« Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners | Main | My Little Paradise »

Chrysler Bankruptcy Hardball: The Shape Of Things To Come

There was dramatic announcement made Friday about some tactics used in the Chrysler negotiations that occurred just prior to the company filing for bankruptcy.

As Michael discussed on below, the Obama administration may have had its figurative thumb on the scale during the final negotiations. At issue is whether the Obama administration is using thug tactics to intimidate parties of interest in the negotiations to restructure Chrysler outside of bankruptcy.

Tom Lauria, Global Practice Head of the Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Group at White & Case, says the White House (via car czar Steve Ratter) threatened his client (Perella Weinberg Partners) with political retribution if they did not surrender some of their rights as senior secured creditors of Chrysler. A senior secured creditor is higher up the food chain in bankruptcy and usually stands a better chance of being repaid a higher percentage of the ultimate settlement than a junior unsecured creditor. Because Lauria's clients took a hard line in the negotiation (nothing unusual about that) President Obama labeled them greedy hedge fund sharks unwilling to sacrifice like everyone else.

Upon closer examination, the facts contradict the President's rhetoric. The Obama administration was pushing for a junior unsecured creditor (the auto worker health care trust) to trump the senior secured creditors and move ahead of them in the line to be paid. That's a political payoff pure and simple. The senior secured creditors (many of which represent retirement funds and savings plans) said no. The Obama administration then deployed the brass knuckles. As one blogger notes, Car Czar Rattner got downright Nixonian about the resistance to The One:

Confronting the head of a non-TARP fund holding Chrysler debt and unwilling to release it for any sum less than that to which it was legally entitled without compelling cause, this country's "Car Czar" berated the manager of said fund with an outburst of prose substantially resembling this:

Who the f*ck do you think you're dealing with? We'll have the IRS audit your fund. Every one of your employees. Your investors. Then we will have the Securities and Exchange Commission rip through your books looking for anything and everything and nothing we find to destroy you with.

Note that the group confronted was non TARP, which is to say that they didn't wear the government collar and thus couldn't be controlled so easily. The White house is furiously spinning that Lauria is lying.

"The charge is completely untrue," said White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton, "and there's obviously no evidence to suggest that this happened in any way."

The "no evidence" qualifier says it all. However, as Zero Hedge notes:

What is strangest is that Lauria would stake his career and reputation on the line by stating on the record the facts previously disclosed. As such his downside is much bigger than that of Mr. Burton or of the PW's spokesperson, as they effectively side with the Obama's side of the story.

Indeed, I find it highly unlikely that the senior partner of a major New York law firm would toss his career in the dumpster to score a few political points. That said, obviously someone is lying here and it will be interesting to see how the story unwinds. If Mr. Lauria's accusations are true then we may have just seen the first preview of how the federal government will roll out its plan to take over huge swaths of the private sector and dole awards to political constituents such as the unions.

Update: It appears GM is headed the same way for the same reasons:

Chrysler filed for protection April 30 after the U.S. was unable to persuade secured lenders to swap $6.9 billion in claims for $2.25 billion in cash. A union retiree health-care trust was offered a 55 percent stake in Chrysler.

"This confirms the fear, which right along has been that the Obama administration is more sensitive or beholden to the unions than the bondholders," he said. "It makes it clear that GM bondholders aren't likely to be able to work out anything outside of bankruptcy."

Perhaps the Obama administration gave the Chysler senior secured bondholders the Luca Brasi treatment as a heads up for GM.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/35543.

Comments (34)

A Perella Weinberg Partners... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

A Perella Weinberg Partners spokesperson told ABC News on Sunday that "The firm denies Mr. Lauria's account of events."* http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/05/bankruptcy-atto.html

The alleged victim says it ain't so but it must be true because you so much want it to be.

Any way to find out where t... (Below threshold)
DocinPA:

Any way to find out where this asshat Rattner lives? You know, protesters, sign waving, making his life in general unpleasant.

This is a more substantive ... (Below threshold)
James H:

This is a more substantive allegation. I'm interested in hearing more.

Unrepentant (or should I sa... (Below threshold)

Unrepentant (or should I say, "uninformed") Democrat obviously has ignored the numerous discussions of extortion and strong-arm tactics that have already been used by the Treasury Dept. and the Obama Administration in order to bend the will of major banks and automakers.

As I wrote in my previous post, this incident would be normally be written off as meaningless political drama EXCEPT for the fact that all the things alleged by Lauria have already happened to other organizations, specifically AIG, GM, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Larry Kudlow (CNBC) has a s... (Below threshold)
MPR:

Larry Kudlow (CNBC) has a source that was at the meeting and confirmed what Lauria said happened. Until liberal appointments by Obamamala take over the courts completely contract law should stand. The courts are the place that this bankruptcy should be sorted out not, the Oval office. If the creditors are strong armed into submission by Obamalala's thugs we will know what "the handshake" with Chavez was all about.

LapraireOf course ... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Lapraire

Of course just go ahead and ignore what the alleged victim said. After all what would thge alleged victim know? That gives you and all the other ODSers about as much credibility as the Bush Regime had - none.

Yes I ignore discussions of "extortion" by the wingnuttery. Who wouldn't?

So the US Government wants ... (Below threshold)
Aubrey:

So the US Government wants to arbitrarily change the contracts the bondholders have with the companies, and when they object, they are demonized by the president? This is really a bad idea when you remember that this whole party is being financed by holders of US bonds all over the world. If they decide the risk is too high in the US and go elsewhere with their money, it won't be fun. Even if they just demand a higher interest rate, it won't be fun.

Does this violate any laws ... (Below threshold)
epador:

Does this violate any laws (if it is true)?

If so where is the hue and cry for a special investigator?

UD:

Since when have rape victims denied they were raped, especially when the rapist is out and about in power?

"Social Engineering" at wor... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

"Social Engineering" at work - you apply the force where needed to get the desired results.

But that makes an assumption you've considered the long-term ramifications of the engineering you're trying to do, instead of just the near-term - and that what you're trying to do will be best for ALL, not just the few favored by the administration.

Say what you will about the 'evils' of big business, but I'm starting to think that the folks who are going to be most hurt by crap like this - the average Joe Worker - are going to be longing for the good ol' days when evil big business was running things before much longer.

JLawson,I'll take th... (Below threshold)
MPR:

JLawson,
I'll take the "evils" of big business over the evils of big government. I deal with businesses daily and they are scared to death about what is coming. These are honest people that are having to cut back on any investment in their companies for expansion and growth. They get very emotional about having to let good people go in order to stay in business. We can argue the excesses and poor management of "big" business but, I'll take that over big government any day because that will directly affect the "real" driver of the American economy. The small business.

UDThat PW is backtra... (Below threshold)

UD
That PW is backtracking may have everything to do with the fact that they are an advisor to the FDIC. In other words, one of their biggest clients is the federal government.

You need to read the links more carefully. The news here is that a senior attorney for PW says it happened, but PW is soft peddling it because they have a major client relationship (FDIC) at stake.

As I said, why would a senior partner in one of Wall Street's biggest firms throw his career away by saying this if it wasn't true.

Hugh S2 more quote... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Hugh S

2 more quotes from the ABC :

"Perella Weinberg Partners, which owned Chrysler debt through its Xerion Fund, was one of Lauria's clients in this bankruptcy, but no longer is."

Hmmmmmmm.............

"Someone familiar with the Perella Weinberg Partners' portfolio manager's thinking told ABC News that the decision to go along with the government plan 'was based on an assessment of investment risk and reward and nothing else.'

Yet you want rely on a quote that was preceded by this gem preceded by "...something substantially like this..." to accuse the president of using thug like tactics.

I repeat what I said - you want it to be true.

Of course just go ahead ... (Below threshold)
iwogisdead:

Of course just go ahead and ignore what the alleged victim said. After all what would thge alleged victim know?

The thing that's unclear is who the "official" of the creditor was to whom the threat was made and who the "spokesperson" of the creditor who later denied the threat was and what authority the "spokesperson" had to speak for the creditor.
I agree with HughS: why would a high profile lawyer lie about something like this? It's not going to help his client any--they wanted to pursue their claim in bankruptcy and that's what they got.

A lack of reasoning and log... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

A lack of reasoning and logic skills are a hallmark of liberalism. Let me help you out UD.

OPTION 1
A) PW is threatened by govt.

B) PW legal council goes public about threats

C) PW denies threats

D) PW is left alone for now


OR

OPTION 2
A) PW is threatened by govt.

B) PW legal council goes public about threats

C) PW verifies legal council statements

D) PW loses FDIC business, gets attacked by IRS, execs and employees are audited, news media drags company and execs thru the mud resulting in loss of customers and putting company and shareholders at risk.

Gee I wonder why PW took option 1?

MPR -"I'll take... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

MPR -

"I'll take the "evils" of big business over the evils of big government."

I think most rational people would - big business lets you make your own choices, big government offers a 'one size fits all' solution that may or may not be something you'd choose, but you'll have no choice in the matter - you're going to take it.

This rewriting the rules on the fly is very disconcerting, and even the people who think they're benefiting from it are going to find themselves pretty well screwed long-term - like gangs in LA who don't give a thought about why their neighborhoods deteriorate under their benevolent 'protection'.

Anyone wanna guess what's g... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Anyone wanna guess what's going to happen in the future when a unionized business attempts to raise money via corporate bonds ?

Gee ODA that'd maybe make s... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Gee ODA that'd maybe make some sense if the guy who made the accusation was PGW's legal counsel, except he no longer was.

Mayhaps my logic skills have some flaws but clearly you can't read. Or is it just that you only read what part of the story - ala HughS. Wonder why that is?

If you deal with these Gove... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

If you deal with these Government thugs, you might want to invest in recording devices. Not that it would matter all that much to many liberals. If you had tapes they would either make excuses or simply ignore them. Like Barney Frank being show video tape of him making statement then claiming he said no such thing.

Unrepentant has his head so... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Unrepentant has his head so far up his ass, it's not worth the time or energy to smack him up the side of the head.

This is gonna get nasty for the Chicago Mob in the White House. When using thug tactics, the victim is just supposed to keep their mouths shut, not run to the press.

You are correct Garand. I w... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

You are correct Garand. I wonder how loud the UD's of the world will squeal when the thugs come for them? A little history yields the answer.

Maybe the most important is... (Below threshold)
ODA315:

Maybe the most important issue is touched upon by Aubrey.

Our society and livelihood is predicated on the concepts of contract law. Simply that a man's word is his bond. If a sitting politician such as the President can indiscriminently void contracts (to their political advantage, btw) then people will no longer readily enter into contracts. What then? No credit, no banking, no investing, no vehicle puchases, no construction, no agriculture, on and on and on.

And what of other politicians or political entities? School boards, city councils, Boards of Regents, corporate boards?

History is full of liberals basing decisions on good intentions with disasterous consequences.

Bill Whittle wrote an excel... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Bill Whittle wrote an excellent essay (which is a roaring bitch to find complete on the web, by the way) about something called the Web of Trust. Basically, you've got to TRUST that the person selling you food, providing water and electricity, selling you retail goods, selling you a loan, selling you real estate - is doing it in good faith and with the full intention of keeping his word.

You've got to trust that laws will be applied evenly, companies need to be able to trust that the government won't change the laws they depend on - or turn into a thug looking to get some extra 'grease' to make sure things work smoothly for them.

It's easy to break things down and burn things up. It's a lot harder to build things that work and build things that last. Trust is something that takes a long time to build - but can be destroyed very quickly.

U dem - You have a lot to s... (Below threshold)
marc:

U dem - You have a lot to say with regards to discounting this story but perchance...

... what are your thoughts on the legality, or lack thereof, on telling those debtors that rightfully would be first in line for consideration/repayment during a Chapter 11 hearing vice what obama has done?

marcThe problem is... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

marc

The problem is we have one source where there is a serious credibility issue. If there is evidence that there was "extrortion" then it should be prosecuted pure and simple.

One of the more absurd allegations here is that if they didn't play along the administration would unleash the WH press corps on them. As if the WH could ever conceivably unleash the press corps on someone. On it's face that allegation is absurd.

Strong arming someone? What does that mean? Political pressure? So what. It happens every day, has always happened every day and always will happen.

Bottom line, show me a crime and then call the cops and put the bastard(s) in jail.

Strong arming someone? W... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Strong arming someone? What does that mean? Political pressure? So what. It happens every day, has always happened every day and always will happen.

It's sad and scary that many people are so sanguine about the gov't bullying it's citizens.
Until recently, pols who 'strong armed' someone did so in the shadows, and investigative reporters would try to expose these shenanigans. Once exposed, the pols would be shamed by the public and often thrown out of office. Not anymore, I guess. Now it's being done out in the open and few of the traditional watchdogs of our society seem to care...

u dem - As expected you com... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem - As expected you completely ignored a direct and pointed question.

Either you're clueless as to the ramifications of barack hussein obama putting the shaft to thousands of private investors and others with cash invested via retirement funds to the betterment of the UAW and it's 55% ownership of Chrysler or...

... you just don't give a rats ass.

Much easier to rail on about what is an obvious possibility - the WH playing "hardball" than the illegality of it isn't it?

Bet it's even easier for you to dismiss the 4 billion dollars in bailout money that obama has written off also?

marcYou, as many o... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

marc

You, as many of your fellow wingNUTS do, completely ignored my response to your "pointed" question. Read the part about where I said if there was a crime, then get back to be. (Interesting how somehow the word ass is always in your comments. I repeat my question to you about whether or not you were properly toilet trained).

By the way the topic was not about who stood to gain more. It was about thuggery and extortion. Do you even read the post or do you just skim through the comments and fund a lib or dem to take on so you can bring up "ass."?

As for the thousands of private investors, all of the parties except several of the hedge fund groups (yes there are thousands of investors) agreed to the proposed deal. So please stop with the violins
to suit your hypocritical self.

Finally, I find it beyond funny that a leading wingNUT such as yourself would now be howling about the alternative to no deal - bankruptcy. That's what you folks have been talking about for 6 months - let em go bankrupt.

NessmanSo politica... (Below threshold)
Unrepentant Democrat:

Nessman

So political pressure is bullying? In the right wing sainted world of commerce it's done everyday. You know "take it or leave it, we're done negotiating with you."? All of a sudden tough negotiations become bullying ?

The hankies start waving and the tut tuts come from the likes of you after your adored Bush authorized torture, told folks you were "either with us or against us" while having the balls to ask for their help? Do your adored leader's words "I am the decider'" ring a bell?

And this accusation of "bullying" comes from an allegation which has been denied by the organization that was allegedly the victim of it, as well as the folks who were supposed to do it. The truth is the winNUTTERY is so deranged about anything and everything Obama that we now have threads here seriously discussing his supposed fascism. Good luck with these arguments, they only serve to further marginalize you folks . And you don't have much further to go in that area till you become completely irrelevant in the political process.
depp=true
notiz=Next time broadbrushing is going to get you banned.

With Chrysler now in bankru... (Below threshold)

With Chrysler now in bankruptcy, our attention will turn to whether Obama's promise of a short and surgical bankruptcy, coupled with an alliance agreement with Fiat, will ultimately be realized. http://pfx.me/lK

u dem - "You, as many o... (Below threshold)
marc:

u dem - "You, as many of your fellow wingNUTS do, completely ignored my response to your "pointed" question. Read the part about where I said if there was a crime, then get back to be

And you ignored the entire question, which was in its entirety:

... what are your thoughts on the legality, or lack thereof, on telling those debtors that rightfully would be first in line for consideration/repayment during a Chapter 11 hearing vice what obama has done?
Sorry, get back to me isn't anythng close to asnswering it.

u dem completes the para:

"(Interesting how somehow the word ass is always in your comments. I repeat my question to you about whether or not you were properly toilet trained)."

That's odd, along with the following portion - "U dem - You have a lot to say with regards to discounting this story but perchance... - I've reposted my entire comment directed at you. In fact the only comment in this thread until now

See "ass" anywhere in it. No doesn't exist you're just making shit up. Not to mention having the same apparent fixation on asse4sd you accuse me of.

"As for the thousands of private investors, all of the parties except several of the hedge fund groups (yes there are thousands of investors) agreed to the proposed deal. So please stop with the violins
to suit your hypocritical self."

And therein lies your problem, you ain't gotta clue, you've swallowed obamas demagoguery on "hedge funds" as if it were chocolate ice cream.

PRIVATE investers means just that, private like you me and thouands of others that invested either thru a broker or as part of a 401K account.

That 30% ALL isn't obamas EVIL hedge funds.

"Finally, I find it beyond funny that a leading wingNUT such as yourself would now be howling about the alternative to no deal - bankruptcy. That's what you folks have been talking about for 6 months - let em go bankrupt."

First, your assignment of wingnut to me is about as wrong-headed and incorrect as your understanding of hedge funds as they related to this topic.

Secondly, correct many have said all along let them go bankrupt, but that means a real process as sent thru the normal Chapter 11 process. Not one where obama has selected which debters get what slice of the pie, like that big slice going to the UAW.

If you think that would have happened without obama's intervention you're as nutty as a snickers bar.

Finally you've all but come out and called Tom Lauria a liar. Do you even know who he is?

Go ahead, have a peek.

He didn't just work for White and Case he was a partner in one the countries, and arguably the worlds, leading law firms AND was head of the bankruptcy section of the company.

If you think for one hot second he'd lie and risk not only his job but his reputation you're not nuts, you're batshit crazy.

And BTW, Perella Weinberg Partners didn't admit this was untrue, you need to read the entire press release they issued, they did nothing of the kind.

And BTW u dem to clarify th... (Below threshold)
marc:

And BTW u dem to clarify the original question - what was legal or illegal - part of your answer should have been this:

These people bought into the Chrysler that entitles them to be paid "first dollars out." That is, they're to be paid 100 cents of what they're owed before any junior creditors get a penny.

That's what the contract said, and they offered to take 50 cents on the dollar, but "mr. business" obama said screw you you get only 29 cents on a dollar fuck the legally binding contract.

So again, the question to you is, is that legal to break a contract outside the LEGAL framework of a normal Chapter 11 hearing?

Put another way you've got the executive branch coming into the judicial branch which may be cause for Constitutional issues be raised.

And to further the point on obama's demagoguery, in addition to the EVIL hedge funds are pensioneers, teachers' credit unions, personal retiree accounts, retirement plans, college endowments that have bought this debt.

P.S. out of curiosity I checked, Tom Lauria is a dem and contributed to obamas campaign.

Not that it matters, it's just curious.

So political pressure is... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

So political pressure is bullying? In the right wing sainted world of commerce it's done everyday. You know "take it or leave it, we're done negotiating with you."? All of a sudden tough negotiations become bullying ?

When it's done by the gov't, yes it is bullying. If you can't see the difference between when the gov't does it and private business does it, you are an idiot or a fascist.

Tom Lauria is not a liar. ... (Below threshold)
texan99:

Tom Lauria is not a liar. Reading between the lines, it's possible he didn't have Perella Weinberg's permission to go public with the threat they received and relayed to him as their counsel. Even more likely, they didn't forbid him to go public with it, but they caved under pressure after he did. Now they've asked him to stop making public statements concerning the threats, and as their counsel he has to obey, even though it must be intensely embarrassing for him to have to start saying "no comment" after the White House has called him a liar. That's just speculation on my part, of course. What I can say without speculation is that it's not in Lauria's nature to roll over in response to thuggish threats, nor to make them up in the first place.

Note how UD goes from "Not ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

Note how UD goes from "Not true - you only want it to be" in post #1 to defending the actions in post #24. What a dirtbag.

I do not know that there are actual laws on the books against using the IRS as an extortion tool. None that are enforced anyway. This falls more under the political definitions of "abuse of power" and "high crimes and misdemeanors."




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy