Heard at Goldman Hearing: ‘Shi**y Deal,’ ‘Junk,’ Bookie ‘Vig’

April 27, 2010

(ChattahBox)— The day-long hearing held by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to investigate fraud claims made against Goldman Sachs, offered plenty of colorful language from frustrated lawmakers stymied, by less than forthcoming responses from Goldman officials testifying under oath. A group of current and former employees of the beleaguered financial firm, denied any wrongdoing, or they didn’t remember, didn’t know and dissociated themselves from internal memos, because they were not their own words. But lawmakers, especially subcommittee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), repeated verbatim the profane and colorful language contained in some memos, hoping to elicit a response.

“Boy that Timberwolf was one shi**y deal,” read Levin. Timberwolf was the name of one group of subprime mortgage deals. Despite Levin’s repeated use of the term “shi**y deal” Levin failed to get an answer from former Goldman manager Dan Sparks.

Levin asked Sparks how Goldman could condone selling Timberwolf to investors, as a “top priority,” when they knew it “was a shitty deal.” He evaded the question, insisting the reference to a “shi**y deal” was a knock on his performance. Finally Levin asked: “Should Goldman Sachs be trying to sell a shi**y deal”? Sparks responded: “There are prices in the market that people want to invest in things. I didn’t use that term with respect to this deal.” At that point, Levin gave up saying: “If you can’t give a clear answer to that one, Mr. Sparks, I don’t think we’re going to get too many clear answers from you.”

Timberwolf lost more than 80 percent of its value within five months it was issued.

Other lawmakers read memos referring to “junk” assets and again, Goldman executives refused to admit the collateralized debt obligations tied to subprime mortgages were junk.

And Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) continued with her Las Vegas casino analogy, lambasting the Goldman executives, as “bookies.” “You all are the house. You’re the bookie,” declared McCaskill. “People are booking their bets with you,” she added “That’s what they’re doing. That’s what a synthetic CDO is. I don’t know why we need to dress it up. It’s just a bet.”

Later, the feisty Senator from Missouri, asked Sparks to provide her with a breakdown of his ‘vig” on the CDO deals that may or may not be “junk” and “shi**y deals.” “What’s your vig, Mr. Sparks, on these deals?” she asked. Sparks declined to answer and asked McCaskill to refer to the figure as “profits” rather than using a bookie analogy.

Watch Sen. Levin:

Watch Sen. McCaskill


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