Private Gains, Public Losses:
How Bob Corker used taxpayer money to protect his own investments.
Before we dive into the Corker/Luken/Wells Fargo fiasco, we need to update you our last posting: “The Big Short – Corker Style”.
In our last edition of the Corker Chronicles, we revealed how Corker bet against America by shorting the housing market, making millions in profit in the process. An alert reader reminded us that Corker’s perfidy wasn’t just shorting the market – he made sure his profits were secured by the taxpayers!
That’s right. When Bob invested in housing hedge funds using Pointer Management as a front, he was taking a risk. But Bob took steps from his perch as a U.S. Senator to minimize that risk. How? Well it seems that one of hedge funds Corker invested was partnered with a particular bank to ensure the payout of all the moola to Bob when the time came to cash in. The to-big-to-fail outfit that was essential for Corker to put money in his personal pocket was none other than AIG.
Sound familiar? It should. After the beheading of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, et al, AIG was very much on the potential chopping block of financial institutions who were at risk of being dissolved and sold off. If that happened, investments such as Corker’s would take a direct and possibly fatal hit. If AIG went down, so would Bob.
Assuming he used information he was privy to from his position on the Senate Banking & Housing Committee to game the system, Corker had taken a major personal financial and ethical gamble in his investments with Pointer, but his exposure to what would happen to his personal bank account if AIG went down was a big, big problem. But never fear – along came the TARP legislation that would bail out AIG and keep it afloat long enough for Bob to run down to his bank and cash his checks. The legislation saving AIG’s sorry butt was unbelievably controversial, but Bob didn’t hesitate for a moment, nosiree. He voted FOR the AIG bailout helping insure that his personal investment would be safe from the financial crisis. And of course he did so without once letting the fine folks here in Tennessee or elsewhere know the extent or even the existence of his “insider” skullduggery and gross conflict of interest.
So it appears Corker was making a killing off of insider information while using taxpayers’ money to secure his investment.
We tell you all of this now, because it will give you a better appreciation of what we are about to tell you in Part 2.0.
Stay tuned. Our next edition will be up shortly.
We know you can’t wait…..
RTP is back at work — much to the chagrin of the establishment and the political effete elite. You know the ones — those who despise President-elect Trump (we get a Chris-Matthews-style tingle up our leg every time we say “President-elect Trump”).
For a couple of days there, Glen Casada was probably hoping that his threats to “out” Rocky Top were having an effect on our output. Fat chance. Our absence was the result of trying to get anyone on the RTP crew to awake from their tryptophan-enduced comas from all the turkey as well as their hangovers from the UT-Vandy game.
But back to reality and back to work. And back to taking names and kicking behinds. After all, the GOP chairman election is this Saturday and we couldn’t let that pass without our patented analysis accompanied by irreverent comments. Heads up, Brent Leatherwood.
Next posting in just a few hours, which will include a continuation of our series on Bob Corker’s financial peccadilloes. We promise not to bring up Glen’s “How to Pick Up Girls” video again (Oops. We just did. Our bad.).
The Big Short – Corker style.
When last we left you, Bob Corker had just backed his way into a U.S. Senate seat. We also told you at the close of our last story that we would explore what happened a $28.1 million debt that Corker was on the hook for as a result of the sale of his commercial real estate business to his friend, the controversial Chattanooga businessman, Henry Luken.
But all you readers, haters, politicos and hangers-on will have to cool your heels a little longer. Before we unveil that sordid story in Part 2, we first need to present what we call “Part 1.5” – The Big Short, Corker Style.
What Did Corker Do With All That Cash?
Before the debt came due and before the Wells Fargo involvement, Corker found himself with a big pile of cash to play with. It’s hard to tell exactly how much Bob Corker made from the sale of his business to Henry Luken, but it’s safe to say is was a whole butt load of money – anywhere between $11 million and $55.5 million. As anyone who has ever had access to that kind of cash will tell you, the first thing you need to do is diversify and invest it, hopefully in vehicles that will give you a nice, safe return (remember that word “safe.” It will become important as you work your way through our story).
Initially Bob did what you would think a newly rich developer would do – he invested in real estate and banks. Corker made sizeable investments in AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Bank of America, etc. In other words, he bet ON the nation’s housing market continuing its climb. This was late 2006 and early 2007. Little did Bob know (but would soon learn as a Senator) of the looming cataclysmic meltdown of the nation’s financial system, closely tied to many of the very institutions with whom he had just placed a multi-million dollar personal bet. But as the newest member of the Senate, Corker was about to be let in on a very big secret.
In his new position, Corker became privy to exclusive information that was voluminous and frightening. By the summer of 2007 word of what was happening began to leak out from behind the closed doors of the offices where Corker had been allowed into. And just before the unsuspecting American public caught on, Corker did something bad. Very, very bad.
Just before all hell broke loose in the housing market, Bob Corker took a curious but revealing action: He completely reversed his financial position which was heavily vested in companies that benefit when real estate rises, and instead put millions into investments that would go up as real estate and the country was going down. In short:
Bob Corker bet against America.
He bet against the very market (housing) that he was overseeing from his position on the Banking committee. He bet against his former colleagues in the real estate and development community (including his friend, Henry Luken). He bet against the equity contained in average Tennesseans’ homes and he bet against the mortgages that secured that equity. Millions of Americans thought their biggest personal investment – their home – was a very safe place to have their money invested. After all, as the old saying goes: “God ain’t making more land, so real estate is always going to go up.” Except it didn’t.
But Bob Corker bet against America.
Simply put, Bob Corker and his fellow senator Mark Warner (D-VA) used their inside knowledge of the coming meltdown and an obscure Chattanooga hedge fund to “short” the housing market and reap millions for themselves while millions of Tennesseans and Americans were seeing their biggest investment (their home) disappear.
Bob Corker bet against America.
How Corker did this so unbelievably sleazy, venal and dishonest that it will take your breath away. And it will make you sick to your stomach that someone the public trusted with a U.S. Senate seat would use the power that came with that position to make himself even richer while the public suffered.
The Big Short
As a member of Senate Banking, Bob Corker was supposed to be helping oversee the growing housing crisis. Instead he saw an opportunity to get rich. With insider knowledge of what was about to happen, Corker looked for a way to re-direct his personal money. He found it in a little-known hedge fund in Chattanooga – the Pointer Fund.
The Pointer Fund was ideal. It had been around a while and was run by a close Corker ally, Joe Davenport. Pointer immediately turned Corker’s money over to Cedar Hill, another hedge fund located in New York City which specialized in the type of investments that Corker wanted them to make based on his knowledge of what was about to happen.
Cedar Hill gained notoriety in the best-selling book “The Big Short” (later made into an Academy Award-winning movie). By running the investment through Cedar Hill, Corker was given a fig-leaf to claim he didn’t know what Pointer was doing with his money. But Corker did know. There is a direct financial connection between Corker and Cedar Hill. The two founders of Cedar Hill have donated nearly $12,000 to Corker. What makes their donations stand out even more is that these hedge funders have rarely donated to congressional campaigns. In fact, the money they gave Corker represents 55% of the total donations they have ever given to congressional candidates. More than half of what these New Yorkers have ever donated went to a junior senator from Tennessee! Corker has since taken the Sgt. Schultz defense (“I know nothing! Nothing!”) when asked about the Cedar Hill connection.
The deal was so sweet, Corker cut in his buddy on the Banking committee, Sen. Mark Warner — a liberal Democrat from Virginia. It strains credulity to the breaking point that a wealthy senator from the Washington DC suburbs would somehow accidentally find an obscure hedge fund in Chattanooga and invest millions in it just in time to reap a huge profit – and profit they did. Pointer, the hedge fund that both Corker and Warner had invested in, made $120 million on the payments from the trade. You read that right: ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS. One trade. One, big, short.
Corker and Warner knew what was about to happen. The system was greased and rigged. And Bob Corker used his senate position to make a killing at the expense of hard-working Tennesseans and millions of others across the country.
Was what Corker did illegal, or just grossly unethical? Probably both.
One last note: By betting against housing and real estate with his insider knowledge, Corker was in effect also betting against the person who made it all possible by buying out Corker in the first place – Henry Luken. What a guy, that Bob.
As we shall see in Part Two, the housing crisis would nearly bankrupt Luken and cause Corker some sleepless nights. How they bailed themselves out of trouble with the help of Wells Fargo is fascinating. And perhaps seriously illegal. But we’ll let the voters and the regulators be the final judge,
Well played, Madame Speaker.
Now the real fun begins…
Looks as though the corruption endemic to the Harwell regime will last a little longer. Although the vote was much closer than her last re-election, she still won. Two years ago, she won by 42 votes. This time around her margin shrank to 10. She received just four more votes than the minimum needed to win. But she won.
We begin the dance again tomorrow. Please let Joe McCord know…..
Channels O.J. Simpson: Vows to find the real killer.
Glen Casada won for Majority Leader. How about that? He did so largely by attacking our little blog to divert attention away from his extra-curricular activity and years-long reputation. All we did was show an unedited video and photos of some unseemly behavior by a public official in a public place and Glen responded by threatening to “lawyer up.” Guilty dog barks, and all that.
Just remember, Glen: you can’t libel someone with the truth.
Whatever problems Casada has in his personal or public life are entirely of his own making. And we rest in the quiet confidence that he will screw up again and give us the opportunity to say we told you so.
See y’all tomorrow.
Harwell attempts to “rig the system” in Speaker race.
Will try to use proxy votes to win.
Move is unprecedented in a vote for Speaker.
Sources inside the House GOP caucus tell RTP that the race for Speaker is “razor thin.” We are also told that at least four of Harwell’s votes will not be present at the meeting. Those four votes could well be the difference in who becomes the next Speaker. Harry Brooks, Kelly Keisling and Art Swann are three of the four. Swann had a death in his family and we are not clear on why the others will be absent.
Harwell is prepared to abuse the rules and the traditions of the House to win. She will try to do this by allowing the members who are not there to vote anyway — by proxy.
What else would you expect from the Speaker who allowed “Ghost Voting” on the floor of the House?
Harwell has left a legacy of phony fiscal notes, intimidation of those who disagree with her, deceitful calendaring and “flagging” of bills, covering up harassment accusations against Joe McCord, Gregory Gleaves etc., etc. — all to get what she wants. She has even resorted to tears whenever faced with controversy, we suppose in an effort to gain sympathy, and banned Rocky Top Politics from the General Assembly servers on the eve of the vote for Speaker.
But trying to cheat to win the speakership is beyond the pale. Does any reasonable person believe that if all of her votes were present and it was Jimmy Matlock who had people who were absent, that she would allow proxy voting? Of course not.
This has got to stop.
President-elect Trump — whose name Harwell refused to mention for the last month of the campaign — has demonstrated what happens when elitist politicians try to “rig the system.”
Time to Drain the Swamp.
It’s a secret ballot.
Doing all that legislative business sure makes a guy thirsty and stuff.
The photos submitted to RTP indicate the photos were taken on March 16 of this year. The clock on the file marked the time as 9:47pm.
That date was in the middle of the session, which leads to a couple of questions:
When does this guy find time to sleep?
Just how many attractive young women hang out at Bar Louie on an average night?
More to come.
Harwell completely freaks out. Blocks Rocky Top from General Assembly servers!
Believes she can’t get re-elected Speaker if RTP revelations continue (and they will).
In a clear sign her speakership is in serious trouble, Speaker Beth Harwell has apparently instructed the General Assembly tech nerds to block Rocky Top from legislative computers. Our own techno nerds received this last night, not long after we posted the viral video of Glen “Mr. Grabby Hands” Casada:
Hello I am the Network Manager here at the Tennessee General Assembly and your website is currently being blocked by a security device we utilize. The type of exploit that is identified is directed at mobile devices. If you are able to validate that the server hosting your site is clean you can be removed from the database by contacting DVLabs at 1-866-681-8324
Tennessee General Assembly
Legislative Information Systems
Phone: 615-741-1100 ext. 44911
If this is a legit message — and we think it is — then this demonstrates a panicked desperation by the embattled Speaker. What is funny is that she and her minions believe that sending a bogus message about alleged malware is enough to make us stop telling the truth about what Harwell, McCord, Ridley, et al have done to the reputation and operations of the General Assembly.
Nice try morons. Rarely have we witnessed a more sophomoric attempt at censorship. It’s what we expected from the likes of Hillary Clinton and John Podesta. But in her frantic attempt to hold on to her position, Harwell has really stepped in it. All the way up to her eyes.
But just so you know, Rocky Top will not be deterred. To our readers (which is pretty much everybody in state government), we suggest you just use your own phone’s server to read RTP. Sneak into the bathrooms (like the ones across the hall from the Speaker’s office) to read what is really going on. Or just read it at home. Or Starbucks. Maybe we should call our friends at Breitbart and have them link RTP to their daily briefings. The possibilities are endless..
We will continue to bring you our smarmy little diatribes, even if we have to print it out and bring it to the front doors of the political class and shove it up their nether regions.
One last note: Since you sent that message Mr. Osborne, RTP has been read by over 11,000 people. So your security software is either not working or, more likely, you just made it all up.
We we have news for yo
As if we don’t already have enough to do, what with rounding up all the liberals for immediate deportation and forcing college students to make their own beds and wipe their own bottoms. But now we get yet more information about horny legislators for whom Beth Harwell has covered up.
This time it is the legendary (at least in his mind) Rep. Charles Sargent. What we are about to reveal is likely no surprise to many if not most of the denizens at the LP. The story is fairly well known, as are the principals involved. Again, for the lawyers, we report this secondhand but with the firm belief that it is true. And we will not name the female staffer at the center of the controversy, as per the Speaker’s wishes. Others in this sordid little saga are fair game, though.
You wouldn’t know it to look at him now, but in years past Charles possessed enough animal magnetism to attract a coupling partner. And no, we are not talking about his wife. We have had numerous tips over the last couple of years from people who wanted us to tell about Sargent’s extracurricular love life, but we demurred. To do so seemed so unsporting – sort of like shooting the wounded.
But that was before Rep. Pants Candy and the Harwell Grand Inquisition. We always wondered why the Speaker seemed so agitated by Jeremy Durham, especially when we had it on multiple good
authorities that she knew of and condoned (either actively or passively) the infidelity/sexual harassment misbehaviors by some of her closest allies. She has used her past chief of staff, “Ice Bitch” Connie Ridley, Joe McCord, other legislators and even the Attorney General of the State of Tennessee to doggedly pursue and expel a miscreant like Durham, doing so while fearing her own complicity would be uncovered.
No, when Beth started going after Durham she unintentionally made her own transgressions fair game. And one of the most odious was what happened with Charles Sargent. The way the story goes, the very-married Charles was having a grand old time “pounding the old Posturepedic” with one of his staffers. At some point it became politically untenable to continue the relationship. We do not know whether Charles’ wife caught on, whether he had a religious conversion or whether he was on the verge of embarrassing his colleagues. Our sources were not clear on that point. The end result was that something needed to be done and the female staffer in question needed to be, ahem, removed from the situation. But ever since Gloria Steinem, womenfolk have got downright snippy about such things as sexual harassment or losing their jobs because shagging the boss was no longer convenient for the boss. How dare they stand up for themselves!
Here is a snippet from a message one of the RTP tipsters sent some time ago about the Sargent Situation:
“I don’t know who Rep. Sargent’s new lady is, but he slept with NAME WITHHELD for years. WITHHELD was Joe McCord’s AA when he was a representative. I know at one point they had to keep Paxil on hand for her. Seriously.”
We believe you, loyal Tipster. Because the woman in question is still a state employee and is now employed by the Speaker’s extended office! Harwell knows who all the players are, knows the situation and has covered up for all concerned the entire time she has been in the Speaker’s chair. But while Durham was being (deservedly) tarred & feathered for his peccadilloes, Beth hypocritically helped heat up the tar while remaining silent about Charles and the others (including her own senior staffer) who were either guilty of similar infractions and/or who helped cover up for others.
[Editor’s Note: In the midst of all this is Joe McCord (aka Joe McCrude), both as someone accused of reprehensible (and unpunished) behavior and as a loyal “fixer” for the Speaker. If Beth is concerned RTP is going to reveal more stuff about McCord, she has right to be concerned. We will wait to see how the election goes tomorrow, but regardless of who is elected speaker, McCord’s days should be numbered. In the days ahead RTP will have more on Mr. McCrude — a LOT more. ]
By all accounts, Beth is in a close race to remain Speaker. Maybe the AG investigation turned up enough dirt on enough people to get her re-elected. But it would be a damn shame if the House named her Speaker (and McCord as Clerk) out of fear.
It’s a secret ballot ladies and gentlemen.
You can’t fix the problems without removing the people who caused the problems.
Time to “Drain the Swamp” in Nashville just as they are trying to do in Washington, DC
The tips, photos and videos keep pouring in as the result of this article. We will have some new photos from Bar Louie later today. Stay tuned…
“When the time is right….”
The tips just keep on coming. RTP was given this VIDEO by an anonymous (naturally) RTP tipster who said it was taken recently at Bar Louie in the Gulch in Nashville.
The first question is for the ladies. Is the older man in the video hitting on the young girl? RTP crew member, Mrs. Hot Chick, says she recognizes all the characteristics — late night, bar, booze, young girl, pulsating music, inappropriate touching, zero personal space, etc. The wives of two other crew members agree: It’s a case of a Randy Representative “gettin’ busy” with a woman half his age.
Hint: In the future you might want to take off the wedding ring. Especially when you grope someone’s upper inner thigh. Just sayin’…
Other questions we have:
Is the girl in the video:
- a legislative staff member?
- an intern?
- a lobbyist?
- somebody’s daughter?
Would Beth Harwell agree this is “inappropriate behavior” and “conduct unbecoming” for a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives? Wasn’t this sort of thing at the very center of the complaints against Jeremy Durham?
Are there separate standards for the top members of leadership vs. the rank-and-file? Does being Speaker, Majority Leader or Caucus Chairman give one the right to flaunt the rules, then stonewall and dodge responsibility? (Like here…here …. here … and here, just to give a few examples.)
And the most important question of all:
Is the GOP caucus really ready to elevate someone to the second highest position in the House who has a long-standing reputation (seemingly confirmed by this video) of such behavior? What happens when other women start coming forward (and you know they will). Are we looking at another AG investigation? Another black eye for the House? Another resignation or expulsion?
These are all damn good questions. And they deserve an answer before Thursday.
Knowing that mea culpas are probably not forthcoming any time soon, we will say again:
“Madame Speaker, Carlos Danger is holding on line three…”
From Rep. Pants Candy to Legislative Junk Shots.
Good grief. Legislative Plaza and political circles are abuzz about another possible sexual harrassment scandal swirling around the Speaker’s office.
This one is a doozy. RTP has helpfully pieced together the most consistent version of the widely-circulated rumor and if it turns out to be true, there is a whole House of Cards that would come tumbling down.
The accusation is that a very high-ranking person in the employ of the Speaker, allegedly as a joke, “borrowed” the cell phone of a member of the legislature and took a photo crotch shot of his own Anthony Weiner. Sick enough as it goes, but then this person sent the photo to a female legislative staffer. We kid you not.
We were told the names of all the individuals involved, but we will not publish them (at this time) in order to protect the female staffer who got “junked.” Surely Beth Harwell can appreciate the need to protect the identity of the female who was allegedly targeted. “Protecting the women who came forward” was Harwell’s oft-repeated mantra all through the Durham investigation.
RTP has also been told the Speaker was directly informed of this political perversion and offered up the lame suggestion that the female staffer could “file a formal complaint” if she was offended — something the Speaker did not require of the women who were the recipients of Durham’s unwanted advances.
Harwell managed to launch a huge, expensive AG investigation and expel a member of the legislature without a single complaint ever being filed. But NOW filing a complaint is the requirement she sets when the accusation is aimed at her own employee.
This will not end well if it comes out. And as Jeremy Durham proved, it will come out.
Leadership elections are this coming week. Between now and then Beth Harwell owes the caucus a full explanation on this and the other controversies she has stonewalled — McCord, Gleaves, Ridley, etc., etc., etc. (Oh, and let’s not forget the time Harwell allowed Ridley to publicly try and shame legislators over InsureTN).
Sure would be a shame to elect a Speaker who may have to resign after the fact.
[Editor’s note: It has been confirmed that Anthony Weiner has been committed to a re-hab facility in Nunnely, TN. Maybe there is an extra room for the growing list of legislators and politicians who could use their services.]