Monday, June 1, 2009

Did Wendy Greuel's Political Ally Andrew Cuomo Cause The Subprime Mortgage Crisis (Hence, U.S. Economic Meltdown?)

[Pictured: Eric waits in the wings for Zuma Dogg to do the dirty work that will bump HIM up a notch in the mayoral talent pool. (Using the term "talent" figuratively.)]

THIS, is the guy (Andrew Cuomo) that City Controller-elect Wendy Greuel is in bed with, politically, as she used her "Councilmember" title on an Andrew Cuomo fundraiser in LOS ANGELES??? What does SHE care? She's controller and is perfectly wealthy (as a career civil servant.) But I guess I am not surprised to hear the only guy Villaraigosa can get to swear him in is Cuomo. (But maybe all of this "hoopla" will put the cabash on it.)

Andrew Cuomo and Fannie and Freddie

How the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history gave birth to the mortgage crisis

By Wayne Barrett

-Andrew Cuomo, the youngest Housing and Urban Development secretary in history, made a series of decisions between 1997 and 2001 that gave birth to the country's current crisis. He took actions that—in combination with many other factors—helped plunge Fannie and Freddie into the subprime markets without putting in place the means to monitor their increasingly risky investments. He turned the Federal Housing Administration mortgage program into a sweetheart lender with sky-high loan ceilings and no money down, and he legalized what a federal judge has branded "kickbacks" to brokers that have fueled the sale of overpriced and unsupportable loans. Three to four million families are now facing foreclosure, and Cuomo is one of the reasons why.

-What he did is important—not just because of what it tells us about how we got in this hole, but because of what it says about New York's attorney general, who has been trying for months to don a white hat in the subprime scandal, pursuing cases against banks, appraisers, brokers, rating agencies, and multitrillion-dollar, quasi-public Fannie and Freddie

- Cuomo wasn't only stifling data that HUD could use to keep the GSEs out of trouble. He also went against his own recommendation—in a report issued jointly with the Treasury Department a few months earlier—that called for a prohibition against the GSEs purchasing loans "with high costs and/or predatory features." Instead, Cuomo decided without explanation to adopt rules that prohibited nothing.

-Just a look at the New Yorkers tied to the GSEs must have impressed Cuomo, who, after all, would soon return to New York politics. Harold Ickes, the former Clinton chief of staff and a Democratic power broker in this state, was on the Freddie board. Tom Downey, the former New York congressman who would later donate $21,894 to Cuomo, was a Fannie lobbyist. And Al D'Amato, the former banking committee chair who'd shepherded Cuomo's appointment through the Republican Senate, was a Fannie consultant.

-Two of Cuomo's aides who had also worked for his father, Howard Glaser and Todd Howe, left HUD to take top jobs at the association in the middle of the GSE rule-making (the MBA parted company with both once Andrew was out of HUD). In 2000, a year after Howe joined the association, he described how he had helped build a grassroots MBA effort to pressure Congress and others into supporting HUD in what he described as the "battle" being "waged against Fannie Mae." Glaser's Harvard alumni biography says he "played a key role in negotiating a multi-billion-dollar increase in GSE affordable-housing goals." He and Howe—who insist they had "no contact" with Cuomo on the MBA's behalf—have given $3,000 to Cuomo in recent years.

-The MBA also retained Brad Johnson, another ex–Mario Cuomo aide described as his "eyes and ears" in Washington, to lobby HUD while Andrew was secretary. Three other long-term HUD staffers who worked there under Cuomo—including the lawyer who was the contact person listed on the GSE rules—also ended up at the MBA or one of its lobbying firms. Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide who's become the face of the subprime scandal, was at one point the MBA's president and a member of its executive committee throughout Cuomo's HUD tenure. He and other MBA leaders became Cuomo donors, with Mozilo donating $1,000 twice—in 2002 and 2006.

-FM Watch's lobbyists during the Cuomo years at HUD included Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton's chief of staff, and the law firm Akin Gump, where Cuomo has so many allies that his campaign committee has collected $67,550 in contributions there since he formed it in early 2001. Joel Jankowsky, head of the Akin lobbying group that represented this single-issue group, gave $7,500 to Cuomo—most of it within weeks after the formation of Andrew's committee in 2001. Jankowsky is a close personal friend of Dan Glickman, who joined Akin when he stepped down as agriculture secretary just as Cuomo left HUD in 2001. Glickman's wife Rhoda was Cuomo's deputy chief of staff, and the two Glickmans donated $10,500 to Cuomo. They also covered $23,900 of their own expenses traveling and fundraising for the campaign, which listed that as an in-kind contribution.

- Cuomo was, in some respects, the last chance that borrowers had before the crisis hit. The grand ambitions unleashed when he orchestrated his father's win at such an early age propelled him to HUD's helm at a similarly early age, and convinced him to run for governor before he was ready. He seems more comfortable at 50 in the state attorney general's office than he has ever appeared in his public life, but the country will be living with his HUD mistakes, ill- or well-intended, for a long time.


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