My tin foil hat is officially broken, again…
As part of the bailouts of AIG and Bear Stearns, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York spent more than $70 billion to buy toxic assets the companies owned. Last week, prompted by a lawsuit filed by Bloomberg News, the Fed finally told the world exactly what it bought.
The Fed now owns loans to Hilton hotels in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Malaysia and Trinidad. It owns loans to the Miami airport, and the Civil Opera House in Chicago.
It also owned a loan to Crossroads Mall in Oklahoma City. Then, when the owners of the mall couldn’t make the payments, the Fed foreclosed. So now it owns the mall, which includes a Chick-fil-A and an AMC theater.
The mall’s for sale — cheap! “This lender owned distressed asset … can be purchased at far below replacement cost,” this listing says.
The Fed also owns credit-default swaps — basically, insurance policies that pay off if a borrower defaults on a loan. It holds swaps on the debt of Florida schools, and on debt owed by California and Nevada. So the Fed would profit if one of those states defaulted on its debt.
“You should have the image of Chairman Ben Bernanke flying to a speaking engagement,” Reinhart says. “And he can look out the window and look down and say, ‘Boy, I own a piece of that, I own a piece of that, I own a piece of that, I own a piece of that.”
HA! And I thought that the Tribune Co. ceding control of the company to its lenders, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. as reported here from the WSJ was concerning since they acquired ANOTHER media outlet while at the same time of negotiating the purchase of the proprietary rights to the Idols television brand, including the “American Idol” series in the United States and local adaptations of the television show format, according to its website. It would also give JP Morgan the rights to the names, images and likenesses of Elvis Presley and boxer Muhammad Ali.