Implode-Explode Heavy Industries news feed http://implode-explode.com/ Tracking the many faces of the global credit implosion. en-us iehi-feed-64739 Fri, 24 May 2019 17:21:56 GMT Dow heads for fifth straight negative week, longest losing streak since 2011 http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-24_Dowheadsforfifthstraightnegativeweeklongestlosingstreaksince2011.html Stocks were headed for weekly losses on Friday as investors worry the U.S.-China trade war is hurting economic growth.

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U.S. durable goods orders dropped 2.1% last month amid a slowdown in exports and a buildup in inventories. This is the latest economic data set showing cracks in the economy while the world's largest economies engage in a trade war. IHS Markit said Thursday that U.S. manufacturing activity fell to a nine-year low.

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"The growing worries around a US/China elongated trade battle and its implications on the tech space are heavily weighing on the minds of both investors and the companies themselves caught in the cross hairs," Dan Ives, analyst at Wedbush Securities, wrote in a note to clients. "The ‘poster child' for the US/China trade wars continue to be Apple with the stock under heavy pressure as many competitors are yelling fire in a crowded theater around the potential China impact to Cupertino if this situation worsens.

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iehi-feed-64738 Fri, 24 May 2019 17:04:52 GMT The Economy is Stagnant, Not "Booming" http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-24_TheEconomyisStagnantNotBooming.html President Trump likes to brag about the supposedly booming economy. So do other Republican politicians. Some journalists have gotten into the habit too, exaggerating the strength of the economic expansion, because it makes for a good story. Here's the truth: There is no boom. The economy has been mired in an extended funk since the financial crisis ended in 2010. G.D.P. growth still has not reached 3 percent in any year, and 3 percent isn't a very high bar.

Last week, while attending an economics conference in Washington, I discovered one particularly clear sign of the economy's struggles -- namely, that it keeps performing worse than the experts have predicted.

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Over time, the differences between the experts' predictions and the economy's performance have added up. The American economy would be about 6 percent larger today -- producing $1.3 trillion more in goods and services this year -- if the forecasts had come true. And for most families, real-life experience has been more disappointing than the G.D.P. numbers, because much of the bounty of the economy's growth has flowed to the affluent.

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The 2017 Trump tax [was] is a dreadful piece of economic policy -- essentially a giant effort to aggravate income inequality. Tax cuts that benefit the wealthy most are huge and permanent. Tax cuts focused on everyone else are smaller and temporary... A better policy response would start with a tax cut focused on the majority of Americans, not the wealthy. And there are many other ways to take on secular stagnation... Infrastructure projects, to jump-start investment. The retirement of coal-fired power plants, which would also lead to new investment. Stronger safety-net programs, including Social Security, to reduce the savings glut. More aggressive antitrust policies, to combat monopolies. And a Federal Reserve that, at long last, stopped making the same mistake -- of overestimating both growth and inflation.

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iehi-feed-64736 Fri, 24 May 2019 13:51:14 GMT Google to buy New York building for $600m; 100 times 1996 price http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-24_GoogletobuyNewYorkbuildingfor600m100times1996price.html

Google has agreed to pay $600m to acquire a historic building in Manhattan's Meatpacking District -- a hundred times what it was sold for in 1996 -- in a deal that reflects the tech company's growing footprint in New York City.

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The first time he sold the building, in 1996, the cobbledstoned neighbourhood was a gritty outpost with a reliable supply of transgender prostitutes and illicit drugs. It went for $6m to Moishe Mana, an Israeli immigrant who grew wealthy after founding a local moving company, Moishe's Moving, and his partner, Erez Shternlicht.

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https://www.ft.com/content/e46c1558-7ccf-11e9-81d2-f785092ab560

n 2004 Mr Harmon helped them sell the building to investment firm Angelo Gordon for $55m, and then flipped it four years later to Stellar Management for $161m, who then shifted it -- with his assistance -- to Jamestown, a developer, in 2013 for $284m.

Now comes Google, whose $2.4bn purchase of the nearby Chelsea Market last year reinforced the neighbourhood's status as New York City's technology capital. It also helped to cement Mr Harmon's standing as one of two uber brokers in a real estate-obsessed city.

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For Mr Harmon, a born talker with a touch of showbiz panache, the Milk sale is evidence that there is still juice in the city's real-estate market -- even after a prolonged run whose sheer duration has set many executives on edge, with a sharp retreat of Chinese buyers and a fall in prices for luxury condominiums.

In one sign of the market's fragility, brokers have taken to selling some buildings privately, approaching potential buyers without making a formal listing to avoid the risk of disappointing headlines.

Rising US interest rates would cause some dislocation, Mr Harmon said. But overall, he argued that New York's property market was stronger than many sceptics realised -- particularly for those who understood how to navigate it.

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iehi-feed-64734 Fri, 24 May 2019 12:31:37 GMT Federal Savings Bank CEO Indicted For Approving Manafort Mortgages http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-24_FederalSavingsBankCEOIndictedForApprovingManafortMortgages.html iehi-feed-64732 Thu, 23 May 2019 22:23:51 GMT New York Passes Bill Giving Congress a Way to Get Trump's State Tax Returns http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-23_NewYorkPassesBillGivingCongressaWaytoGetTrumpsStateTaxReturns.html New York State lawmakers on Wednesday gave their final approval to a bill that would clear a path for Congress to obtain President Trump's state tax returns, injecting another element into a tortuous battle over the president's refusal to release his taxes.

The bill, which is expected to be signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat and regular critic of Mr. Trump's policies and behavior, will authorize state tax officials to release the president's state returns to any one of three congressional committees.

The returns -- filed in New York, the president's home state and business headquarters -- would likely contain much of the same information as the contested federal returns, though it remained unclear whether those congressional committees would use such new power in their investigations.

The Legislature's actions put the state in a bit of uncharted legal territory; Mr. Trump has said that he is ready to take the fight over his federal tax returns to the Supreme Court, and it seems likely that he would seek to contest New York's maneuver.

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Steven M. Rosenthal, a tax lawyer and senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, said he would not be surprised if the president fought the state law, though he believed it passed legal muster.

"Of course, the Legislature was motivated by Donald Trump's current refusals," Mr. Rosenthal said, but added that he thought the bill was written broadly enough to avoid the "bill of attainder" accusation.

That opinion was echoed by Brian Galle, a law professor at Georgetown University Law School, who said that "bills of attainder have been interpreted really narrowly by the courts," and noted that legislation often describes targeted industries or municipalities in vague terms.

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iehi-feed-64731 Thu, 23 May 2019 22:18:40 GMT Living In A Van in Google's Backyard? Strapped Tech Co. Employees About To Be Hit With Ban http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-23_LivingInAVaninGooglesBackyardStrappedTechCoEmployeesAboutToBeHit.html Some Silicon Valley towns have cracked down in recent months, creating an even more uncertain future for RV residents. At a March city council meeting, Mountain View voted to ban RVs from parking overnight on public streets. The ban hasn't taken effect yet, but soon, the town's van dwellers will need to go elsewhere. The city council also declared a shelter crisis and passed a new ordinance to ticket vehicles that "discharge domestic sewage on the public right of way." At the meeting, some people opposing the ban blamed Google for the housing crisis.

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She applied online to be a Google security guard and when the contracting firm gave her the job, she moved to Mountain View in April. She initially considered renting a small apartment, but realized she couldn't save any money that way. "An apartment out here would cost at least $2,500 a month," she said. "The money I make here is great, but I would be pretty much spending the majority of that on rent and I just don't want to do that." So she decided to rent the RV for $800 a month.

"There's less space. That's the main thing. It's confined," she said. Her day starts on Google's campus where she can grab a quick breakfast, usually a banana. Lunch is also available at headquarters, while dinner is prepared on the RVs two stove tops. There's no oven.

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Another RV resident in Mountain View is a 41-year-old IT professional who now drives for Lyft Inc. He moved from Sacramento about two years ago after his wife got a job at a big drug-development company in Silicon Valley. (He asked not to be identified because he worries his wife might lose her job if her employer learns about her living situation.) Once they arrived, they realized they couldn't afford to rent an apartment and build their savings, despite a combined income of roughly $100,000 a year.

"We just did the math when we were, you know, renting a room, and we could kind of stay afloat but there's no way to save any money for retirement or the future at all," he said.

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The Lyft driver, and other van dwellers around him, said they aren't sure what they'll do when the parking ban kicks in, rendering their situation illegal. Many hope to just muddle through somehow. "I'm aware of the ban," said Brandon, another Mountain View RV resident who didn't want to share his last name. "I'll cross that particular bridge when I get to it."

Tech companies should be doing more to fix the housing crisis, the Lyft driver said. "There was a time when corporations were allowed to operate because they were also providing for the communities around them in some way," he said. "And for some reason that responsibility has shifted to profits only."

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iehi-feed-64730 Thu, 23 May 2019 04:07:45 GMT Judge Rejects Trump Effort to Block Deutsche Bank Subpoena http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-23_JudgeRejectsTrumpEfforttoBlockDeutscheBankSubpoena.html A federal judge in New York rejected President Donald Trump's request to keep his banks from producing financial records to lawmakers, handing House Democrats a second convincing courtroom win this week in their efforts to delve into the president's finances.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, ruling from the bench on Wednesday, denied Trump's request for a preliminary injunction, saying that while the president, his family and his business would suffer irreparable harm from disclosure of the records, they were "unlikely to succeed on the merits" with their argument that the congressional subpoenas are improper.

The decision comes two days after U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington ruled that Congress has the authority to demand records from Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA LLP.

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Trump is appealing the Washington ruling and both sides have asked for a quick hearing. Trump is also likely to appeal Wednesday's decision.

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iehi-feed-64729 Wed, 22 May 2019 15:05:56 GMT Sandals Resorts Allegedly Ripped Off Guests With Bogus Taxes Charges http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-22_SandalsResortsAllegedlyRippedOffGuestsWithBogusTaxesCharges.html iehi-feed-64727 Wed, 22 May 2019 12:58:08 GMT Iconic Waldorf Astoria hotel is part of China's US property fire sale - but don't expect a bargain http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-22_IconicWaldorfAstoriahotelispartofChinasUSpropertyfiresalebutdont.html iehi-feed-64726 Mon, 20 May 2019 18:07:44 GMT Ditech Customers Win Major Victory In Ditech Bankruptcy http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-20_DitechCustomersWinMajorVictoryInDitechBankruptcy.html iehi-feed-64724 Sun, 19 May 2019 17:22:14 GMT A Generation of Taxi Drivers Conned in "Subprime Medallion Loan" Schemes Across The Country http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-19_AGenerationofTaxiDriversConnedinSubprimeMedallionLoanSchemesAcro.html The call came from a prominent businessman who was selling a medallion, the coveted city permit that allows a driver to own a yellow cab instead of working for someone else. If Mr. Hoque gave him $50,000 that day, he promised to arrange a loan for the purchase... Mr. Hoque made about $30,000 that year. He had no idea, he said later, that he had just signed a contract that required him to pay $1.7 million.

Over the past year, a spate of suicides by taxi drivers in New York City has highlighted in brutal terms the overwhelming debt and financial plight of medallion owners. All along, officials have blamed the crisis on competition from ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.

But a New York Times investigation found much of the devastation can be traced to a handful of powerful industry leaders who steadily and artificially drove up the price of taxi medallions, creating a bubble that eventually burst. Over more than a decade, they channeled thousands of drivers into reckless loans and extracted hundreds of millions of dollars before the market collapsed.

These business practices generated huge profits for bankers, brokers, lawyers, investors, fleet owners and debt collectors. The leaders of nonprofit credit unions became multimillionaires. Medallion brokers grew rich enough to buy yachts and waterfront properties...

But the methods stripped immigrant families of their life savings, crushed drivers under debt they could not repay and engulfed an industry that has long defined New York. More than 950 medallion owners have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records. Thousands more are barely hanging on.

The practices were strikingly similar to those behind the housing market crash that led to the 2008 global economic meltdown: Banks and loosely regulated private lenders wrote risky loans and encouraged frequent refinancing; drivers took on debt they could not afford, under terms they often did not understand.

Some big banks even entered the taxi industry in the aftermath of the housing crash, seeking a new market, with new borrowers.

The combination of easy money, eager borrowers and the lure of a rare asset helped prices soar far above what medallions were really worth. Some industry leaders fed the frenzy by purposefully overpaying for medallions in order to inflate prices, The Times found.

Between 2002 and 2014, the price of a medallion rose to more than $1 million from $200,000, even though city records showed that driver incomes barely changed.

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As in the housing crash, government officials ignored warning signs and exempted lenders from regulations. The city Taxi and Limousine Commission went the furthest of all, turning into a cheerleader for medallion sales. It was tasked with regulating the industry, but as prices skyrocketed, it sold new medallions and began declaring they were "better than the stock market."

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The investigation found example after example of drivers trapped in exploitative loans, including hundreds who signed interest-only loans that required them to pay exorbitant fees, forfeit their legal rights and give up almost all their monthly income, indefinitely.

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Lenders developed their techniques in New York but spread them to Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and elsewhere, transforming taxi industries across the United States.

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iehi-feed-64722 Sun, 19 May 2019 17:11:35 GMT Deutsche Bank Suppressed Trump, Kushner Money Laundering Alarms; Fired Whistleblower http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-19_DeutscheBankSuppressedTrumpKushnerMoneyLaunderingAlarmsFiredWhis.html Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.

The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump's now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees. Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.

But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees' advice. The reports were never filed with the government.

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Ms. McFadden [a longtime anti-money laundering specialist in Deutsche Bank's Jacksonville office] said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank's practices. Since then, she has filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators about the bank's anti-money-laundering enforcement.

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Ms. McFadden said she had reviewed the transactions and found that money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals. She concluded that the transactions should be reported to the government -- in part because federal regulators had ordered Deutsche Bank, which had been caught laundering billions of dollars for Russians, to toughen its scrutiny of potentially illegal transactions.

... Typically, such a report would be reviewed by a team of anti-money laundering experts who are independent of the business line in which the transactions originated -- in this case, the private-banking division -- according to Ms. McFadden and two former Deutsche Bank managers.

That did not happen with this report. It went to managers in New York who were part of the private bank, which caters to the ultrawealthy. They felt Ms. McFadden's concerns were unfounded and opted not to submit the report to the government, the employees said.

Ms. McFadden and some of her colleagues said they believed the report had been killed to maintain the private-banking division's strong relationship with Mr. Kushner.

After Mr. Trump became president, transactions involving him and his companies were reviewed by an anti-financial crime team at the bank called the Special Investigations Unit. That team, based in Jacksonville, produced multiple suspicious activity reports involving different entities that Mr. Trump owned or controlled, according to three former Deutsche Bank employees who saw the reports in an internal computer system.

Some of those reports involved Mr. Trump's limited liability companies. At least one was related to transactions involving the Donald J. Trump Foundation, two employees said.

Deutsche Bank ultimately chose not to file those suspicious activity reports with the Treasury Department, either, according to three former employees. They said it was unusual for the bank to reject a series of reports involving the same high-profile client.

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iehi-feed-64720 Sat, 18 May 2019 18:25:16 GMT Deed Fraud Alert: Woman Evicted From Home She Thought She Owned http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-18_DeedFraudAlertWomanEvictedFromHomeSheThoughtSheOwned.html iehi-feed-64718 Thu, 16 May 2019 13:59:11 GMT Student Loan Debt Alert: Feds Crank Up Collection Efforts http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-16_StudentLoanDebtAlertFedsCrankUpCollectionEfforts.html iehi-feed-64716 Wed, 15 May 2019 16:17:01 GMT Amateur Home Flippers Get Harsh Wake Up Call http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-15_AmateurHomeFlippersGetHarshWakeUpCall.html iehi-feed-64715 Tue, 14 May 2019 14:14:16 GMT Angelo Mozilo Says He Is Done Being The Villain Of The Financial Crisis http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-14_AngeloMoziloSaysHeIsDoneBeingTheVillainOfTheFinancialCrisis.html iehi-feed-64714 Tue, 14 May 2019 11:51:59 GMT Live Well Financial's abrupt closing leads to host of problems http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-14_LiveWellFinancialsabruptclosingleadstohostofproblems.html iehi-feed-64713 Mon, 13 May 2019 12:15:19 GMT New York City Taxes Create A Conga Line Of Businesses To Miami http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-13_NewYorkCityTaxesCreateACongaLineOfBusinessesToMiami.html iehi-feed-64712 Sun, 12 May 2019 15:11:46 GMT Ride Sharing Scam Alert: Ride Sharing Scammers Busted http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-12_RideSharingScamAlertRideSharingScammersBusted.html iehi-feed-64711 Fri, 10 May 2019 21:10:38 GMT Uber Drives Into a Ditch for its IPO http://implode-explode.com/viewnews/2019-05-10_UberDrivesIntoaDitchforitsIPO.html ``Shares of Uber fell more than 7% on its first day of trading Friday, marking a rocky Wall Street debut for a company that endured plenty of bumps on its long road to going public. Uber opened at $42 a share, below its IPO price of $45, and ended the day even lower at $41.57.

That disappointing first day performance sets Uber apart from the vast majority of its tech peers. In the past five years, only 10% of venture capital-backed US technology IPOs finished the first day in the red, according to data provided to CNN Business from Renaissance Capital, which manages IPO-focused exchange-traded funds.

Uber did succeed in raising $8.1 billion in one of the largest public offerings ever, a substantial war chest that should fund the company's expansion into new cities and service categories. But that amount was still at the low end of what Uber originally set out to raise.

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shares in Lyft fell below their IPO price on their second day of trading and have continued to tumble since. The stock is now down about 25% from the IPO price... tech companies that have come to market in recent years with massive losses -- including Lyft and Snap -- are currently "not trading above their IPO price."

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