, it didn’t**. I filled out the initial membership application with the code the mailing provided. Upon submitting the information the website informed me that my application would be reviewed and I would be notified at a later date if I was accepted.

 

So today…on Friday, my favorite day of the week…I received a call at work (luckily I provided them my work number three times instead of giving them “required” mobile and home numbers as well during the application process) from “Nancy” representing NAPW. She introduced herself, was (at first) quite cordial, and indicated that she had a few questions about my application before being able to determine if I was eligible/accepted. We chatted for 15 minutes or so about my job, my skills, what I like about my position, where I want to be in a few years, how I want to advance my career. She indicated that based on the information I provided and my professional goals she had no reservations about accepting my application. Yay!! I was a member of NAPW…all for the super low, bargain basement cost of an Elite membership to the tune of $900+ dollars…all she needed was my credit or debit card number. (Do you smell the rubber burning from how quickly the tires in my brain skidded to halt there?) HELL-to-the-EFFing no I was not paying that much money for a professional society membership and I sure as shit wasn’t giving “Nancy” my credit/debit card information (I just got through having to set up credit monitoring on my credit card and bank account because of the Target data breach debacle). So I in my most pleasant (of what remains of my) Southern charm informed “Nancy” (bless her heart) that I was only interested in the “no cost or obligation” membership that was offered in the invitation I received and that I was not interested in paying for a higher membership level until I’d had a chance to spend some time as a member of the organization. I wanted time to utilize my basic/no cost or obligation membership and determine if the benefits would be worth a more robust membership investment. “Nancy” immediately began pitching me lower memberships to the tune of $700+ or just $199…or I could try it out for 6 months for a mere $99. I chortled and informed “Nancy” that if there was no actual free membership available (you know the “no cost or obligation” one indicated on the invitation) then I had no interest in NAPW. That was the end of “Nancy.” No cordial thank-you, no final pitch. Suddenly “Nancy” was just a memory and a dial-tone. I realized here (and perhaps should have realized much sooner) that “Nancy”…my sweet “Nancy”…was nothing more than a commissioned telemarketer. Oh “Nancy”…where did we go so wrong.

 

I was livid. I went into DefCon5 Google research mode. I went Westboro Batshit Crazy. I reported this crap to the Better Business Bureau. I Yelp’d my own review. I…did this…and I felt better. Taking the original invite (scratching out my special code, just in case they tried to trace it back to me) I broke out the Sharpies (their scent is so calming). I took their postage paid invitation, defaced it with the truth, and stuck it in the mail (all on their $.46 cents). So here it is...my giant FU to the NAPW...my warning to all my fellow photograpHERs here on Flickr…and wherever else this ends up…beware of this scam.

 

*For legal purposes I present to you (and possibly the lawyers representing the bullshit smouldering somewhere in New York at the NAPW HQs) the definition of scam. Noun: a confidence game or other fraudulent scheme, especially for making a quick profit; swindle. Verb (used with object): to cheat or defraud with a scam.

 

I am not using the term “scam” to insinuate that NAPW is engaging in ILLEGAL activities…only FRADULENT and IMMORAL activities clearly designed to seperate women from their hard earned money to make the NAPW a quick profit. Clearly their indication that membership benefits are available at “no cost or obligation” is fraudulent and as highlighted in the telemarketer’s high pressure marketing pitch they are looking for a quick profit off of pressuring would be members into paying for ridiculously priced membership levels.

 

**Had I practiced my Google Fu I would have learned what a scam this group truly is sooner. Do a quick search for yourself…go through their Yelp reviews and look at the multiple blog postings of women who have had the exact same experiences.

SS.......AND MAYBE... QUITE PROBABLY (wink wink) A CRIMINAL TOO

======================================================

First Whitewater prosecutor says 'serious crimes' were uncovered in probe

Robert Fiske's new memoir provides fresh look at investigation into Clintons

 

The first federal prosecutor to probe the financial dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton says he was poised to bring high-profile indictments against top Arkansas political and business figures — based in part on testimony from a chief witness against the then president — when he was abruptly replaced by a panel of federal judges, throwing his investigation into turmoil.

 

"I was angry, frustrated and above all disappointed that I was not going to be able to carry through and finish bringing the indictments," writes Robert Fiske, a former U.S. attorney who served as the original independent counsel in charge of the Whitewater investigation, in a forthcoming memoir, "Prosecutor Defender Counselor."

 

Fiske — ever the punctilious prosecutor — offers no judgments on the conduct of the Clintons, nor on that of the man who replaced him, Kenneth Starr.

 

But in his first extensive public comments on his Whitewater investigation, in his book and in an exclusive Yahoo News interview, Fiske contends his removal had a devastating impact on the agents and prosecutors working the case: It ultimately caused the Whitewater probe to stretch on for years longer than it needed to under Starr, a conservative former federal appellate judge who had no prosecutorial experience.

 

"The simplest way to put it, after I was replaced, the lawyers on the staff in Arkansas said the agents for the FBI and IRS were totally demoralized," Fiske said in the Yahoo News interview. "They thought we were on the brink of doing all these great things, and now that was not going to happen."

 

The long-ago Whitewater probe seems likely to be revived by political foes if, as is widely expected, Hillary Clinton runs for president. (The Clinton library is due to release new documents, including some that are expected to include Whitewater files, this Friday.) For years, the Clintons have sought to portray the entire investigation as a politically inspired witch hunt, pushed by partisans hunting for any ammunition they could find to damage the president and first lady.

 

"I'm still waiting for them to admit that there was nothing to Whitewater," Bill Clinton said in a recent appearance.

 

But the new account of Fiske, a pillar of the New York legal community, offers a more complicated picture. He describes how he had quickly uncovered "serious crimes" in the Whitewater investigation but that his probe was cut short after conservatives falsely accused him of a "cover up."

 

"There were indictments, there were convictions," said Fiske when asked about claims that there was "nothing" to the investigation. "People went to jail. There was never any evidence that was sufficient to link the Clintons to any of it, but there were certainly serious crimes."

 

Appointed by Janet Reno in January 1994, Fiske describes how he moved aggressively from the start, carving out a wide-ranging mandate and hiring a top-flight staff of veteran prosecutors. One of his first moves was to subpoena Hillary Clinton's law firm billing records — documents that were later found under mysterious circumstances in the White House living quarters.

 

By the summer of 1994, Fiske says, he was preparing to bring eight indictments against 11 defendants, including criminal charges for fraud against Jim and Susan McDougal (the Clintons' Whitewater business partners), Webster Hubbell (then an associate attorney general and formerly Hillary Clinton's law partner) and Jim Guy Tucker (Clinton's successor as governor of Arkansas).

 

A key witness in these cases was David Hale, a former municipal judge and the owner of a federally subsidized small-business lending company. It was Hale who had made the most serious allegation against Bill Clinton: Hale had claimed that Clinton, while Arkansas governor, had pressured him to make a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan to a marketing company owned by Susan McDougal that was really intended to pay off the two couples' debts in their Whitewater real estate investment. ("My name can't show up on this," Hale claimed Clinton had told him, an account that President Clinton later denied.)

 

Defenders of the Clintons have long depicted Hale as an inveterate liar who was put up to his allegations by bitter political enemies of the then president and first lady.

 

But Fiske devotes a chapter of his book to how he cut a plea deal with Hale, titling it "An Early Breakthrough," and describing how Hale's information "moved us forward."

 

"You used David Hale as a witness. You believed he was credible?" Fiske was asked by Yahoo News.

 

"Yes, we did," Fiske replied. He noted that FBI agents and prosecutors working for him (including famed Texas trial attorney Rusty Hardin) had closely vetted Hale's story.

 

"He provided very valuable information to us," Fiske said about Hale.

 

But Hale was also a confessed felon, who had pleaded guilty to defrauding the government. "Standing alone, nobody was going to bring a case based on what he was telling us," Fiske said — unless there was corroboration from other witnesses and documents. "But from what we had seen of him, we thought the story was plausible and was certainly worth pursuing," said Fiske.

 

Despite Fiske's efforts to find more evidence, he soon ran afoul of conservatives in Congress and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, who accused him of pulling his punches. In late June, he issued two reports — one clearing the Clintons and White House officials of any wrongdoing in trying to influence a regulatory agency review of Jim McDougal's savings and loan, and a second one concluding that Vince Foster, another law firm partner of Hillary Clinton's, who was serving as White House counsel, had committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park overlooking the Potomac River and was not the victim of foul play.

 

In his memoir, Fiske contends that the evidence that Foster took his own life was overwhelming. But Fiske writes, "conspiracy theorists" attacked his findings, suggesting that Foster may have been murdered elsewhere and his body dumped in the park. Fiske recounts how an Indiana congressman, Dan Burton, even sought to disprove his findings by shooting a watermelon in his backyard. And soon Fiske was also being accused of conflicts of interest and protecting the Clintons. "The Fiske cover up," ran the headline on one Wall Street Journal editorial.

 

In August 1994, just as his investigation in Arkansas was gathering steam, Fiske was jolted when a panel of three federal judges — two of them strong conservatives — removed him on the grounds that he was not independent enough (because he had been appointed by Clinton's attorney general) and replaced him with Starr.

 

Fiske says he sought to reassure his dejected staff. Starr "has no experience as a prosecutor, so things may move a little slower but these indictments will happen," he told them.

 

The indictments were ultimately brought by Starr — only in some cases more than a year after Fiske's removal, and by then, Starr was widely being depicted by the White House and its allies as a conservative partisan. In that sense, Fiske's removal may have been a turning point that ended up undermining public confidence in the entire Whitewater probe, said Ken Gormley, the dean of Duquesne University School of Law and the author of "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr," an exhaustive study of the investigation.

 

"Painting the whole thing as a witch hunt would have been much harder" if Fiske had not been replaced, said Gormley. And, he believes, Fiske would likely not have expanded the probe, as Starr did, to include Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. "Fiske was a lawyer's lawyer," said Gormley. "He was the consummate principled prosecutor."

 

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

Designed by me, created by www.TasteofInkStudios.com.

 

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

Designed by me, created by www.TasteofInkStudios.com

 

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

SEC Robert Khuzami Talks 證券和交易委員會

 

online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704388304575202562...

 

By AARON LUCCHETTI And KARA SCANNELL

 

Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief Robert Khuzami oversaw a group of lawyers at his old firm, Deutsche Bank AG, that was closely involved in developing collateralized debt obligations, the same product in the agency's fraud lawsuit against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

 

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Robert Khuzami testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the purchase of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America in December.

 

Before taking his current job at the SEC last year, the 53-year-old Mr. Khuzami spent five years running the U.S. legal division of Deutsche Bank, one of the largest issuers of collateralized debt obligations in 2006 and 2007. As part of that job, he worked with lawyers who advised on the CDOs issued by the German bank and how details about them should be disclosed to investors. The group included more than 100 lawyers who also defended the bank against lawsuits and vetted other financial products, these people said.

 

Deutsche Bank has faced allegations of inadequate disclosure over its creation of CDOs. It isn't clear if Mr. Khuzami personally reviewed any structured-finance deal documents in his role at the bank, and outside law firms were also involved in CDO work.

 

Deutsche Bank said its CDOs that were similar to Abacus 2007-AC1, the subject of the SEC's suit against Goldman, didn't rely on outside firms to help choose the underlying portfolio. That "eliminated the potential for deception with respect to the role of such a manager," said Ted Meyer, a spokesman for Deutsche Bank. He declined to comment on Mr. Khuzami.

 

Because of Mr. Khuzami's old job and his financial interest in the company, he has recused himself from any matters related to Deutsche Bank, according to an SEC spokesman.

 

WSJ Professional

 

Regulating Rating Agencies

American Banker: Agencies Knew of Inaccuracy, Senator Says

The SEC spokesman said Mr. Khuzami also isn't involved in a recent SEC case over alleged insider trading by a hedge-fund manager and Deutsche Bank sales official. The SEC probe began while Mr. Khuzami was at the bank.

 

SEC officials say Mr. Khuzami's résumé is a nonissue, adding that the agency will go after illegal conduct wherever it occurs. "The Commission's recusal policy prevents even the appearance of a possible conflict of interest by prohibiting employees from working on particular matters that could affect their financial interests," said SEC spokesman John Nester. Mr. Khuzami declined to comment through the spokesman.

 

Mr. Khuzami has vowed to pursue wrongdoing against Wall Street firms in high-profile areas such as subprime mortgages and CDOs. That mission created shockwaves last week when the SEC accused the world's most profitable securities firm of duping investors in its sale of a CDO called Abacus 2007-AC1.

 

Goldman denies any wrongdoing, but Wall Street and Washington are buzzing with speculation about whether Mr. Khuzami will bring other cases over CDOs. The SEC has sent requests for information to Deutsche Bank and numerous other firms about CDOs and other structured mortgage products, according to a person familiar with the matter.

 

Mr. Khuzami is the first SEC enforcement director in recent history to come directly from an investment bank. The agency's tradition has been to promote from within. SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro cited Mr. Khuzami's skills as a former prosecutor when she recruited him to run the SEC's enforcement division, which was reeling from the missed Bernard Madoff fraud.

 

Some securities lawyers say Mr. Khuzami's high-level position at Deutsche Bank could have given him insight into structured-finance products, an area where the SEC has been criticized for a shortage of expertise.

 

In his seven years at the German bank, Mr. Khuzami took a hands-on role, including when he was general counsel for the Americas from 2004 to 2009. He hired government lawyers and pushed them to more aggressively audit the bank's activities. His group reminded colleagues that regulators would be watching their emails closely, according to one former Deutsche Bank employee.

 

His large cases include defending the firm in an ongoing tax-shelter case and a favorable judgment and settlement of litigation related to Deutsche's role in the collapse of Enron Corp. Before joining Deutsche Bank, he was a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan for 11 years, most notably handling the landmark trial over the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, as well as Ponzi schemes, insider-trading cases and a prosecution linking organized crime to the stock market.

 

Deutsche Bank is defending itself from a lawsuit triggered by a CDO created before Mr. Khuzami left. In a New York court lawsuit filed in 2008, M&T Bank Corp., a regional bank based in Buffalo, N.Y., accused Deutsche Bank and one company official of making misleading statements when it allegedly described a 2007 deal as "nearly risk-free," "rock solid" and "like a lay-up." M&T said it lost the entire $82 million it invested in the deal.

  

The securities fraud lawyers at Furgison Law Group are currently investigating claims against Samuel F. Rad of Los Angeles, California, Affluencer Financial and Kinetic Investment Management, Inc., and other unlicensed salesmen that sold various Woodbridge Mortgage Investment Fund products and related Promissory Notes. Visit: diigo.com/0e5bhz

Why It’s Time Regulators Put Crypto on Notice

David Silver is the founder of Silver Miller, a plaintiffs’ law firm that brings cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and investment offerings. The views expressed here are his alone. You can reach him at DSilver@SilverMillerLaw.com.

I’m late, I’m late!

For a very important date!

No time to say “Hello.”

Goodbye!

I’m late! I’m late! I’m late!

When the White Rabbit was late in “Alice in Wonderland,” he rapidly scampered off to meet his appointed duties. In the wild and rapidly-evolving Wonderland of cryptocurrency, government regulators are quickly ramping up their efforts in fulfillment of their appointed duties, though the current regulatory framework still limits them in that regard.

That’s the clear takeaway from last week’s Senate Banking Committee hearing on cryptocurrency, where the heads of the two main financial market regulators testified.

If they weren’t already, cryptocurrency exchanges and promoters of initial coin offerings (ICOs) are now on notice: people who invest with them are entitled to be treated like all other investors in the U.S.

Exchanges that want to proclaim they are legitimate and that they follow all U.S. laws need to act like it when something goes wrong. ICO promoters who want to sell a product and raise funds by crowdsourcing crypto need to disclose all information accurately, transparently, and deliver on the product they sold.

If they don’t, they need to face the consequences of their actions.

I agree wholeheartedly with Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton’s public statements over the past few months criticizing ICOs and the people behind those fundraisers.

I believe every ICO I’ve seen is a security,” he told the Senate committee. It is almost as if he read my CoinDesk 2017 Year In Review article “I Love Bitcoin. That’s Why I Sue Exchanges,” wherein I said there has yet to be an ICO that did not perform that was not a security.

Clayton went on to condemn the promoters, attorneys and other related professionals who flout federal securities laws by putting the form of their offerings over the substance of what they really are: investments, stating, “We should regulate [ICOs] like we regulate securities offerings. End of story.”

ICO companies and their legal counsel should be scrambling over their past tone-deaf responses to investors. These entities need to take responsibility and not blame the people who sent them money. Legal loopholes are not designed to punish innocent people who were deceived.

Listening to the hearing testimony, it is also clear that squarely within the regulators’ crosshairs – and an area in which enforcement actions are on the near horizon – are cryptocurrency exchanges.

“When you have an unregulated exchange, the ability to manipulate the prices goes up significantly,” Clayton told the lawmakers.

Those comments were echoed by his counterpart at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission Christopher Giancarlo, who told the committee:

“Any proposed federal regulation of virtual currency platforms should be carefully tailored to the risks posed by relevant trading activity and enhancing efforts to prosecute fraud and manipulation.”

Market manipulation

Because each exchange makes its own independent and unregulated market for the cryptocurrency traded on its platform, the threat of market manipulation constantly hovers over its activities. Account holders at the exchange have no protections against the exchange suddenly slashing a cryptocurrency’s value without notice.

Even today certain exchanges admit their systems don’t work, but claim that doesn’t matter. While lawyers for these exchanges claim it’s within the legal rights of these exchanges to do so, those lawyers should know that legally and ethically they’re wrong.

Just as certain law firms believed in 2015 and 2016 that there was such a thing as a pre-functional utility token, almost all lawyers and regulators believe that not to be true today. What’s changed? My firm and others started filing lawsuits.

Similarly, most crypto investors are familiar with “flash crashes” and oversized liquidations that have caused crypto values to plummet on individual exchanges while those same cryptocurrency values remained unaffected on other exchanges at the same time.

In instances such as those, exchanges have disavowed responsibility for any possible market manipulation and simply shrugged off the incidents as “part of the game” while account-holders suffered devastating losses with little to no recourse.

The exchanges would like that to be the end of the story. However, an exchange that permits trading – especially leveraged transactions – has real responsibilities to its account holders and should be held accountable when it allows or causes massive amounts of value disappear in an instant on the exchange while no such impact is felt elsewhere.

The SEC and CFTC are clearly moving in that direction, though it is entirely unclear when they might reach their destination.

The overseers are rapidly making their way to fulfill their appointed duties in the cryptocurrency Wonderland, even if – like the White Rabbit – they arrive a little bit late. Better late than never, I say.

Clocks via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk strives to offer an open platform for dialogue and discussion on all things blockchain by encouraging contributed articles. As such, the opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of CoinDesk.

For more details on how you can submit an opinion or analysis article, view our Editorial Collaboration Guide or email news@coindesk.com.

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The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

Designed by me, created by www.TasteofInkStudios.com

 

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors who have been the victims of securities fraud or other stockbroker misconduct in securities arbitration and litigation. The firm also represents financial advisors in employment disputes and promissory note claims.

 

In addition, The Kueser Law Firm represents clients in commercial litigation and arbitration, and counsels client with business planning/formation and estate planning issues.

 

Our website is www.jmkesquire.com (or alternatively, www.kueserlawfirm.com). We also maintain a blog (blog.jmkesquire.com).

Lawyers hold a significant placement in the society and are considerably necessary. The society we live in is run by a specific set of legislation. These policies are there to make positive that everything operates in proportion and that government is maintained. Lawyers are the people who have the complete detailed familiarity with these laws and regulations and are needed to assist people when they want help in statutory matters. Lawyers are not only needed when a crime has been carried out and there is a trial in court but you might need the assistance of a legal representative in a lot of other things. Take a family lawyer to give an example. A marriage lawyer or a notary has to handle the legal requirements affiliated with marriage. The notary must always ensure that the single status of each party and keep up with the important written documents and the prenuptial agreements etc. in addition to other facts. Anyone who decides to join the politics will need the services of a lawyer. An election lawyer is a required part of an election strategy of any level. This individual ensures that his or her client knows all the laws and guides him about his or her behavior throughout and after the campaign. These lawyers also need to deal with almost all controversies which could surface concerning their client. Anytime a house is sold or bought, a lawyer is essential. There's lots of legal issues associated with this area and a lawyer is required to make sure that all procedure of the contract is lawful and right. Both the customer as well as the owner really need law firms to undertake the paperwork of the contract in accordance with the regulation of the state. The law firms make sure that all sides are sincere and no one is being robbed of capital and the real estate property is purchased rightfully. Legally binding contract lawyers are there to assist you in business deals. There is a complete number of laws and regulations on how a business needs to be engaged in. A business man just isn't aware of every one of the issues, consequently a prosperous entrepreneur has always a contract lawyer as a right hand man and counselor. The composing of most authorized written documents and long term contracts are done from the lawyer and any bundles on the brink of being made with clients are evaluated by them. Probate lawyers are responsible for taking care of the will of a loved one man or woman along with the adjustment taxation and claims. The entire operation of the division of investments as the will declares is arranged by the lawyer. Whenever a will is omitted a probate is liable to manage the investments of the departed person as per the state law. Everyone has to fork out taxes however , not all people are comfortable with carrying out their taxes themselves. A broad misconception is that a tax lawyer is needed each time a fraud is perpetrated. That's not the case. A taxlawyer will help you fill out your taxes forms and respond to all your questions. You can see from these few examples that how crucial DUI lawyers are going to help you get along with day to day enterprise without problems.

    

Drunk driving legal professionals specialize in a very certain part of regulation. Their concentrate is at battling to get a persons privileges that has been charged with DUI. www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzbxuRTbbDI

Tax evasion or dodging is a serious crime in most developed countries and Australia is no different in this regard. It is functionally seen as taking money from the state, and greater society, by misreporting income or using some other means to avoid paying your fair share.

If you have been...

 

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Securities Attorney - www.suemyadvisor.com/

 

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NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to jail accused swindler Bernard Madoff on Monday, saying he sent jewelry and other items worth more than $1 million to family and friends in violation of his bail.

A lawyer for investment adviser Madoff, who made his first court appearance since his December 11 arrest on a charge of securities fraud in what could be Wall Street's biggest scam, said his client had already returned some of the items and argued that the ... Read more...

via

Our law firm is often hired by businesses to act as “General Counsel” and about 50% of the time our business clients have in-house lawyers that assist the business during its life-cycle. Defining what an “in-house” attorney does is nearly impossible because almost every such attorney has a unique role specific to that organization and its management team, but the effect of having an in-house lawyer is often the same.

 

Business lawyers are trained to think about business issues differently than management, owners, accountants and other employees and can therefore be a major asset over time. However, bringing a business attorney into a business to generally help the business grow and prosper is often a big step because there are many pros and cons to having a lawyer around full time. The following is a list of a few such pros and cons to help companies sophisticate themselves about the decision to bring a lawyer onto the payroll:

 

Pros:

 

Contracts, legal analysis, negotiations and other tasks generally performed by a law firm can be started (and often finished) in-house for far less money than if the same was outsourced to a law firm that needed to get up to speed on everything.

 

Day-to-day interactions with a business lawyer can help to identify and expedite strategic change within a business.

 

Strategic risk can be more easily analyzed by a team that includes a lawyer that is highly sophisticated about the company.

 

Litigation strategy is easier to implement if it was designed by an in-house lawyer who knows all of the good and bad facts.

 

In-house business lawyers can bring credibility to a business and open doors that might otherwise be closed.

 

Cons:

 

Lawyers are expensive and are often among the highest paid employees at a company.

 

Lawyers are often very critical, risk-averse people that can slow progress if they act more as a fear monger than a strategic analyst.

 

Business lawyers’ opinions can sometimes conflict with those of management and cause strain in an organization.

 

In-house lawyers often know all of the secrets a business has and therefore can cause significant problems when exiting an organization.

 

In-house attorneys can become complacent in their positions rather than always keeping their legal skills sharp like a private practice attorney. This can cause a company to be blindly exposed to risk for long periods of time.

 

Generally it is best for a company to never wholly rely on the skills of an in-house lawyer because of the specialized nature of the position. Having the business’ attorney work with outside counsel from time to time can hedge the cons described above to some extent and will often keep the in-house attorney on his or her toes. Additionally, if you feel like your in-house or outside legal counsel is not quite meeting your expectations you should always interview other lawyers and law firms to see if there might be a better fit.

 

Any attorney in Utah can plainly see that fraud is still just fraud by any other name

 

Horizon Mortgage & Investment may have seemed like smooth operators, and they probably were for quite some time, having swindled at least $72 million from several hundreds of investors since 1997 in Kaysville, Utah according to Salt Lake Tribune article online. Run by Dee Randall, the “investment company” was recently ruled to be little more than a Ponzi scheme, which makes Randall’s actions fraudulent and illegal, though it doesn’t take an attorney in Utah to see that. Worse still for the investors, Randall filed for bankruptcy in 2010, effectively shortchanging anyone who unwittingly poured money into the scheme get less than 10 cents on the dollar back now.

 

Investors won’t give up so easily, though, and most have filed a lawsuit with an attorney in Utah “seeking millions in damages.” The suit is pending. But Randall’s scheme was sneaky, even from the beginning, and now, the “U.S. Trustee’s Office has found 20 other companies Randall had been involved with, rental income he had not reported, as well as creditors who were not notified of the bankruptcy filing.”

 

Serving for a general agent in Utah for Union Central Life Insurance of Cincinnati, Randall “had offices in Sandy, Kaysville, Woods Cross, Fruit Heights, and Logan, where he employed numerous subagents.” The better to trick you with my dear. Pitching life insurance alongside investments, they were already in violation of Utah law according to the lawsuit filed by a forensic accountant who took over Randall’s assets and companies at the request of the court. He found lies and deceit everywhere, but interestingly, there was unexpectedly more.

 

In his case, Randall didn’t rely totally on lies and secrecy. He actually “disclosed to some investors that he was going to use their money to pay what was due earlier investors,” and “warned that investors shouldn’t put money in they could not afford to lose.” Not only did such disclosures surely make him seem forthcoming and honest, they were what he hoped would pass for getting around securities laws. One attorney in Utah told a victimized couple “that the disclosures made Randall’s operation look like a ‘legal Ponzi scheme,’” according to court records.

 

But in truth, business lawyer in Utah worth her salt could tell you there is no such thing as a legal Ponzi scheme. “Utah law also says it’s illegal to operate a business in a way that defrauds investors,” so Randall wasn’t skirting any laws by disclosing his methods; he was just setting himself up for failure.

 

Which, depending on how you look at it, will come down with smashing consequences beginning June 30 of this year in the 3rd District Court in Salt Lake City. Randall “faces 22 charges of securities fraud and one of engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity.” As those with a flair for the dramatic might say, “the gig is up” for Dee Randall.

 

Free Consultation with a Utah Business Lawyer

 

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

 

Ascent Law LLC8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite CWest Jordan, Utah

84088 United StatesTelephone: (801) 676-5506

 

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Richard Boath ‘told lawyer at bank he would start to tremble when rereading documents relating to deal’

 

A senior Barclays banker had sleepless nights worrying that journalists would discover that the British bank had paid a multimillion-pound “bung” to the prime minister of Qatar, a court heard.

 

Richard Boath, an executive in Barclays’ investment banking division, told a senior lawyer at the bank that he would “start to tremble” when he reread documents relating to an alleged “dodgy” deal Barclays executives struck with Qatari investors, according to a transcript read to the jury during the fourth day of the fraud trial at London’s Southwark crown court on Monday.

 

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Barclays executive had sleepless nights over Qatar ‘bung’, court told syndicated from instarify.wordpress.com/

 

In this Dec. 17, 2010 file photo, Irving Picard, the Securities Investor Protection Act Trustee working to recover assets for investors who lost money in the Madoff Ponzi scheme, speaks to reporters during a news conference in New York. In a trial that is set to begin Monday, March 19, 2012, the trustee recovering money for investors in imprisoned Madoff's Ponzi scheme will try to force the New York Mets owners to pay up to $303 million for distribution to less fortunate investors in the mammoth fraud. Picard’s lawyers will try to convince a nine-person civil jury that the Mets owners believed that Madoff's business was a fraud but continued their investments anyway because they were making a lot of money. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

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