October 2008

Demanding Accountability

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The Greatest Bank Robbery

By Michael Minns
Houston, Texas Lawyer

Editor’s Note: This article is a must read. Michael Minns brings a part of our current financial crisis right down to earth. Though his examples seem extreme, they are more right on point than most would imagine. The following article will show the reader just why Minns is considered to be the most effective, successful and influential trial Lawyer in America today.

An idea for a new smash-hit movie!

Scene I - Action: A bald headed man in a suit comes into the bank with a gun. The customers are of course scared to death. The bald headed man calls out to another middle aged, suited white male, “Ed, point that shot gun at the main teller.” The man shouts back, waiving his shot gun, “You got it Henry.” Then Ed turns to a younger man in a suit, this guy with a full head of hair about 35 years of age and gives orders: “Neel, lock the doors. We aren’t letting anyone out of here until we get all their money - not just the bank deposits.” The three robbers are very efficient and soon they have all the money stripped from the pockets of the customers as well as everything that is locked up in the vault. One customer screams out, “You might as well shoot me. You just took every last penny I’ve got.” Neel, the youngest robber looks him over and waives his shot gun, thinking it over. Henry, the leader grabs the barrel and says, “Hold on Neel, those shot gun shells cost money.” The customer nearly faints, “You sob, he cries, you should have killed me.” Henry looks at him with some conservative compassion and he says, “Look, do you have a credit card? If you do we can charge the cost of the shotgun shell, add labor expenses, depreciation for the shotgun, and end your misery.” In shock the customer hands him his MasterCard, shaking. Neel grabs the MasterCard, opens a brief case and pulls out the charge card machinery, then swipes the card through the magnetic strip…and states, “Woh Boss, his credit line is only $3500. It won’t cover a $5000 charge.” The customer loses his temper and lunges out to choke his robber, screaming, “Are you out of your mind? $5000 for a shot gun shell?” Puzzled, Neel calmly sweeps the shotgun barrel into the customer’s face, knocking him helplessly to the floor. Other customers gasp with concern.

Fade out

Scene II - Action: The police have arrived. The officer in charge approaches the head robber, “Sir, what’s going on,” he politely asks the leader of the bandits. Henry demands identification and the officer strangely complies, while asking Henry who he is. Henry pulls out his identification showing it to the officer while saying, “I’m Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury. By the authority vested in me by the President of the United States and Congress, I’m seizing this bank and all its assets. This bank is in direct competition with my old investment firm Goldman Sachs, so it either is going out of business or will be run by one of my boys here. You know? Neel. Neel Kashkari, you were one of my investment bankers weren’t you. What do you know about in-housing finance Neel?” Neel responds, “Not a damn thing Boss; but you know I was your man at Goldman Sachs, you can trust me to be your man at the treasury.” Henry turns to Edward Liddy, “Ed can you help the lad?” Ed smiles and waves his shot gun. “Boss you just put me in charge of AIG, the world’s largest insurance company last month and you gave us $85 Billion dollars, remember? We had a party the next day - after all we are bank robbers – we spent $440,000 on wine and women and other stuff (he smiles sinisterly and then finishing whispering) - some of the stuff we can’t talk about with the cops here Boss. You know I couldn’t resist coming here and waiving my gun at the tax payers, but AIG is about all I got time for.”

The police officer has a look of concern on his face. He asks Henry a question - “Mr. Paulson, can the President and Congress give you the authority to rob this bank? I mean, does the Constitution have any authority here?”

Henry smiles. “Hold on Officer, I’ll get the President of the United States on the phone for you…” and he dials a number on his cell phone speed dial and hands it to the policeman. The officer listens to the voice on the other end of the phone; sweat breaks out on his forehead. He hands the cell phone back to Secretary Paulson stating, “I’m so sorry Secretary Paulson, err, your lordship uh, I’m not sure what to call you sir.”

Fade out

Scene III – Action: All the bank customers are now stripped down to their underwear. Their arms are folded behind their backs and they are in line. The policemen have guns drawn on them. They are all being forced to turn over their credit cards and pay for their release. Watches, jewelry, cell phones, shoes, and any clothing in good condition has been put in a large pile that one of the policemen is guarding. If they don’t have enough credit on their lines they are marched into the vault room where the police will contact their families to raise more money. One customer runs out of line over to Henry Paulson and concerned Police draw weapons on him, but the Secretary holds his hand up, stopping anyone from shooting as the customer drops to his knees a few inches from Mr. Paulson’s black boot crying, “Mr. Paulson, sir, your majesty, please. They took two gold coins out of my pocket. They took $10,000 in $100 dollar bills. You are letting others out for only $2000. Why can’t I leave?”

Henry Paulson looks down on him with a stoic face; “First, we already took the gold coins - they aren’t yours anymore. Second, holding $10,000 in cash makes you suspect in the first place. Third, there is no fixed price. We ask for everything we think we can get – we take it and then we start all over again. Get back in the charge card line. After that you can get in the Promissory note line where you promise to pay more money in the future. After that we will let you go, free, (and Paulson pauses) kind of.”

Movie Expectations

How many tickets would be sold to this movie? Turn the bank over to the bank robbers? Charge citizens after they are already robbed, and then charge them again? The government or the police on the side of the crooks?

Two years ago Goldman Sachs was the leader in the type of robbery tactics that have bankrupted this country. Paulson resigned, selling his last stock for $500 million dollars, and he accepted the job as treasury secretary in the Bush Administration. The suggestion is that he had no idea what type of transactions had taken place by the companies he ran or competed against. If he’s lying he should go to jail; if he’s telling the truth he shouldn’t be allowed to clean the carpets in the treasury, let alone run it. Either way, the closest he should get to our tax dollars is plane fare to appear before a Congressional Investigation Committee to give some sworn explanations.

In the last two weeks he was handed $350 Billion dollars in cash and last week he gave $250 billion of it to banks that stayed open. He ordered them not to say if they would go out of business without the money. So now, people buying stock in those banks don’t even know if they have a sound investment or not. The big favored banks, Goldman Sachs, $25 Billion, Bank of America, $25 Billion and Wellsfargo… these banks are now trying to decide if they will use the government money to buy small responsible banks that aren’t having any collection or credit problems. And yes, Edward Liddy, a former director from the board of Goldman Sachs is duly appointed (not elected or selected by shareholders or even voters) to run AIG, the company whose giant party we just paid for. And yes, 35 year old Neel Kashari is going to the Treasury, also leaving Goldman Sachs for “public service.”

Enron, formerly one of Bush’s largest campaign supporters, was small potatoes for these guys.

I propose we change the name of Goldman Sachs, now that it is officially and immediately a real bank, instead of “an investment bank” with more capital than the entire United States had when it won the revolutionary war. It answers directly to its own former CEO Henry Paulson. The new name should be Goldman Sacks US. As in Goldman raids the United States (Taxpayers).

Bonnie and Clyde were mere amateurs.

© 2008 Michael Minns


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