Justifying IndyMac: avoiding accountability through regulations.

Corniel lost his life in the Iraq war. IndyMac then lost between $71,000 and
$36,000 of the $370,000 life insurance policy Corniel purchased to
ensure the livelihood of his family.


I can’t say that I was shocked so much as I
was disappointed when I viewed reader responses on our website.
Some comments blamed Corniel’s mother, Elaine Lopez, for investing poorly, while others seemed
to equate losing a son in war with winning the lottery.

I don’t dispute that Lopez could
have invested her money more wisely, but at the same time it’s not like she went out and bought a Cadillac. Lopez placed $70,000
in a money market checking account and the remaining $300,000 in a
CD, from which she used the $1450 a month interest yield to sustain her

I believe Lopez, when she says that
IndyMac Bank managers persuaded her not to withdraw the money by
claiming the addition of a third beneficiary would insure the entire sum.

The Monday after the news of Indy
Mac’s financial trouble broke, I went to Indy Mac and spoke with
patrons. My questions were met by belligerent customers who informed
me that bank representatives warned them against speaking with the
press, and cited the media as a cause for Indy Mac’s problems.
Funny, I don’t remember receiving a check from Indy Mac for managing
their stocks to 23 cents a share, what they were prior to any
article running.

Despite my Ivy League education, the
hours I spent reading regulations, the two interviews I conducted with
securities lawyers, and numerous calls to the Federal Deposit
Insurance Company, I still fail to understand how the FDIC is not
returning somewhere between $36,000 and $71,000 of Lopez’s money.

Sure, Lopez was nave for taking
the word of a bank manager. But I bet she wasn’t the only one to lose
money because of promises made by IndyMac representatives. It’s
possible that IndyMac’s employee’s weren’t intentionally deceiving Lopez. Maybe bank officials just didn’t comprehend the same regulations that
two securities lawyers, and a financial adviser failed to understand
well enough to answers my questions.  But should incompetence excuse so-called officials from accountability?

When did regulations start to cloud
our understanding of right and wrong? After all regulations are
created by men, frequently flawed, and certainly subject to change.

Some have argued that Lopez should feel
lucky to still have $300,000. Why? Because her son went to great
lengths to protect his family? The $370,000 wasn’t a gift from the
government or a death benefit, but something that Corniel payed for
with both his money and life.

Despite promises that he would be a
recruiter, and by the spring of 2005 Corniel was back in Iraq, stationed
with the 184th Infantry out of Fullerton, CA..The 184th
was sustaining heavy causalities when Corniel decided to purchase
the additional $170,000 in life insurance.

As an Iraq veteran, I knew a lot of
servicemen who declined to pay the $40 a month for the  $250,000 in Serviceman’s Group Life
Insurance. At the same time I was never aware of anyone who sought additional life insurance. But Corniel,
who was the patriarch of his family, wanted to ensure that his two
younger sisters and mother were taken care of in the event of his

On New Years Eve  of 2005, most
23-year-old-Americans were drinking themselves into stupors while
Corniel was defending their freedom to do so. As a former Marine
attached to “Killer” company, Corniel had already seen a good deal
of combat. But unlike some men, he didn’t try to get a family
hardship discharge and avoid his second tour. Corniel sacrificed his
life for our freedom, with the knowledge his family would be able survive in his absence.

Corniel’s legacy was intended to send
his sisters to college, and support his illmother, not pad the bank
accounts of rich men, as some would argue his service did. I urge
Americans to remember Corniel as they drive their yellow ribbon
adorned sport utility vehicles. And think about the regulations that
qualify the loss of his legacy, while justifying the outlandish
incomes of IndyMac’s executives.  In the end you can blame Lopez for mismanaging the money, but don’t think it couldn’t happen to you.

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Pasadena Police Officer’s Death Cause for Speculation

    The death of retired Pasadena Police Lt. David Richter has highlighted the need for responsible journalism in a time when tabloid reporting and the sentiments of bloggers are confused with news.

    Richter’s abandoned car was found
by a water-filled pit in Irwindale last January. Police assumed the
retired lieutenant had either taken his own life or simply walked
away from his financial troubles.

    The later discovery of
Richter’s corpse and a firearm under a nearby overpass seems to corroborate the theory that Richter took his own life. But then there’s the
conspiracy theorists, and admittedly the case possesses all the
potential of a Law and Order episode.

    Thursday, I read an
article by Andre Coleman of the Pasadena
. Buried on page 13, the article uses an unnamed source and
anonymous letter to create speculation amongst readers. After a short
recap of the facts, Coleman delves into a lengthy digress about an
anonymous letter sent to members of the Pasadena City Council.  The letter
alleges everything from police malfeasance to racism.

sublimation of this anonymous letter leads to another anonymous

According to an earlier
conversation with one coroner’s office employee who did not wish to
be named, among the factors that may have led authorities to reopen
the case
(the case was
never closed)
was that a gun found near Richter’s body
appeared to have been fired four times, and one bullet remained in
the weapon.”

    Keeping in mind that they are a tabloid, I find it alarming
that the Pasadena Weekly published this story. Had someone in the coroner’s office made the statement, a statement that Los Angeles County Coroner Assistant Chief Ed Winter doubts the legitimacy of, I would have written it off as conjecture, rather
than present it as news. How would someone in the coroner’s office
know this information? According to Winter, homicide detectives would
have taken the weapon and run ballistics on it, not the coroners
office. While the article spends ample time on anonymous sources, it
fails to mention Richter’s financial possible motives for Richter to commit suicide.

    Prior to writing my
article on Richter, I searched for reliable information,
unfortunately reliable sources of information weren’t permitted to

    Friday I spoke with
a psychic who claims the spirit of David Richter awakens her every
morning seeking justice for his murder.

    Monday morning I
listened to a voice-mail from an anonymous caller who presented
himself as law enforcement by using the word “we” often in
his rant. I listened to the message several times in an ill-fated
attempt to extract meaningful insight.

“You’ll never find out what
happened, because that’s what happens to us good cops when we make
promises we can’t keep.”

What promises? Promises to financial
institutions involving adjustable rate mortgages?

    After racking my
brain for three days I had an epiphany: there probably isn’t any
credible information indicating Richter’s death was anything but a

    Let’s face it,
Richter was a retired cop and retired cops kill themselves. By the
age of 55 Richter had spent his entire adult life in law enforcement, and didn’t have a spouse or children.

    Police who survive
years of service, only to take their own lives after retirement is not a new concept. My own grandfather retired after 30 years as a
Philadelphia homicide detective, and spent the next ten years
drinking himself to death.

    Sure, it’s possible that
Richter caught a bullet during an old-west-style shootout
with a crooked cop. However, it’s far more likely that
Richter was lamenting his career, his impending financial doom, and a Christmas without not only kin but comrade, last holiday season when he died.

    Regardless of what
happened to Richter, it’s important that journalists remember their
role: to report the news not create it. That’s why I take it as a
compliment when bloggers like Aaron Proctor recognize me with a “ham
and egger” award for “stealing” a story. So long as
the Associated Press continues to recognize the difference between
news coverage and misleading narratives, there just might be hope
for the media and the role it should play in our society.

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No sign of Moe, but the search forges on.

Moe the missing chimp continues to elude searchers. Friday will be the two week anniversary of Moe’s escape from Jungle Exotics, a Devore company that provides animals to the entertainment industry, and searchers have yet to find any trace of the mischievous chimp. 
That’s not to say there hasn’t been Moe sightings, one of the first unconfirmed sightings occurred at a nudist camp near Jungle Exotics.  This Sunday two separate calls to the California Highway Patrol reported a monkey, or a man in a monkey suit, running in and out of traffic near Big Bear.
But Michael McCasland, the man heading up search efforts for Moe’s owners, St. James and Ladonna Davis, still believes Moe is hiding in a canyon directly behind the enclosure from which he made his Houdini-like escape. McCasland, and area wildlife experts agree that a chimp could live for weeks or even months in the San Bernardino National Forest, that is if he didn’t fall victim to a rattlesnake bite.
McCasland is urging concerned Moe fans to donate money for a helicopter.  McCasland believes that flying through the canyons will scare Moe out.
As for me, my money is on Moe turning up in a NJ train yard.

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