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Public Pensions Betrayed by Fraud and Abuse?

Leo Kolivakis's picture




 

Via Pension Pulse.

Elliot Blair Smith of Bloomberg reports, Runaway Public Pensions Betrayed by Fraud, Abuse:

The
deal came together behind the doors of a Louisiana psychiatric ward.
John Skannal, 74, signed a document in October 2003 authorizing the sale
of land handed down through eight generations of his family.

 

The buyer was a statewide pension plan
for municipal law officers. The fund assembled golf and real estate
holdings that lost 84 cents on each dollar the police spent on them over
10 years. The losses are emblematic of a decade in which the $1.2
billion program went from fully funded to $836.3 million short of
meeting future retirement obligations.

 

The nine trustees of the Municipal Police Employees’ Retirement System
made a series of decisions that taxpayers and 10,748 active and retired
cops are now paying for. The board embraced bad investments, ignored
warnings of weak financial controls that enabled its attorney to steal
$1.2 million and set up conflicts of interest among its advisers,
according to a review of thousands of pages of documents obtained under
the state public records act and more than 50 interviews.

 

“It
was like a gigantic playhouse,” says Nick Congemi, 68, chief of the
Greater New Orleans Expressway Police in Metairie, who for years
criticized the system’s leadership and investments. “These people have
taken the futures away of good, decent law-enforcement officers who
thought they could depend on this for the rest of their lives.”

 

$479.6 Billion Deficit

 

The
irregularities in the Louisiana police plan show how trustees and
employees of U.S. public pensions, operating with little or no oversight
or transparency, can cost taxpayers and threaten the retirement income
of government workers. Assets held by state systems are $479.6 billion
less than what is needed to fund estimated obligations, according to
official financial reports compiled by Bloomberg.

 

“The
failure to govern public pensions appropriately inevitably hurts those
who can least afford it: retirees, workers and taxpayers,” says Eleanor
Bloxham, chief executive officer of Value Alliance, a Westerville, Ohio,
governance consulting firm. “Such lapses can produce even greater harm
than traditional financial crimes prosecuted by law enforcement.”

 

In
California, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown brought civil charges last
year when he was attorney general against a former CEO and a former
board member of the $233.5 billion California Public Employees
Retirement System, the largest in the U.S. State and federal proceedings
are continuing. In March, Calpers documented six years of unreported
gifts by members of the board and employees, and improper awarding of
investment contracts that paid excessive fees.

Cuomo Probe

Before
becoming New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo probed corruption
at the state’s $140.6 billion pension fund when he was attorney
general, leading to eight guilty pleas and the payment to the state of
more than $170 million.

 

Alan
G. Hevesi, the former Democratic state comptroller who was the
program’s sole trustee, was sentenced today to a minimum of one year in
state prison after admitting he approved pension- fund investments in
exchange for almost $1 million in gifts.

 

“I publicly disgraced myself,” Hevesi told a Manhattan judge at his sentencing hearing. “I have only myself to blame.”

 

Randy P. Zinna, 53, the former attorney for the Louisiana
police fund, pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud after state and
federal investigators accused him of embezzling to pay sports-gambling
debts.

 

Louisiana’s 13 statewide plans had
unfunded liabilities for fiscal 2010 of $20 billion, with enough assets
to cover 65 percent of estimated obligations, according to their latest
financial statements.

Funding-Review Panel

Among
45 U.S. states reporting data for fiscal 2009, Louisiana ranked 41st
based on proportion of future pensions covered by assets, according to
data compiled by Bloomberg. The Legislature next month will consider
recommendations by a funding-review panel to increase mandatory
contributions and require governance changes.

 

The
law-enforcement fund, known as MPERS, was the fourth- worst funded
among statewide plans. The program’s assets were 2 percent lower last
June 30 than a decade earlier. Kelly Gibson, a Lafayette police
lieutenant who is the board chairman, declined to discuss previous
decisions.

 

“The only comment I will make
is that the current board is working to correct any problems that face
MPERS,” Gibson said in an e-mail.

 

Over the
U.S. Independence Day holiday in July 1999, three police-retirement
board members spent four days at a golf resort on Monterey Bay in California
at the pension fund’s expense. It was a “due diligence” investigation
of a potential “real estate investment,” according to their expense
reports.

Former Pawn Shop Owner

The
trustees were led by Bossier City Police Captain Bill Fields, a
Corvette-driving former pawn shop owner who chaired the pension’s
golf-course committee, and its vice chairman, Willie Joe Greene, a
retired captain from nearby Keithville. Fields, now 58 and retired, and
Greene, 73, declined requests to comment for this story.

The
third member of the West Coast trip was retired New Orleans police
Sergeant Larry Reech, 62, who says the trio visited golf courses on a
former military base in which the New Orleans Firefighters’ Pension and
Relief Funds had invested.

 

“We were
looking at how they were being run, what kind of draw they had -- what
kind of clientele -- where they were coming from, the demographics,”
Reech says.

As for the stewardship of the board, “oversight was lacking,” he says. “There were mistakes made.”

Cotton Plantation

The
committee was in the hunt for golfing properties near the homes of
Fields and Greene in northern Louisiana, pension records show. It was
close to the peak of the U.S. golf boom.

 

At
the time, Fields cited the success of golfing investments by the
Alabama Retirement System, the records show. He zeroed in on the Olde Oaks Golf Club
in Haughton, Louisiana. With fairways lined by oak and cypress trees,
the course was built on rolling hills carved out of a former cotton
plantation owned since 1846 by the family of John Skannal, the man who
later sold the officers’ fund an adjacent piece of land.

 

The course was designed by the professional golfer Hal Sutton, a Shreveport celebrity known for having defeated golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Even after a consultant’s report said that construction was incomplete
and some cart paths were damaged, the police fund paid $6.8 million to
buy the property in July 2000, $400,000 more than recommended by GVI
Consulting of Santa Ana, California, according to the police system’s records.

Playing Olde Oaks

Fields
and Greene frequently played at Olde Oaks, enjoying a 50 percent police
discount and riding a reserved cart, according to Ben Chavarria, the
course manager. Even as the business generated losses, the pension
poured $2 million more into upgrades. In the years since, the retirement
system has spent $15.3 million to own and manage a property with an
appraised value of $3.2 million, pension records show.

 

“If
we bought a golf course, you would think that it would be a moneymaking
venture,” says Congemi of Metairie, whose department patrols the
24-mile (39-kilometer) causeway across Lake Pontchartrain.

 

The
Olde Oaks investment was a departure from the conventional blend of
stocks and bonds that defined the pension program’s strategy for most of
its 37-year history, based on plan records. The system’s holdings came
to include undeveloped real estate, foreign currencies, hedge funds and
high-yield fixed-income instruments known as junk bonds.

Surplus in 2001

The
system had a $14.1 million surplus in the fiscal year ended June 30,
2001. Until the following year, trustees authorized annual
cost-of-living increases to retirees. The average yearly pension in the
program is $23,183. Under the plan, officers contribute 7.5 percent of
their pay and qualify for benefits about equal to their salary after 30
years.

 

As pension reserves slipped to a
$195.2 million deficit in 2002, the trustees

revised their investment
guidelines to allow greater risks in pursuit of increased returns, board
minutes show. The new policies included exemptions for investments in
raw land and below-investment-grade debt.

 

The
retirement system also doubled the payback period for its unfunded
liability to 30 years beginning in 2003 and raised the assumed rate of
returns in 2006 to shrink the growing deficit. It was akin to
refinancing a mortgage by extending the term of the loan and paying only
interest without reducing the principal.

‘Poor Investment Choices’

In
July 2004, three police chiefs, including William Landry of Gonzalez,
sued the fund’s trustees in state court. The complaint sought a
restraining order to halt “glaringly poor investment choices” that
included golf courses, a $3 million headquarters building in Baton Rouge
for the program’s staff of six and business trips by the board and
consultants to Monterey, Las Vegas, San Diego and San Francisco.

 

“It
was like see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil,” says Landry, who
has since retired. “It was cops ripping off cops. That, to me, was the
biggest slap in the face.”

 

Less
visible to members and state overseers, the board also eroded internal
checks and balances by undercutting the independence of two professional
advisers, according to the records and interviews.

 

With
no public discussion of potential conflicts of interest, the trustees
in August 2006 hired their independent actuary as chief investment
officer. This gave him the dual responsibility of selecting the
investments he had a duty to independently evaluate.

 

The
actuary, Charles Hall, insisted on working at his Baton Rouge home and
set his pay at $40,000, with the board’s consent. No other candidate was
considered for the job, according to board minutes.

Hall’s Dual Role

With
Hall as CIO until January 2007, the board bought $2.1 million in Lehman
Brothers Holdings Inc. uncollateralized debt that has since lost 75
percent, as well as $201,916 in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. home-equity
loans that have lost 49 percent, pension records show. Lehman entered
bankruptcy proceedings in September 2008.

 

“To
be completely independent, you cannot be the investment officer and
serve as the actuary,” says John Sondergaard, retired actuary for the
state’s fiscal watchdog, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. After the
agency informed the board it was concerned about Hall’s dual role, the
trustees dropped the CIO position in January 2007 and retained him as
actuary. Hall wasn’t accused of any wrongdoing.

“I
think they were right. It was a conflict,” Hall says, adding that he
was only trying to assist the board. He says he doesn’t recall the
Lehman and Goldman investments.

‘Just Looks Bad’

In
March 2006, trustees voted to buy hedge fund investments through Summit
Strategies Group of St. Louis, which would collect commissions on the
transactions. The board was also paying Summit $250,000 a year to
independently screen money managers and provide advice on hiring them. The
$70 million that the trustees agreed to pour into hedge funds would
double Summit’s compensation. It took the board 19 months to address the
double role it created.

 

“It’s not
illegal; it just looks bad,” Bossier City Police Chief Mike Halphen, the
board chairman at the time, told Dan Holmes, a Summit managing
director, at a meeting in September 2007, according to a recording. The
trustees began unwinding the investments.

 

Holmes,
who consulted for the board and presented the hedge fund investment,
said in a voicemail that the relationship didn’t constitute a conflict.

 

The
use of independent consultants as money managers drew criticism in the
internal investigation of Calpers, the California retirement program.

‘Could Raise Questions’

“It
is difficult to see how an external manager could objectively advise
Calpers on appropriate levels of management and other fees for its peers
and competitors when that advice could raise questions about the level
of its own asset- management fees,” the Steptoe & Johnson LLP law
firm in Washington said it its board-commissioned report.

 

The
Skannal family, who owned the Sligo Plantation underlying the Olde Oaks
golf course, was land rich and cash poor. John C. Skannal once worked
as a state trooper and drove Governor Earl Long home from a mental
institution during his final term in office in 1960, according to his
son A.C. Skannal.

 

Just before the elder
Skannal’s 75th birthday in October 2003, a business partner named Dennis
Bamburg visited him in the psychiatric ward of a Shreveport hospital
where Skannal was being treated for dementia and alcoholism, according
to a 2005 lawsuit the family brought against Bamburg in state court.

Witnessing a Signature

Bamburg
obtained Skannal’s signature authorizing him to sell a piece of land
next to the golf course, according to the lawsuit. Bamburg was
negotiating with Fields of the police pension and a local representative
of the fund, James Harris, 53, according to trial testimony. The police
wanted to develop the land as a residential community.

 

In
December 2003, the police board approved the purchase of 208 acres (81
hectares) and 70 lots from Skannal and Bamburg in three transactions
that totaled $5.9 million, according to pension fund auditor’s records.
That same month, the trustees hired Harris as property manager for its
planned Olde Oaks development, a job that paid his firm, Twin Peaks LLC,
almost $2 million over six years, not including five lots that he
received as additional compensation, pension records show.

 

At
the closing in February 2004, four representatives of the police fund
-- Fields, Greene, Harris and Zinna -- witnessed Skannal’s signature and
later testified he appeared to be of sound mind, in the family’s
lawsuit against Bamburg. Skannal had been hospitalized for 112 of the
previous 189 days, and his medical records ran to 8,000 pages, Skannal’s
lawyer, John Odom of Shreveport told a state judge.

‘Grossly Impaired’

After
the elder Skannal died in November 2005, his heirs carried on a suit he
had filed eight months earlier in state court against Bamburg to
overturn the deal. In March 2008, Judge Ford E. Stinson Jr. ruled that
Skannal had been “grossly impaired” and that Bamburg had committed civil
fraud in obtaining the signature. Zinna, Fields and Greene never told
the pension board they testified at the trial, according to former
chairman Halphen and other board representatives. Fields retired from
the board in December 2004.

 

Bamburg, 63,
declined to comment for this story. In the trial, he argued that Skannal
had been of sound mind in the transaction. A state appeals panel partly
overturned the lower court decision, and Bamburg remains in control of
much of the former plantation.

 

As the
residential development got under way, Zinna diverted pension-fund money
from lot sales and payments to contractors to pay for his
sports-gambling addiction, according to subsequent state and federal
investigations.

Accountants’ Warnings

The
police board already had evidence of financial irregularities in Olde
Oaks-related investments from its independent accountants, New
Orleans-based Duplantier, Hrapmann, Hogan & Maher LLP, board
documents show. In a 2002 audit, the firm reported that unexplained
discrepancies included $105,000 the pension plan transferred to the golf
course that didn’t show up on the club’s ledger and $26,125 in
“undeposited funds” that no employee could explain.

Duplantier,
Hrapmann issued warnings each year even as trustees compounded the
money-losing investment by buying another golf course in the Bossier
City-Shreveport area -- at a sheriff’s auction -- and an undeveloped
golf course community near Fredericksburg, Texas.

 

The
board spent $73.4 million on three properties that are now worth $11.7
million to the plan, according to the system’s auditors. Homeowners and
businesses may also have been cheated.

‘Zinna Took the Money’

Chester
Pitts, a 61-year-old heavy-equipment contractor who lives at Olde Oaks,
wrote two checks to the pension system totaling $158,612 in March and
April 2005 for an option to buy 48 undeveloped lots, according to copies
of the checks and a one-page contract prepared by Twin Peaks.

 

While
Zinna endorsed the checks, bank copies show, the pension fund never
received the money and Pitts never got the lots, according to both
parties.

“The problem is that Zinna took the money,” Pitts says. Zinna denies that and says Pitts is owed nothing.

 

The
trustees removed Zinna from managing Olde Oaks in April 2009 and asked
another attorney, Randy Roche, to investigate. A title search at the
county courthouse revealed that Zinna never deposited $725,563 in
proceeds from as many as 22 Olde Oaks lot sales or even reported the
transactions to the retirement system, Roche says. In addition, court
records show, Harris signed for the police pension as the seller and for
himself as the buyer in one $15,000 cash sale.

 

Checks
for hundreds of thousands of dollars that the staff wrote for
contractors were never delivered, Roche says. Zinna endorsed the checks
and deposited them into his firm’s trust account, doling out slow and
partial payments, Roche says.

Widow’s Savings

In
September 2009, Zinna took most of the $570,000 entrusted to him by an
unidentified 83-year-old widow and applied it toward what he owed the
police, according to the federal criminal investigation. A month later,
Greg Phares, chief investigator for the state Inspector General, served a
subpoena and seized records at Zinna’s red bungalow office.

 

Zinna
resigned from the pension system that month. He had diverted $5.1
million of police funds to himself, most of which he repaid, while also
misappropriating $1.5 million from the police board and two other
Louisiana public retirement systems, according to his plea agreement
unsealed in January.

 

The Legislature plans
next month to take up recommendations from the funding-review panel to
increase taxpayer contributions that have almost tripled in less than a
decade to pay for pension benefits, losses and expenses, according to
the police plan’s most recent actuarial report.

Baton Rouge Budget

In
Baton Rouge, the jump in pension costs amounted to $5 million last
year, according to the city’s budget report. That is equal to 100
officers’ salaries, according to salary.com, a unit of Wayne,
Pennsylvania-based human resources consultant Kenexa Corp. The city has
frozen staff positions and is budgeting no raises.

 

Individual
police officers also face the likelihood of paying more for their
pensions. The state panel suggested raising their contributions to as
much as 10 percent from 7.5 percent. Municipal authorities pay an amount
equal to 25 percent of police payrolls into the pension system, up from
11 percent last year. They would pay 28 percent in the fiscal year
beginning July 1 under state actuarial guidelines.

 

The
state review panel also proposed restructuring the police pension board
to include two mayors, an appointee from the Treasurer’s office and a
representative of the state’s chief budget officer, giving taxpayers a
direct voice for the first time. While two state legislators have been
designated honorary trustees, neither has attended a board meeting in
about a decade, board minutes show.

Awaiting Sentencing

As
for Zinna, he still goes to work as he awaits sentencing, setting out
bowls of food and water for the stray cats that visit him on his law
office’s stoop. He faces as many as 20 years in federal prison. The
state Supreme Court suspended his law license in July, and in December
he allowed his state accounting certificate to lapse.

 

Stephen
Street, the state inspector general who led the investigation with U.S.
authorities, says that criminal law fell short of addressing all of the
police pension system’s shortcomings.

 

“Randy
Zinna is a symptom of a larger problem over there, which is a lack of
oversight, a lack of accountability,” Street says. “You can’t conclude
anything other than that.”

That
last sentence pretty much sums it up, lack of oversight and lack of
accountability. It makes me angry reading about fraud and abuse at
public pension funds, but it doesn't surprise me. It's a subject I've
covered many times before. Unfortunately, many small and large US plans
lack proper governance and internal controls which leaves them
vulnerable to flagrant abuse.

The Association of Public Pension Fund Auditors has excellent references and links, including a link to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. I highly recommend consulting with certified fraud examiners to help prevent fraud and abuse at public pension funds. Prevention,
internal controls, proper oversight and accountability are necessary to
combat fraud and make sure pensioners don't pay the price for
mismanaged public pensions.

 

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Sun, 04/17/2011 - 17:28 | 1178503 web bot
web bot's picture

Hey Leo,

I hear Bloomberg is looking for someone to report live from Fukashima. Why don't you crawl over there and report live in front of Reactor 3.

You're an expert on everything, so go to it...

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 17:14 | 1178487 web bot
web bot's picture

If everyone of us post like this, before too long, no one will be reading Leo's trash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

next...

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 17:16 | 1178486 web bot
web bot's picture

This is how the community is going to deal with Leo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

next...

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 17:34 | 1178467 akak
akak's picture

Let me summarize the wisdom of Leo:

 

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Sun, 04/17/2011 - 18:14 | 1178570 web bot
web bot's picture

+100000000

 

Now all we need is 35 more of us and Leo's history. No one will ever read his basura (garbage) again.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:55 | 1178073 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Leo you need to remind them about the trolling rules.

All trolls may publish freely, but there is an annual license fee.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:55 | 1178077 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

However you are one of the weaker writers among the regular contributors.  But keep trying.  Practice makes perfect.  I still love you.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 16:54 | 1178459 akak
akak's picture

You must love munching on shit sandwiches as well, I guess.

Leo is just a shit sandwich with a side of lies and a tall glass of Keynesian koolaid.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:48 | 1178050 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

I will go to jail for a year for one million dollars.  I am sure he was smart enough to "fritter" it all away. and now he is a pauper.

I have never declared taxes on any of my gold and silver sales windfalls.  I am also going to fucking hose all the banks on my way out if I have six months warning.

In probate court my wife will appear completely ashamed with tears in her eyes.  "He spent every bit of it on hookers, drugs and gambling the last few years.  I didn't know what to do.  I feel so ashamed for the kids having to go through this.  He was leading a double life.  I just didn't want to believe it.  I thought I could get him to change."

 

He he he.  The only assets I will openly leave will be assets that cannot be attached by creditors and that bypass probate court.  I have thoroughly studied the law in this matter.  Good luck proving fraud 20 years from now when I have dedicated my life to making sure the government and the parasites and the banks get zilch when I die.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 00:19 | 1177244 web bot
web bot's picture

Leo,

What kind of a #uckin idiot are you? You, a Canadian "liberal" lackey who only understands government handouts, posts a copy of a Bloomberg article, trying to pass yourself off as some pension guru. Is the barrel that dry in your head that you have to resort to this level of seeking status?

 

<Paging Mr.Akak... Paging Mr. Akak>

 

 

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 00:23 | 1177291 akak
akak's picture

You rang?

Actually, I think I have unloaded enough on Leo for one day --- several times in two different threads.  His cowardly refusal (and intellectual inability) to respond or attempt to rebut the many challenges to his statist, pro-Establishment diatribes and appeals to corrupt authority makes it like screaming at the birds in the park past a certain point.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 00:32 | 1177309 web bot
web bot's picture

<laughing out loud.>

Ya - I mauled him pretty good this evening also. Anytime I've ever questioned him on his postings, he's never been able to respond intelligently or sensibly. All I've ever gotten is some smart ass comment. He #uckin well deserves what he's getting from the ZH audience.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 00:39 | 1177316 akak
akak's picture

Indeed.  I have zero sympathy or pity for him --- he is truly and without exaggeration an amoral and soulless, profoundly corrupt and completely venal bastard.  His loathsome and narcissistic parading of his MS illness in this forum on multiple occasions in the attempt to elicit sympathy is only the fecal icing on the turd cake that is Leo Quislingasskiss.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 15:38 | 1178335 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

+1    Akak

cue next crony cut (crib) and paste article by Kockupalot in 3, 2, 1 ... .  . 

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:11 | 1177942 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

Don't flatter yourselves. I refuse to respond to morons and choose to ignore you. It's amazing how easily I get under your skin. Keep slamming me, only shows how much power I have over you morons.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 16:53 | 1178452 akak
akak's picture

It's amazing how easily I get under your skin.

To the extent which that is true, it is only due to your status here on ZeroHedge as an officially-sanctioned troll and lightning rod for justified outrage and anger.

You are such a joke, Leo --- you are just a tool and unwitting troll who does not even realize his actual position within this forum.

Leo, NOBODY in this forum has EVER stood up for or supported your pathetic and outrageous statist propaganda and Quisling-esque lies and calls for surrender to the corrupt elite.  You are nothing but a fool who either cannot hear, or who refuses to acknowledge, that everyone around you is alternately laughing at you and spitting on you.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:02 | 1178089 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

well Leo....you were born a hoser.  You can't help it.

However canada is not that badly run for a socialist politically correct paradise.  I just wouldn't want to live there.  I like carrying pistols and paying little taxes.

Canada is just having a good run because it is a commodity nation.  It has nothing to do with any greater intelligence or sophistication.  Genius is always and everywhere a rising market (whatever market that is).

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:17 | 1177961 web bot
web bot's picture

36 ignores on your other comments Leo...

You'll need to convince more that Mr. Akak and myself.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:25 | 1177979 Leo Kolivakis
Leo Kolivakis's picture

That's where you are wrong, I don't need to convince anyone, especially the morons here. I couldn't care less about them. 

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 17:26 | 1178499 web bot
web bot's picture

Hey Leo,

It looks like Bloomberg needs someone to report live from Fukashima. Why don't you crawl over there and report live in front of Reactor 3?

You're an expert on everything... so why not?

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 16:18 | 1178410 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

Kockupalotis   "...only shows how much power I have over you morons.."

the delusion of a crone/clown.... fuk you're funny ...alternat view is you're the whipping boy around here omega wolf

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:04 | 1178122 hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

Leo, you need to be a bit more precise in who you call a "morons here".... 

Can't we all just get along?

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:40 | 1178022 akak
akak's picture

It is obvious that you couldn't care less --- because you clearly care about nothing but the pennies in your pocket, you venal and blinkered bastard.  I have no qualms in damning you repeatedly in this forum, as you have more than willingly damned yourself with your vile, cowardly, damn-all-ethics admonitions of surrender to corrupt authority on numerous occasions here before me.  You, Leo, are evil in its ugliest and most tawdry form.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 13:52 | 1178070 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

Evil in it's most ugly and tawdry form?

That is a real accomplishment.

Surely you jest.  He aint that good.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:38 | 1178220 akak
akak's picture

I say that because one can almost appreciate, in an abstract kind of way, the sheer brazen audacity and towering evil of the likes of a Hitler, Stalin, or Pol Pot, or even lesser but still considerable ponerists such as Pinochet, Cheney, Clinton (either one) or Madoff.  Leo Quislingasskiss, however, is just a lowly leech stuck to the asshole of those giants of evil ---- feeding off them, fully complicit in their crimes, totally sympathetic and dependent upon them, but only for the lowliest and most tawdry of reasons, with none of their pride, courage or fortitude.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 19:06 | 1176662 s0lspot
s0lspot's picture

Funny, somehow karma payback struck both america and europe, each in their particular way (crappy funds Vs austerity) yet the bottom line is and has always been :

THERE IS NO FREE ADDED VALUE. ('xcept for the Bernanke, all hail his Fiatyness!)

Free money = vice = epic fail = today.

 

Those coppers wanted to make more ; they got it up their arse (for once). Frankly interest rates are irrational to me, i mean i understand them & why & how they're used but if you think about it for just 5 seconds, forgetting the whole part of human's role in the Big Theater, from a shall we say natural/cosmological/universal mind point of view, it makes no sense and goes against natural law. It is a sick mental construct.You can go back trading now, the 5 seconds have past.

But it still is a very weird concept, that of transmuting nothing into something.

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything tranforms.

Lavoisier.

Those who think humans to be Gods reigning over both the script and the Theater, actually creating the décor of the stage when it is really the opposite, believing to be able to somehow "forget" or "annonate" the basic laws of being conscious beings, the laws of nature and physics and the duality of the mind are, in my book, quite boring unimaginative individuals. And extremely dangerous ones. They are mentally sick, using their brains to ignore what bothers them and adore what rewards their egoes while ignoring all that is around them = massive epic fail ftw.

 

Sing with me !

 

"Money for nothing and the chicks for free !!!"

 

 If your ego needs more, then work more but always keep in mind it's only one half of your being behind it all. The other half doesnt require money and needs attention as well. Especially in these troubled times.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 19:26 | 1176684 s0lspot
s0lspot's picture

Chubbar posted an excellent illustration of the insanity :

 

"On January 21, 2010, with its ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are persons, entitled by the U.S. Constitution to buy elections and run our government. Human beings are people; corporations are legal fictions."

Source : movetoamend.org

To sum up for the more "thicker" amongst the crowd :

 

Truth = Lies

Lies = Truth

 

The world's new crucifix.

 

The insanity.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 17:14 | 1176496 Blanche DuBois
Blanche DuBois's picture

STELLLLLLLLLAAAAAAA!!! You got that right American Spirit! I left that shithole years ago and haven't looked back!

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 16:48 | 1176443 americanspirit
americanspirit's picture

Looks like you can rip off trained police officers many of whom have probably killed more than once in their life and all they do is whine about it. Not one of them - not one - has even tried to put a hole between Zinna's beady eyeballs. No wonder the sheeple whimper and go quietly into the night when the big bad banks take their home away - even the cops in this country go down without a fight.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 16:35 | 1176419 Thorny Xi
Thorny Xi's picture

It's tiresome, the commentary here by folks who are two generations away from any real problems in the world, yakking on and on about their retirements, and whether it was better or worse before 1929.  If you're not sitting on $1,000,000 right. this. minute. in. cash. or. liquid. assets, no matter your age, then you are screwed, "retirement-wise."  Since you're not, why not figure out how you can be, and leave the comments to others?   

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:06 | 1178131 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

fucking asshole selfish boomer.  Never before in history has a generation put it's children in such debt  The boomers will go down in history as the selfishest generation.  The rest of us will try to pick up the pieces and take care of the future and our descendents, no thanks to you selfish bastard boomers.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 16:46 | 1176434 IQ 101
IQ 101's picture

When were you "Away from any real problems in your life" Grandpa?

Grew up when the takings were easy,did you?

Born around 1943-1959 perhaps?

Thanks for helping to screw up the greatest chance mankind has had since Eden.

Half wit.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:07 | 1178123 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

boy that is the truth.

 

The children of the greatest generation will go down in history as the selfishest generation.  There is no doubt about it. 

No generation ever before was willing to put their children in debt peonage to fund their own selfish needs.

We will attempt to take care of the children, in spite of all the debt you selfish bastards leave us, just so you can get you viagra cheaply.  You fucking asshole  late baby boomer.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 17:29 | 1176521 Trillax
Trillax's picture

+1

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 15:06 | 1176273 IdioTsincracY
IdioTsincracY's picture

The average 401K has about $68,000 in it. Of course that will never cover expenses for 20yrs of retirement.
No that is an average figure. In reality only the few people making around or more than $200,000 are able to save meaningful amounts in their 401k. Indeed the median amount in $401k is $17,000 and that was when employers where matching. Well forget about that now.

"When you have this large discrepancy between the average and the median, you do not get a nice bell-shaped statistical graph but something more like an inverted bell-shape as the values skewed higher at the extremities of the values. In plain language, there are many people with high balances and many with very low balances and not too many in between.”

People talk a lot about individual investment in the market, which in theory sounds good. In practice the market, at least the current ultra-speculative version of it, is predicated on few people making money at the expense of a lot of people.

Sun, 04/17/2011 - 14:14 | 1178158 topcallingtroll
topcallingtroll's picture

It all depends on whether your investment life starts at the beginning of a boom or the beginning of a bust.

 

We will have shit for returns in the next twenty years unless you take really big risks, like international small cap.

I make above 200,000 per year and I can assure you with the taxes I pay and having to save to put two kids through college I don't have a million in the bank.

The kids come first though.  I don't want them in any debt post college and graduate or medical school.  Graduate school is the new college, and college is the new high school, a worthless diploma.   It's going to cost me about 800,000 total to get them through if current college inflation trends continue as they have over the last 30 years.

 

I can garden and hunt and fish and live off social security here in Arkansas if I have too.  If that is all I have left eventually.  Lot's of people do it.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 14:32 | 1176190 Don Levit
Don Levit's picture

Leo:

Thanks for providing this very interesting and, unfortunately, bad news, for the public pension of Louisiana.

At least the golf course is a real asset.

Federal retirees are even in worse shape.

This is because their only real assets are the current dollars being paid by employees and the federal government.  The trust fund, excess contributions and interest, has been handled just like the SS trust fund  -  loaned to the Treasury to pay current expenses.

The federal retirees' liabilities are over $5 trillion, and are listed on the balance sheet along with debt held by the public.

I have reputable governmental links and excerpts for those who are interreted in this much-too-little discussed shortage.

Don Levit

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:46 | 1176080 PulauHantu29
PulauHantu29's picture

Sadly, people need to turn off the TV, put down People Magazine, and educate themselves. Save on your own...don't rely on the gubberment or your company's plan to do your work. It's great if they come through and pay you something...but don't rely on it. Read Kotlikoff's "Coming Generaltional Storm."

 

GL!

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:49 | 1176079 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

 

When the only fear in people's hearts is a courtroom, this is what hapens.

As long as these black-hearted vermin have enough money, they can bribe and lawyer their way out of a jail cell.

This is true not only in this case but with the crisis of the past 3 years.

With no public justice - no tar and feathering, no mob beatings - no lamp post hangings of the malfeasant; we arrive at a much more uncivilized end where citizens and their lives, their souls, are bled out - while the wicked dine, drink, and dance with the devil.

 

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 17:30 | 1176522 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

the legal system is a sham and an expensive joke... it doesn't work

Bring back tar and feathers, real natural social justice which is the one system that does work

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 21:22 | 1176920 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

"natural social justice"

Exactly!

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:31 | 1176052 Agent 440
Agent 440's picture

What's the problem? As long as the money keeps flowing into the DNC, public pensions are working fine.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 14:05 | 1176129 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

True, everybody know how piramid systems work.

Why else would they've designed a piramid on the dollar bill?

 

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:25 | 1176044 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Luckely, the retired people will only give a fuck when the money is all gone.

For now they can still imagine that it won't happen to them but only to others, and that's just to bad for the others.

So if none of them protests, it means they don't really care about losing their pensions.

 

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:20 | 1176032 Rainman
Rainman's picture

I linked this several days ago after reading it on Bloom and hoped that Leo would feature it....thanks. The public pension time bombs continue to tick.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:12 | 1176009 doggings
doggings's picture

Nice cut n paste Leo.

how do I get a job doing that for ZH?

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:13 | 1175995 AldousHuxley
AldousHuxley's picture

Pensions, 401ks, were promised to increase in value due to ponzinomics of ever increasing population. Not based much on real productivity increase or real wealth building. Just more youngsters working for few old men while government borrows to pay for welfare and warfare.

But due to medical improvements, there are too many old talkers, and too few doers. "top heavy" organizations are highly corrupt and inefficient.

 

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 12:51 | 1175971 apberusdisvet
apberusdisvet's picture

The banksters will take our 401 Ks or other after they crash the market and say see "we can give you 3% (non-inflation adjusted) guaran-fukin-teed"

The Gubmint (upon the direction of the FED) will either nationalize the PM mines in this country (and put the screws on Canada to do the same) or place an onerous tax on any bullion/coins purchases.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:12 | 1176012 JW n FL
JW n FL's picture

$14 Trillion Deficit http://goo.gl/FnxBZ PLUS! $15 Trillion in Loans to Rich Fuckers and Gaddafi! http://goo.gl/EXzal / http://goo.gl/d0DLP

$29 Trillion Dollars...


http://goo.gl/LiaTC United States has Off-Balance Sheet, Unrecorded Debt of 500% of GDP (Forbes)

I thinks Forbes was Lite! a few 100% on thier calculations! Oopsie!


which leades us to...

JP Morgan’s leader “Jamie Dimon” says 100’s Towns & Citys in U.S. Won’t ‘Make It’ Out of Debt Crisis “Bloomberg” http://goo.gl/HO8Xb

I would think that Cherry picking Towns and Citys prime real estate plus and allowing said towns and City's to default would allow for JP Morgan and the Like to steal some very nice property at rock bottom prices.. the public be damned! think of all that park space being converted into high density shopping / housing! WOW!

Privatize the World! Tax Break for the Rich (although I dont understand less than $0 dollars in Taxes? maybe carry forward and monetize the credits? NICE!!) and Austerity Measures for the Poor.. JP Morgan will print all the food stamps (doing God's Work) they can and as fast as they can!

This all ads up to green shoots! buy! Buy!! BUY!!! America is healing... more leverage for the brand names and Austerity 3.0 via lil Bush part Duex in technicolor! (Obama)

Privatize everything! and kill off all social programs to boot! this will go well, until it doesnt any more.

 

 

Sat, 04/16/2011 - 13:58 | 1176106 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

 

You forgot Soylent Green!

They will tell us it is a biomass reactor but it will be anyone over 55 or children with "special needs" being turned into green colored nutrition bars.

It will be slavery to the hegemony of the establishment or violent revolt.

 

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