Corporate Integrity Project

Harry Wilson to the Rescue of GM— or UAW?

Harry WilsonHarry Wilson, the nemesis of General Motors bondholders who were wiped out in the government-orchestrated GM bankruptcy, is back on the scene. On the front page of today's Wall Street Journal, Wilson is portrayed as an "activist" investor, who seeks to maximize shareholder value. While his suggestion that GM buy back $8 billion of common shares would give a temporary boost to share price, Wilson's motivations may not be entirely pure. His real agenda could be to expand the already-favored position of UAW shareholders, and to bolster the political fortunes of unions in general.

Wilson was a retired banker elected to serve on President Obama's Auto Task Force and was the driving force behind preventing old GM bondholders from receiving due process during the GM bankruptcy process. His involvement led to his current status as a "restructuring expert" and CEO of the MAEVA Group. It now seems that our friend Harry is back to make lots of money for hedge funds, as well as for himself.

GM Earnings Not as Rosy as Portrayed

General MotorsThe trumpets sounded this morning as General Motors reported its 2014 fourth quarter earnings. GM's bottom line earnings exceeded expectations (although revenue missed and was down from last year) and the pre-market share price of GM immediately jumped over a dollar a share. Despite the victory laps being taken by GM and its friends in the media, it would be wise for individual investors to think twice before jumping on the GM bandwagon.

Sharpton's Tax Problems Get More Scrutiny

I was a guest this morning on Fox & Friends to discuss Al Sharpton's longstanding practice of not paying his taxes. Here's the video:

 

'Risky Business' Targets Midwest for Global Warming Alarmism

Bloomberg, Steyer, PaulsonWhat was a prolonged hibernation for “Risky Business,” after its brief burst of ballyhoo early last summer, has finally ended. The well-paid consultants and staffers for megarich global warming activist Tom Steyer (pictured in center) are back after his failed financial foray ($74 million) to elect Democrats to the Senate.

After the June 2014 release of its first report, Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States, they decided to carve that sucker up by geography. Last week they announced to the world that we first must alert folks in flyover country with the new report, Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest. It’s clear from their Web site that future regional reports are to come. Steyer’s Risky Business partners Michael Bloomberg and Henry Paulson also threw their names on the Midwest report “findings.”

New Sharpton Book Coming February 15

Sharpton book coverTiming is everything. And in this 300+ page book titled Sharpton, A Demagogue's Rise, longtime Sharpton watcher and critic Carl F. Horowitz could not be more timely.

The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers followed weeks of Sharpton's vilification of law enforcement. The controversial minister and activist now finds himself front and center, a position he has always sought, but in a way he did not plan.

Horowitz not only explodes the myths about Sharpton by carefully documenting his past, but indicts a political culture that made possible his spectacular rise.

GM Shareholders Shafted as UAW Cashes in on Preferred Stock Buybacks

Dennis WilliamsGeneral Motors recently announced that it bought back preferred stock from the UAW Retiree Medical Benefits Trust and the Canadian government. The deal closed in December of 2014 and supposedly will result in a reduction to GM's fourth quarter earnings to the tune of $800 million. GM had the option to redeem the shares at face value after December 31st of 2014. The timing of the deal brings into question the motivation behind the move and also leads us to reexamine a previous preferred share buyback that occurred in late 2013.

GM Asked to Disclose Donations to Nonprofits in Wake of Awards-for-Barra Controversy

Barra Appeal of ConscienceToday I sent the following letter to Theodore Solso, Chairman of the GM Board:

As a shareholder, the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) asks General Motors (GM) to disclose all its contributions to charitable and nonprofit organizations by the company, the General Motors Foundation, or any other entity.

This request is prompted by the acceptance of various awards by CEO Mary Barra offered by charitable and nonprofit organizations at the same time some of the groups are recipients of large cash donations from GM.

Chevy Bolt: As Lame as its Name?

Chevy Bolt and Mary BarraSound the trumpets! Here comes the next best, all-new, electric wonder-car from General Motors. The dust had not even cleared from the rollout of the new and improved 2016 Chevy Volt when GM CEO Mary Barra announced the newest Tesla-killer from GM, the Chevy Bolt. Let's hope that the engineers working on the Bolt put more thought into the design of the vehicle than the GM executives put into naming the car.

Obama Claims Bailout Success as GM Falsely Claims Best December Sales in 7 Years

Obama at Ford plantPresident Obama traveled to Michigan this week to declare the auto bailout a success. Interestingly, he toured a Ford plant. The company did not participate in the bailout.
GM is still trying to shake the Government Motors moniker, and that was certainly the reason for Obama's nonvisit.

Earlier this week, General Motors Company boasted that sales for December were the strongest in seven years. A review of the facts shows that this is not exactly true. You see, GM Co. has not been in existence for seven years. While GM points to this technicality when trying to weasel out of liability claims from the past, it continues to act as if the company is a stalwart 100 year-old American institution.

Sharpton's Shakedowns Get Scrutiny

Getting attention is our request that Walmart and other big companies stop funding Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN), in the wake of the police murders in New York City. On January 5, I was a guest on “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News Channel.

I was also a guest on Money With Melissa Francis on the Fox Business Network.

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