Lehman Brothers: The Movie

cityfile · 09/10/09 10:42AM

The movie about the fall of Lehman Brothers aired on the BBC last night. The Financial Times' Alphaville blog wasn't the least bit impressed with the "cringeworthingly hilarious" made-for-TV production. The "failed irony, bad acting and moral superiority," along with "overly earnest analogies to the movie Fight Club" and "a very sweaty OCD-obsessive clown-like Dick Fuld," gave it "the quality [of a] straight-to-video release," Izabella Kaminska reports. We'll leave it to you to decide how the filmmakers fared in terms of casting. From left to right: actor Henry Goodman as Morgan Stanley chief John Mack; and Michael Brandon as "brash tough-talking" JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Update: Dealbreaker has a clip of the movie here. [FT]

Jamie's Happy Accident

cityfile · 08/26/09 09:47AM

Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, may be the "accidental media mogul," in the words of Keith Kelly. But it's also fair to say he's done a good job establishing himself as the "accidental beneficiary of fraud," too. According to a finance professor who's been poring over documents in the Bernie Madoff case, JPMorgan Chase racked up $483 million in profits between 1992 and 2008 thanks to the fact Madoff was a loyal JPMorgan Chase customer for all those years, and he used his various accounts with the firm to store billions of dollars. Sadly, Madoff's unwavering loyalty to the bank has yet to result in Dimon renaming the Chase branch at Madison and 64th Street in Madoff's honor. But if you stop by and you feel the ghost of Bernie in the air, let us know. [FT Alphaville]

The Weinsteins Dodge a Bullet

cityfile · 08/24/09 01:44PM

Harvey and Bob Weinstein are breathing a sigh of relief today. Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds did better than expected at the box office this weekend, raking in $37.6 million in sales. Not that one good weekend will be enough to lift the studio out of the financial mess it is in. [NYT, THR, WSJ]
• Related: In what may be a first for a movie opening, Inglourious Basterds seems to have benefited by a "crest of tweeting goodwill." [THR]
• Some 48 years after it was first published, Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking is now No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list. [NYT]
• Has the Glenn Beck brouhaha made advertisers skittish about buying commercial time during political shows in general? [AdAge, Politico]
Jared Kushner's New York Observer is launching a new paper called The Commercial Observer. It's about commercial real estate, naturally. [NYT]
• Magazine newsstand sales continue to suffer, not surprisingly. [AdAge]

Lloyd Blankfein Goes Into Panic Mode

cityfile · 08/21/09 11:15AM

Goldman Sachs has a image problem, as you may have noticed. The firm has been battered by bad press in recent weeks as critics have accused Goldman of having a hand in everything from the destruction of the cookie industry to the spread of nuclear materials to rogue nation-states. (Okay, the firm hasn't been accused of that last one just yet, but it's just a matter of time.) Now, as we head into fall and get closer and closer to bonus season, Goldman chief Lloyd Blankfein is getting worried that it's about to get worse. But what to do?

Limitless Credit: Just What Consumers Need

cityfile · 08/20/09 07:11AM

Big banks have lost hundreds of billions of dollars as the economic downturn has left millions of Americans unable to pay their credit card bills. So that would make this the perfect time to introduce a new card with no spending limits, right? No? Oh, well. It seems Chase is now planning to give American Express a run for its money with its new, "limitless" "Sapphire" card. The good news, clearly: Jamie Dimon's debt-collecting good squad should have no problem keeping busy for the foreseeable future. [NYP, Bloomberg]

Lloyd Cannot Help but Live It Up

cityfile · 07/17/09 09:16AM

Contrary to what Goldman Sachs mouthpiece Lucas van Pragg told us the other day, it appears Lloyd Blankfein has been celebrating the bank's record quarter after all. Page Six reports today that Blankfein was spotted "celebrating Goldman's boffo earnings" with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at the (kosher) restaurant Prime Grill, although it doesn't say when this dinner supposedly took place, and it's always possible it was another short, bald, Jewish man in a boring suit. (There are a lot of them in this town, as you may be aware.) Meanwhile, Dealbreaker has the details about a dinner that allegedly took place place last night at Barbone, which not only featured Blankfein, but JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon as well. Barbone's located on Avenue B, which is unlikely territory for both men, but when you're trying to keep your social activities under the radar, you don't exactly book a table at the Four Seasons. Given all these meals, though, we can't help but feel a bit deceived by Goldman's corporate communications department. If there was one industry that has earned a rep for its commitment to honesty, it's investment banking! [NYP, Dealbreaker]

Jamie Dimon's Big Quarter Will Not Go Unnoticed

cityfile · 07/16/09 09:42AM

Goldman Sachs announced record earnings the day before yesterday. Today it was JPMorgan Chase's turn wow everyone on Wall Street, announcing a $2.7 billion second-quarter profit thanks to "stellar trading and investment banking results." A few months ago, the bank had accepted $25 billion in bailout cash. Now the Jamie Dimon-led bank is "emerging with renewed confidence," reports the Times, and it's "taking advantage of the financial crisis to vault ahead of longtime rivals in the investment banking rankings and grab market share in mortgages and retail banking." When Goldman shared its good news with the world, we wondered if the bank had an exciting party planned. (It didn't.) We didn't bother to ask Dimon's people if they were planning to live it up this evening. Jamie's too cheap to treat anyone to anything fancy, clearly. But he is the kind of guy who would happily rub his good news in the face of the competition!

It's Good to Be CEO

cityfile · 06/22/09 07:48AM

According to Crain's, New York's 100 top-paid executives took home $1.2 billion in compensation last year. And a handful of them, it turns out, are execs who happen to work at banks that received bailouts from Washington: "Number four on the list is Goldman's CEO Lloyd Blankfein, with $42.9 million. Following him is Citigroup's CEO Vikram Pandit, raking in $38.2 million. Jamie Dimon, head of JPMorgan Chase, comes next in line with $35.7 million. Goldman and JPMorgan, which received $10 billion and $25 billion, respectively, in government aid, have recently moved to repay the funds. Citigroup is still saddled with the $45 billion in aid it's accepted." Topping the list, in case you're wondering, is Peter Kraus of Alliance Bernstein, who was paid $52 million just to take the job. But American taxpayers also had a hand in making 2008 a very good year for Kraus: In addition to his take from Alliance, he earned $25 million for the three months he put in at Merrill Lynch in late 2008. [NYP]

Jamie Dimon Has Just the Home For You

cityfile · 05/26/09 02:41PM

Moving to Chicago? Got about $10.5 million to spend on a new house? You're in luck! JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon's Gold Coast home—with 26 rooms and 15,700 square feet of space—is now for sale. Dimon hasn't actually lived there since he left Bank One to join JPMorgan Chase in 2004. But clearly he's timed the sale perfectly. [Blockshopper via Dealbreaker]

Wall Street: Wednesday Morning

cityfile · 05/20/09 05:45AM

• Bank of America raised another $13.47 billion last night. [Reuters]
• How are banks making money these days? They're taking out life-insurance policies on their workers, with themselves listed as beneficiaries. [WSJ]
• The Obama administration may strip the SEC of some of its powers. [BN]

Gotti Will Not Give In

cityfile · 05/14/09 03:56PM

You didn't really expect Victoria Gotti to let JPMorgan Chase take her marble palace away from her without a fight, did you? That's not how the Gotti family rolls, as history has shown us on more than one occasion. Gotti appeared in federal court in Brooklyn yesterday and blamed the non-payment of her mortgage on her ex-husband, Carmine Agnello, vowing that the bank would never get its hands on the property. "I'm never going to lose the home," she explained. If you're a JPMorgan shareholder, consider this a good indication that the bank may be forced to shell out more than the $348,000 it spent last year providing Jamie Dimon with a security detail. [Newsday, previously]

Jamie Dimon Takes Down Victoria Gotti

cityfile · 05/11/09 12:59PM

Congrats to JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon: He's now in possession of what may very well be the tackiest home in New York. A Brooklyn judge has given JPMorgan the go-ahead to foreclose on the Old Westbury home of Victoria Gotti, the gaudy home that the Mob princess has been trying to sell for many months now. It turns out Gotti hasn't paid her mortgage since September 2006, and she's in debt to JPMorgan to the tune of $650,000. Now that the bank has prevailed in court, it will be able to displace Gotti and her boys and sell off the estate at auction. And what an estate it is! In addition to a five-bedroom house with giant white columns in front, the property comes with a pool with waterfall, tennis court, and gazebo with pond, and copious amounts of gold plating that we're sure will eventually make its way to Dimon's Park Avenue apartment. After the jump, the judge's order as well as a pic of the new pink-and-gold bathroom that is now firmly in Jamie's manicured, lotioned hands. Oh, and in case you're wondering if it's wise for Dimon to be going up against a family with such a notorious past, you can relax. He's done battle with worse.

Wall Street: Tuesday Morning

cityfile · 05/05/09 05:36AM

• About 10 of the 19 largest banks that have undergone "stress tests" will be notified by Washington that they need to raise more capital. [WSJ, BN]
• JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon isn't expecting to be one of the 10: He said he thinks "there are still too many banks in the United States," and will happily acquire some of the institutions that can't survive on their own. [WSJ]
• UBS announced a first-quarter loss of $1.8 billion as the bank took more writedowns on risky investments and client withdrawals continued. [Reuters]

Wall Street: Friday Morning

cityfile · 05/01/09 06:54AM

• Who said the good times are over? On the list of the 10 highest-paid CEOs of 2008: Vikram Pandit, Jamie Dimon, Lloyd Blankfein, and Ken Chenault. [AP]
• Bank of America's board continues to stand by CEO Ken Lewis and has no plans to oust him, says "a person familiar with the deliberations." [WSJ]
• Citigroup is raising some desperately needed cash by selling off its Japanese brokerage and investment units for $5.56 billion. [DB]

Jamie Dimon's Worst Nightmare

cityfile · 04/17/09 09:49AM

When we revealed that an agency retained by JPMorgan Chase to collect outstanding debts had resorted to harrassing debtors' kids by posting nasty messages on MySpace, we didn't realize who Jamie Dimon was messing with. Meet Gina Ricobene. She's the daughter of Jim Ricobene, the man suing the bank because Gina found a message on her MySpace page threatening to put her dad behind bars if he didn't come up with the cash to pay off the loan on his Mercedes.

Wall Street: Thursday Morning

cityfile · 04/16/09 05:48AM

• JPMorgan Chase reported a $2.1 billion profit in the first quarter, exceeding estimates. Unlike Goldman, though, Jamie Dimon says the bank hasn't decided whether to return the $25 billion it's received in bailout money. [DB, WSJ, BN]
• General Growth Properties, the second-largest mall operator, filed Chapter 11 today, making it one of the largest real estate failures in history. [AP, WSJ]
• AIG is close to a deal to sell its auto insurance business for $2 billion. [FT]
• Investors remain concerned about the situation at GE and whether the company will be forced to go out and raise additional capital. [WSJ]
• Foreclosure filings jumped 24 percent in the first quarter. [CNN]
• Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman says he's really worried about the "decline of capitalism." But he's got $25 billion sitting on the sidelines, and he's ready to pounce at any second assuming the world isn't ending. [Fortune]

Mess With Jamie Dimon at Your Own Risk

cityfile · 04/14/09 01:22PM

This photo of JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon holding up his fists ready to throw down? It's not just for show. If Chase loans you money to, say, buy a Mercedes SUV and you don't pay the bank back, Dimon will use any means necessary to insure you follow through. At least that's what a man named James Ricobene claims, who is now suing JPMorgan Chase for allegedly resorting to dirty tactics to collect the collateral on a car loan. Ricobene says Chase hired a shady collection outfit to harass him and posted a threatening message on his daughter's MySpace page vowing to report the 2007 Mercedes GL450 as stolen and put him in jail for two years if he didn't come up with the goods. We can't imagine Dimon would condone such unethical conduct, if only because he probably doesn't even know what MySpace is. But Ricobene probably shouldn't have been in this position to begin with, especially since he happens to be the president of a company called Cash Flow Consultants Inc. The full suit after the jump!

Wall Street Now 'Attentive'

cityfile · 03/27/09 02:20PM

So how did that little meeting go today in Washington between the president and the CEOs of the nation's largest banks? "It was very encouraging," said Morgan Stanley's John Mack. "We're all in this together," explained Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf. "Our interests are very much aligned," said Robert Kelly, the chief of The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. "The president made it clear that he'd like this country to get back on track," offered JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon. "He wants us all to help." Sounds like it was almost a lovefest! Or, you know, not. The CEOs weren't given anything to eat—just "glasses of water." And according to someone who was in the room—and despite all that encouraging talk from the CEOs themselves—"it wasn't a relaxed meeting, though the group was engaged and attentive." Thank you for doing President Obama the favor of paying attention, gentlemen. Your sacrifice has been noted for the record. [BN, DB]

Welcome to the White House

cityfile · 03/27/09 05:36AM

• President Obama will meet with 15 big banking CEOs in Washington today, including Vikram Pandit of Citigroup, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, and Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs. Obama plans to "quiz" them "about developments in the economy and their businesses." Sounds like fun. [CNN]
• Hedge fund managers can expect a lot more oversight in the future, which isn't something they're too excited about, not surprisingly. [Reuters, NYP]
• Andrew Cuomo says he now plans to widen his investigation of AIG. [DB]
• Many of the AIG execs charged with preventing the insurance giant from taking on too much risk still have jobs at the company for some reason. [WSJ]
• The exodus of Merrill bankers from Bank of America continues. [DJ, DB]
• Swiss private banks are banning top execs from traveling abroad for fear they will be detained as part of a crackdown on bank secrecy. [Reuters]
• Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-Shing says it's time to start buying stocks and real estate again. Make of that what you will. [NYT]

JPMorgan Flies On

cityfile · 03/23/09 09:12AM

The Post reported today that JPMorgan Chase, which collected $25 billion in bailout money last fall, has placed orders for two new Gulfstream 650 jets. The total cost? About $119 million. But ABC News reports that in addition to the cost of the planes, the bank is paying another $18 million to build "the premiere corporate aircraft hangar on the eastern seaboard," a structure that will feature "reclaimed wood, quarry tile and a vegetated roof garden." What, no zen garden? [NYP, ABC, photo]