Thanks for your patience this morning. Evidently we had a server crash, but it’s fixed now, and y’all are free to move about the cabin.
This is one of those mornings where I feel like I’m living in a parallel universe than the one I woke up in yesterday, one where I can open the newspapers and read several different takes on the Jon Corzine grilling before Congress yesterday, and not read the following line:
At several points during the questioning, members of the committee leaned across the table and hissed through clenched teeth, “Where is the money, Mr. Corzine? WHERE IS THE GODDAMN MONEY?!?”
Because this is where I am simply in over my head. Maybe I don’t read closely enough. I certainly don’t understand finance at this level, other than the banal observation that it has a lot in common with a casino, only with computer screens instead of slot machines but the same hookers.
How does…I think the figure is up to $1 billion now, according to that NYT DealBook story linked above. How does $1 billion in customer money just up and walk away? WHERE IS IT? Because you tell me a billion dollars is missing, and my first thought is of the “Die Hard” movies, the last one of which featured Jeremy Irons stealing all the money in the world in a parade of dump trucks. Is Simon Gruber sitting on a beach in Tahiti, digging his toes in the sand and cackling over the unbelievable score sitting in his Swiss bank account?
And yet, scrolling through the stories about the implosion of MF Global, I read passages like this:
“I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date,” said Corzine, 64, in his first public comments since his resignation was announced four days after the bankruptcy filing.
When pressed by lawmakers at the House Agriculture Committee about whether he authorized a transfer of customer funds to firm accounts, Corzine said: “If I did, it was a misunderstanding.”
“I’m not in a position, given the number of transactions, to know anything specific about the movement of any specific funds,” said Corzine, who took over as CEO more than a year and a half ago.
So, there were a “number of transactions” that siphoned off $1 billion? And now it’s gone, and no one knows where it went, and presumably a team — hell, an army — of forensic accountants are going to be billing a lot of hours for months on end, but for now, sorry, no one knows where it is?
I’m in the wrong business. And Simon Gruber, you sly dog.
I don’t always participate as fully in comment threads as I’d like — frequently I’m reading them on my phone while running errands, or otherwise can’t get to a keyboard, but I read every one, and I’d like to call a couple to your attention, if you don’t usually dip into the comments. One is MMJeff’s experience in dealing with Richard Cordray, which you should read if you haven’t yet, and the other was an offhand remark made by Basset, to the effect that his wife is a nurse and occasionally sees young women who make the living workin’ a pole, so to speak, with terrible skin infections. I’d like to know more about that, Basset. Also, don’t look at this picture.
Also, don’t read this story, although the headline is great: Castrating lambs with your teeth may make you sick. This must be a Spanish technique. I’m sure Cooz knows more.
I remember when Tim McVeigh was executed, his last statement was the text of “Invictus,” which my friend Lance Mannion, a former English professor, explained was kitsch, a killer going down with some bad 19th-century he-man poetry. It would appear he has a spiritual brother, Rod Blagojevich, who is fond of quoting Rudyard Kipling. Fortunately, Neil Steinberg found a more appropriate poem than “If,” the one Blagojevich likes to wave around.
One for you grammar nerds, from Nancy Friedman.
Excuse me. I seem to have something in my eye…
I’ll leave you with that. Let’s get this weekend under way, shall we?