Monday, January 16, 2012

Goldman Sachs exec sponsors opulent party in troubled times

Goldman Sachs is the primary financier for Music City Center construction and an adviser to the Karl Dean's office on the funding the project. Because the local news media did very little questioning of Goldman's background or their checkered history in the bursting of the housing bubble, it has been left to bloggers to write about the shady and embarrassing news on Goldman.

That we can trace stories on the low ethical character of major company players continues to be Goldman's walk of shame even if it is not directly related to the Music City Center. The caliber of the company Metro hired matters. We should not divorce the pattern of hubris of this company from their business dealings with Metro. Each Goldman misstep elsewhere should be localized at least with the question of whether they might be prone to so misstep here, especially when we have a news media who are prone to ignore bad news in favor of the press releases issued from the Mayor's Office.

The latest news is that a Goldman Sachs executive held an obscenely opulent tween party for his daughter in Denver:

[Jeffrey Verschleiser] ... heads Goldman’s mortgage division now. And after cutting a mile-wide swath of losses through the American economy, helping destroy two venerable firms in Bear and Ambac, bilking the taxpayer for untold millions more (he is also named in a lawsuit filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for allegedly speeding bad loans onto securitization before they defaulted), Verschleiser is now living the contented life of a proud family man, renting out a 94-room hotel for three days for his daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

It’s certainly heartening that Verschleiser is spending this money on his daughter instead of, say, hiring a busload of Jamaican hookers to spend the weekend lounging with him in a hot tub full of Beluga caviar. People ought to give their children the best, I guess. But there’s this, too: at a time when one in four Americans has zero or negative net worth, renting a 94-room hotel for three days for a tweenager party might already be pushing the edge of the good taste/tact envelope. Even for the most honest millionaire in Aspen, it would seem a little gauche.

We will see whether any lapses of good taste manifests around Nashville's trickle-down convention center project, a mechanism designed by and for elites without deep connections to the local community.


  1. Meh. Very thin gruel here.

    Would that you cover the imperial First Lady in the same manner.

  2. Hey Anonymous,

    Your "argument" is baseless and silly. Perhaps you're cool with the fact that your tax dollars have gone to line the pockets, in a thick manner, of a company that has screwed many city governments. Just look at what happened to Birmingham. Goldman is based on greed. Pure and simple.

  3. Yep. Some of Goldman's track record in local communities has been blogged here before.

    Click on the "Government Goldman" label at the bottom of this post.

  4. I didn't present an argument, so I'm unsure why you would call it baseless and silly.

    This post, about a bat mitzvah in Colorado, betrays this blogs hyper-local focus. The link between what went on in Denver and financing in Nashville is not tenuous; it doesn't exist.

  5. I call bullshit, Anon. The obscene sense of entitlement on Wall Street--which never disciplines itself with austerity, but insists that everyone else submit to it--is a drag on Main Street. The recession barely made these execs skip a beat. They continued to maintain corporate jet fleets, they continued to pay six-figure bonuses, they continued to hold retreats at lavish resorts, and they continued to find ways to screw over people they conduct business with to bankroll their entitled lifestyle (which includes reserving entire hotels so that their precious little heirs come to see themselves as royalty). It is naive to assume that somehow a Goldman Sachs project in Nashville is not subject to the same bad faith and lack of tact they use elsewhere.

  6. Any stupid act by a player in an organization should be "localized" since the same bad faith could happen here? Maybe you do have a point. I felt the same way about the Democratic party in Davidson county after the head was arrested for kiddie porn.

  7. (different anonymous above)

    I don't intend to go tit-for-tat, although I'll stand by what I write.