CNBCfix review: Sellout artists
don’t deserve a book like this

          Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Charles Gasparino, who carries the title of CNBC on-air editor, is not as blunt in The Sellout as he tends to be on television, where he has rapidly become the standard-bearer of Wall Street reporting. The book is further evidence of his astonishing multimedia range but lacks a little something he always brings to the camera: chutzpah.

Crisp biographies move The Sellout for about 150 pages. The fallout of 2008 adequately carries the last 150. In between, the lay reader might get a bit jaded by the meticulously described personnel shuffling. The ideal audience for The Sellout are the Wall Street veterans who have worked at one or more of the big five (prior to 2008) investment banks. They know the difference between Jeff Kronthal and Osman Semerci and can most appreciate the colossal hiring blunders. Every company, of course, occasionally hires or promotes the wrong people for key jobs, for various reasons, and Gasparino's thorough account resonates well. But especially in his chapters on September 2008, the bouncing between companies gets choppy. There tend to be so many names, overlapping at three or four major firms and divisions of those firms, that the tendency to leaf back a few pages to reacquaint with the background of a subject diminishes and a tiny amount of frustration is induced, "I get it, they surrounded themselves with yes men, grew detached, took more risk."

Those who only know Gasparino as a blunt talker who enjoys on-air combat with CNBC guests and even colleagues will be surprised to find how straightforward and nonpartisan this book is. There is no ego to be found here. The Sellout has as much workmanlike detail as the many columns Gasparino writes for The Daily Beast and other brands such as Forbes and the New York newspapers. Those columns are more opinionated than this book, but all share a straightforward, even kind of modest writing style more eager to deliver facts than punch lines.

Coincidentally, The Sellout is released around the same time as Too Big To Fail, a rival account of the Wall Street crisis from another celebrated business writer, Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times. The subject matter is similar; the packaging notes and sourcing nearly identical. Ironically, the difference is illustrated by an event involving Gasparino himself, the tipped ouster of Lehman Brothers President Joe Gregory and CFO Erin Callan:

Sorkin, Chapter 6: "That afternoon, Charlie Gasparino, a tenacious reporter on CNBC, began hectoring Kerrie Cohen, Lehman's spokesperson, to confirm a tip he had received that Gregory and Callan were about to be fired. Off the record, Cohen dismissed his tip as a useless rumor. But Gasparino, still skeptical, pressed her to go to her boss, Freidheim. 'I've got it that Joe and Erin are leaving the firm,' he said. 'Unless you go on record, I'm going with it.' When Gasparino threatened to go on the air with market-moving information — his usual tactic for extracting information from sources — most executives, however much they might resent it, try to comply. ... 'Absolutely not,' Gregory stated when Freidheim put the question to him. 'You can tell Gasparino you talked to me, and the answer is no.' "

Gasparino, Chapter 18: "I was tipped off that a major change was imminent at the top of Lehman that would likely lead to Callan's replacement as CFO and Gregory's replacement as president. ... For several days, Lehman continued to deny that the firm was even weighing whether to replace Gregory or Callan, as meetings took place among senior executives..."

It's important to note that Gasparino has openly questioned at least one of Sorkin's descriptions, which won't be posted here because the truthfulness is in dispute. Sorkin warns in his "Author's Note" that "readers should not assume that the individual whose dialogue or specific feeling is recorded was necessarily the person who provided that information," so immediately Sorkin suggests Too Big To Fail is at least part speculation of how someone felt at the time. The dueling books are different ways of reading the same story. Each provides a beginning glossary of the players involved and the books share similar-looking extensive source lists. But while Sorkin opens in March 2008; Gasparino begins in 1978. Sorkin's tends to have more color; Gasparino can boast the authenticity crown.

Gasparino obviously knows some of The Sellout characters well, but even the ones he doesn't are spared. He goes lightly on Erin Callan, Dick Fuld's version of Sarah Palin. About the worst he says in describing Callan's elevation to CFO, in Chapter 18, is that she "wasn't exactly a number cruncher," and even this: "Callan was the perfect candidate for promotion. She was smart, worked well with clients, and had movie star looks." Sorkin, on the other hand, described at least one Lehman exec viewing Callan as a "diversity hire."

Gasparino seems most skeptical of Stan O'Neal but most annoyed by John Thain, perhaps because Thain is despised by a key source (Larry Fink). The author passes on the lamentations of many that the fine, proud and profitable advice-giving businesses of Wall Street banks were being ruined by the mortgage-trading desks. It isn't until the Epilogue in which Gasparino offers serious editorializing, namely "the SEC should be disbanded." Beyond that the conclusions are mostly watered-down statements about regulation, ratings agencies and moral hazard that have been made many times by many experts.

Throughout, it is worth noting the author is critical of Congress, repeatedly stressing the role of HUD leaders Henry Cisneros and Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd in enabling mortgage standards to hit rock bottom. For whatever reason, this criticism, no matter how accurate, seems tired.

Perhaps the strongest point Gasparino makes is about a more subtle, and little discussed, effect of subprime — it artificially drives up middle-class costs. If the traditional lending standard is that one must earn $100,000 to buy a $300,000 home, and suddenly people who earn $30,000 are given loans to buy $300,000 homes, then demand pushes those $300,000 homes into nominal $500,000 homes, on mortgage paper that is eventually going to sink a financier.

Gasparino in Chapter 1 begins an excellent description of how mortgage bonds came to exist. Readers of Michael Lewis' Liar's Poker, a source Gasparino prominently cites, will quickly find the account of one Lew Ranieri familiar. Another big source for this book is Larry Fink, now the celebrated founder of BlackRock but as Gasparino reveals, an early mortgage-trading expert who had one bad quarter at First Boston that changed his life, in some ways for the better. (First Boston, for whatever reason, does not make Gasparino's list of "Key Firms" in his intro.) However, after the 1980s, Fink is mostly an observer to the tumult and is often held up as dishing out the same refrain, that these other firms don't know how to manage their risk.

Diligent to a fault, Gasparino peppers the book with numbers and dollar figures. We've got millions and billions and trillions and percentages. They can be understood, but not felt. No doubt the subjects of the book will view them as impeccable; most readers will find they tend to sap the punch out of certain passages. Did Merrill have $40 billion, $60 billion; did the market grow from $300 billion to $1.2 trillion, does it matter? Of course it does, but then again, it doesn't.

One example of this is when Gasparino cites, in Chapter 12 and the Epilogue, "a brewing $50 billion Ponzi scheme perpetrated by Bernard Madoff," when, as this site has noted before, not only is the actual Madoff "number" a mystery, no one is even sure what the $50 billion (reported by the crook himself, not exactly a valid source, to an FBI agent) even means.

Somehow, either out of cautious restraint or because he's too buried in numbers, Gasparino fails to press a most damning conclusion: Here you have several venerable Wall Street banks that were quite possibly not telling the truth about their financial condition long before things officially fell apart.

When in trouble, people should call 911. If your bank desperately needs money, on the contrary, you tell the world everything but. No, we're very well-capitalized. No, at this time there's no problem, our financial position is strong. No, we don't need to sell a stake in the firm. No, it's the short-sellers and rumor-mongers that are hurting us. No, the markets are going to recover soon. And eventually what starts as rosy optimism devolves into exaggeration, then obfuscation, then misstatement, then, perhaps, chicanery, little white lies, even deception.

The broader financial community is forced to squint between the lines. Gasparino notes one analyst issuing an implicit warning to avoid the big banks "like the plague" (Gasparino's words), but in fact he says the analyst officially had "market perform" ratings on Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and Goldman Sachs. Obviously, some exaggeration has come to be allowed, but apparently insistence of health is OK right up until the end. This review happens to be posted just as two Bear Stearns fund managers were acquitted of fraud charges; Gasparino commented on CNBC that there had also been inquiries about disclosures by people at Lehman and Merrill but now, "I feel pretty certain that those cases are dead."

Dick Fuld either concluded his bank didn't need help or just figured he'd get a government bailout as long as he could blame it on rumor-mongering, short sellers and an uncontrollably bad market. Either seems like a massively incompetent position. The unmistakable truth is that banks can't loudly call for help, even if they actually believe they need it, because a public call for help worsens the problem at a faster rate than help will arrive, a disastrous Catch-22. Believing their money is in jeopardy, investors and account holders will quickly pull out, sometimes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That may seem like a shaky foundation for a business, but in general it works — because we have centuries of evidence of it working. The movie business would seem unfeasible too if enough people in crowded theaters regularly shouted "fire," but we know they don't.

Unable or unwilling to cry for help, what exactly should a bank do? It would have to publicly convey at least these five things without using this specific language: 1) We're going to overcome this challenge, somehow. 2) If we can just raise enough money, we'll be fine. 3) We would really appreciate some government help even though we hate the fact we need it. 4) There are many jobs of middle-class people riding on this. 5) We're sorry for the mistakes that got us into this.

Privately, much of that (except maybe for 5) probably was said by people at Lehman, Bear and Merrill. The key word in that paragraph is "publicly." Correctly conveying those sentiments takes great skill. And that leads to a point made almost inadvertently by Gasparino, and Sorkin as well: the importance of TV presentation.

The most convincing example in The Sellout is Gasparino's description in Chapter 17 of a critical interview Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz gave to CNBC's David Faber during the week of Bear's collapse. Gasparino writes that Schwartz's answer to a question on counterparty risk "did not instill confidence," and "was a rambling discourse ... seemed to suggest that the market, and Goldman in particular, had concluded that it was best not to deal with Bear."

A clip of Faber's interview can be found here. Here are some of the things Schwartz said, many of which were probably not believable (conveniently noted in bold ital): "There were certainly some problems with some funds that were invested in very high-quality instruments, but uh, on a lot of leverage, and there were some problems there. And um, you know, uh, some people could, could speculate, uh, that Bear Stearns might have some problems in there since we're a significant player in the mortgage business. Uh, none of those speculations are true. The markets have certainly gotten worse, uh, but our liquidity position is, has not changed at all, um, our balance sheet has not weakened at all."

Gasparino tells how Schwartz pressed an investor, in vain, to "go on CNBC and make a comment about Bear that might calm the markets." In an earlier chapter, Gasparino writes of Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit doing a CNBC interview in which he "had a deer-in-the-headlights look, and he sounded even worse, as he refused to give clear-cut answers."

TV issues weren't confined to the banks. Gasparino says Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's communication skills "were downright terrible," calling him "awkward, at times gruff, penchant for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time." Yet this person was made responsible for selling an extremely costly, controversial and precedent-setting plan to Congress and the American people. If that person assuming that role does not make sense to you, you're not alone.

Many people want to think of TV as a little bit artificial. They're probably right. But how important is it? If Wall Street honchos aren't appearing on it, they're watching it. Gasparino notes that Bear employees were "glued to the television" even if they hated the news, and a couple pages after that, a key person "glued to the reports on CNBC."

Sorkin in Too Big to Fail only waited until Page 12 to note that, during the Bear implosion, pretty much the first thing Dick Fuld did when arriving at the office is flip on CNBC; a couple pages later we read of him squinting to read the scroll at the bottom of the screen. Gasparino, near the end of his Epilogue, says John Thain learned of his firing while watching CNBC.

Fuld's appointment of Callan to such an important position was an obvious sign of trouble. Yet Fuld was on to something. He knew the firm needed a public ambassador at that point in time more than a number-cruncher. One problem with Callan was that she was not well-qualified to discuss the issues she was discussing, and a big problem for both Callan and Schwartz is that no matter how good-looking they might be, they are not trained TV professionals. Fuld would've been better off hiring Ron Insana or Sue Herera or even Jim Cramer, who can articulate a believable point on television.

This problem, remarkably, persists to this day. If Lloyd Blankfein could go on TV like Bill Clinton and talk about public outrage, Goldman Sachs would have high approval ratings. Blankfein doesn't do TV. Jimmy Cayne and Dick Fuld and Chuck Prince and Stan O'Neal didn't or couldn't do it. Of the core characters in The Sellout, only John Thain seems comfortable and impressive on television, skills that undoubtedly helped secure a much better outcome for his firm than Lehman, even if he wasn't otherwise the best person for the job.

One nice addition to Sorkin's book that is not included with The Sellout is a series of photos. Gasparino refers to Fuld being known as the "gorilla," but his face is not known to many and it would be good to be shown in the book.

The author may or may not agree that writing about Wall Street probably isn't much different than writing about an accounting firm, other than about two more zeroes attached to the salaries. These are people who work in an office (yawn), look at computer screens (zzzz), and schmooze people over lunch. Not too exciting except perhaps for the latter. Gasparino seems obsessed with restaurants, and not just in this book. His reports on CNBC are frequently topped off by where he's dining. The Dealbreaker blog often notes his restaurant picks. He thanks a bunch of them in his acknowledgments. It can be inferred that Wall Street titans view restaurant treatment as sacred, a down-to-earth scorecard beyond the bonus and thus Gasparino should care as well. Maybe it's just reporter's instinct on his part; many deals are consummated over meals and if you see two potential partners dining together, you might have a story. The truth is that dining out often gets old, and it's time-consuming. Don't these people ever just pick up Chinese or fried chicken and go home and watch football? Evidently not, but does it really matter, in the long run, whether Jimmy Chanos was headed to the Post House when he took a call from Alan Schwartz? Once again, to Gasparino's core audience, it probably does.

If one did a word find for the book, the word "risk" would probably show up 700 times. Oh, and "pot," in reference to Jimmy Cayne's recreational activities. It's unclear whether investors cared more about this than Gasparino does. It's refreshing that so many apparently did, even though the bigger problem seems to be Cayne's complacent detachment into cruise control just when his firm needed him most.

Gasparino tells how he suggested on CNBC that Dick Fuld should be given the benefit of the doubt in arguments against short sellers such as David Einhorn because of Fuld's track record. The book suggests people like Fuld and Cayne might be skilled traders but in the end they were just good for a market return, doing great when markets did and lousy when they didn't. Einhorn's own opinion, as stated by Gasparino, seems on target, "gamblers who had gotten lucky." Nevertheless, reputations far preceded actual success. Not noted in the book, Sandy Weill, incredibly, once was enshrined by Louis Rukeyser in the Main Street bastion "Wall $treet Week" Hall of Fame for his vision in building a financial supermarket.

One issue not addressed: Why did Einhorn start publicly criticizing Lehman in April 2008? His arguments would only figure to hurt the stock, which would be fine for his existing position, but he presumably could've kept shorting at higher levels before the cat was out of the bag.

The strongest words Gasparino uses to describe Alan Greenspan are found in Chapter 13, where the former Fed chief is "largely oblivious" to the amount of toxic mortgage debt accumulating on Wall Street's books.

In a remarkable glitch (could it somehow be a dis?) for the author and copy editor, Gasparino misspells the name of Steve Schwarzman, even in the index. (Presumably, it was confusing with "Schwartz.")

Gasparino introduces readers to yet another person (Henry Kaufman), this one from the '70s and '80s, known as "Dr. Doom," a Wall Street moniker that apparently knows no bounds. Gasparino also gets considerable material from an alt-a and subprime lender on the front lines, Bill Dallas, who might consider himself a professional CNBC source given that he was a major player for CNBC's David Faber in Faber's "House of Cards" documentary and resulting book.

Proceeding chronologically, the book almost doesn't need to be divided into its 21 chapters or its three overriding sections. The passage breaks set off by big-caps tend to serve as their own chapter marks (and in a typography issue, it is confusing when big-caps introduce a quote without the opening quote mark). There is at least one reference to "Masters of the Universe," a long-tired term perhaps popularized by Tom Wolfe in the 1980s.

This book is an important chronicle. Yet it seems the public is done wringing its hands over bailouts, correctly so. This is a crisis that needs to be in everyone's rear-view mirror. In the Epilogue, Gasparino tells how he was inspired to write the book in September 2008. He says he is an "economic libertarian" but finds it "befuddling" to hear conservative friends and colleagues decry pay ceilings for executives of bailed-out banks. He calls Goldman Sachs, which escapes mention in much of the book, "a big hedge fund subsidized by the U.S. government and taxpayers."

Very disappointingly, Gasparino concludes all of this, just as did CNBC colleague David Faber in And Then the Roof Caved In, with a lukewarm pronouncement about greed. He says of Wall Street, "greed had become its business model," and "Greed took something fundamentally good and made it into something that was fundamentally bad." Thanks in part to a certain movie, greed has become a very oversimplified concept. It certainly exists but is very ill-defined. What, specifically, is greed? Firms wanting to make more money? Should they want to make less? Who specifically is greedy and who isn't? Gasparino says Wall Street is important to society for raising money for businesses and bringing the stock market to the middle class. Is that why all those Wharton and HBS types really seek jobs on Wall Street, to bring the stock market to the middle class? Teddy Forstmann might not be the only one questioning this book's title.

Gasparino calls the American financial system "arguably the root of much of our power throughout the twentieth century." This is a grand overstatement, another effect being mistaken as cause. But it is a sign of his impressive enthusiasm for this subject matter. Gasparino may come across as combative on television, but one gets the feeling, if you stopped him on the street and asked him if Dick Fuld was unlucky or just in over his head, he'd talk to you about it for 15 minutes, even if he was in a hurry.

Raising capital was the solution to the banks' troubles all along. In the end, it came from the government.

This leads to a very important conclusion that didn't make The Sellout: The government already is the nation's banker, and is forever going to be the nation's banker. We put our money in FDIC-insured banks, and we open brokerage accounts backed by the SIPC, which doesn't insure trading losses (yet) but protects the existence of the account. Every financial crisis has spawned a wider safety net. It was probably only a matter of time before such largesse was extended to the 800-pound gorillas of the world's banks.

The Sellout: How Three Decades of Wall Street Greed and Government Mismanagement Destroyed the Global Financial System (2009)

Featuring: Jimmy Cayne, Bear Stearns, Shun Lee Palace, Warren Spector, San Pietro, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, HUD, Henry Cisneros, Andrew Cuomo, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial, Stan O'Neal, Citigroup, Chuck Prince, Pat Dunlavy, Salomon Brothers, The Great Race of 1978, John Gutfreund, Lew Ranieri, John Meriwether, Daniel Benton, Michael Lewis, Liar's Poker, President Gerald Ford, arbitrage, Sandy Weill, Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, SEC, Paul Volcker, leverage, mortgage bonds, derivatives, Tom Strauss, Mike Mortara, Larry Fink, First Boston, Ginnie Mae, Robert Dall, Henry Kaufman, securitization, Thomas Kirch, CMO, GSE, Marcia Myerberg, ERISA, Michael Milken, IO, PO, LIBOR, Z tranche, GMAC, RJR Nabisco, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Alan "Ace" Greenberg, Larry Friedlander, Smith Barney, Murray Richman, Joseph Bear, Robert Stearns, Harold Mayer, Merrill Lynch, V. Theodore Low, Salim "Cy" Lewis, Barbara Walters, Maurice Cohen, Richard Daley, Maxine Kaplan, Patricia Denner, Lebenthal & Co., Kidder Peabody, Lehman Brothers, Amos Kaminski, Larry Tisch, New York City municipal bonds, Abe Beame, "Filthy" Phil Cohen, William Montgoris, Harmonie Club, Rudolph Giuliani, Charles Rangel, Ronald Reagan, cocaine, LBO, Henry Kravis, Ron Perelman, Carl Icahn, TWA, Beatrice, Revco, Safeway, Federated Department Stores, RJR Nabisco, Teddy Forstmann, Forstmann Little, Donald Trump, John Weinberg, Parker Gilbert, Shearson Lehman Hutton, Barbarians at the Gate, KKR, Continental Illinois, John Reed, Howie Rubin, William Schreyer, Daniel Tully, whip chained, whipsawed, Bruce Wasserstein, Credit Suisse, Ben Golub, Nassim Taleb, The Black Swan, Joseph Perella, Joe Giglio, quants, Alan Schwartz, Bob Bartley, Pete Peterson, Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone, Paul Mozer, Warren Buffett, Tom Maheras, Resolution Trust Corporation, Michael Vranos, Michael Madden, J. Tomilson Hill III, Gordon Gekko, Dick Fuld, The Gorilla, pencils, Ken Auletta, Greed and Glory on Wall Street, Lewis Glucksman, James Robinson, Lazard Freres, E. Gerald Corrigan, PaineWebber, Askin Capital Management, Moody's, Dean Witter, Travelers Group, JPMorgan, Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, Christopher Pettit, Joe Gregory, Dina Merrill, Roger Berlind, Margaret Whitton, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Samuel Pierce, Jack Kemp, Kerry Kennedy, Blutrich Falcone & Miller, David Dinkins, Barney Frank, Maxine Waters, Christopher Dodd, Hannah Burns, Lyndon LaRouche, Henry Gonzalez, Edward Markey, Ellington Capital, sticky-jump Z, BlackRock, Jack Welch, General Electric, Jon Corzine, Rao's, Long-Term Capital Management, Roger Lowenstein, David Komansky, Richard Dickey, Bruce Calvert, Alliance Capital, Vincent Tese, Mario Cuomo, Richard Sachs, Kurt Butenhoff, Joseph Lewis, Peter Karches, Sir Deryck Maughan, Jamie Dimon, Randy Barker, Dave Bushnell, Alan Sloan, Ponte's, Jessica Bibliowicz, Bill Heinzerling, Mike Carpenter, Robert Rubin, Robert Druskin, Glass-Steagall Act, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, Tim Douglas, Marcy Engel, structured finance, Lloyd Blankfein, Gary Cohn, Zoe Cruz, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Ayn Rand, Marilyn Barber, David Loeb, Vincent Mora, Bill Dallas, Ownit, Dow Kim, Michael Blum, First Franklin, David Rosenberg, Douglas "Sandy" Warner, Jeffrey Peek, Ahmass Fakahany, Arshad Zakaria, Thomas Patrick, Robert Luciano, Hank Paulson, Stanley Druckenmiller, Duquesne Capital, Philip Purcell, Pequot Capital, George Soros, Quantum Fund, Eliot Spitzer, Jack Grubman, Michael Armstrong, William Donaldson, David X. Li, Shalabh Mehrish, Ralph cioffi, Lawrence Kudlow, High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund, High-Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leverage Fund, CDO, "Just Like the Son," Nouriel Roubini, Harvey Goldschmid, Arthur Levitt Jr., VAR, Bernard Madoff, James Nadler, Ryland Mortgage, Neil Baron, Standard & Poor's, Fitch, Basel II, Frank Raiter, Richard Gugliada, Martin Sullivan, American International Group, AIG, Andrew Malik, Richard Dickey, Archstone-Smith, Lawrence Lindsey, Michael Gelband, Mark Walsh, Erin Callan, Gerardo Bruno, Christopher Ricciardi, David Trone, Fox-Pitt Kelton, Josh Rosner, Jeff Kronthal, Peter Kelly, John Phelan, Alberto Cribiore, David Viniar, Jeffrey Edwards, Greg Fleming, Bob McCann, Antonio Scalia, Peggy Noonan, Dick Grasso, Joseph Cassano, Bill Gross, Osman Semerci, Mac Taylor, Craig Overlander, Mel Martinez, George W. Bush, Franklin Raines, Richard Baker, Robert Druskin, Todd Thomson, Sallie Krawcheck, Gary Crittenden, Gretchen Morgenson, David Einhorn, Greenlight Capital, John Kerry, Matthew Tannin, ABX, Dale Lattanzio, Dick Bove, Punk Ziegel, Richard Marin, Jacob Zamansky, Henry Blodget, Sam Molinaro, Mike Mayo, Paul Friedman, Dick Parsons, Jim Cramer, Ben Bernanke, Kevin Warsh, Don Kohn, Meredith Whitney, Oppenheimer, CITIC, Hyman Roth, Flomax, DV01 Metric, Paul Critchlow, John Breit, Ken Lewis, Bank of America, Hugh McColl, Randy Barker, Vikram Pandit, Old Lane Partners, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Ken Thompson, Wachovia, John Thain, John Paulson, Armando Codina, Sir Win Bischoff, William Smith, Phil Falcone, Jesse Eisinger, Patrick Byrne, Bess Levin, Dealbreaker, Bruce Sherman, Erin Burnett, John Carney, Michael Smith, Carmen Thain, Nelson Chai, Margaret Tutwiler, Peter Kraus, Tom Montag, "John Boy," Ambac, MBIA, Eric Dinallo, Bill Ackman, Steve Davis, Jose Estronza, Guy Moszkowski, The Harrison, James Chanos, Kynikos, Kenneth Lay, Jeffrey Skilling, John Angelo, Alan Best, Brad Hintz, Bob Pisani, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Ashley Alexandra Dupre, Christopher Cox, Gary Parr, Rodgin Cohen, Post House, Robert Upton, Jeffrey Mayer, Tom Morano, Steven Mayer, Wendy de Monchaux, Frederic Salerno, Cafe Gray, Kenneth Langone, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Edward Grieb, Carlos Slim, Hugh "Skip" McGee, Herbert "Bart" McDade, Patricia Cook, Richard Syron, David Andrukonis, Jim Bunning, John Finnegan, John Havens, John Grayken, Joseph Grano, Neuberger Berman, John Linder, Steve Black, William Tanona, Edward Herlihy, Alan Blinder, James Gorman, Walid Chammah, John Cassidy, John Mica, John McCain, Barack Obama, Art Samberg, Kevin Warsh, Josh Bolten, Hillary Clinton, Judd Gregg, Spencer Bachus, Chuck Schumer, Adam Putnam, Mike Pence, Richard Kovacevich, Sheila Bair, Ned Kelly, Lisa A. White, Virginia Juliano, Max Meyers, Ethan Friedman, Hollis Heimbouch, John Jusino, Matt Inman, Dr. James Gasparino, Kevin Goldman, Michael Salomon, Angela Juliano, Benny Giannone, Joe DiSalvo, Tina Brown, Ed Felsenthal, Col Allan, Mark Cunningham, Susan Krakower, Mark Hoffman, Jeremy Pink, Tyler Mathisen, Jonathan Wald, Tina DiSalvo, Peter Giannone, Phyllis Giannone, Michael Giannone, Matthew DiSalvo, Mia DiSalvo, Nicole Giannone, Roseann Bergman, Mark Schwartz, Eric Starkman, Eddie Grant, Marie's Crisis Cafe, Paul Carlucci, Campagnola, Sistina, Todd Shuster, Bill Summers, Club A Steakhouse, Elaine Kaufman, Elaine's

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