Friday, December 11, 2009
by Jameel Murray
Although many people believe that celebrities are rich and full of money, there are fair shares of celebrities who have filed for bankruptcy. Besides the recent news of Nicholas Cage and NBA star Antoine Walker, the public is oblivious to famous people who have filed for bankruptcy. One celebrity who should be the poster boy for bankruptcy is Mc Hammer. In 1996, Hammer owed $10 million to creditors and filed for bankruptcy. Since his bankruptcy claim, Hammer has become an entrepreneur in an attempt to reclaim success. Another bankruptcy that people never can recall was the bankruptcy of Walt Disney. In 1921, Disney began a company called laugh-o-gram, which would eventually cause him to file for bankruptcy. After his bankruptcy, Disney moved to Hollywood and became the most celebrated animator ever. Although bankruptcy can be a financial standstill in one’s life, it also teaches to be more careful with finances and can inspire one to pursue great ventures such as Walt Disney and MC Hammer.
Posted by Kenny Hernandez
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Regulators closed regional banks in three U.S. states Friday, bringing the total number of failed banks this year to 133, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said.
Customers of the failed banks are protected. The FDIC, which has insured bank deposits since the Great Depression, currently covers accounts up to $250,000.
In Florida, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) closed Republic Federal Bank, NA, and the FDIC was named receiver.
The House of Representatives were quite busy on Friday as they passed the legislation to reform the nation's regulatory system by a vote of 223 to 202. The new legislation puts an end to taxpayer bailout by creating a single agency to oversee mortgages and outlaws predatory lending. With the overall proposed legislation was bankruptcy cramdown amendment proposed by Rep. John Conyers. This amendment was not favored by the House and rejected with a vote of 241 to 188. One of the main reason for the turn down was the fact that the House had past an almost identical bill back in March that was later turned down by the Senate. Another reason was the strong concerns of the mortgage banking community that stated that if passed the legislation would have further increased that cost of borrowers. There was not much released about the specifics for not including the cram down amendment in the overall package. If the past it would have helped with home foreclosures that are continuing to hurt our nation. Currently bankruptcy courts are allowed to reduce many forms of debt on boats, summer home, cars, boat, farm, but not the families primary residence. By rejecting this new clause the House state that bankruptcy courts are not allowed to reconstruct mortgages.
By Shawn Chandok
When filing for bankruptcy, there are usually 2 types of bankruptcies that are common, Chapter 7 and Chapter 11. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is considered one of the worst because it is complete liquidation of assets. The court first follows a procedure where they assign a trustee to evaluate all your assets and wealth. Once that is done, he/she converts all convertible assets to cash in order to pay off debtors and creditors. However what makes chapter 7 unique is that “In most chapter 7 cases, if the debtor is an individual, he or she receives a discharge that releases him or her from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. The debtor normally receives a discharge just a few months after the petition is filed.”
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is also known as reorganization. Under chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor usually has a certain amount of days to convince his debt holders why he should be given more time to pay off his debts. If the court approves this decision, the debtor is given a grace period of a certain amount of time where he will not be charged any expenses, however he must begin to pay off his previous debt to show future prosperity.
By Shawn Chandok
We have all heard of the famous entrepreneur Huff Heffner and how he is considered probably one of the world’s luckiest men alive. However, even with his glamour filled life, the economic recession of 2008 has impacted him tremendously.
Currently the CEO of Playboy is Jerome Kern, who replaced Hugh Heffner’s daughter Christine Hefner. Last year Playboy reported a $13.7 million dollar loss during their first quarter. It was stated that this loss is 3x the loss they took during the same time in 2008 which was $4.2 million. Ever since the financial crisis, Playboy has taken several initiatives to reduce costs and avoid bankruptcy. “In October 2008, Playboy laid off over a quarter of its workforce, axed its DVD business and its New York office and consequently merged its print and online operations to reduce costs significantly.” Billionaire and bachelor Hugh Heffner said he is considering selling the famous company and ending his dynasty under graphic magazines. One of the major reasons for the continuing downfall of Playboy includes the failure of its outsourced ecommerce operations. In addition to the lack of magazine sales, revenue was down more than 20% last year totaling $78.5 million. This is a perfect example of how outsourcing may not be suitable for all companies.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
CIT Group Inc's new shares rose as much as 6 percent from opening levels in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday as the lender to small businesses emerged from one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history.
CIT, one of the biggest financial sector victims of the credit crisis, is also the only major firm in the sector to emerge from bankruptcy.
Others, such as Lehman Brothers, Washington Mutual and IndyMac have been unable to continue on their own.
But the comeback may not be easy.
"In the space they are working, it is a tough time trying to secure customers for a company that has gone bankrupt," said Robert Lutts, president and chief investment officer at Cabot Money Management.
"Today, executives making decisions in the financial area are making very low-risk decisions," Lutts said. "That means don't work with the problem childs of the world, and I think that is going to mean a tough sledding for CIT."
Hundreds of thousands of small and mid-sized businesses depend on CIT for financing, and company lawyers had said the company needed to get through bankruptcy quickly to avoid customer defections.
By Andrew Lipsitz
By now it should be obvious that information is the basis for all decision making in finance. The statisticians at JP Morgan were most likely well aware of this concept, and used a model to predict corporate defaults by using previous correlations in such risks. However, this was still just a guessing game in theory, because at any time correlation can change and corporations could begin to default at significant levels just because other corporations using JP Morgan are loosing confidence.
The information for supporting hundreds of billions of dollars in assets on the balance sheets just was not sufficient enough to carry out these “super-senior” risk derivatives. Also, since the derivatives received the highest ratings from Moody’s and other major rating companies, AIG agreed to take on the risk of these deals. Since
I believe that the whole catastrophe could have been avoided if the derivatives made up less of the balance sheet or if they would have been used as off-balance sheet items.
The second issue here is one of specialization versus generalization. JP Morgan wanted to compete in the mortgage loan market because competitors were getting an edge on them. For JP Morgan to enter into this unfamiliar market was a disaster from the start. Since they had no data on mortgage defaults and regulators made it difficult for them to acquire this information, it was hard for them to estimate the correlated risks. Although doing credit derivative deals with mortgage debt seemed inevitable if they wanted to properly compete, JP Morgan was not specialized in mortgage debt and did not have the required data to keep up.
BRUSSELS — The financial crisis engulfing Greece is "very serious," requires "support" from fellow EU member states and will be discussed by leaders at a summit dinner in Brussels later Thursday, the bloc's Swedish presidency said.
"It is not formally on the agenda, but I guess prime ministers will relate to the matter informally, because the situation in Greece is very serious," said Swedish European Affairs Minister Cecilia Malmstroem.
"We are of course concerned... It's a difficult situation that needs time, political courage (and) some reform.
"We are in a family, we try to support each other," she underlined.
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou on Thursday called an all-party crisis meeting aiming to reassure panicked markets that Athens is ready to "clean up" its economy.
Greek debt stands at 300 billion euros, the highest in the country's history, the finance ministry in Athens announced Thursday.
Greece's sovereign debt was downgraded this week by the international ratings agency Fitch, prompting fears around Europe of dangerous spillover effects for the 16 countries that use its euro currency, and the European Union at large.
"They know what they need to do, but they are in difficulty and it will take time," Malmstroem added.
However, Finnish foreign minister Matti Vanhanen said the EU wanted reassurance that no "surprises" lurk behind Greece's latest statements.
"There are big deficits in all countries," he said. "The most important issue is that we have real information, and not surprises."
In Bonn, meanwhile German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European Union shared a "common responsibility" for Greece.
"What happens in a member country influences all the others, particularly when you have a common currency," Merkel said after a meeting of the centre-right European People's Party (EPP) in the western German city of Bonn.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Posted by Chris O'Sullivan
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. small business lender CIT Group Inc headed to court on Tuesday to ask a New York bankruptcy judge for approval of its prepackaged reorganization plan.
The company, which filed for bankruptcy just weeks ago on November 1, is asking Judge Allan Gropper to approve the plan, which would pave the way for the company to exit bankruptcy protection.
"We think our plan has, in fact, satisfied the conditions for approval," Gregg Galardi, an attorney at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom representing CIT, said at the beginning of a court hearing on Tuesday.
CIT, which filed one of the five largest bankruptcies in U.S. history after a debt exchange offer failed, is hoping to reduce its debt by $10 billion under the reorganization plan.
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Monday, December 7, 2009
During the 1980's many leveraged buyout firms jumped on the opportunity to scoop up troubled companies, restructure them, and then sell them back to the public for often an enormous profit. This trend has been carried on by private equity funds that have been formed for this very purpose. While these large buyouts have been somewhat on the downswing over the last 12 months, they are back on the rise and have recorded the second highest volume since July of 2008. The question that is raised is whether or not these large buyouts are a good thing for the economy? Large investors have made it so the stock market is no longer the place to go to make money. Private equity is longer simply a part of the financial market, it has quickly become a centerpiece which does not appear to be going anywhere. One possible threat is that an increasing number of large firms will be taken over by these pools of investors that run the company privately and have no one to answer to. The sole purpose for them is to make a return on their own investment, with little interest of others. Investors make the argument that the U.S. economy is better off when companies are operating well, but it is also difficult how much good it is actually doing for the economy, but not so hard to see how much money it makes for the investors. A result of this may be that returns on these investments may start to come down a little as these deals become harder and harder to find.
Posted by: Zachary Pienkowski
In a feisty and expansive speech, New York Fed President Bill Dudley says he finds it “galling” and “unfair” that employees at bailed out banks are raking in big pay packages, but he says regulators need to be careful about cracking down on it.
Here it is in his words:
“This issue of compensation is obviously a hugely potent one, as there is a fundamental unfairness in what has happened over the past few years. The actions taken by the Federal Reserve and others to stabilize the financial system had the effect of rescuing many of the same financial institutions that contributed to this crisis. Many of those financial institutions are now prospering, and many of their employees will be highly compensated. This situation is unfair on its face. But it is even more galling in an environment in which the unemployment rate is 10 percent and many people are struggling to make ends meet.
“Despite the fundamental unfairness of the situation, I don’t think it is feasible or practical for the Federal Reserve, or any other supervisory entity, to attempt to determine the level of compensation at individual firms on an ongoing basis. A better approach is for supervisors to ensure that a firm’s compensation regime is consistent with an institution’s safety and soundness and with broader financial stability. That can and should have important implications for the level of individual compensation. For example, a trader should not be paid solely on the basis of this year’s accounting profits if those profits are based on the valuation of illiquid assets held on the bank’s books that could easily go down considerably in value before they are liquidated.”
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Sunday, December 6, 2009
By: Scarlett Lu
When you are unable to pay an organization or people you have taken credit from, you can file for insolvency which is known as bankruptcy. The main purpose people file for bankruptcy is to give a fair chance to the debtor who is honest to start a life afresh by alleviating most of his debts or to pay his creditors in new installments. They want people to have a chance in redeeming themselves. Liquidation and reorganization is the two common types of bankruptcy. When the debtors have filed in a bankruptcy case or have declared it publicly, the creditors can under no law pursue legal actions against them. When you file for bankruptcy you may lose almost everything including home, bank accounts, and even insurance.
When you file for bankruptcy it may be an emotional process but you should not rely on substances for comfort. You should make long term goals to make sure you do not become bankrupt again. Tell your family and friends do not keep it a secret; people around you will give you emotional support. Get Exercise to cope with stress. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. Remember it’s a difficult time in your life; you will overcome it.
No one wants to be sitting across from Mary Hoben on a Thursday morning, but they are awfully glad she's there.
Hoben is one of 16 attorneys who donate their time and expertise to low-income Minnesotans at a free bankruptcy advice clinic. The new clinic, held at the U.S. Courthouses in Minneapolis or St. Paul, was set up on a trial basis this spring to assist people tackling the painful and mind-boggling task of filing for bankruptcy without an attorney's help. The walk-in clinic was made permanent this fall because demand is strong. In the worst recession since the Great Depression, is that surprising?
Bankruptcy filings in the state have surpassed levels last seen in 2004, the year before the law was overhauled in an attempt to reduce bankruptcy numbers. Filings are up 30.6 percent over last year, with 19,380 personal bankruptcies filed in Minnesota through November. Close to 1.3 million people have filed nationwide, an increase of 32.1 percent from 2008, according to the National Bankruptcy Research Center.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
In today’s retail oriented world, spending money on luxury items or just overspending in general can be tempting. Not knowing the proper ways to create and maintain a household budget can run your savings down into debt territory. To avoid bankruptcy, there are some proper precautions that you should take in order to insure your household’s safety.
If you see yourself slipping into debt there are a few steps that you can take in order to avoid hitting rock bottom and filing for bankruptcy. For example if you owe several different businesses, you can invest in getting a debt consolidation plan. This allows you to have all your debt consolidated into one and from there you only have to make one payment per month. This eliminates much of the hassle that is related to receiving overwhelming amounts of bills.
Another good method to avoiding bankruptcy is to limit your credit card use. If you have had serious problems with credit card debt in the past a good step is to cut all your credit cards up in order to restrain yourself from overuse.
Before deciding to file for bankruptcy it is recommended that one looks into credit counseling to determine all available options. This will allow you to create a plan to best manage your debt.
It is important to avoid bankruptcy at all costs because it can affect your credit for long after the bills are gone.
There are many ways to avoid bankruptcy. Here are some of the most important ways:
- Find out if bankruptcy is worth it
- Set up a strict budget
- Try negotiating with creditors
- Raise money
- Opt for a lifestyle that will help you financially
- Debt settlement
- Debt consolidation program
- Debt management
- Payday loan consolidation
- Do it yourself plan
(Strong, 2009), (Debt consolidation care, 2009)
Some other alternative options would be to sell your assets. After you declare bankruptcy they usually take almost everything of value you own so it’s better to sell the things you no longer use to avoid filing for bankruptcy. Another way is to work more, pick up more hours at work to earn more money. Or even get another job. You should also brush up on your laws when it comes to filing for bankruptcy because they differ by geographic location. Lastly, communicate your options. According to debt steps, “Make it clear that if you cannot find a way of paying your debts, you will be forced to file for bankruptcy. This is one of the best things to do when you’re considering bankruptcy. Most creditors would rather have you pay back a fraction of what you owe than not be able to get money from you as a bankrupt.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Posted by: Christina Dove
Since the recession and financial crisis have been going on, people have been faced with tightened budgets, reduced salaries and have had to cut back spending a lot. Some people have been more affected than others and have had to file for foreclosures and file for personal bankruptcy. Although this trend has been going on for sometime now, bankruptcy has become more common as of late. The number of Americans filing personal bankruptcies surged 9% in October and were on target for the highest annual total in four years, according to a report issued Wednesday. This number also includes many businesses who have been forced to file for bankruptcy in these tough economic times. The group forecasts total bankruptcies to exceed 1.4 million in 2009, which would be the highest since 2005. It would also be an increase of at least 30% from last year. The explanation for this sudden increase is that people may have been able to survive the tough times when they first hit but now are beginning to run out of funds and forced to file for bankruptcy as their only viable option.
By filing for bankruptcy, people are able to relieve all of their current debt obligations to creditors. Although this seems like a great idea to start over new, the bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for 7 years and can make it very challenging to get approved for credit or a loan. One source estimates that the reform caused about 800,000 additional mortgage defaults and 250,000 additional foreclosures to occur in each of the past several years. Hopefully people will be able to get their feet back on the ground before having to resort to the last option of filing for bankruptcy.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
In the current economy, couples who are considering a divorce need to be as concerned about how their debts will be divided as they are about their assets. In a divorce in a community property state like California, any debts of the marital estate will be divided equitably. This includes debts that are only in one spouse's name, but were incurred during the time of the marriage. Thus, spouses may be liable not only for debt held jointly in both of their names, like a mortgage, but for debt held only in one spouse's name, like a car loan.
Bankruptcy May Be The Best Choice
For divorcing couples with heavy debt loads, bankruptcy may be the best answer to relieving at least some financial stresses. Bankruptcy can be filed before, during or after a divorce. Spouses may file the bankruptcy jointly or separately.
Generally, it may be in the spouses' best interests to file a joint bankruptcy on their marital debts before filing for a divorce. This way, they may be able to eliminate some debts that otherwise would be subject to division during the property settlement portion of the divorce. For example, if the couple has a lot of consumer debt like credit cards, they may be able to discharge that debt in a Chapter 7 filing. Conversely, if the couple is facing foreclosure on their family home, they may be able to restructure their mortgage and other debts with a Chapter 13 filing. Using a joint bankruptcy to decrease the debt load can make the divorce process less contentious.
Marriage is something people call as, marital contract, in which, their two lives become one. Although this is true in matters of love or in the movies, and it is somewhat true in personal finance as well. Divorce is something, which leads to many other problems such as attorney expenses, children’s responsibility, sharing of property and many more. In addition to all these, there is one thing that can be an impact of divorce “personal bankruptcy”. When every these kind of problems arises, a question raised by people often include issues about who is liable for which debts, what creditors reasonably expect to collect and what happens when bankruptcy is filled before and divorce.
There are many suggestions by specialist what to do in what case, such as what if a couple is planning to file a bankruptcy after divorce, than they need to consider things such as who is going to b more liable, how would the property matter will resolve and many more. In addition, laws are different if anyone is filing for bankruptcy before marriage or as an individual. Due to the recent economic crisis, most of the people are filing for personal bankruptcy but joint because then they can deal with the problem together instead of individually. There are some clues, which can tell you if you are leading towards “bankruptcy”, such as tightness of cash in house budget, shortness of cash, and many other cash related problems. There is consoling available to guide people through the whole process of personal bankruptcy, before or after filing the bankruptcy.
By: Zachary Pienkowski
U.S. consumers and businesses filed 388,485 bankruptcies in the third quarter, a 33 percent increase from a year earlier, pushing this year’s total to the highest level since 2005. (Bloomberg) While bankruptcy comes with a negative connotation, many of these bankruptcies are in an effort to restructure many of these struggling companies. However, with the unemployment rate soaring over 10%, and businesses continuing to cut back, many are turning to bankruptcy. It is not hard to connect the dots of the increase in bankruptcies with the struggling economy. Despite being a bad habit which has led to many of the financial problems people are facing, the tightening of credit has made it much harder to pay bills. People used to be less concerned with paying a bill because they were able to put it on their credit cards with huge limits and then just pay the minimum balance and never get out of debt. Now they are not able to get these credit cards and are forced to pay bills with only the money they have in their bank account. With many companies laying people off and the unemployment rate continuing to rise, many people are left with little in that account. Many creditors want to help customers stay afloat and not go under because it is actually more costly for them. Creditors get nothing from their customers when they file for bankruptcy, so many want to work with someone who is struggling and cut down the amount of the debt so both parties can win.
There are many reasons for why people file for bankruptcy and they are probably not what you would expect. A couple of the main reasons people end up having to file for bankruptcy is because of the high costs of medical bills out of their control, have to pay the high costs lawyers and pay out a divorce settlement, and one of the most common reasons is lossing your job. One of the main reasons for the economic crash as of recent was because people were spending way more than they had expecting money to continuously flowing in with out fully thinking about the future and what could happen. When managing your personal finances it is always the best to budget for the worst in the best of times, for no matter how good things may be they can change at the drop of a hat.
People that get into these rough financial spots may not actually be completely broke because filing for bankruptcy has some benefits when you have lots of debt. When you file for bankruptcy you are admitting to being in trouble and are in effect asking for help. People file for bankruptcy because it can stop your house from being foreclosed, your property from being, repossessed, it can reduce or even eliminate the high costs of medical bills, and generally decreases the legal obligation to pay back most of your debts. These are some of the major benefits of filing for bankruptcy if you are truly in serious financial crisis. Some more minor benefits can be stopping harassing collection calls, restore utilities if they were shut off, and stop wage garnishment. Regardless of all of these benefits, if you just manage your money and budget properly, most likely, you'll never have to be in a position that filing for bankruptcy is necessary.
Dear Readers, Picture This:Posted By: Robert Katz
Your spouse is out of job, the monthly income is halved and your family is left without health insurance. Just as you are managing somehow by slashing all unnecessary expenses your child is hospitalized for a tonsillectomy. Past-due bills are piling up, the number of calls from nasty creditors, and the letters threatening to foreclose on your mortgage, are on the rise too. You contact non-profit debt counseling services who manage to keep their promise of permanently lowering interest rates on some of your outstanding bills. But six months on, and having paid the sign-up charge and monthly fee of the agency, your debt only increases. The counseling services seems to have profited more.
Claim for help is hollow, and the promise to rescue, a scam. The combination of high household debt levels and major corporate layoffs in the past few years has led to a sudden increase in many organizations that depend on people falling for these claims.
Posted by Chris O'Sullivan
Article by Rachel Feintzeig (WSJ)
Bankruptcy got its moment in the Supreme Court spotlight yesterday when the justices heard oral arguments in two bankruptcy-related cases: one centered on the issue of discharging student loans in Chapter 13 and one challenging changes to the Bankruptcy Code.
The latter case could potentially have the biggest impact on bankruptcy attorneys, who are currently barred from encouraging clients who are considering filing for bankruptcy protection to take on more debt. That provision was added to the Bankruptcy Code during the 2005 revisions, along with a requirement that attorneys identify themselves as “debt-relief agencies.”
Minnesota law firm Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz P.A. is challenging both provisions, arguing that they violate the first amendment. The firm’s attorney, G. Eric Brunstad of Dechert LLP, faced off against the U.S. Department of Justice yesterday on Capitol Hill.
The provision “basically proscribes or tells the lawyer you can’t give perfectly legitimate advice, and that’s wrong,” Brunstad said in an interview following the arguments. “The government has no compelling reason to prohibit that kind of advice.”
By: Zachary Pienkowski
Living in a society that has learned to lived completely swamped in debt, it is important to understand what really is involved in a bankruptcy proceeding. In many cases, people think that your house is off limits to the creditors. This is true in some situations, but bankruptcy law vary by region and it is critical to fully understand the laws in your area before you file. In some cases, the amount of equity you have in your home is protected, but in others that equity is not protected and you run the risk of losing your residence. Probably the most common myth about bankruptcy is that once you file all of your debts are gone you are get off free. That may be true with some debts like credit cards, but student loans, alimony, and support are not going away. Making the decision to file for bankruptcy should be carefully thought out because it will not leave you without any debts. In addition to not having control of any of those debts anymore, you unfortunately do not hold the rights to your assets anymore either. Another myth is that even though you declared bankruptcy that you will never be able to get a credit card or establish credit again. This is not entirely true, however, it is not something that will change over night. Most people typically are unsuccessful in repairing their credit within the first few years. Bankruptcy may also last longer than you think. Generally you are discharged after a period of time and can begin to rebuild your life. There are some people that can step in the way of that and keep you bankrupt for longer than you expected. This is rare however unless the bankruptcy was due to a case of fraud, in which the punishment in significantly more severe.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Posted by Andrew Lipsitz
Tareq and Michaele Salahi have catapulted themselves into the public spotlight with their "uninvited" appearance at a White House state dinner on Nov. 24. It was President Obama's first official state dinner and the gate crashers sadly showed how easy it is (or was that night) to walk in off the street and stand within steps of two world leaders (Obama and India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh).
In an interview with NBC's "Today Show" host Matt Lauer Tuesday morning, the Salahis insisted they weren't party crashers and said the truth will come out in the Secret Service investigation.
But from the state of their financial affairs revealed in public records, they may really need the money.
Bankruptcy papers show mounds of debtIn Chapter 7 bankruptcy documents filed earlier this year in the Eastern District of Virginia, Tareq Salahi's vineyard company, Oasis Enterprises Inc., claims $335,000 in assets but $965,000 in liabilities, including at least $81,000 in credit card debts. According to CNN.com, the couple faces numerous civil suits in the Virginia-D.C. area as well.
Maybe they were trying to get close to Obama to hit him up for a loan. But more likely they are a new breed of thrill seekers -- reality TV wannabes hoping to wrestle the spotlight for themselves. (They were trying out for "The Real Housewives of D.C.") Does the balloon boy stunt sound familiar here? Just like the Colorado family who falsely claimed their six-year-old son was launched into a homemade balloon, the Salahis have perhaps gotten more spotlight than they bargained for, with some members of Congress calling for an investigation of the White House security breach.
The bankruptcy filings paint a picture of a couple living the good life, funded in part by credit cards when their vineyard company started to, well, dry up. Business income of $1.7 million in 2007 dwindled to only $35,000 in 2008, according to bankruptcy records. Fancy boats and cars (including an Aston Martin) have been repossessed to pay creditors.
One creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, filed a court claim seeking $19,577.85 in credit card debt from Tareq Salahi. According to the bank's claim, Tareq Salahi, the vineyard president, had a $25,000 credit line on a business credit card with a 9.25 percent interest rate. As of May 18, 2009, when the claim was filed, Salahi's last payment on the account was $500 received July 22, 2008, making the account 330 days delinquent.
Wells Fargo lists a 475 FICO score for the account, which would put Salahi in the less-than-stellar bad credit risk category on FICO's scale of 350 to 850.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
By: Zachary Pienkowski
(CNN) -- Dunder Mifflin, the fictional paper company at the center of NBC's prime-time comedy "The Office," is facing bankruptcy. Staffers in the Scranton branch are anxious about their fate.
"The Office" is among a great many prime-time shows that have integrated recession-era themes into their plotlines this fall in an effort to reflect the changing American economic climate. Art imitating life on television can offer a sense of solidarity for the viewing public and a new type of coping mechanism for dealing with recession-related stress.
"Shows that deal with the recession help people to validate the full range of emotions they are feeling right now," explained Stephan J. Quentzel, psychiatrist, family physician and director of Beth Israel Hospital's Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine in New York.
"It doesn't trivialize the experience. It shows people they don't have to put on a good face and think positively. It helps them realize that they are angry, and that's OK, and that is why watching these shows is so therapeutic."
Without an entire show based specifically on the recession, financial uncertainty and economic realities have infiltrated the secondary plotlines of shows like CBS's "The Good Wife," where impending law firm layoffs on a recent episode led characters to throw furniture as they cleaned out their desks.
The anger that is apparent on the show is exactly what Quentzel means by fans being able to relate to a full range of emotions through viewing them on the small screen.
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Posted by Chris O'Sullivan
Article by Kelsey Volkmann (WSJ)
Charter Communications Inc., one of the largest cable-television and Internet services providers in Massachusetts, has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with $8 billion less debt.
Judge James Peck in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York approved the pre-arranged financial restructuring Nov. 17, which was filed March 27 and considered one of the nation’s largest and most complex bankruptcy filings.
Through the plan, Charter, the fourth-largest U.S. cable operator, will shave off $8 billion from the $21 billion debt it took on through acquisitions and service upgrades to compete with larger rivals. The company, which has 5.3 million customers and reported a loss every year since going public in 1999, said it expects to generate positive free cash flow through the reduction of more than $830 million in annual interest expense.
Charter’s plan generates $1.6 billion in proceeds from an equity rights offering; reinstates $11.4 billion of its senior bank debt at below-market rates; and gives Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen the largest voting interest at 35 percent.
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