Daily Archives: January 21, 2015

When snipers were heroes

But only to the left, and only if they were brave communists.


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Maybe this approach will work for Simpson Thatcher, too

Mr.Li sends his condolences

Mr.Li sends his condolences

Hedge fund operator tells clients he’s “truly sorry” for losing all their money in a series of bad trades.

Owen Li, the founder of Canarsie Capital in New York, said Tuesday he had lost all but $200,000 of the firm’s capital—down from the roughly $100 million it ran as of late March.

“I take responsibility for this terrible outcome,” Li wrote in a letter to investors, which was obtained by CNBC.com.

“My only hope is that you understand that I acted in an attempt—however misguided—to generate higher returns for the fund and its investors. But even so, I acted overzealously, causing you devastating losses for which there is no excuse,” he added.

Li is a former trader at Raj Rajaratnam’s Galleon Group, which collapsed amid insider trading charges. Rajaratnam is now in prison for the illegal activity, but Li was never accused of wrongdoing.


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I have sufficient faith in senior partners to be absolutely sure they’ll find an associate to blame this on

Someone's got to jump, Hiroshi, and we've decided that's you

Someone’s got to jump, Hiroshi, and we’ve decided that’s you

JP Morgan loses $1.5 billion due to its and its lawyers’ mistake

A federal appeals court in Manhattan ruled on Wednesday that, although it was not JPMorgan’s intention, it clearly authorized its law firm to file papers in 2008 that unsecured much of a loan to General Motors.

The difference was critical because the automaker soon after filed for bankruptcy. During GM’s Chapter 11, secured lenders were repaid in full while unsecured creditors lost out.

The dispute involved the unintentional release of a lien on GM fixtures and equipment. At the end of 2008, the automaker was preparing to pay off a $300 million financing and had the Mayer Brown law firm ready the documents. The firm accidentally included a lien that secured the $1.5 billion loan in the list of security interests it terminated after the $300 million was repaid.

After GM filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, the official committee of unsecured creditors asked a judge to rule that the $1.5 billion syndicated loan administered by JPMorgan was unsecured because of the mistake. JPMorgan argued the loan’s security interest was unintentionally terminated and was therefore still in effect.

US Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber sided with JPMorgan in 2013. He said that, while it was “initially tempting” to doom lenders to “live with their mistakes,” he found JPMorgan had not expressly authorized the termination of the loan’s security interest.

The unsecured creditors appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan, which reversed Gerber’s ruling. The three judge panel found that, while “JPMorgan never intended to terminate the main term loan” security interest, the bank had effectively given its authorization.

The appeals court noted that the filings ending the security interest were reviewed by the JPMorgan managing director responsible for the $1.5 billion loan and the law firm JPMorgan hired for the paperwork, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

“JPMorgan reviewed and assented to the filing of that statement. Nothing more is needed,” the 15-page opinion said.




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Foreign buyers have retreated to the sidelines in NYC

Faulty Towers

Faulty Towers

Strong dollar, weak currencies elsewhere, dampen enthusiasm for high-end co-ops among foreigners, who make up 30% of that market.

A flood of new high-priced condominiums and mansions are coming to market in New York, Miami and Los Angeles just as international buyers, who helped fuel demand in the three cities, are seeing their purchasing power wane with the strengthening dollar. Signs of a pullback may already be showing in Manhattan, where luxury-home sales have slowed amid a surge in construction of towers aimed at U.S. millionaires and foreign investors.

This year, 2,386 newly built Manhattan luxury condos will be listed for sale, the most on record, data compiled by Corcoran Sunshine Marketing Group show. The brokerage defines luxury as units priced at more than $2,300 a square foot.

“We’re building a very narrowly defined super-luxury product with a fairly deep pool of buyers, but the challenge is going to be the mere fact that it’s all coming at the same time,” said Jonathan Miller, president of New York-based appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and a Bloomberg View contributor.

While foreigners account for about 15 percent of total Manhattan sales, they make up about 30 percent of high-end condo purchases, according to Miller. Developers of the ultra-luxury Midtown skyscrapers One57 and 432 Park Ave. have touted their sales to buyers from around the world, including South America, the Middle East, China and Russia.

In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, which skews heavily toward Latin American buyers, almost 30,000 new condos are proposed, on the drawing board or under construction east of Interstate 95, according to CraneSpotters, a Miami-based consulting firm. There have been 71 new towers with 19,158 units proposed in greater downtown Miami since the latest boom began in 2011, compared with 84 properties with 22,200 condos built from 2003 to 2010.

“Foreign buyers are the purchasers who saved the South Florida condo market during last dramatic downturn,” said Peter Zalewski, principal of CraneSpotters. “Ironically, foreign buyers are going to be the ones to push condo prices back in a tailspin because of the drop in commodity prices and weakening foreign currencies.”

U.S. home purchases by international buyers surged 35 percent to $92 billion in the year through March, the most recent data available from the National Association of Realtors. About 23 percent of sales to foreign buyers were in Florida and 14 percent in California. The top purchasers were from Canada, China, India and the U.K.


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The science is settled

iceageGet ready for another “Little Ice Age”, scientists warn.

High sunspot activity has been associated with periods of warming on the Earth, like the period between 1950 and 1998. Scientists have noted that low sunspot activity has coincided with cooler periods, like the so-called “Little Ice Age” that lasted from the late Middle Ages to the 19th century, where temperatures were much cooler than today.

The past few years have seen more and more scientists argue that declining solar activity likely means cooler temperatures ahead. At the end of 2013, for example, German scientists predicted a century of global cooling based on declining solar activity and ocean oscillation cycles.

“Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the ‘little ice age’ of 1870,” wrote scientists Horst-Joachim Luedecke and Carl-Otto Weiss of the European Institute for Climate and Energy.

Earlier that year, Professor Mike Lockwood of Reading University told BBC News that declining solar activity has set the stage for global cooling.

“By looking back at certain isotopes in ice cores, [Lockwood] has been able to determine how active the sun has been over thousands of years,” the BBC reported. “Following analysis of the data, Professor Lockwood believes solar activity is now falling more rapidly than at any time in the last 10,000 years.”

Aundhkar now argues that winter temperatures have dropped in the North Pole, causing severe winters, like the so-called “polar vortex” experienced by the U.S. last winter.

“This has also triggered the jet stream, which is active in the northern parts of the globe to shift in inter tropical climate zone like India,” Aundhkar said. “As a result, cold wind conditions were witnessed during the last two years. The unseasonal hailstorms in November and December are a result of the influence of the jet stream. This has also led to steady weakening of magnetic energy of the sun, leading to mini ice age like situation.”


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155 Pecksland Road

155 Pecksland Road

155 Pecksland Road, asking $5.350 million.

5 Lake Drive

5 Lake Drive

5 Lake Drive, Riverside, asking price, $2.695. I liked this house, a lot, but it took almost a year for a buyer to appear who agreed with me.


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Hey, gang, let’s put on a show!

Mickey and Judy save the earth

Mickey and Judy save the world

Al Gore and singer Pharell Williams announce a concert series to promote global warming. Both arrived in Davos in their own private jets, of course. Mr. Williams, just as a by-the-way, made a flamboyant entrance in that jet to London last fall, where he introduced his “eco-friendly” line of clothing.

“The unlikely combination of Pharrell Williams and Al Gore have announced what they hope to be the largest campaign ever on the planet, in the form of a second round of Live Earth concerts to promote awareness of climate change, which will take place across all seven continents – including Antarctica – on June 18, writes our music editor Michael Hann.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the pair were joined by producer Kevin Wall to unveil a event that aims for a global television audience of 2bn across 193 television networks.

Williams, who is the event’s creative director, did not reveal any details of who would be performing at the stadium shows, saying he was keeping surprises in store, but said:

“Instead of just having people perform, we literally are going to have humanity harmonise all at once.”

Williams recalled playing Live Earth in Rio de Janeiro in 2007, describing it as “a ball”. However, he said, “You would have pundits and comedians who didn’t understand global warming and we were often ridiculed. We wanted to do something very different this time.”

Sad, that.




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