You want more Trump? THIS is how you get more Trump.

Local “poet” says Trump has “wet dreams” about his own daughter.  Pens perverted diatribe against white people and Franklin, TN.

Tennessean pours on the adulation while censoring the most disgusting parts of her “poem.”

“Fake news” our ass.  How about contrived, highly-edited and depraved news?  A 19-year-old community college student from middle Tennessee, who had her poem read to the recent protest rally in Washington by the reliably left wingnut actress Ashley Judd, was catapulted to questionable fame by the adoring mainstream news media, with The Tennessean leading the way.

The Tennessean took the disturbing ramblings of Nina Donavan and deified her in a slobbering article about her “art” and new-found fame.

But what the Tennessean cowardly edited out of Ms. Donovan’s poem were parts like this:

“I am not as nasty as your own daughter being your [Trump’s] favorite sex symbol, like your wet dreams infused with your own genes.”

What kind of sicko thinks of such disgusting imagery?  Artistes such as Ms. Nina Donovan, of course.

According to her LinkedIn page, Ms. Donovan is a former “party hostess” at Chucky Cheese’s in Cool Springs in Franklin.  Let’s hope all she did was seat people.  We would hate to think she was actually preparing or handling our children’s food.

Ms. Donovan went on to write:

“I’m not as nasty as Confederate flags being tattooed across my city.”

Uh, really, Nina?  Several of the Rocky Top crew live in Franklin and for the life of us we cannot recall a “confederate flag” popping up in public view since some eccentric old fart erected the hideous Nathan Bedford Forrest statue and flag on I-65 many years ago — before you were even born.  Ironically, he also called the ugly statue “art” and built a fence around it to keep people from tearing it down.  Sort of like the fence against criticism the Tennessean was trying to build around you.

So unless we missed a Klan rally on the Franklin square recently, we believe Nina’s artistic claims of Confederate conspiracy to the contrary qualify as a big, fat, hairy lie and a slander against the fine folk of Franklin and Tennessee.

There’s more:

“I feel Hitler in these streets.”

Surely, surely Ms. Donovan, you are not comparing President (choke on it) Trump to Hitler.  Hard to be Hitler when your daughter and grandchildren are Jewish, like President (choke on it) Trump’s but hey, Nina, never let rational facts ever get in the way of a spitting, slavering whacked-out diatribe, right?

But what serious literary genius can exist without a serious image for the jacket cover of her forthcoming “Anthology of Perverted Poems that Prove Tennessee and America Suck.”

nina-donovan

How so very très, seriouso, Ms. Donovan.  We hear it will published by George Soros and the Alinsky Press and will soon to be on store shelves right next to the “pussy caps” (or as we refer to them in Tennessee, the “Steve Cohen caps”).

Is Ms. Donovan so mired in her social justice warrior ideology and cloak of perceived superiority that she can say whatever you want?

Well guess what?  Turns out she can say whatever she wants.  That right is provided to her by the U.S. Constitution.  The same document that also allows the Tennessean to operate as though it were a legitimate news source.

Enjoy the freedom of speech that you and so many of your ilk try to deprive others who have the gall to disagree with you, as evidenced by your puerile ponderings, Nina.

We congratulate Ms. Donovan on exercising her rights.  But we offer sympathy and a suspicion that her new found adulation will set her on a lifetime path of bitter harangues as a tiresome scold whose left-wing demented diatribes will serve as their own justification.

As President (choke on it) Trump would say:

“How sad.”

As for Ashley Judd, any future plans to threaten to run for office in Kentucky again?  Yeah, we didn’t think so.

And as for the Tennessean we also say thank you for living down to your predictably low and cowardly standards with your ham-handed cut and paste selective editing.  We have come to expect nothing less.

In closing, we offer a sneak preview of Ms. Donovan’s latest poetic masterpiece:

Roses are red,

Pussycaps are pink.

When I grow up,

I want to learn how to think.

— a poem by Nina Donovan.

 

 

 

“Gov. Haslam? Don Sundquist is holding on line 2.”

With a $2 BILLION tax surplus, Haslam says:

“RAISE TAXES!”

gas-tax-pig

After over-collecting $2 billion dollars from Tennessee taxpayers, Gov. Bill Haslam today said he thinks Tennesseans are not taxed enough and wants to raise the taxes on that most basic of middle class commodities:  gasoline.

Reports indicate Haslam is trying to sugarcoat the tax increase by promising to “index” the taxes (meaning they can go up without additional legislative approval) and to cut a little from the food and/or sales tax rate.

Sure.

What is astonishing is that this proposal comes on the eve of the inauguration of Donald Trump as the next President (we just love to keep saying that, so choke on it liberals).  Trump was elected by middle class outrage over politicians who do dumb things like, well, raise taxes when you are sitting on a $2 billion surplus.

Son of State Income Tax

Of course it should come as no real surprise (especially since Haslam publicly opposed Trump’s election) because many of the very same people who supported a state income tax 15 years ago are back at it.  Who are they, you might ask?  Well for one thing, the biggest proponent of a state income tax was none other than Bill Haslam’s father, Jim Haslam.  Another advocate of raising taxes is Rep. Steve McDaniel.  Recent readers may remember Steve-o as the incompetent boob who royally screwed up the Durham investigation that nearly cost Harwell her job.  But Steve has another distinction:  he is the only GOP House member who voted for the state income tax still in office.   All other Republican House members who voted for the state income tax were defeated or retired (many by force).

Here’s a little reminder of the last time the politicians tried something like what Haslam is trying  now.:

tax-protest

Let the scene above play out in legislators’ minds when they consider voting for this tax increase.

So how can we compare the state income tax effort to the current gas tax increase proposal?  Easy. Keep in mind the people who backed the income tax screamed that the sales tax model would “bankrupt the state” and was an “antiquated” system that was “insufficient” and would create “huge shortfalls” in needed revenue.

Well that “antiquated system” has produced a surplus of $2 billion freakin’ dollars!  And now they are saying that we need a new stream of revenue to pay for roads, that the old system is “insufficient.”  Sound familiar?  So much for phony dire warnings and BS reasons for raising the taxes on gasoline.

While a sort of “group think” has settled on some GOP legislators who think they can get away with raising taxes while sitting on a huge surplus, they should think again.  The Republican primary is only 18 months away.  We can’t wait to see the direct mail and hear the radio ads.  Here are couple of (hypothetical) examples:

“Vote for Rep. Barry Doss.  He raised your taxes.”

Or even better:

“Sen. Paul Bailey is a pain in my gas.”

Good luck with that.

Re-vetting the “Vetter.”

bag-2-edit-6

 

It has not been lost on us that in recent confirmation hearings, Sen. Bob Corker was asking a lot of questions of Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, the guy who got the job Corker wanted.  It’s called “vetting” in Washington-ese.

But this week, the Senate Finance Committee will publicly examine the finances and any potential conflicts of interest of the Trump nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Mnuchin – yet another job in which Corker was reputed to be interested.

But since this confirmation hearing is on a subject about things in which Corker has a personal financial interest, we  thought it would be interesting if Mnuchin was asking the questions of Corker instead of the other way around.  It’s too bad that Corker is on the Banking instead of the Finance Committee, so he will not have the opportunity to pontificate from the dais as he is prone to do.  Because having Corker question someone else about potential financial conflicts would be about as useful as having Teddy Kennedy demonstrate safe-driving skills. But it should be helpful in understanding why a senator who is a walking, talking conflict-of-interest is qualified to unilaterally question  someone– anyone — else about potential conflicts.

And we at RTP are nothing, if not helpful.

[Editor’s note:  Our source for these question came straight from the Russians and we also checked them with CNN and Buzzfeed, so you just know they are accurate.]

And if Corker did have the opportunity to participate, we think it would go something like this:

 

Transcript

Mnuchin:  Mr. Corker, I want to thank you for allowing me to appear today.  Just as you have been doing your due diligence and looking into my financial background, I have been looking into yours.  And I have to say, Senator, I am fascinated by your ability to accumulate about $100 million in personal wealth while holding down a full-time job as a U.S. senator.  As the incoming secretary of the Treasury, your expertise is worth a few questions, if I may.

Corker:  Why thank you, Mr. Mnuchin.  What would you like to know?

Mnuchin:  Well first off, just how did you amass $100 million while serving fulltime as senator?

Corker: Day trading and shorting the housing market.  Made a killing.

Mnuchin:  Indeed you did.  My research shows you personally accounted for nearly 90% of all the day trades made by other sitting senators combined.  And you did so primarily trading in something called CBL.  Is that correct?

Corker:  Yep.  I used to work for CBL, back in the day.  Those guys are all friends of mine.  And I might add that Wells Fargo bailed them out in the financial crisis.

Mnuchin:  Very impressive, Senator.  Maybe someday we can get together for lunch and you can tell me how you managed to reap major profits for you, your wife and two of your children while avoiding the rather obvious conflicts of interest and suspected insider trading.

Corker:  Well I didn’t avoid it entirely, Mr. Mnuchin.  You of course have seen the Wall Street Journal and other articles exposing those conflicts.  And for all I know, the FBI and maybe even the SEC might be investigating my rather curious investment practices.  Say….maybe you can help me with that from your new position.

But yeah, I’ll put you in touch with some of my friends at CBL and maybe even the folks down at the shopping center in Mobile. It’s being built by an old CBL executive buddy of mine.  Most of the easy profits were all scooped up when Wells Fargo came in with financing just days after I invested millions.  But hey, people drop out every day, so maybe I could have my blind trust call your blind trust – know what I mean (wink, wink)?

Mnuchin:  Sounds good.  If I were to be confirmed for this position I would probably need to divest myself of many of my assets.  Can you hook a brother up with anyone you know who might help me get rid of some millions of dollars in nagging contingent liabilities  and who would be willing to buy my assets for more than their worth?  You know, a little non-recourse financing would be just the ticket.

Corker:  You mean like my friend Henry Luken?  Wells Fargo bailed his butt out as well.  Hey, I got him right here on speed dial.  Let me introduce the two of you:

[makes phone call]:   Hello, Luken?  Mnuchin.  Mnuchin, Luken.

Mnuchin:  Perhaps another time, Senator.  But while you’re at it, could you drop a line to one of your hedge fund contributors to see if there are any opportunities similar to the deal you got when you shorted the housing market?

Corker:  No problemo.  Anything else I can do for you before they take the vote on your confirmation?

Mnuchin:  One last thing.  Once I get the Obama hacks out of the department, I am going to need to staff up.  Any resumes or recommendations?

Corker:  I got just the guy.  How about my old chief of staff Armand deKeyser?

Mnuchin:  Is he qualified?

Corker:  Well I got him straight from the lobbying firm where Wells Fargo was one of their biggest clients.

Mnuchin:  Let me get back to you on that.  Wells Fargo is sort of personae non gratae at Treasury these days.  But I know if they were good enough for Wells, they were good enough for you.  Anyone else?

Corker:  Yeah, Michael Bright.  He was my senior financial policy advisor on Banking when I was shorting the crap out of the housing market during the financial collapse.  Previously he worked for two of the biggest disasters in the housing crisis, Countrywide and Wachovia.

Mnuchin:  Oh, wow, a twofer.  Send me his resume.  This has been very helpful, Senator.  Thank you.

One last question, Senator.

Corker:  Yes?

Mnuchin:   Aren’t you awfully hot wearing that bag over your head?

Futile gestures.

You want more Trump?

This is how you get more Trump.

trump

House Black Caucus demands “more diversity” in Haslam cabinet.  Fail to make similar demands of the Senate Democrat Caucus.

Hypocrisy and delusion reared their equally ugly heads recently when the Tennessee House Black Caucus demanded that Gov. Bill Haslam make his cabinet more diverse by adding more minorities.

Their demand came only days after the sole remaining African American in Haslam’s cabinet was forced to resign under a cloud of accusations of mismanagement and worse.

No word from the Black Caucus on how they are going to rectify the gross racial imbalance in the Senate Democratic Caucus, which is now 60% African American.  The latest census shows that percentage is 4 times the percentage of Black Tennesseans in the state’s population.

Who knew the state Democratic party was such a cesspit of racism and exclusion?

Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.

A Hearty “Welcome Back” to the new General Assembly!

harwell-mean-look-edited

  • Top House administration positions are now all filled by Naifeh Democrats.  (Silly legislators — and you thought the House was run by Republicans.)

  • Harwell opens new session with a speech on ethics.  Fails to mention she tossed McCord out for ethical problems, or the ethical problems of her former chief-of-staff, or the ethical problems of two of her committee chairmen, etc., etc., etc., etc.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  After a disastrous year of ham-handed investigations and numerous ethical scandals all linked to the Speaker’s office, Harwell is the early favorite to win the 2017 Chutzpah Award.  Not only did she start off the session with a speech about “ethics,” she followed up her “landslide” (by 4 votes) re-election as Speaker by declaring the top three posts in her administration would go to Democrats who were hired by former uber-partisan Democrat Speaker Jimmy Naifeh.

As of today’s opening gavel, the positions of House Clerk, head of House personnel and legal counsel to the Speaker are all held by Democrats who were hired by Naifeh.  And please, spare us the bull crap they are either now Republicans or somehow “non-partisan.”

Whassamatter, Beth?  Out of the approximately three million Republicans in the state of Tennessee, all you could come up with is three Democrats to head up these important slots?

What a way to build confidence in your leadership abilities, Beth. Why, rewarding Democrats who spent years trying to keep Republicans from controlling the General Assembly is just the thing you need to kick-start a race for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.  Good luck with that.

Enjoy the session, y’all.  It should be a real hoot.

 

‘Tis the Season…

A late Christmas gift.

christmas-gift-tag

 

For some months now, RTP has been on a Bob Corker harangue that some thought bordered on obsession.  We have focused, with copious details, the seeming rank corruption of Sen. Bob Corker – his questionable business deals, relationships and what appears to be serious ethics violations , sweetheart development deals along with an ongoing FBI/SEC probe into, among other things, Corker’s curious stock trades (more on that in the coming days).

All this has been accompanied by our juvenile wisecracks about the vertically-challenge diminutive junior senator from Tennessee.  But even through those wisecracks, we were trying to make a point: all the preening, promoting, misdirection and a slavish local news media had absurdly elevated Corker (sorry, “elevating Corker” is apparently another cheap shot at his height) to the point where he was purported to be a serious contender for numerous high positions in the Trump regime which never happened (as Rocky Top predicted.)

Just before the holiday season kicked in, we vented our frustration with the state media’s willful ignorance and scant attention given to Corker’s troubles.

And then one foggy Christmas Eve, along came The Daily Caller.

For the uninitiated, the Daily Caller is a major political news & commentary site with millions of readers per month.  Most Republicans, as does the entire RTP crew, have it on their “favorites” list.  So we were pleasantly surprised to see mere hours after we posted our most recent screed on Corker, the Caller posted a piece that looked as though it had borrowed heavily from  Rocky Top’s previous  exposes.  Not only did they highlight the exact same accusations of corruption we had been writing about, but they even threw in the bit about Bob Corker’s height being a hindrance to his advancement.  Wonder where they got that idea?  Could it have been from here, here or even way back here?

We also looked at some of the Caller’s source material and found it to be strikingly similar to information we had relied on to develop our own Corker stories.  We mention this to point out that state media also had access to much of this information as well, if only they had taken the time to remove their noses from the senator’s nether regions long enough to look.

But then came yet another gift.  In addition to the complimentary plagiarism of RTP’s memes by The Daily Caller, we are pleased to announce that at least one journalist in the state has seen fit to notice and actually write about Corker’s “shortcomings” (sorry, we just can’t help ourselves).  Not surprisingly, the reporter who broke out of the Corker “group think” mentality was none other than the Dean himself:  Tom Humphrey.

Humphrey has long been a favorite of the RTP crew (with the possible exception of Mrs. Hot Chick, who doesn’t like the fact Tom never wears a necktie – go figure).  But the rest of us like him just fine.  Oh sure, it would be nice if he and others would give RTP a little credit for pushing the narrative every once in a while.  But then if RTP wanted to be famous, we shouldn’t have made ourselves anonymous, right?

Instead, we will console ourselves with the smug satisfaction that the more the MSM ignore RTP and our issues, the more influential we become while they become increasingly extraneous.  Except Humphrey – who even in semi-retirement can still run rings around the Yankee reporters hired by the Tennessean.

Bob Corker and “journalism” in the Age of Trump

Corker’s “promotion” falls flat – just as Rocky Top predicted.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Okay, now that it is abundantly clear Bob Corker will not be Secretary-of-anything, it’s time for the state’s news media to come back to reality.

For months, RTP has been telling you that Bob Corker was not under serious consideration for any major post with the Trump organization.  The “Bob Boomlet” was the result of preening political posturing by the junior senator while using a compliant if not moribund state news media to complete the farce.

When Corker first started his public dalliance with Trump, we were somewhat impressed that Bob was able to correctly interpret the results of the presidential primary.  Actually, an orangutan with a banana would be equally capable of figuring out that if someone (i.e., Trump) was able to carry 94 of Tennessee’s 95 counties in a Republican primary, well, then that just might be a guy you want to get to know – especially if you might be facing a primary of your own in the 2018 elections.  And especially if your primary opponent’s base might be the same as Trump’s.

So Bob dutifully trudged up to New York the moment his name was mentioned as a possible running mate for Trump.  Trump – who at that time could count the number of GOP senators who were supporting him on one hand with fingers left over – gladly welcomed Corker in for a meeting.  Trump made it clear to Corker he would not be his veep choice but graciously offered the podium to Bob so he could get some political mileage out of the rejection.  That resulted in an impromptu re-enactment photo of Dr. Evil and Mini Me:

corker-and-trump

 

dr-evil-2

 

 

 

 

At the same time, the state’s press corps just as dutifully began to produce article after article of glowing, fawning, slobbering puff pieces extolling the (non-existent) rise of Corker’s alleged growing influence.

What makes their brown-nosing even more odious is that the state media produced scads of articles about “Corker the V-P” or “Corker the Secretary of State.” etc. while largely ignoring the seething ethical problems plaguing Corker over his day-trading, shorting the housing market, insider development deals, formal ethics complaints, contingent liabilities, and the like.  These issues remain today and by all accounts are festering, waiting in the wings until Tillerson’s confirmation is completed.  After that task is completed, Corker will still have to face those ethics charges while being demoted from the position he has held over the last several years as the Republican’s leading voice on foreign affairs.  On the power scale of foreign affairs, Corker will go from #1 to about #7  (after the President, Tillerson, Steve Bannon, the National Security advisor, Kelly Ann Conway and the White House gardener).

In fact, we could find only 3 or 4 articles written by Tennessee reporters about Corker’s ethics problems, the most recent published over eight months ago and before the visit to Trump Tower.  Meanwhile, it seemed to the Tennessee press corps the possibility that a U.S. Senator could be corrupt appeared much less interesting than whether Rep. Pants Candy was doing it on the couch with an “anonymous” faux-intern of legal age.

Yep, millions of Americans lost their homes and their equity and billions of taxpayer dollars were delivered to bail out institutions, including some where Corker had a personal financial interest.  Thanks to the priorities of the state news media, Corker may be skating on thin ice, but at least there will be no more “inappropriate hugging” of lobbyists in the state legislature .  Talk about your misplaced priorities.

To all this, the crew here at Rocky Top have a modest request:

Would it be too much to ask for the news media do its damn job and start giving Bob Corker’s ethics problems the same level of scrutiny they give to butt-hurt stories like “how to talk to your children about the Trump election”?  We can only hope — but we won’t hold our breath.

Merry Christmas, y’all.

Speaker “O.J.”

Harwell says she will reform ethics panel in apparent attempt to “find the real sexual harassers.”

oj-simpson

 

In an effort to air-brush the persistent charges and rumors of sexual harassment by some of her closest political allies, Harwell has declared she is “reforming” the way the House goes about the business of filing ethics complaints.

Yeah, right.

This is the equivalent to O.J. Simpson, who vowed after his trial to “pursue the real killers.”harwell-mean-look-edited

Harwell claimed her born-again reform was an outgrowth of the Durham Debacle.  What she didn’t say is that her newfound concern is really an outgrowth of the string of rumors and accusations that have swirled around prominent committee chairmen, her former chief of staff and her current Clerk of the House, among others.

For you see, just like O.J. Simpson, Beth knows full well the truth behind these alleged transgressions.  The fact that the media (much less her) were too gutless to pursue charges that could equal or exceed those leveled against Durham is irrelevant.  She knows who did what.  All the “reform” in the world won’t do anything to expose what Harwell already knows about other legislators’ inappropriate behavior.

Over 42% of her own caucus gave Harwell a vote of “no confidencein the recent Speaker’s race.  Her disastrous handling of the Durham situation, along with her willful cover-up of her cronies’ transgressions, were a major cause for her lack of support.

What will be the fate of Harwell’s efforts?  We don’t know.  But we do know what happened to O.J.

He’s sitting in jail.

And they said our love would never last……

ROCKY TOP POLITICS HITS A MAJOR MILESTONE!

 

views

 

That’s right, since the inception of our little blog in 2014, we have had over 1/2 million views of our irreverent diatribes, commentary and satire.  What’s more, half of all those views came in just the last year.  The growth has been steady, as the graph below reveals:

rtp-chart

Here’s the funny part — RTP was never about generating large numbers of readers.  With no disrespect to the fine people in Hohenwald, Bulls Gap, Ripley and elsewhere, we have always concentrated on serving an audience of about 500 – 1,000 shakers, movers, activists, hangers-on, LP lounge lizards, malcontents and media hacks.

That works out to hundreds, if not thousands of views per shaker, per mover, etc.

We have tried humor sarcasm, thoughtful analysis and puerile commentary while trying to separate fact from rumor accompanied by the requisite disclaimers and qualifiers.  We have royally pissed off many people in power, called out sleazeballs and hypocrites and even complimented a few folks, all in the name of “good gumint.”

You’re welcome.

 

The Corruption of Bob Coker – Part 3

Crony Capitalism on Steroids.

Did inside information by The Hutton Co. and/or Wells Fargo allow Bob Coker to make a killing on a speculative, taxpayer-backed investment? 

We report, you decide.

corker-employee-of-the-month-2

The extent of Corker’s relationship with Wells Fargo is absolutely astonishing. We have already told you how Wells rode to the rescue of Corker’s business buddy Henry Luken (and likely Bob himself) with the refinancing of over $28 million in debt at a time when “refinancing” and “real estate debt” were mutually exclusive terms. Now comes an even more egregious example of how Wells Fargo appears to be financially joined at the hip to the junior senator from Tennessee.

“Who’s your Daddy?”

Greed has many fathers, but it has been Wells Fargo who has shown up repeatedly in Bob Corker’s financial life. The curious case of an Alabama development project is a classic example.  A shopping center, called the McGowin project, was plopped down in a cow pasture near Mobile, AL with some curious taxpayer financing. It also had a major investor show up at the last minute:  U.S. Senator Bob Corker.

Remember Hillary Clinton’s “cattle futures” investment that miraculously turned $1,000 into $100,000 in just a few short months?  Well the Corker–Wells Fargo–McGowin deal was much, much bigger than a lousy $100,000.  And Corker’s stake in the project was a heckuva lot more than Hillary’s measly $1,000 – try millions of dollars.  In this instance, it appears Corker had two aces in the hole that likely guaranteed him a huge profit.  And within a week of investing a large sum of money in the highly speculative project, Corker’s investment likely increased many times over, almost overnight, thanks to – who else? – Wells Fargo.

mcgowin-1Follow us here for a minute:  Bob Corker made a career in commercial real estate in Chattanooga.  One of his close associates there was/is Karen Hutton, a former executive with CBL and a large campaign contributor to Corker.  Yes, this is the same CBL who Corker used to work for and who is named in Senate ethics complaints filed against Corker (more on this in future posts).  Oh, and we would be remiss if we failed to mention that the long-time banker for CBL is none other than — ta da! – Wells Fargo.  In fact, CBL publicly credited Wells Fargo for enabling the company to stay afloat in the housing/real estate crisis of 2007-2013.

But back to Hutton.  Karen Hutton is now the President of The Hutton Co. construction firm that is built the Mobile shopping center. The infamous Jones Lang LaSalle is also a partner.  For you avid readers of Rocky Top, you remember Jones Lang LaSalle and their sweetheart state contract with their buddy, Bill Haslam?  Man, they just keep turning up like a bad penny on smarmy deals, don’t they?  Birds of a feather, and all that.

Now as any developer fresh out of the Haslam Business School at UT can tell you, when you invest in a commercial project that has less than rock-solid financing, your investment is highly speculative.  Many developers can and have lost their shirts on such projects.  It’s a high-risk proposition.  That is, unless you are let in on some inside information that could – ka-ching! — turn your speculative investment into slam-bang profits. The minute a bank like Wells Fargo comes in to finance a big commercial real estate deal, the investments of the early speculators almost instantly move from a gamble to a valuable asset.  Of course, many of the investors put in their money months if not years ahead of that time, sweating out their gamble.

But not Bob Coker.  Oh no, he is a very important person with lots of important duties (like overseeing GSE reforms that could put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Wells Fargo – more on this later as well).  Sen. Bob Corker doesn’t have time to wait like mere mortals for his investments to pay off.

On July 17, 2014, McGowin filed the forms revealing that Wells Fargo was the main and likely only major financier of the project.  But the key date to remember here is not June 17th, but the date of July 11, 2014.  For that is the day Corker dropped between $1 million and $5 million on the McGowin project.  (Source: U.S. Senate 2015 financial disclosure statements).

So just six days — 6 days — before Wells Fargo turned the McGowin investments from speculation into spectacular, Bob Corker jumped in with a multi-million dollar bet.  Did he know in advance of what was about to happen on the financing of the project?  It strains credulity to believe he did not.  And just as Wells Fargo bailed out Corker’s alleged $28 million debt from the sale of his property to Henry Luken, here they come again with yet another remarkably “coincidental” move that just so happened to help line the pockets of a man who sits on the Senate Banking Committee.

But the crony capitalism doesn’t end there.  For what would a Corker deal be unless it involved skimming taxpayer dollars?  And just as in the case of Corker voting to bail out AIG with taxpayer money (the same AIG whose continued solvency was critical to protect Corker’s investment when he shorted the housing market) the Alabama deal had a tax incentive component worth millions.  Part of the deal was that investors would receive 1.7% of the 6% of city and county sales taxes predicted to be generated by the shopping center’s sales and would do so for 20 years.  McGowin projected the shopping center would generate annual sales tax revenue of $200 million.  That would put an additional estimated $3.4 million into the pockets of the investors every year for 20 years, for a total of $68 million over the life of the tax incentive.  Not bad, eh?

Are we beginning to see a pattern here?  Silly citizens – and you thought tax incentives and things such as sales taxes were to be used for the public good.  But when it comes to Bob Corker, some of your tax money frequently seems to somehow find its way into his pocket.  Using taxpayer money to guarantee returns – are these the “private gains, public losses” that Corker likes to talk about?

Is it just us, or is Bob Corker is beginning to resemble a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wells Fargo?

 

[Editors’ note: Despite the name of our humble little blog, we welcome our new readers from Alabama.  And we encourage you to send any additional information about the McGowin project our way – anonymously, of course.  Just drop a line with your scuttlebutt to the Rocky Top Tip Line (www.rtptipline@gmail.com) and if it checks out, we will try to use it in future posts.]

In the meantime, you can catch up on our previous postings at the links below: