Albert Baldeo, Another Meeks Crony, is Arrested

Meeks Baldeo photoAlbert Baldeo, a Democratic Party leader in New York City, was arrested by the FBI this morning on corruption charges. According to the New York Times:

Mr. Baldeo is accused of using phantom donors to funnel illegal campaign contributions to his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for City Council in order to fraudulently increase the amount of matching funds provided by the city, federal prosecutors said.

The phantom donors were first publicly described in a New York Post story of October 11, 2011. The information was provided to the Post by the National Legal and Policy Center as part of our investigation into U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and his political network.

Baldeo is the third Meeks associate to be face legal action in recent days.

On October 10, Guyanese-American businessman Edul Ahmad pleaded guilty to bank and wire fraud as part of a plea bargain related to a multimillion-dollar mortgage … Read More ➡

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Timeline: A123 Systems’ Downward Spiral to Bankruptcy

A123 logoAs Bloomberg reported today, stimulus-funded electric vehicle battery maker A123 Systems filed bankruptcy in federal court after failing to make a debt payment that was due. Milwaukee Business Times has reported that Johnson Controls will purchase the “automotive business assets” of A123 for $125 million, and that A123 will receive from Johnson $72.5 million in “debtor in possession” financing to continue operating during the sale process.

Regular readers won’t be surprised, as the company’s gradual sink to its current depths – despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers – has been covered by NLPC since late last year. A review:

December 2011: A123 announced it would lay off 125 employees at its two refurbished plants in Michigan, attributing the cutbacks to diminished production by its top customer, Fisker Automotive. NLPC documented how A123 was also an investor in Fisker, which has had its own difficulties … Read More ➡

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Government Love for Failing A123 Systems Was Unconditional

A123 logoAs stimulus-funded ($249 million-plus) A123 Systems sees its stock price drop back near its all-time low and waits for a Chinese rescue, two Republican senators want answers about whether taxpayer dollars are again funding jobs and technology that will be transferred overseas.

Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the ranking minority member on the Judiciary Committee, and South Dakota Sen. John Thune queried A123 CEO David Vieau about the logistics of a proposed sale to China-based Wanxiang Group Corp. In August, just as the company reported another $82.9 million in second-quarter losses, a deal was announced in which Wanxiang would deliver $75 million in initial loans and then would buy $200 million of senior secured convertible notes, followed by a possible $175 million “through the exercise of warrants it would receive in connection with the bridge loan and convertible notes.” If fully consummated, the end result could mean A123 ends … Read More ➡

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Will Fiat/Chrysler Need Another Bailout?

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed Wednesday by David Asman on the Fox Business Network on Moody’s credit downgrade of Fiat. The Italian automaker, which owns Chrysler, is facing financial difficulties, even as President Obama is ballyhooing the “success” of the auto bailout. Here’s a transcript:

David Asman: Even though Chrysler is now owned by an Italian car company, President Obama continues to refer to it as a successful bail out of an American car company. By now Chrysler’s parent, Fiat is in real trouble. Moody’s just lowered its credit rating to junk status. So are taxpayers about to get hit up for yet another bail out of an Italian car company? Let’s ask Mark Modica who has been following the bailout since it began at the National Legal and Policy Center.  Good to see you again Mark. Thanks for coming in.

Mark Modica: Hi David.… Read More ➡

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More Green Energy Money Down the Drain

NLPC Associate Fellow Paul Chesser is interviewed on Fox Business Network’s Money With Melissa Francis. Here is a transcript:

Melissa Francis: So another day another $150 million of your taxpayer money up in smoke. Back in 2012 the Department of Energy gave $250 million bucks to a factory in Michigan to produce batteries for the Chevy Volt. President Obama touted this as a step in the right direction to bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Here we are two years later and Compact Power has yet to produce a single battery.  Now it is forced to furlough all of its workers. Joining me now is Paul Chesser, an associate fellow at the National Legal and Policy Center. How in the world did this happen?

Paul Chesser: Well, it is just another in a long line of gifts that the Obama Administration handed out to electric vehicles, the batteries … Read More ➡

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GM Bankruptcy Misrepresentations Prefaced Libya Attack Controversy

The 2012 election campaigns have seen accusations thrown about that both President Obama and Governor Romney have been less than honest at times. After Obama was soundly trounced in the first debate, the defense for the President’s poor performance (other than Al Gore’s theory that it was the high altitude) was that Mitt Romney lied. While that unsubstantiated charge might make Governor Romney an accused liar, the facts surrounding the General Motors bankruptcy process reveal that those in the Obama Administration are proven liars.

Although many in the media might choose to ignore the ethical shortcomings of the GM bankruptcy process, I believe the unprecedented, and mostly uncontested, nationalization of a major US industrial corporation that saw politically-favored groups rewarded emboldened our nation’s president when it comes to being a bit lenient with the truth. The latest example of truth leniency by the Obama Administration came when misrepresentations were made … Read More ➡

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Consumer Reports: Fisker Karma the Worst Luxury Sedan

Fisker logoIt’s been six months since the taxpayer-subsidized ($193 million) Fisker Karma broke down at the test facilities of Consumer Reports before the publication could even take it for a review spin, but now the researchers have finally been able to put the luxury electric car through its paces and their assessment is complete.

Verdict: fail.

Why did it take so long for the car loved by Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Bieber and Al Gore to get the full evaluation? Consumer Reports explains:

“With the Karma, much attention has been paid to our unfortunately routine problems, including an early failure on our track that left the car immobile and led to the battery being replaced, frequent instrument, window and radio glitches, and recurring warning lights. So far our Karma has made multiple trips back to the dealer (who, by the way, has provided excellent service, flat-bedding the car to and … Read More ➡

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SEC Issues Big Fines, Penalties Against Green-Tech Investment Firm

A123 logoThe venture capital redistributionist game that surrounds President Obama’s green energy stimulus doesn’t necessarily require the actual delivery of taxpayer cash to crony corporations. Sometimes the malfeasance appears simply based upon the false promise of government “investment.”

Such was the case with the co-founders of Chicago-based Advanced Equities, Inc., who just received a severe reprimand (including big fines) from the Securities and Exchange Commission for dispensing false information to potential funders in attempts to gain private equity investment. In two separate offerings in 2009 and 2010, co-founder Dwight Badger (who left the firm in June) was accused of telling investors that the financial condition and business orders for Advanced Equities’ client – revealed to be fuel cell manufacturer Bloom Energy by Crain’s Chicago Business – far exceeded reality. Badger’s partner, co-founder and Board Chairman Keith Daubenspeck, was fined for “failing to reasonably supervise Badger.”

Advanced Equities also was the … Read More ➡

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VIDEO: Treasury Rejects Sale of GM Stake

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica was interviewed last night on Fox Business Network’s Willis Report. Here’s a transcript:

Cheryl Casone: Government Motors. Trying to shed its ties to Uncle Sam once and for all, pushing the sale of the U.S. stake in the company altogether. But saying goodbye is hard to do. The government’s digging in its heals, saying taxpayers would have faced a massive multibillion dollar loss. Joining me now with more is Mark Modica, associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. This was a bad deal. I mean this was a bad deal for the taxpayers. Of course, Treasury said no to it.

Mark Modica: Hi, Cheryl, well, they have been saying no. Actually, they could have first sold the stake almost a year and a half ago when share price was over thirty, and we heard the same story. They’re not going to … Read More ➡

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VIDEO: Obama’s Ridiculous Fuel Economy Standards

NLPC Associate Fellow Mark Modica is interviewed on 9/5/12 about new vehicular fuel economy standards on the Fox Business Network. Host is Gerri Willis. Here is a transcript:

GERRI WILLIS: No summer blues for car dealerships. Consumers driving up August auto sales 20% higher from a year ago. But will the White House’s new fuel efficiency standards put the auto industry’s progress into reverse? With more, Mark Modica, Associate Fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center. Welcome back to the show, Mark, great to see you. I want to show folks these efficiency standards. They are sort of shocking. So, right now 29.7 miles per gallon is what is required. By 2016, two years from now. 35, by 2025, 54.5. What do you make of that?

MARK MODICA: Well, it is quite a jump, and it’s going to cost consumers. Estimates are that this will raise the prices … Read More ➡

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