Obtaining mortgage aid by claiming “discrimination” has become a high art. The problem is that someone always has to pay. Just ask Wells Fargo & Co. On July 12, the San Francisco-based bank, the nation’s largest mortgage originator, agreed to spend $175 million to settle accusations by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that for several years it steered black and Hispanic homebuyers toward high-cost loans, so it could charge excessive interest and fees. The agreement, in which Wells Fargo admitted no wrongdoing, ostensibly will defray borrower losses and expand homeownership opportunities in lower-income areas. More likely, it will raise the cost of borrowing for everyone, lower underwriting standards and keep lawyers employed. It amounts to a shakedown. And in the context of the big picture, $175 million is on the low side.
The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, often in conjunction with nonprofit civil rights organizations and other parties, … Read More ➡
When General Motors announced its 60 day return policy for the Chevy Volt over a week ago, I contacted them to make them aware of the potential for tax credit abuse on returned vehicles that qualify for federal and state subsidies. At the time, GM spokesman Jim Cain did not think that it would be an issue and it was up to purchasers to decide if they would submit for tax credits on Volts that they returned for refunds. I spoke with Mr. Cain to follow up on the story.
Mr. Cain has informed me that GM is working on language for buyers to sign off on, which is essentially a pledge for purchasers not to claim tax credits on returned Volts. Unfortunately, Mr. Cain admits that there is still “nothing to stop” purchasers from going ahead and claiming the credits, even if they sign off on a form claiming … Read More ➡
So far American taxpayers have been forced – through stimulus loan guarantees from the Department of Energy – to “invest” $1.4 billion in a Japanese car company to build an unproven, impractical, expensive vehicle at a Tennessee power plant.
And now it can’t stand the heat.
Nissan has been dealing with complaints from owners of its Leaf electric car who reside in hot-weather states like Arizona, who say their vehicles have lost range capacity.
“When I first purchased the vehicle, I could drive to and from work on a single charge, approximately 90 miles round trip,” said one Phoenix-area Leaf owner to CBS television affiliate KPHO. Now, “I can drive approximately 44 miles on this without having to stop and charge.”
The usefulness of an electric car that costs at least twice the equivalent gas-powered vehicle, at a 90-mile range, that requires hours to fully recharge, is dubious … Read More ➡
As the North Carolina Utilities Commission tries to make sense of the farcical events that surround its approval of the merger of Duke Energy and Progress Energy into the largest public electricity company in the nation, the deeper they dig, the dumber Duke looks.
Yesterday the 6-member panel (one seat is unfilled due to political wrangling) heard from former Progress CEO Bill Johnson (pictured). Throughout the 18-month merger process the two companies proclaimed to anyone who cared – including federal regulators, utilities commissions in at least six states, and Wall Street – that Johnson would carry that role over to the combined company, while former Duke CEO James Rogers would elevate to chairman.
Instead, according to Johnson’s testimony, within two hours after directors from both companies offered “handshakes, pats on the back, congratulations all around,” he was jettisoned and replaced by Rogers. The hearings were covered by most of … Read More ➡
General Motors has announced that Vice Chairman, Steve Girsky, will be taking over its European Operations. According to one article, “Several trade union bodies are broadly welcoming the appointment of Steve Girsky.” That makes sense, as Mr. Girsky was appointed by the UAW to serve on GM’s board.
Mr. Girsky’s past experience centers on Wall Street, where he spent 20 years, mostly at Morgan Stanley. According to cmaturbo.com, “Girsky earned the UAW’s trust during his analyst days, when he often presented to the union his unvarnished take on the deteriorating financial health of the Detroit 3 and suppliers, sometimes at no charge. In 2009, when the UAW retiree benefit trust got an equity stake in GM as part of the federal bailout, then-UAW President Ron Gettelfinger picked Girsky as the trust’s representative on GM’s board.”
GM’s continually struggling European operations remain as one of the anchors around its neck. … Read More ➡
The tempest that followed the “boardroom coup” after Duke Energy’s merger with Progress Energy, in which former Progress CEO Bill Johnson was dismissed in favor of Duke CEO James Rogers, has only worsened since the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved the deal last week.
Rogers testified before the NCUC on Tuesday, after the directors of the newly combined Duke jettisoned Johnson just hours after the regulatory approval, even though both companies asserted beforehand – ever since the expected deal was announced last year – that he would lead the united company, while Rogers moved up to chairman. Utilities commissioners, former Progress directors who approved the merger, and the public were deceived into believing Johnson would oversee day-to-day operations.
“Have we as the commission been misled or, as others have said, duped in this process to get approval of this merger?” Commissioner Susan Rabon asked. “I hope you … Read More ➡
General Motors has announced a 60 day money back guarantee policy for all new Chevy models, including the Chevy Volt. The move sets up a scenario where purchasers can buy a Volt, claim the $7,500 federal tax credit (and most likely state credits) and return the vehicle for a refund within 60 days. Did GM really not consider this glitch, or is this just another way for Government Motors to prop up politically important Volt sales leading up to November elections?
IRS tax form 8936, for plug-in motor vehicle credit, does not have any minimum time requirement for buyers to own their qualified vehicles. The vehicle only has to be new and purchased during the tax year being claimed. Buyers of Volts will have documentation and VIN numbers for qualifying vehicles. The 60 day return policy lays the groundwork for a very easy way to scam the IRS out … Read More ➡
Just how uninformed does President Obama think that American voters are? Judging from the misrepresentations coming out of the Obama camp regarding the General Motors’ bankruptcy process, it would appear that the Administration believes it can get away with rewriting history as the President continues to imply that GM never even went bankrupt. The obviously false implication continues to go unquestioned by mainstream media.
Realclearpolitics.com quotes Obama as saying during an Ohio campaign tour, “When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs were on the line. Gov. Romney said we should just let Detroit go bankrupt. I refused to turn my back on communities like this one. I was betting on the American worker . . . and three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.”
This is not the first time that Democrats and members of the left … Read More ➡
After a lengthy process that overcame a demanding review at the North Carolina Utilities Commission and two rejections by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Duke Energy won approval to merge with the Tar Heel State’s other major investor-owned utility, Progress Energy.
Then Duke’s board immediately pulled a fast one and fired the man they said all along would be the joint entity’s CEO, Bill Johnson, who would have continued from the same role he had with Progress. Instead leading the new combined company will be Duke’s current CEO, James Rogers. Throughout the merger approval process everyone understood he would abdicate that role to Johnson while remaining as company chairman.
The NCUC and state attorney general, Roy Cooper, were shocked by the move and are not pleased. Even less happy are many (now) former directors for Progress, who told the media last week that they never … Read More ➡
We’ve heard this story before.
Much like taxpayer-backed Abound Solar – which just revealed it would declare bankruptcy – General Electric announced last week it would suspend construction of a solar panel manufacturing plant in Colorado. The excuse given was that GE plans to focus on research and development to improve the technology and efficiency of the panels it wants to produce.
“With the re-focus on technology, we’re sizing our team accordingly and really focusing our people on the technology side as we take this pause in the manufacturing build-out,” said Lindsay Theile, communications leader for GE’s renewable energy business, to the Web site Recharge.
That’s what officials at Abound said in February when the company – also based in the Centennial State – lopped off 70 percent of its employees while it allegedly performed upgrades to its plant to manufacture more efficient solar panels. That move followed an … Read More ➡