Thursday, May 6, 2010

Quote of the day

Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit has written President Barack Obama endorsing “strong regulatory reform” for U.S. banks. What’s more, Pandit wrote, “You can count on me and the entire Citi organization to support” Obama’s reform efforts.

And when the federal government owns 27% of your ass at Citi that's the sort of fealty we expect. So, just knock off any of this whining about crony capitalism and let Citi get back to cutting a backroom deal with the most transparent administration ever.

P.S. This is mildly reminiscent of a radio interview we heard years ago involving Sonny Vacarro, a legend in the world of AAU basketball and basketball sneakers. At the time, Sonny was working for Nike, or was it Adidas, or maybe even Reebok... can't be sure. Anyway, Sonny's big thing was his 5-Star basketball camp he held every summer in Pittsburgh which was merely an opportunity for high school all-stars from around the nation to showcase their wares in front of Division I basketball coaches. Sonny was notorious for shepherding these high school studs to whichever college had a contract with whatever shoe company Sonny happened to be working for at the time.

To say that the unregulated world at the intersection of AAU basketball, college recruiting and shoe companies is a somewhat shady realm is to be charitable. And Sonny knew it! But did Sonny ever feel compelled to hold back to at least stem the criticism that he was acting in an unethical manner? Ha! There was money to be made and employers to be satisfied and access to schools like North Carolina, UCLA and Kansas to be had.

Sonny, in this interview, was reduced to begging the hosts to "please make some rules" because the whole arrangement was seedy, sleazy and unseemly and no one including, admittedly, Sonny himself could help themselves from swimming, nay, luxuriating in it.

Now, we know that the world of Wall St. is far from unregulated and those very regulations that are in place are alternately ignored and leveraged by Congress to produce the desired results but the pitiful and supine behavior of both Pandit and Vacarro is demonstrable less of a "broken system" and more of ultimately failed human character.

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