May 11, 2011, 8:30 PM

Don’t Let Go of the Anger

William D. Cohan on Wall Street and Main Street.


One of the most frustrating facts of the recently abated financial crisis is that those who might have been partly responsible for it have got off scot-free. The only two people prosecuted criminally — the Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin — were found not guilty by a jury in Brooklyn. Other potential culprits — Angelo Mozilo, chief executive of Countrywide Financial, Joseph Cassano, chief executive of AIG Financial Products, and Dick Fuld, the chief executive of Lehman Brothers — were either slapped with a small civil penalty, in the case of Mozilo, or the Justice Department made the decision not to prosecute after months of investigation.

What’s worse, not only did bankers escape with no penalty, they walked off with millions of dollars in their pockets while American taxpayers got left holding the bag. Since the crisis was caused by greedy decisions made by one leader after another at various Wall Street firms and at other businesses, like mortgage originators and credit ratings agencies, that attached themselves to Wall Street like pilot fish on a shark, the dearth of prosecutions, or even attempted prosecutions, seems especially unconscionable. The least the Justice Department could do, in declining to prosecute, would be to make available the reams of documents on which it based its decisions, so that the American public can understand why prosecutors let these people walk. Without seeing what the prosecutors have seen, we are left with a sense of frustration and injustice.

It has always been a mystery to me why the American people’s reaction to this lack of accountability has been so consistently passive. Why is it that thousands will protest, for weeks, the efforts by the Republican governor of Wisconsin and his Republican allies in the state legislature to strip Wisconsin’s public employees of hard-won benefits and contractual rights, but there is barely a peep uttered — save from a handful of Code Pink activists — in the face of trillions of dollars of American treasure used to bail out the very banks and securities firms that caused the Great Recession in the first place? Nor is there a whisper of collective protest when the very banks we bailed out turn around and pay their thousands of employees nearly $150 billion in compensation and bonuses in 2010 — as if they were deserving — while the rest of us continue to suffer from stubbornly high unemployment, miniscule interest rates on our savings and fast-rising commodity prices (as on oil and food) that Wall Street speculators, in part, drive higher and higher.

Indeed, what we hear from the likes of Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Bob Diamond, the chief executive of Barclays PLC, is that the time has come to stop bashing the banks and their executives for their roles in causing the Great Recession. “Not all banks are the same and I just think that this constant refrain ‘bankers, bankers, bankers’ is just unproductive and unfair,” Dimon told a panel at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, in January. “People should just stop doing that.” At the same conference, the French president Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out at Dimon. “Don’t be accusatory of us,” Sarkozy told him in front of a group of hundreds. “The world has paid with tens of millions of unemployed, who were in no way to blame and who paid for everything.”

Sarkozy was right then, and he is still right: We must not let the passage of time dim our ire at those who have yet to be held responsible for causing this financial crisis. We must register our dissatisfaction — in the streets if need be — with a system that rewards the fat cats for their outrageous behavior at our collective expense and that re-established the status quo on Wall Street without a moment’s reflection on whether the system itself needed an overhaul.

Now, it seems, some people are sufficiently fed up to “fight back,” as they are saying. This Thursday, after a week of demonstrations, including at Goldman Sachs’s new headquarters on West Street in Manhattan and at Bank of America’s New York new headquarters on West 42nd Street, a group calling itself onmay12.org has organized a series of protests on and around Wall Street itself to “make big banks and millionaires pay.” The group is a coalition of labor unions, community and progressive groups that were catalyzed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposed city budget that cuts childcare services, teachers and public safety, among others, while continuing to give tax benefits to corporations that remain in the city.

“We are connecting the dots from the big banks that crashed our economy, destroyed millions of jobs and foreclosed on millions of family homes to the human impact here in the financial capital of our country,” said Michael Kink, the executive director of Strong Economy for All Coalition and one of the event’s organizers. In an interview, he cited similar protests being organized in Chicago, Charlotte and Oakland, and cited specifically his outrage at how Oakland is forced to close its public libraries — in order to save $5 million a year — at the same time the city still pays Goldman Sachs $5 million a year for interest-rate swaps. He wonders, where is the shared sacrifice? “This is a national effort to hold banks accountable,” he said.

Where such protests take us is never certain, of course. They might lead to an emboldened grass-roots effort to push politicians and regulators in Washington to insist on some measure of accountability for Wall Street executives, or they could just be more meaningless blips in the never-ending 24-hour news cycle. Either way, the protests are long overdue.

(This is my last regular Opinionator column after nearly 18 months. It has been an honor to be a small part of The Times’s opinion family.)

25 Responses

  1. To the poster Angry and NOT TAKING IT.

    How do I get a Court reporter, when I have requested permission to bring one, and was denied this by the Judge. She said no, I could not bring my own. I had to use the Courts.
    I had already paid for one, and was told I would not be allowed to bring her/him? What should I do, hire them anyway and have them sit in the audience?
    I thought I was fighting FOR my Country, when I started this, fighting against foreign interests trying to use fraud to take over this America-that I love.

    BUt when the Court itself, sends me a THREAT, by the alteration of a transcript. Who am I fighting. Do these Judges, these clerks, do they not see this wrong? This evil, and it is not about my case, it is about what they are doing now to me, under the name of the American Justice System.

    If these companies I name, would have said “I’m sorry, We had bad employees- and we did not know -they are fired!” That would have been my truth I sought. Instead they protect them, and try to make me crazy.. or perhaps I am crazy. I can no longer tell.
    They preyed on me. They watched. They entrapped those who let their guard down.

    I am a Sinner, I am no lamb of innocence, so is this the logic of theirs? If I am not guilty now (as I am not) I was guilty before-I am a sinner. A bond-slave now forever?
    Now they have taken my mind. My trust is placed in almost none. My husband could be a part of it, I can only suspect him, and I tell him is claims do not show me he is not against me….Anyone could in theory, in this crazy head of mine.
    I still have to have him near, as there is no one else to do the things that must be done, like fix a pipe, or a door, or keep my hand away from the pills. He could be innocent.. and that hurts me to have no trust.

    Now, to believe in God again- to me, this means I am surely crazy.

    I told them I would not ask for a TRO! Who are they? I have no idea, as four loans are on this house in two alternate names of my husband. THE FBI HAS THIS!
    Who is now silently asserting “the rights, to my property”
    No one but.. them know, as they only name the “Debt Collectors name”

    This brand new house has two failed pipes deep inside the walls, behind showers-tubs. Black mold grows now above my head. $15-20,000 in repairs now needed- what if other pipes fail?
    Taxes are also owed right now of $10,000 about.
    FBI, you told me you knew! What past sins of mine are worse then the person who forged my name? Arrest the forger. Tell me if my husband was against me.
    Is there no one else who loves this Country such as I? Is there no one in power that can stand for truth.
    I am a Sinner God, but please now send me an angel.

    Jeff Barnes, Esq., http://www.ForeclosureDefensenationwide.com


    Judge Lynn Tepper of the Pasco County (6th Judicial Circuit), Florida Circuit Court has dismissed, on the same day, two separate foreclosure actions filed by SunTrust. Both of the March 15, 2011 Orders require SunTrust, on the filing of any Amended Complaint, to do the following:

    (a) Plead a chain of ownership and holdership to establish its standing to sue at the inception of the case, and in so doing, SunTrust must remedy the inconsistencies contained in the original Complaint; and

    (b) Plead its capacity to sue and its ability to maintain an action within the Court’s jurisdiction; and

    (c) If SunTrust is not the owner of the note, it must specifically plead ultimate facts identifying the owner and SunTrust’s authority to act as representative for said owner, attaching proof of said representative authority; and

    (d) If SunTrust has accelerated the note at issue it must attach a copy of the notice of acceleration upon which it relies; and

    (e) If not previously filed, SunTrust must post the required cost bond (under the Florida statute cited.)

    The Order also and further requires SunTrust to comply with the amended version of Rule 110(b) of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure and Florida Statute 92.525 which requires that the Amended Complaint be properly verified as part of the Complaint and not as a separate pleading.

    Bravo and kudos to Judge Tepper for: (i) upholding the form and substance requirements of verification of mortgage foreclosure actions enunciated by the Supreme Court of Florida and Florida decisional law; (ii) upholding the ultimate fact pleading requirements for civil cases in Florida; and (iii) requiring SunTrust to plead facts to establish standing to sue at the outset of the case, and not by post-filing “cleanup” or other method. We are currently representing borrowers who are in foreclosure litigation with SunTrust or who have been threatened with foreclosure by SunTrust where SunTrust has admitted that it does not own the note and where the note is (allegedly) owned by FNMA, with SunTrust claiming that it has “authority” to act for FNMA as alleged “owner” of the note.

    The Orders were entered in Pasco County, Florida case numbers 2010-CA-1339 ES and 51-10-CA-1306 ES. We thank one of our dedicated readers for providing this important update in Florida.

    Jeff Barnes, Esq., http://www.ForeclosureDefenseNationwide.com

  3. Home owner who battle banks share success stories



  4. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/nyregion/feeling-deceived-over-homes-that-were-trump-in-name-only.html?_r=3&pagewanted=1&hp

    Buying a Trump Property, or So They Thought!

    Far from the New York City towers that bear his name, in cities like Tampa, Fla., and Philadelphia, house hunters clamor to buy into his developments, sometimes exhausting credit lines and wiping out savings for a chance to own a piece of his gilded empire.

    But as Mr. Trump, who is weighing a bid for the White House, has zealously sought to cash in on his name, he has entered into arrangements that home buyers describe as deliberately deceptive — designed, they said, to exploit the very thing that drew them to his buildings: their faith in him.

    Over the last few years, according to interviews and hundreds of pages of court documents, the real estate mogul has aggressively marketed several luxury high-rises as “Trump properties” or “signature Trump” buildings, with names like Trump Tower and Trump International — even making appearances at the properties to woo buyers. The strong indication of his involvement as a developer generated waves of media attention and commanded premium prices.

    But when three of the planned buildings encountered financial trouble, it became clear that Mr. Trump had essentially rented his name to the developments and had no responsibility for their outcomes, according to buyers. In each case, he yanked his name off the projects, which were never completed. The buyers lost millions of dollars in deposits even as Mr. Trump pocketed hefty license fees.

    Those who bought the apartments in part because of the Trump name were livid, saying they felt a profound sense of betrayal, and more than 300 of them are now suing Mr. Trump or his company.

    “The last thing you ever expect is that somebody you revere will mislead you,” said Alex Davis, 38, who bought a $500,000 unit in Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale, a waterfront property that Mr. Trump described in marketing materials as “my latest development” and compared to the Trump tower on Central Park in Manhattan.

  5. martha raysik

    you MUST have a court reporter that YOU bring,
    it not cheap… but its the ONLY WAY to insure the truth of the matter is recorded for YOUR protection,,
    i’m surprised how many are unaware
    & sorry you had to find out this way!

  6. E. Tolle,
    One of the most frustrating facts of the recently abated financial crisis
    Did the financial crisis end with no one writing me, calling me, or emailing me the good news?

    how true… sorry i meant to call you.. ah….. last year, i think it was oct ..it ended… and you didnt get the memo either? hmm odd.. i thought everyone knew ….. were fuct
    “we need stockades, and that we need them now.”
    but we have prisons… but their only meant for US!

  7. Justice? What hope is there when the court transcript comes back with completely the wrong words, and is falsified. The very Court I turned to for help is in the conspiracy. How can the FBI tell me I was defrauded, and then the Court falsify a transcript to threaten me? God, Where are you… I am so alone in this battle, and the Court is in league with the Devil. I just wanted to get the truth. Why did the notary take my name off the Journal on the 12th? Why..To hide the fraud against me. Christian, Muslim, Jew… I beg for help from all.

  8. Deutsche Neo Nazi Bank is retaliating against Lyn Szymoniak – Remember from 60 Minutes. The Same bank that masterminded the seizure of Jewish property and wealth in World War 2


    And Obama is letting them get away with it.

  9. Proof that those in the know are hiding the facts
    from the public is the fact they called the bailout funds “TARP” funds ie Troubled Asset Relief program, instead of “CARP” funds, ie Counterfeit
    Asset Relief Program.
    Yes the assets were “troubled”, but why were they “troubled”?. In an Orwellian world, the “proles”
    are not allowed to know they were “troubled” because they were “COUNTERFEIT”.

  10. Forgive me if someone has answered this already, but does anyone know how I can verify the authenticity of a notary signature? My SOT has a “squiggle” signature, and it seems fishy…

  11. 8:12p uploading the docs I promised will be up by 8:30 or so.


    And Justice, somehow, somewhere, some day.

  12. Thank you Leapfrog for clearing that up for me. I will now be able to have a much better weekend. I’d hate to think that the bad guys will continue to have the upper hand in this. We need to believe that justice and truth will prevail. 😉
    I love that we have forums to share this information and clear up mis-information.

  13. Keep the powder dry !

  14. @syl: You had me worried there for a little while especially with that industry shill at Housingwire loudly braying about how the Fed is going to “fix” MERS. Well they can try all they like, but check this out:


  15. Ok, excuse my ignoramous, but is this weird—as in illegal—: my notice of default (saying that Aztec Foreclosure Corp is duly appointed trustee) is dated 10/27/2010—and the (bogus?) “substitution of trustee” (saying that Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. is present trustee and beneficiary but then substitutes Aztec as trustee of said deed of trust), document emailed to me last week is dated 11/30/2010.
    the NOD is recorded, and the SOT is not…

  16. The outrage is already here. People at least in Los Angeles are extremely pissed. They undterstand what is going on. Most Food convenience stores have a sign out Burger King 7-11 Jack in the Box etc…

    Also why do you think the banks wait 2 years to foreclose? So that the people dont go nuts.

    We Accept EBT (food stamps)

    The camel needs one more straw pulled before it breaks.

  17. Here’s another must read on MERS:


  18. Until the crisis affects most folks personally, there will be no outrage. Its going to take a shortage of food to wake up the populace.

    On another topic, in my daily searches I came across a well-written and easy to understand article on the “MERS Mor-ass” (my own emphasis on the hyphenized second syllable – lol). This might make a good starter article for those who have never heard of MERS or are struggling to understand it.


  19. One of the most frustrating facts of the recently abated financial crisis

    Did the financial crisis end with no one writing me, calling me, or emailing me the good news? From where I am, there are still houses everywhere for sale for dimes on the dollar, over 50% of the houses on the market are foreclosures, making selling a retail house a joke, not to mention that commercial real estate is so far tanked, every other storefront says Lease, instead of the name of the business that used to occupy the building.

    Because the stock market is up, everything is better? Unemployment popped up this week. Gasoline averaging $4.00 per gallon, 41 million on food stamps, the fix-the-problems moratoriums came and went with no changes at all, we all know that. They’re just hoping to coast under the judges radar again. And they will.

    Millions more foreclosures are coming our way. And the people I talk to on a daily basis STILL bank with B of A, or CITI, still have investments with Sachs or Chase, are still TOTALLY unaware that of foreclosure problem, along with the massive inherent fraud.

    It reminds me of when there were murmurings that maybe the Jews being removed from Germany, Poland, France, fill in the blank ______, just maybe they weren’t going off to reloaction camps. But hey, I’m not Jewish, so it doesn’t really affect me. I can’t risk my neck.

    Those lucky bastards that haven’t been affected by the neutron bomb unleashed by Wall Street; with the total complicity of our elected representatives; those who still have jobs; aren’t being threatened with foreclosures; don’t need food stamps; and aren’t worried about heating bills and health care; they are hiding their heads just like the populace did in the 1940’s. It’s not really their concern.

    Many bought the line that the bankers worked so hard on early on….this problem is due to a. people buying more house than they could afford, and b. people using their houses as ATM machines.

    While it could be argued that people did take out loads of credit during the runup in housing values, I’d bet the farm that quite a bit of that wasn’t for jet skis and snowmobiles, but rather for trying to keep afloat in a world that has witnessed the largest transfer of wealth ever before witnessed on the planet.

    For the last three decades or so, we’ve collectivally been pick-pocketed in every facet of our lives, in what started out as fine print, then became in your face completely transparent theft. Overdraft fees, checking account fees, swipe fees, interest rate hikes, accounting practices such as east coast billing the west cost and vica versa, all of these attacks blessed by our commander in chief, and the bankers who surround him, and the chief before him.

    And as to buying more house than we could afford, jointly, we can all go back to our great, great, great grandparents and see an unbroken chain of times when if one got in a bind, one could sell their housing and move on, save for the Great Depression, which someone will have to try awfully hard to convince me that we’re not in another one as we speak.

    Until we all try and educate the masses of the heinous nature of the crimes and the criminals behind them i.e. Wall Street, more of us will be shipped off, never to be seen again. Only this time it’s not to certain and immediate death in prison camps in box cars thank goodness, this time it’s simply off to tent cities, realtives, friends and shelters.

    We may still have our live, unlike the poor unknowing Jews of a few decades ago, but our lives are and will be further diminished by these thefts, making the term “living” bring on a whole new meaning. Losing everything one has worked on throughout a long life of 9 to 5, 20 days a month, 52 months a year vanished into thin air, the thin air being the rarified air that the elite regularly breathe.

    Don’t think for a minute that these events are just cyclical, have to happen types of deals. The money and homes that you and I use to possess, went up the food chain. And it will never come back down untill and unless we do as the author above demands, that is, revolt on the streets of America demanding an end to the oligarchy and the repeal of the laws that make these non-criminal events, supplanted with new laws and reforms that FOREVER stop the financial sector from gaming the system and purchasing our government.

    I’m not joking when I say we need stockades, and that we need them now.

  20. Don’t worry Mr. Cohan, the people who have been affected by the actions of Wall Street and the Big Banks are never going to forget nor will they stop blaming those banks for the wrong doing! Let the banks imagine all those millions of families who’s homes were stolen from them by the banks, and all of the people who lost their jobs and all of their families and friends who had to watch them go through those horrific times will remember the banks and everyone involved in the mortgage scams as “THE MONSTERS WHO RUIND AMERICA”!
    The big banks will have to spend Billions in advertisements to try and win the american people back, it will never happen. The only way banks can get the people to sop blaming them is if they restore the American dream by giving back the foreclosed homes to their rightful owners, and by helping those who are struggling by giving them a break. we have lost faith in the financial industry, the government, and the legal system. All those big fat cats or whatever they’d like to call themselves cannot do business without the people. If the legal system does not prosecute them the people will, by not doing business with them. Let the banks get their fees from elsewhere! and let those foreclosed homes just sit there to rut unless the rightful owners return to them. yes we are still angry and out raged, and yes the banks are to blame, and we will remember always!!!

  21. fukin right bill !! i am a weapon , i’m pointed me at the enemy ,i will not stop until my enemy is dead in my presence or i am killed , you fight beside me or against me, there will be no neutral position.

    3 years fighting, 30 years paying… sounds like i’m foolish and should have started fighting sooner.

  22. Urgent read, please SHARE, foreclosure king Thomas P. Dore may be behind criminal threats against Todd Wetzelberger:


  23. Apparently, a solution is on it’s way (see below)….
    “They “have joined forces with various stakeholders, including the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to deal with the legal complexity and the fact that much of the applicable law no longer adequately reflects modern financial practice and technological developments,” the N.Y. Fed said.

    The two organizations also drafted a report to guide judges and lawyers involved in the transactions, and, the central bank said, should make the application of present laws more transparent.”


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