8.13.2008

Conde Nast Portfolio: strong out of the gate

I just got a $12 subscription to the new(ish) Conde Nast Portfolio, and it's well worth it.

In the August issue, Angelo's Many 'Friends':
In January 2004, Richard Aldrich, a California state appeals court judge, decided to refinance his 8,200-square-foot house next to a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course at the Sherwood Country Club in Westlake Village. He turned to a prominent Sherwood member: Countrywide Financial chief executive Angelo Mozilo.

Aldrich’s application was assigned to a loan officer named Robert Feinberg; the judge was seeking a $1 million loan and a $900,000 line of credit. By email, Feinberg alerted Mozilo that the credit line was “above what guidelines allow.” Mozilo responded, “Go ahead and approve the loan, and close it as soon as possible. Don’t worry about this deal, it’s golden.” Countrywide further waived half a point, or $5,000 on the million-dollar loan. (Homebuyers can reduce their interest rates by paying points, which are equal to 1 percent of the value of a loan.)

That wasn’t Aldrich’s only contact with Countrywide. At the time he refinanced, a class action lawsuit against Countrywide was pending before the appellate court, brought by borrowers contending that the company offered an inadequate payment to settle allegations that it charged excessive fees for credit reports. That August, Aldrich was part of a three-judge panel that unanimously rejected the borrowers’ appeal.


It goes on to explore other corrupt Countrywide deals for politicians. Click over and read it for free. And then get yourself a cheap print subscription.

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