We’ve all been jealous down here, east of the Mianus and west of Long Meadow Creek. Greenwich has Walt,Monica and the Fabulous Five, Old Greenwich has Mark Madoff and his former wife, even Cos Cob probably has some bit- player in the financial scams, but what about Riverside? When would it ever be our turn?
It looks like it may finally have arrived. According to the Financial Times (I’d credit a specific reader for the tip but “Chicken Little” doesn’t sound legitimate), Riverside’s own, Jay Levine, of Dawn Harbor Lane, is at least peripherally involved with Royal Bank of Scotland’s failure (and Greenwich Capital, just to keep things local). And, get this, he’s a major contributor to Chris Dodd! Soooee!
A ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND executive who led its investments into “toxic” sub-prime loans was paid close to £40m in just three years, The Sunday Times can reveal.
Jay Levine, 47, was the bank’s highest-paid employee, earning almost four times more than former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin.
Levine, who ran the group’s American investment bank RBS Greenwich Capital, received the bumper pay deals over 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to sources close to the bank.
His pay has never been disclosed since he was not a main-board director. The pay deals came as the bank ramped up its exposures to sub-prime mortgages, asset-backed securities and collateralised debt obligations (CDOs).
Levine, who lives in well-heeled Riverside, Connecticut, became co-head of Greenwich in 2000 after RBS acquired the business as part of its takeover of NatWest. In 2004 he was promoted to a larger role that also saw him head up corporate banking for the group across North America.
RBS has unveiled about £12 billion of write-downs since the credit crunch began and is poised to unveil full-year losses of up to £28 billion – the biggest loss in UK corporate history.
There are now six class-action lawsuits that have been filed against the group in the Southern District Court of New York, alleging that RBS misled investors on the true state of its accounts in a series of filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
One of the lawsuits details how the bank’s exposures to CDOs ballooned from 2005 onwards. The filing, lodged under the name Gary Kosseff, quotes an SEC document in which RBS said that 76% of its £5.9 billion CDO portfolio had been acquired since 2006.
Levine announced he was retiring from RBS in December 2007, but has since been appointed chief executive of Capmark Financial, a lender specialising in commercial real estate.
Levine has donated thousands of dollars to the US Democrats over the past three years. Some of his biggest donations have gone to Chris Dodd, the head of the US Senate’s banking committee. He also supported former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, a Republican, in his presidential campaign.
And Levine was on the board of a financial lobby group that sued the state of Connecticut over new laws that would force political donors to disclose donations made through spouses or children.
Are you asking yourself, can even a rich Democrat afford to live in “well-heeled Riverside” if Chris Dodd’s got his snout in the poor guy’s pants? Fret not. The town values Mr. Levine’s house at $9 million, which is okay, I suppose, but this Riverside non-waterfront looks a little low-brow for a man who made off with $40 million. Then again, there are those Dodd payments to consider.