Monday, November 24, 2008

Conspiracy, anyone?

I don't usually read the money pages in the Wall Street Journal--but you don't have to in order to recognize the name Cerberus, right? You know, the "investors" who have a stake in Chrysler and GMAC as we speak? Well, guess what! They also had/have their finger in the pie which contains the fruits of Mervyn's, Dayton-Hudson's and Target.

Turns out, to make a long story short, that Cerberus came into this picture and bought Mervyn's, but did it in a way that would be the equivalent of the golden parachute for the big boy players in the event of bad business. They split the purchase into the retail operations and also the real estate which made them landlords to the stores.

For the first year things were going along nicely enough for them to get a healthy dividend but as things went south (they have a disproportionate number of stores in California) they were at the forefront and Mervyn's was liquidated, all the employees lost their jobs receiving no severance pay or accrued vacation, etc. which is now in the hands of bankruptcy judges.

And, you guessed it!! The big boys (Cerberus) still have the real estate.

What does this have to do with a conspiracy? Well, it's a stretch, but isn't it interesting that many of their "investments" aren't faring so well? Perhaps if I were more of a student of the private equity news in the financial section I would have seen this coming. I just can't help thinking that there is probably someone on the staff of each and every Congressman/woman and maybe a couple for Senators whose job it is to follow this kind of reporting.

How can Washington be so surprised? And how can they be so indignant when questioning some of the participants? Seems to me that they are a part of the problem since they sure as heck are not part of the solution. This has got to be one of the worst kept secrets on the Hill.

God bless us all--we really need it when some really smart, sneaky people are in charge of areas that affect all of us.

See ya

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