Skip to comments.Two Senators Appear to be "Friends of Countrywide"..Conrad and Dodd getting greased by Countrywide
Posted on 06/16/2008 12:22:43 PM PDT by Fred
The loud "thud" you just heard over in the corner of the Senate hearing room was Senator Chris Dodd's vice presidential hopes hitting the wall.
The Senator was the second major political figure caught up in and possibly brought down by various aspects of the mortgage mess in general and Countrywide Financial in particular.
The Senator, a Democrat from Connecticut and Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee which regulates mortgage lending, was named in an article by Julie Hirschfeld Davis of the Associated Press and earlier by Conde Nast Portfolio magazine, as one of two senators the other being Senator Kent Conrad (D ND) as having received preferential treatment from Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo in obtaining mortgage loans. Dodd had earlier this year called Countrywide's lending practices "abusive."
One week ago the allegation of a similar deal with Countrywide forced former Fannie Mae Chairman Jim Johnson to step down from his volunteer position as head of Barack Obama's vice presidential search team.
The three men were alleged to be participants in a special program for "friends" of Mozilo that awarded discounts and waived fees for those friends. Portfolio, citing internal Countrywide documents, said that the company made two loans to Dodd in 2003, shaving three-eights of a point off of a $506,000 loan to refinance a townhouse in Washington. The discount saved Dodd about $2,000 in interest payment. A second loan to refinance a house in Connecticut was written at a quarter point off the going rate, saving the Senator about $700 a year.
Conrad, who said he was referred to Mozilo by Jim Johnson, received a one point discount on orders of Mozilo which saved him about $10,000 per year on a $1.07 million mortgage used to purchase a vacation home in Delaware. According to the Associated Press, Countrywide also made an exception in lending Conrad $96,000 in 2004 to buy an 8-unit apartment building in spite of its policy of only providing loans for buildings of four units or fewer.
"They said they frequently made exceptions, especially for good customers," Conrad said.
An internal e-mail from Mozilo, however, said the exception was "due to the fact that the borrower is a senator," according to the Portfolio report.
Both Dodd and Conrad denied that they knew they were getting special treatment from the lender and Conrad stated that he had never met Mozilo but the Wall Street Journal said that while the two may not have met face-to-face, it was Conrad who called Mozilo and asked for a loan.
The Journal also said that Conrad has offered to make a charitable contribution for the amount of his estimated mortgage savings, over $10,000, to make the current controversy go away. According to the newspaper, "So while the Senator says he did nothing wrong, now that his non-mistake has been discovered, he will nonetheless give away the nonspecial treatment cash. There is ample evidence here to warrant an investigation, including subpoenas for relevant documents.
"The same goes for Senator Christopher Dodd (D., Conn.), who chairs the very Banking Committee responsible for drafting the laws that govern Countrywide's market. Mr. Dodd is still in denial mode, but so far no one has knocked down the Portfolio.com story that he received discounted loans as part of Countrywide's "Friends of Angelo" program."
Fannie Mae buys more home loans from Countrywide than from any other of its business affiliates. According to its most recent report to the Securities and Exchange Commission Fannie called Countrywide its "top customer," accounting for approximately 28 percent of Fannie's single-family business by volume last year 2 percent more than in 2006.
Again quoting the Journal article; "In the week since the Journal revealed this program, the key questions have become clear: What did Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo receive or think he would receive in return for the friendly loans to politicians? And what did Mr. Mozilo get or think he would get in return for sweetheart loans to Fannie Mae CEOs Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines?
One thing is certain, given presumed Presidential nominee Barack Obama's stated insistence that his campaign will not be run by or accepting donations from lobbyists, it is unlikely that the idea of a sweetheart deal between a major corporation and government bigwigs is going to work in favor of any of the latter who harbor vice presidential or cabinet aspirations. One just has to wonder how deep and how wide Countrywide has infiltrated the entire political process.
It wasn’t “grease”, it was K-Y..................
V.P. Chris Dodd. Yep, that’s the ticket.
Lift rug, sweep, lower rug. Next!.................
And Obama’s Chicago bud, Gov. Deval Patrick, had made a nice piece of change dealing with that other sub-prime mortgage company, Ameriquest.
The fact that Countrywide CEO clearly pumped and dumped himself to 1/2 a BILLION dollars as his company ran into the ground and isn’t in jail is all you need to know about this.
You dig you are going to find players with both political parties covered in mud from this company.
The fact this guy and others like him on the executive staff and board of this company have not (and never will be) frog marched for their crimes are why we are in the mess we are in.
Ooooooo - a quarter of a point off the going rate and 3/8 of a point off a re-finance. Be still my beating heart. Sound like scandal material. Come on people, haven’t we got bigger fish to fry? This isn’t even abnormal for a well qualified loan.
Geez... you listen to CNN and this is all just a waste of these good Senators time.
Um lets look at the math here....
“which saved him (conrad)about $10,000 per year on a $1.07 million mortgage.....
PER YEAR. And conrad is willing to give 10,000 to charity? Thats nice but what about the savings of the 10k every year for the life of the mortgage? And he gets the tax benefit of the donation. Did he refinance his loan so he wouldnt continue to get the sweetheart deal? NOPE!
The other officials who allegedly received special attention from Mozilo included President George W. Bush’s former housing secretary, Alphonso Jackson, and two senior figures from former president Bill Clinton’s administration — former United Nations ambassador Richard Holbrooke and former Health and Human Services secretary Donna Shalala, the magazine wrote.
I wonder if Terry McAullife’s name will appear after further investigation. He helped Bill and Hill with an interest free home loan.
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