Jon Corzine has it all. All that is, in what we want in the worlds of politics, Wall Street, crime and punishment. For those of you who do not know who Jon Corzine is, here is a brief snapshot. Jon Corzine is a former senator, the former Governor of New Jersey, the former CEO of Wall Street banking giant Goldman Sachs and the former CEO of the now defunct and controversial MF Global.
That is quite a resume. But, now Jon Corzine finds himself in the middle of a messy scandal involving MF Global. MF Global was a financial services firm that specialized in brokerage futures. MF Global filed for bankruptcy protection in October 2011. Now, Corzine himself is being sued in a class action suit brought by Montana farmers who are charging that the financial firm and Corzine stole millions from their accounts in order to cover spiraling debts.
Corzine was at the helm of the firm when it declared Chapter 11 on October 31, the eighth-largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history. Regulators initially thought $600 million in customer funds had gone missing, but later upped their estimate to $1.2 billion. Only 60 percent of customer funds could be found.
According to the February issue of Vanity Fair, Corzine, who reportedly made over $16 million between 2010 and 2011, was shopping for a chateau in France with his wife two weeks before MF Global filed for bankruptcy.
Later in the month, he appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee to deny any wrongdoing. “I never directed anyone at MF Global to misuse customer funds. I never intended to, and as far as I’m concerned, I never gave instructions that anyone could misconstrue,” DO I smell perjury???
Plaintiffs cannot sue MF Global while it is under bankruptcy protection, but can sue the company’s former executives, including Corzine. And, so here we are.
Jon Corzine is no stranger to controversy. In 1999 when Corzine was running for the Senate, he met Carla Katz. Both were married. Katz was also president of local 1034 of The Communications Workers of America. In 2004, as part of their “break up” settlement, yes both left their spouses for each other, Corzine paid Katz a settlement in excess of $6 million. . Their relationship and the financial settlement Katz received after their breakup led to allegations of many potential conflicts of interest in labor negotiations while Corzine was governor. A Democrat state ethics panel, acting on a complaint ruled in May 2007 that Katz’s contact with Corzine during negotiations did not violate the governor’s code of conduct.
But, was this entitlement all foreplay for where Corzine finds himself now? He is in massive trouble. He may not be in criminal trouble yet, although I have predicted for weeks he will be, he is in financial trouble. And, with a Wall St, Political, financial fraud mess, how will this story go away?
One way only the Corzine story goes away. It is perceived as complicated. But, the reality is that the MF Global situation is no more complex than that of Bernie Madoff or any other high profile financial scam. This insider believes that Corzine should call me for his prison coaching before he opens his mouth too many more times. Of course, like Blago, he will not. So, for now I call Jon Corzine the gift that keeps on giving to those of us in media and a prison consultant like me!
Until Corzine and others stop this behavior and accept responsibility for their various misdeeds, Wall Street and politicians at large deserve to be under the scrutiny they find themselves.
Yes, change is possible and Jon Corzine YOU give the rest of us a bad name. Get real. Raj Rajaratnam, Rod Blagojevech and Bernie Madoff are waiting for you.