By Aaron Kesel
U.S. President Donald Trump recently issued a shocking pardon of his long-time friend the “junk bond king”, Michael Milken, who also happens to be one of Mitt Romney’s bag holders who helped finance Bain Capital deals.
Milken was the pioneer starting the industry of buying and selling lowly rated corporate “junk” debt. In 1989, authorities said he illegally used inside knowledge of the debt being used in corporate takeover deals to make plays in the stocks of the related companies enriching himself and his clients.
Milken was convicted almost 30 years ago to date in 1989 of six charges including securities fraud and insider trading by then-famed prosecutor Rudolph Giuliani. Before the plea deal, originally Milken was charged with 98 counts of racketeering, securities fraud, and other crimes. Instead, he received just 10 years which was later reduced to 2 years and a $600 million dollar fine after pleading guilty to five violations of securities and reporting regulations, as the NY Times reported.
“I transgressed certain of the laws and regulations that govern our industry. I was wrong in doing so and knew that at that time and I am pleading guilty to these offenses,” Milken said at his plea hearing. The NY Times added at the time that, “In essence, Mr. Milken admitted to cheating some Drexel customers, aiding others in the violation of securities and tax laws, and manipulating the securities market to benefit a client.”
In a recent OpED for the Washington Post, the lead prosecutor on Milken’s case John K. Caroll writes:
His lawyer once told me that “Michael was a monopolist and his crimes were the crimes of a monopolist.” I have always thought that that was the best description of Milken’s misconduct. He wasn’t Bernie Ebbers or Bernie Madoff, whose frauds devastated millions.
However, most don’t know that Milken’s junk bonds were used to fund the business of Mitt Romney’s Stage Stores. As reported by Rolling Stone’s September 2012 cover story (“Greed and Debt: The True Story About Mitt Romney and Bain Capital”), The Boston Globe detailed Romney’s Stage Stores formation was funded by Michael Milken’s junk bonds; and that a conflicted Judge Pollack presiding over Milken’s case allowed Romney to utilize the money despite the fact that the judge’s wife, Moselle Pollack, stood to make profit from Stage Stores’ own dealings.
Furthermore, Rolling Stone pointed out that Kay Bee CEO (Michael Glazer) paid himself an $18 million back pay, after paying Bain Capital $83 million – prior to Kay Bee’s 2004 bankruptcy.
Among the issues of whether or not anyone else could haul out $100 million prior to filing bankruptcy – Rolling Stone missed reporting the fact that Michael Glazer was also simultaneously a Director at Romney’s Stage Stores during the bankruptcy. (As a matter of fact, since then, Michael Glazer has now become CEO of Stage Stores, Bloomberg reported.)
After Milken was charged and imprisoned, he was permanently barred from the securities industry. However, in 1991, the Securities and Exchange Commission accused him of violating his lifetime ban, alleging he offered advice to Murdoch and Perelman. Milken settled the SEC complaint for $47 million in 1998; no new criminal charges were brought against him.
Still some argue that Milken “deserved a pardon,” for reasons not understood by this writer.
Meanwhile, Kay Bee filed bankruptcy, again, in 2008; and eToys was also in its 3rd bankruptcy, as part of a separate item of “The Parent Company” insolvency case (in 2008). The outrageous thing is that both Kay Bee & eToys wound back up, under Bain Capital – again; but this time as part of Toys R Us.
Now they are all in bankruptcy, once more. Even stranger is the fact that those previous cases have questions about massive frauds being protected by willfully blind Federal Justice agencies and courts; which was pointed out by a whistleblower this reporter has come into contact with who has been fighting for justice. This whistleblower, Laser Haas, has been stonewalled by the DOJ and the media alike.
This recent pardon also shows that despite Romney being the only Republican senator to vote to impeach Trump, the two aren’t enemies. Otherwise, why would Trump pardon Michael Milken who has aided in Romney’s scheme with Stage Stores? Serial Wall St whistleblower Laser Haas has long said that the fighting between Romney and Trump was just a stage show. As further evidence of this, the Trump administration is even obstructing a lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital by Laser Haas that would open up both firms to massive frauds being exposed.
It may surprise readers, but actually all of the above is correct. Trump was once sued alongside Mike Milken for participating in a scheme to artificially inflate junk bond prices.
Trump has also deregulated Wall St, largely removing investor protections from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, loosened regulations on banks, and gave free rein to non-bank entities like insurers, ratings agencies, and hedge fund Vulture Capitalists like Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs.
In 2017, President Trump was sued by whistleblower Laser Haas to block Jay Clayton from becoming head of the SEC. The lawsuit included warnings about Colm Connolly (who was a MNAT partner and a corrupt fed prosecutor).
Trump ignored the lawsuit as the Washington, D.C. Clerk hid the case from the public by stamping a giant “F-Deck” on the document until 3 weeks after Jay Clayton was confirmed.
Making things worse, after Clayton was confirmed, Trump then proceeded to make Colm Connolly into a Delaware Federal District Court Judge (who Senator Biden had stopped from becoming, 10 years earlier when he blocked him.)
This particular selection is very alarming. So much so, that this reporter did a detailed résumé story (here) about the facts of Colm Connolly being a federal prosecutor who protected Goldman Sachs & Bain Capital from federal investigation.
Last month, the private government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a request to the U.S. Treasury Department for any messages between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and any parties that contain the words “pardon” or any iterations of the word from January 2018 until last month.
CREW noted in its Freedom of Information Act request that various news websites had reported that Mnuchin and others were advocating for a pardon for Milken, and that The New York Times had reported just last year that Mnuchin flew on Milken’s private airplane from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles.
Trump was also involved with the junk bond business in the ’80s, issuing almost $700 million in junk bonds with a 14% interest rate to finish construction on his Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Since his release from prison, Milken has become known for his charity work. He has funded a lot of research for cancer treatments and other illnesses considered to be life-threatening. In 2007, Fortune magazine called him “The Man Who Changed Medicine.” Milken was released from prison in 1993.
Usually crime doesn’t pay, but if you are Michael Milken or Mitt Romney and friends with unlimited get out of jail free cards from the DOJ, that sentiment is lost. Milken may even get a massive tax break thanks to a law Trump signed. As, NYT writer, James B. Stewart writes: “When it comes to justice, money counts. And white-collar crime doesn’t really matter.”
It’s worth mentioning for readers, Milken is the reason that the Insider Trading and Securities Fraud Enforcement Act (ITSFEA) became law.
Milken had appeared before Congress in April 1988; just two weeks after that testimony, Representatives Dingell and Markey produced a new insider trading bill, increasing penalties for insider trading, penalizing firms that failed to police employee behavior, and awarding bounties to informants in securities fraud cases.
It is easy to be benevolent, to try to buy goodwill, with money that has been fleeced. As for the horse manure assessment that white-collar crime doesn’t hurt anyone, why don’t we ask the more than 50,000 people who lost their jobs at Mattel, Hasbro, eToys, Kay Bee, FAO, Zainy Brainy, Gymboree, Toys R Us and eToys – how they feel?
Milken helped Romney formulate Stage Stores with junk bond monies by utilizing a conflicted judge; and – since that time – bad faith judges willfully and corrupt federal prosecutors seem to, like clockwork, protect these racketeers. Like Michael Glazer being a tool of the organized crimes at both Kay Bee and eToys, while Glazer was at Stage Stores; we have another crony corrupt who helped Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital get away with organized crimes – by being a planted crook for Mattel. As the racketeering enterprise expanded, Romney’s Bain Capital was able to rely on corrupt prosecutor Colm Connolly to be willfully blind to their Frank Nitti type guy, Paul Traub. As this reporter noted, in December 2017 (here) Paul Roy Traub is Romney’s Frank Nitti; and Traub is another shyster lawyer who aides agents in the rackets success.
Once Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital ripped off Mattel via Colm Connolly becoming a partner of their lawyers at MNAT lawfirm – Paul Traub, who worked for Romney’s Stage Stores bankruptcy, under Michael Glazer – did the ultimate Frank Nitti/Colm Connolly deceit.
After ripping off Mattel for $4 billion — where Mitt’s contingency got a reported 12 million shares of Mattel — Mattel became a partner in the schemes and artifices to defraud; because Mattel hired Paul Traub to be Mattel Creditors Committee attorney in the Kay Bee, FAO and eToys bankruptcy cases. This is significant because Traub was also the “control” of Tom Petter’s Ponzi scheme on the record, which means he was involved in these types of deals for years. Traub also had a U.S. Trustee Kelly Beaudin Stapleton Motion to Disgorge Traub’s law firm.
This is how Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital continue to escape justice. Their lawyers, prosecutors, and judges are all in on making sure Goldman Sachs and Bain Capital get away scot-free with many billions of dollars in fraud; with the purported victim Mattel being one there of hiring Frank Nitti/Paul Traub to be the purported prosecutor of Al Capone. Paul Traub colluding with Colm Connolly is the very serious reason that Mitt Romney seeks to be “retroactively” retired from Mitt’s organized crimes; because Laser Haas can prove those racketeering crimes began in 1999 through 2001.
Paul Traub was another nationally significant and important fact Taibbi missed in his “Greed and Debt” story. According to Laser Haas, Traub court docket records (that clerks are making disappear) proves beyond all doubt that Traub worked for Romney, Bain, Glazer and Barry Gold, at Stage Stores, before working with Bain Cap to rip off eToys.
Traub moved over to become the Kay Bee and eToys Attorney for the Creditors/Mattel as Chairman. The law mandates that Paul Traub is supposed to be at 100% – arm’s length and a good faith negotiator against Bain/Kay Bee.
The pattern of the racketeers is that Traub and federal prosecutor Colm Connolly worked in tandem to assure the Bankruptcy Fraud would succeed. So it was easy, with corrupt federal prosecutor Colm Connolly protecting the crimes, for Paul Traub to be the one who asked the Delaware Bankruptcy court for permission to be the prosecutor of Glazer and Bain for Michael Glazer taking out $100 million dollars prior to Glazer filing bankruptcy of Kay Bee.
Traub did so after Colm Connolly was partners of MNAT representing Bain Capital in the Kay Bee case, while MNAT was simultaneously the Delaware Bankruptcy Court approved lawyers for Laser and eToys against Bain Cap/Kay Bee.
At the same time, while Traub and MNAT were doing dozens of acts of Perjury, MNAT nominated its partner in crime, Paul Traub, to be the one to sue MNAT’s other (secret) client Goldman Sachs, in NY Supreme Court, for the billion dollar ripoff of eToys by Goldman Sachs.
In essence, Goldman Sachs sued Goldman Sachs in NY Supreme Court and eToys lost a billion dollars twice!
Traub and MNAT illegally locked Laser out of eToys, as CEO and Traub’s partner (Barry Gold), who also worked for Romney and Glazer at Stage Stores – was then planted into Laser’s chair at eToys, as CEO. Laser Haas notes that MNAT, GLAZER, BAIN/Kay Bee, Traub and Barry Gold then reduced the sales prices of eToys to sell to Bain/Kay Bee.
Laser notes the eToys frauds began in 1999, including rip off of eToys IPO; which was confirmed by NYT.
Then, Colm Connolly as the Delaware United States Attorney corruptly refused to prosecute this extremely serious RICO crime.
Even more outrageous is the fact the Chief Justice of the Delaware Bankruptcy Court Mary F. Walrath said she didn’t care. The question must be asked, how can any Judge, much less a Chief judge of the premier bankruptcy court of the entire nation – say she doesn’t care about lawyers she approved – betraying their clients trust. It seems that, as long as Colm Connolly (now appointed a Judge by Trump) can betray the public’s trust – Judge Mary F. Walrath also has no problem betraying the public’s trust.
Another key fact to note is when Laser filed a Complaint against Traub, in the Kay Bee case, Colm Connolly had Laser’s evidence stricken from the record. It just goes to show you that, in the Trump administration, journalists like Julian Assange and whistleblowers like Laser Haas and Chelsea Manning are punished – and crooks are rewarded – even pardoned!
We also could also ask the federal prosecutors threatened to keep their mouths shut when the Public Corruption Task Force was shut down – how they feel about white-collar crime not hurting anyone?
Ironically, Laser Haas has testified he was raised by crooked parents, to be a crook; and Laser was even sent to prison when he was 18. It is crazy that a guy trying to do the right thing is a felon who turned down and reported a million-dollar bribe and a chance to join Romney’s gang. Besides the fact that Mattel is partners with Bain Capital in destroying Kay Bee, Zainy Brainy, FAO Schwarz, Gymboree, Toys R Us and eToys, where 50,000 people lost their careers; there is the even more serious issue that Colm Connolly and Judge Walraths betrayal of the public’s trust has resulted in all this and more.
Anna Schaeffer, Jack Wheeler, Michael Sesseyoff, Jay Carceiro, Robert Alber, Harry A., Melissa Lewis, State Trooper=politico, the 2 Madoff sons, Jeffry Picower, John M. and Marty Lackner all tried to assist Laser to get justice. But, we can’t ask them how they feel about white-collar crime being no big deal; because all these individuals mentioned who are linked to trying to help expose Bain Capital and Goldman Sachs frauds – are all DEAD resultant of those who brush off white-collar crimes!
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