It will be next week when we are set to finally get Sean Dunne’s financial statements which he is required to submit to the US bankruptcy court, and because it is the US, these are public documents and will be reported on here; there is much anticipation, though presumably it will be old hat to NAMA, to which Sean has previously provided a statement of affairs.
Meantime, we can bring you exclusive pictures of Sean’s home as set out in his bankruptcy filing – 526 Indian Field Road, Greenwich, CT 06830. Taken yesterday from the chopper – no, there were no speakers blaring out Wagner – and from a height of more than 800 feet so as to comply with local privacy laws, the pictures show an expansive home set in its own grounds in the enclave of Belle Haven in Greenwich Connecticut.
No-one was home yesterday, and indeed it emerged in the High Court in Dublin this week that Ulster Bank has been experiencing what were described as “difficulties” in serving bankruptcy papers seeking to make Sean bankrupt in Ireland. A red sedan was visible in the front forecourt though the property has three garages on one wing. Sean is understood to be still driving the Lexus SUV and Gayle, what NAMA described as a “luxurious” Cherokee.
The house is presently listed for sale by Sotheby’s International with an asking price of USD 8m (€6.2m). It sits on 2.5 acres. Sotheby’s says it has “a double-height great room w/fireplace, gourmet kitchen, formal dining room, family/theatre room, double offices. 8 bedrooms including a master suite w/marble bath, 3 dressing rooms, & balcony. First floor staff quarters. Lower level gym, storage space, laundry area, & bonus room. Pool, hot tub, & pool house w/full bath. Association private beach.” It has 24/7 security (no, not an alarm silly but a man in a sentry box). The property is owned by Alex and Irina Knaster who live in Kensington, west London.
A bill to roll back a bill that has not yet been fully implemented- Talk about being ahead of the times.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a former Wall Street executive, is joining Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) to introduce legislation that would undercut one of the most meaningful elements of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act.
The bill would “allow banks to keep commodity and equity derivatives in federally insured units,” Politico reported on Wednesday, meaning that banks would no longer be forced to spin off their trading desks. It would weaken Dodd-Frank’s “push out” provision, otherwise known as the Prohibition Against Federal Government Bailouts of Swaps Entities, which bars federal assistance from being provided to any swaps entity.
Derivatives — which Warren Buffett has referred to as “financial weapons of mass destruction” — are viewed as a key trigger of the 2008 economic crisis.
“We need financial regulation that allows businesses and the banks they use to have access to the tools that help keep prices of consumer goods—like groceries and home heating oil—steady, while ensuring that the taxpayers are never again on the hook for the types of wild bets helped crash the economy in 2008,” Himes said in a press release. “This bill maintains Dodd-Frank’s prohibition on that risky behavior at banks that are insured by the taxpayers while allowing businesses that produce products Americans use every day to continue to use swaps to maintain predictability in their operations and in the prices of their products.”
Himes, who was recently named the national finance chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, is a former executive at Goldman Sachs, where he was a vice president.
In 2010, Himes took heat from consumer advocates for opposing the Senate’s version of the financial reform bill, at which point he characterized derivatives as a “political football.”
“The discussion of derivatives in the political world has become a zero sum game,” Himes told the Connecticut Mirror. “But there’s a lot more common ground here than the people who are yelling about this would have you believe.
This article was edited after publication to clarify the effect of the bill and updated to include a comment from Himes.
A piece posted to the Tea Party Nation website yesterday, and sent to the group’s members in an email from TPN head Judson Phillips, blamed the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut on teachers, unions, bureaucracy, and the presence of sex in popular culture. In a lengthy screed that’s essentially a round-up of every major cultural and policy grievance the American right holds with the rest of the country, author Timothy Birdnow cited concerns about the mental health of shooter Adam Lanza, the lack of spanking in schools, and the new movie “Django Unchained” — among other things — as evidence that American popular culture “has made murder, rape, mayhem, hatred, and violence ‘cool.’”
He then went on to recommend a number of interesting solutions, including a lamentation that George Zimmerman was not guarding Sandy Hook Elementary School:
Homeschool. Take away the power of the radicals in the classrooms. Makes your kids safer, too.
Back Right to Work legislation for the public sector. Teacher’s unions have helped cement much of this in place. As long as we have group think in the classrooms we will never see the end of this. […]
Work to devolve power back to the parents, the local officials, and the communities. A society that is top-down will inevitably lead to alienation of the sort we have seen here. This young man was twenty years old, and his actions were neither spurious nor random. As an FBI profiler said on television last night, he undoubtedly felt powerless and sought to remedy that. Why does a twenty year old feel powerless? He could leave his mother’s home at any time at his age. He feels powerless because he has lived in an over-bureaucratized society, one run ultimately from a far-away central location. […]
Restrict the sex in movies, television, on the internet. There is a reason why young people commit these sorts of crimes, and sex plays no small part. Their passions are eternally inflamed, and they wander the Earth with no outlet for their overstimulated glands. […]
Support the creation of local organizations to act as “neighborhood watch” for schools. Had George Zimmerman been at the front door instead of some mechanical card reader those children would still be alive. Perhaps it’s time we start asking for volunteers to protect our children. It will require security checks, but isn’t that worth it? This dovetails with the union problem; the unions will fight this measure tooth-and-nail.
This isn’t the first time Tea Party Nation has indulged in extremist outbursts. Members of the group chanted “pay for it yourself,” suggesting the uninsured should finance their own health care out of pocket, at protests during the Supreme Court hearings on Obamacare. In 2011, TPN emailed a message urging businesses to “not hire a single person” in protest against Obama’s presidency. And Phillips also responded to the controversy over Mitt Romney’s tax returns by suggesting Republicans inquire whether President Obama is a drug addict.
NRA spokesperson Wayne Keene told reporters, “This is a terrible moment for the United States, and our hearts go out to all of those affected, but now is the time to acknowledge that this senseless act would never have happened if it wasn’t for this ‘school’.”
“People will say that the right to an education is an inalienable right and was core to the vision of this country’s forefathers, but we live in different times now, and clearly something needs to be done.”
“It won’t be popular, and people will obviously resist the change, but in order to protect this nation’s children it is now the time to ban schools.”
“The evidence is right there in front of us.”
National Rifle Association
When asked if tighter gun control laws could also have prevented the Connecticut shooting, Keene said such suggestions were simply ‘grasping at straws’.
He went on, “People will make knee jerk assumptions on why this tragic event occurred but I would ask you all not to lose sight of the fact that these children were gathered in a convenient place of learning.”
“Columbine, Virginia Tech, and now Sandy Hook. Education is at the root of all these tragedies.”
“High-powered assault rifles don’t kill children, schools do.”
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R) weighed in on the massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. on Friday, saying the crime was no surprise because we have “systematically removed God” from public schools.
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”
This line of reasoning isn’t new for Huckabee.
Speaking about a mass shooting in Aurora, Colo. over the summer, the former GOP presidential candidate claimed that such violent episodes were a function of a nation suffering from the removal of religion from the public sphere.
“We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose.”
Adam Lanza, 20, is the suspect in a school shooting that left 27 dead Friday, including 20 children. Lanza is reportedly the son of a teacher at the school where the shootings occurred.
The Battlefield: Christopher Dodd was at one point an alleged elected representative of the people. As a US Senator he was charged with upholding the Constitution and laws of the people, and representing the interests of voters in his state of Connecticut – for 30 years. In reality, Dodd didn’t represent the people, and instead, represents corporate special-interests – and unfortunately, Dodd is not the exception.
In early 2011, it was announced that Dodd – after retiring from 30 years in the Senate – would take up a leading role at the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) for a $1.5 million annual salary. Immediately, the retired Senator would lead the charge to pass the notorious Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), with his incestuous business-government ties visibly rippling through the US House and Senate as well as through the corporate-dominated media.
Despite the obvious conflict of interests and dangerous precedent set by corporations commandeering elected representatives to leverage their influence and bend the law of the people to the will of big corporations, Dodd has been allowed to continue on with the charade. It was recently reported in Wired’s article, “Hollywood’s Total Piracy Awareness Program Set for January Launch,” that:
Beginning in a few weeks, the nation’s major internet service providers will roll out an initiative — backed by Obama and pushed by Hollywood and the record labels – to disrupt and possibly terminate internet access for online copyright scofflaws without the involvement of cops or courts. But that doesn’t mean Hollywood is done filing lawsuits or lobbying Congress.
“It doesn’t mean you give up on litigation,” said Chris Dodd, head of the Motion Picture Association of America, speaking at an industry gathering here Thursday. “It doesn’t mean you give up on legislation.”
As stated in “Decentralizing Telecom,” to constantly fight the interests of mega-corporations, while thus far successful, is not a sustainable strategy. Reacting to the provocations of special interests as they relentlessly attempt to expand their already unwarranted influence and monopolies, must be replaced with a strategy aimed at the very source of their strength.
File sharing is not wrong, and it most certainly is not theft. One would not consider sharing a purchased book with a friend, “theft.” Technology has simply made it possible to share that book with millions of “friends.” File sharing operations making money off of other people’s work might constitute a target for industry and government alike, but file sharing online is also done for absolutely free, through peer-to-peer software.
The answer to sagging business models effected by file sharing is not litigation and legislation, but rather to innovate – something big-industry certainly has the resources to do.
Open-source, crowd-sourced, innovative software, media, and hardware businesses already exist, and are already turning profits while creating local jobs. More importantly, they are opening up markets to consumers who can now become producers, essentially creating “wealth redistribution through entrepreneurship” rather than government subsidies.
These emerging business models prove that jobs, profit, and commerce are not impossible within the new, emerging paradigm people like Dodd work tirelessly against. It does prove, however, that the days the special interests Dodd represents can horde for themselves control over human creativity and the wealth it generates, are coming to an end.
The Battle Plan: By no means should people already engaged in anti-monopoly campaigning give up. People campaigning against SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, and many other forms of legislation represent the minefields upon a battlefield, slowing the advance of the enemy, and denying it access long enough for a counteroffensive to be mounted – but that counteroffensive must eventually be planned and executed.
Dodd’s MPAA “Copyright Alert System,” described by Wired as an “ISP search-and-disrupt operation,” will use the Internet and telecom monopolies to target file sharing. Previously reported on “mesh networks” would easily complicate the enforcement of such a measure. Also, as one keen Wired reader noted in the comment sections:
Too bad the MPAA/RIA know that more sharing happens from portable hard drives than through torrents. So this is a lot like closing the barn door as the horse is leaving…
He would elaborate in a second comment that:
Those file come from the same place as torrents, one person buys it, rips it and shares it. The funny thing is there are less options to get one file (maybe one person you know has it vs. hundreds of torrents) but when you borrow a hard drive you can get more files in a couple of hours than in a year of torrenting.
And indeed, for those looking to get around the corporate-fascist collaboration between government, big-film & record studios, big-software, and big-telecom, a portable hard drive network could easily be organized, expanded and used to sting back even worse than online file sharing already has.
However, such networks, be they mesh or hard drive sharing, are still only countermeasures. To go on the offensive against the special interests behind this campaign, particularly because they still possess almost unlimited finances and political backing, is to avoid taking them head-on and instead attack their supply lines.
We need not travel far to reach these supply lines – for we the consumers of their products and services constitute the sole source of their wealth, with which they buy their influence across governments and the media. Cutting ourselves off, thus cutting their supply lines and leaving them to starve, is as simple as boycotting and replacing them.
We can begin (and in many cases already are) boycotting and replacing them with superior, and more importantly, open alternatives. All things being equal, people would rather watch a free movie than pay for one on Netflix. One rather listen to a free MP3 than pay for one on iTunes.
By crowd-sourcing, crowd-funding, and producing free entertainment online leveraging improved, and increasingly cheaper hardware and software, such alternatives are already emerging. Campaigners against the likes of Dodd, the MPAA, and their SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA travesties, may also consider going a step beyond merely naming those corporations involved, and promote a full-spectrum, permanent boycott (and here), while promoting open-source, innovative alternatives.
Websites featuring open-entertainment could be organized by genre, or contain a variety to choose from. These could be open-versions of iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, that run on ads, feature donation and referral buttons for artists, and more importantly, remain free and open for all. Live events could be organized and revenue raised for artists and organizers that way.
Design houses and studios using open-source software for commissioned work could augment their income by arranging training workshops and consulting services for other companies to switch over from expensive propriety solutions to open-source. The more people involved in open collaboration, the greater the benefit for all those involved.
Artists have and will always ply their trade for passion. Many are rediscovering the process of working for commissions rather than for royalties, and are using the open-sharing of their work as an advertisement for their commissioned services, live performances, and physical merchandise related to their intellectual efforts.
The arguments of copyrighted industry revolving around the promotion of innovation, art, and entertainment, as well as the creation of jobs, are already falling apart in an emerging, open-paradigm. People like Christopher Dodd whose blatantly compromised agenda makes a mockery of representative governance, embodies an industry and a paradigm that does not deserve perpetuation. Through boycotting and replacing it, by us all becoming open-producers and collaborates instead of consumers bellied up to the corporate troughs, let us ensure a deep enough hole is dug for them, so that when they finally are rolled into it, they never emerge again.
NAMA’S case against Gayle Killilea Dunne “is going to be tried in the tabloids and no place else”. That’s the blunt assessment of the former social diarist-turned-property developer’s US attorney, Philip Russell, after going head-to-head with the toxic loan agency’s lawyers in Connecticut last week.
Central to Nama’s claim against Ms Killilea Dunne is its belief that she acquired millions of dollars worth of properties in the exclusive town of Greenwich using money provided by her husband, the erstwhile Baron of Ballsbridge Sean Dunne. The Dunnes, for their part, insist there is no basis to Nama’s claim and say they are ready and able to disprove it in court.
But according to Ms Killilea Dunne’s lawyer, it’s unlikely she will ever have to take the stand.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent after meeting lawyers for Nama last Monday, Mr Russell said it was his view that they were now “hoping they can go back and curl up and make believe this (case) never happened”.
Following a hearing before Judge Douglas Mintz last July, Nama served papers seeking access to documents from the real estate agency Sotheby’s relating to property deals in Connecticut that it believes will support its case. While lawyers for the Dunnes had objected initially to the subpoena, last Monday they withdrew their objection.
Asked to describe what had happened in the case since Nama first filed their action against Ms Killilea Dunne last June, Mr Russell was scathing.
He said: “In June, Nama said under oath that they had an emergency basis to seek an injunction and that they had no other adequate remedy and they needed the court to intervene to stop Mrs Dunne from committing irreparable harm to property which was the property of Nama.
“The judge denied that application in July, but he said: ‘However, I will give you an opportunity to come in and have a hearing on October 22’. So Nama accepted that invitation from the court and we fully expected them to be there with their evidence as to why their claim should not be thrown out or denied again. Essentially, last Monday was the time for them to quote: ‘put up or shut up’.”
Asked to describe last Monday’s events at Stamford Superior Court, Mr Russell said: “When they came to court with four highly paid partners from the law firm of McCarter & English, one from New York, one from Hartford, one from Boston and one from Newark; when they showed up with these four titans of the law, we expected we would have our hearing. What we got instead was that the matter would be postponed until January 15.
“Now, usually in my limited experience, when you call the fire department to report a fire, you don’t tell them when they get there that you’d like them to wait six months before coming into the house. But apparently these four guys from McCarter & English are much smarter than I am. They understand things that I cannot.”
Asked what the response had been from Nama’s US attorneys to offers from Ms Killilea Dunne for full disclosure of her financial affairs on the condition that they sign a non-disclosure agreement in return, Mr Russell claimed: “They scoffed at it. We didn’t want the case to be tried in the press and it is. Apparently from their behaviour on Monday, my distinct impression is that it’s going to be tried in the tabloids and no place else, because later the same day, we resisted the application to go to January, we said we would like an immediate hearing. We said let’s come back in a week and hear it. When we did that, they withdrew their application and said ‘well, we’ll renew it if and when it’s appropriate’ which tells me they’re hoping they can go back and curl up and make believe this never happened.”
Commenting on Nama’s inclusion of newspaper clippings as evidence to support its original submission to the court, Mr Russell said: “It was an embarrassment and it still is. They have pursued every person Mrs Killilea Dunne has had business dealings with.
“They’ve served papers on them and made them sit for depositions under oath as if Mrs Killilea Dunne was someone sinister and as if she wasn’t worthy of credit and didn’t enjoy a good business reputation. We are looking at Mrs Killilea Dunne’s options when Nama either abandon this lawsuit or we convince the judge to dismiss this outright. This case is like Seinfeld, it’s the lawsuit about nothing.”
Asked by the Sunday Independent for comment on Nama’s action against Ms Killilea Dunne and her husband, a spokesman for the agency said as a matter of policy it does not comment on ongoing court cases.
THE NATIONAL Asset Management Agency case against Seán Dunne and his wife Gayle Killilea Dunne reached stalemate yesterday with the lawyers for the developer claiming Nama has no evidence against the couple, while those for Nama were granted more time to seek further documentation.
Nama is seeking to enforce a judgment for €185 million obtained through the Irish courts against the property developer.
Nama, operating as National Asset Loan Management Ltd in the US, filed papers in Stanford, Connecticut, in July alleging Mr Dunne and his wife had “utilised a number of lawyers . . . and shell companies to hide assets from creditors”, and asked Judge Douglas Mintz to freeze the couple’s assets. This request was refused on the grounds the documents provided by Nama were insufficient to prove its argument.
Nama subsequently served papers seeking access to documents from the real estate agency Sothebys relating to property deals in Connecticut that it believes will support its case. Lawyers for the Dunnes had objected to the subpoena but yesterday withdrew that objection.
Lawyers for Nama, who have not yet been able to access the documents they requested in July, had been expecting to argue that case before a judge yesterday morning.
Attorney Peter Nolin, representing Mr Dunne, told the court that all documents falling within the scope of Nama’s subpoena would now be produced.
The attorney representing Gayle Killilea, Philip D Russell, told reporters yesterday that the couple had originally intended to litigate against Nama’s request but subsequently decided against it.
“Sothebys will go ahead and furnish the documents. We walked away from that fight,” he said. Mr Russell went on to say that Nama was on “a fishing expedition” insisting there was no evidence to back up the agency’s claim.
Nama’s case hinges on a December 2010 “statement of affairs and declaration to Nama” signed under oath by Mr Dunne, in which he disclosed information concerning his financial affairs but omitted details of the transfer of his one half-share of an apartment in Geneva to his wife in February 2010, which he sold a month later for Swiss Francs 5.3 million (€4.7 million). The agency also alleges that the couple, operating through a string of limited liability companies, has bought and sold a number of properties in Conneticut using funds diverted from Mr Dunne’s former property empire.
Attorney Peter Nolin yesterday claimed that there were jurisdictional issues relating to the Geneva property and that Gayle Killilea Dunne had bought the Connecticut properties without involving her husband. “She has her own money,” he said.