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Central Pacific Bank (trading symbol CPF)
Old 03-17-2010, 10:49 PM   #1
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Central Pacific Bank (trading symbol CPF)

I've managed to avoid buying individual stocks for over two years. Talk me down.

CPB is a Hawaii bank that's overextended itself on real estate. They've been getting hammered by their California real-estate developer's loans and home mortgages. Their capital ratios are too low, they haven't been able to sell off their toxic waste, no one wants to deposit more money with them. They haven't been able to raise capital by selling shares. They've already told the SEC that they're not going to be able to comply with a FDIC consen letter, and now instead of boosting their capital ratios they're considering "selling assets" to reduce their size from ~$5B to ~$3.5B. In the last three years their stock has dropped from over $30/share to under $1, since recovering to just under $2.

The bank's current structure was formed in late 2004 by a combination of two smaller local banks. The acquisition was somewhat controversial and unfriendly but the two eventually merged on polite terms. The acquired bank's CEO became non-exec chairman and the acquiring bank's CEO proceeded to expand into more aggressive mortgages and CA real estate. Clint Arnoldus also became a local legend by making the bank's mascot a dog with the tag line "Fiercely loyal". Arnoldus pretty much ran the bank over a cliff but I believe that local sentiment will keep shareholders and account owners from bolting. Arnoldus "retired" in 2008, as the wheels were beginning to come off, and the chairman took over as CEO. The chairman/CEO, the bank's first Hawaii-born CEO, has been presiding over the disaster.

Yesterday the board replaced that CEO with John Dean, a legendary local venture-capital investor. He has three bank turnarounds to his credit, including Silicon Valley Bank. He's taking the job at $1/year, and will no doubt announce shortly that he's bought a huge chunk of CPB stock. It's also quite possible that he'll seek additional capital from local investors, either through angel-investment clubs or venture-capital firms. It's not even unthinkable that he'll tap someone to make a Buffett-like investment for preferred stock.

Bad stuff can still happen (and probably will) but this bank is Hawaii's third-largest (for now) and other local banks have managed successful turnarounds. There are strong connections among the bank's execs, directors, and local VCs. I think that most of the people in the industry actually want the bank to succeed. But I don't know if local sentiment will impress the SEC, the FDIC, or the Fed.

I could buy shares on faith that the right people are finally running the show, but I'd rather make a more informed decision. I'm actually trying to find a quantitative reason not to invest, even though I can see that this bank might manage to turn its share price 10x in five years. For my own personal peace of mind, I need to figure out if this is a value stock or a value trap.

I know enough to read the bank's last few quarterly/annual reports and SEC filings. I think I can track down the FDIC letter's requirements.

What other websites or databases do I want to examine? What numbers or issues will be particularly critical for this turnaround?

Here are links to the news and one link to history:
Central Pacific Bank will reduce assets - Pacific Business News (Honolulu):
Central Pacific Bank changes leadership, adopts new plan... - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL Home
StarBulletin.com - Mobile Edition
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Migita named new CEO of Central Pacific Bank | starbulletin.com | Business | /2008/07/31/

Please keep in mind that I'm not trying to drum up Internet buzz for this stock. I'd rather examine a failing company and look for flaws in its turnaround efforts... otherwise I'll be a sucker in these situations for the rest of my life.
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Old 03-18-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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I am the LAST person on the planet able to make intelligent commentary about individual stock picking. I own exactly 2 individual stocks outside of my mutual funds' equity holdings, and in such a small amount it would make most of the forum members crack up.

My only comment is the standard "walking into the casino" advice.
"Only bring the amount which you are willing to lose."
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Old 03-18-2010, 10:35 AM   #3
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One of the problems with an undercapitalized bank is that the person or persons they tap to add capital have the power... they can insist that their X dollars represent Y of ownership and dilute your shares...

If it is trading for $2... than likely after the 10 for 1 reverse split it would be priced at $18 to $20... so it looks good on paper... but your value has gone down.


Now, if there ARE enough assets there... and all they have to do is work to realize them... then maybe yes... but just reading what you put down... I doubt there are....

Also, there is nothing to say that this Friday the FDIC comes and closes it down... or next Friday etc... even IF they have started to turn things around... if they see that current management is selling off the good assets, they might want to come in faster (that is what happend with the bank I worked way back during the last financial crisis)...
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:59 PM   #4
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Oh boy....bank stock....MY absolute favorite thing in the world

Let's see what I can add....bought BAC at $55/share....uhhh....let me look and see where we are today

Ok....so $55 - $17 =

Nuff said.....freebird's advice is sound....only play with what you are willing to lose!
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Old 03-19-2010, 12:01 AM   #5
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FWIW, I relayed last year my experience in dealing with them procuring a loan. Of course, they had no intention - nor did they lead me to believe they had any intention - of servicing the loan. It was understood that they were acting as a broker, not a mortgage company. That said, the experience started out very rocky but after some fear and loathing, our individual loan person pulled out a deal we could live with. It was tense because of the recent unpleasantness in the banking industry. Because our seller was in a real hurry, we were under a lot of pressure (and incentive) to move quickly. Moving quickly is something I wouldn't count on from any mortgage broker for the foreseeable future. Not unless you bring a lot of money to the table.

But back to the OP. I look at buying their stock, specifically, and bank stock in general as speculative. Could be a big payday if they come out the other side. I wouldn't bet the farm. I did my part to keep 'em in bidness.

They sure have some nice buildings. I recall needing to go outside to warm up, so maybe they could set the AC up and save a buck or two. Our loan officer was shivering in long pants and sweater.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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CPB's new chairman/CEO gave a short speech a couple weeks ago to an investor's group, and I've been waiting for the reality-distortion field to dissipate.

First let's review the last five months. CPB has shed itself of its former chairman/president/CEO, vice chair/CFO, and EVP/credit officer. Another board seat has been eliminated to allow the incumbent (who has stayed with the company) to focus on CPB's home mortgage program. John Dean has taken chairman/president/CEO. CPB hasn't released any other hiring announcements, so either the other jobs are being covered from within or they've decided to leave them vacant for now. There haven't been any other firings or mass layoffs and Dean does not seem to have parachuted in his own hand-picked team, although he's been there less than 90 days.

CPB's latest quarterly results suck, but they suck slightly less than last quarter. They've lost another $160M ($5.36/share) but most of that was a non-cash elimination of goodwill, and they've hinted that the hemorrhaging has stopped. They've sold off a bunch of assets, they've written off a bunch of bad loans, they're shutting down their California branches, and they're consolidating a bit in Hawaii. But they still have a pile of bad and shaky loans.

CPB's Tier 1 risk-based capital and total risk-based capital ratios are at 9% and 10.3%. Unfortunately the FDIC consent agreement requires 10% & 12% and CPB's numbers actually dropped a bit last quarter as they liquidated assets & wrote off loans. As ClifP has pointed out, the FDIC's increased regulation and higher Tier 1 ratio requirement weakens CPB's competitive advantage by reducing their leverage. If CPB can't even attain compliance with the consent agreement then I doubt that the FDIC is going to relax the requirements.

John Dean has agreed to work for $1/year (plus health insurance and a ridiculously high car allowance of $1000/month). He does not own any CPB stock but he's been awarded 200,000 restricted shares on a vesting schedule. While Dean's compensation could be compared to Steve Jobs' $1/year salary (minus the corporate jet), a more relevant example would be Mike O'Neill's 2001 rescue of Bank of Hawaii. Within a few months after his arrival he'd bought $10M of Bankoh's stock with his own money, and over the next decade his equity stake rose by nearly a factor of 10x. Dean's not quite in the same league as that gesture. Yet.

Dean's talk to the investors was largely a Jimmy Stewart "turning this ship around" sales promotion. Hey, it's what CEOs are supposed to do, and he did it with gusto. He repeatedly stressed that the bank was full of good people wanting to do good things for their good communities, and by golly good ol' John was there to clear a good path for them. He heavily reminisced how much CPB reminds him of his 1990s turnaround of Silicon Valley Bank. He talked about CPB's new focus on carving out a niche in the local market among the other big Hawaii banks, which to my cynical perspective sounds a lot like trying not to get crushed by the elephants. He even had an unsolicited audience testimonial by a real-estate developer about how CPB stuck by the developer's handshake loan plans after another local bank developed cold feet. By the time the speech was over, the room was positively glowing with good cheer.

The best part was Dean's comparison of the FDIC to his mother. (FDIC staff were not present at this talk, and I don't think his mother was either.) Dean said that he and CPB take full responsibility for getting into this mess, and they'd take full responsibility for getting out of it. He said that if he didn't understand his position then the FDIC, like his mother, would not be tolerant of his misapprehensions. He also said that the FDIC, like his mother, really does love CPB and wants them to succeed. He felt comfortable calling the FDIC anytime to let them know their progress and ask for advice, but not for help.

At Friday's $2.17/share, the bank has a market cap of about $65M. Dean reiterated the need to recapitalize:
StarBulletin.com - Mobile Edition
Quote:
"We're going to have to raise capital," he said. "We've been very public about that, and we'll be back in the market later this year and we'll be testing the waters at the end of May and in early June to see the interest level in the private-equity market in terms of investing and helping to recapitalize the bank."
Another analyst has noted:
StarBulletin.com - Mobile Edition
Quote:
Analyst Joseph Gladue said in a research report that he anticipates the parent of Central Pacific Bank will need to raise $200 million and that with the progress the company is making, he is "slightly more optimistic" that it can survive.
Here's an interesting bit of trivia about bank equity: preferred shares can be counted as part of Tier 1 capital. Instead of having to dilute the heck out of shareholders with common stock, CPB could sell enough preferred shares to simultaneously recapitalize and achieve their FDIC-required ratios. It would still dilute the common shareholders, of course. However CPB could mess with conversion ratios and deferred dividends* to make the preferred a very attractive investment while commanding a higher share price.

In addition, Dean is a partner of Startup Capital Ventures. His experience and contacts give him plenty of access to VC money. He doesn't have to take Mike O'Neill's approach to acquiring his own bank stock-- he can have his VC firm do it for him, and for a lot more than $10M. It wouldn't be inconceivable for CPF to sell at least $50M of preferred shares, probably paying a deferred dividend and ideally convertible in 3-5 years. Presumably Startup would be able to get a piece of that.

There's just one catch to all of this good news: CPB is still not in compliance with the FDIC's six-month-old consent decree. I don't know exactly what goads the FDIC to take over a bank on a Friday night, but I suspect that lack of compliance might be enough goading. Preferred shares aren't so compelling when they're wiped out by the govt's actions.

I suspect there'll be a recapitalization announcement within the next six weeks. CPB's share price briefly surged to $3 after Dean took over, but it's since sagged back to ~$2.25. CPB's recovery (or not) is probably going to become a local case study in turnarounds, so let's hope it's a good one.

I'm enjoying my front-row seat but I'm not eager to leap onto the stage. However here are two questions:
1. What would trigger an FDIC takeover? Or to put the question more positively, what would CPB have to do to convince the FDIC to end their consent decree?

I'd especially appreciate any links to FDIC practice on Friday-night takeovers. I've been all over the FDIC website but I still don't have a firm grasp of what it takes to trigger the decision.

2. What terms for shares of preferred stock (price, dividend rate, conversion ratio) would inspire you to invest?

* IAW the FDIC consent decree, CPB is not allowed to pay shareholder dividends. However they could hypothetically issue preferred shares with a deferred dividend, thereby giving the stock a "real" value while technically complying with the consent decree.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:38 PM   #7
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I'd especially appreciate any links to FDIC practice on Friday-night takeovers. I've been all over the FDIC website but I still don't have a firm grasp of what it takes to trigger the decision.
You're not going to find this. CPB is sinking fast and I'd bet the FDIC is trying to keep it afloat while they search for a way to dump it at the least possible cost to the insurance fund.
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:19 PM   #8
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man, you are studying a basket case. i would run...not walk.

but i'm buying bp - so what do i know
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Old 06-05-2010, 08:54 PM   #9
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I don't know if this has any useful info, but here is the consent order
http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/...009-12-11.pdf#
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:01 AM   #10
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I'm not trying to make the case for investing, either, but John Dean didn't just take a bottle of stupid pills. As both a turnaround artist and a venture capitalist, it would seem that there's something here worth studying and possibly learning from.

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I don't know if this has any useful info, but here is the consent order
http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/...009-12-11.pdf#
I suppose this is all the FDIC needs to execute their takeover. But I've realized that while we all know what happens over the weekend after the FDIC shows up at closing time, it's frequently difficult to determine exactly what led the FDIC to take those steps. I was hoping to find some list of criteria or other indicators on either their website or on some other reference website.
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:16 AM   #11
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One of the things that will spur them is deterioration.... I don't think the goodwill write down would count, but loans do...

The other is where on the pecking order are they... IOW, you might be a dead bank, but there are so many more in line you are a dead bank walking... they have to have the personal there to do the job...

How many branches are there? How many assets? The decision to close down is usually made a long time before it is done... unless something occurs that forces their hand...

Can you find something to indicate 'when'... nope..
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:07 AM   #12
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I'm not trying to make the case for investing, either, but John Dean didn't just take a bottle of stupid pills. As both a turnaround artist and a venture capitalist, it would seem that there's something here worth studying and possibly learning from.


I suppose this is all the FDIC needs to execute their takeover. But I've realized that while we all know what happens over the weekend after the FDIC shows up at closing time, it's frequently difficult to determine exactly what led the FDIC to take those steps. I was hoping to find some list of criteria or other indicators on either their website or on some other reference website.
I don't believe there is a list of criteria. In a case like this, I believe it's all about protecting the insurance fund. If the bank is not a viable going concern, the timing to close it down will be tied to when the fund will take the smallest possible hit. So the FDIC brings in John Dean. Is this to keep the bank from falling deeper into the pit while they look for another bank to take it on? Or is there a chance Dean could turn this thing around?

If I were inclined to take a chance and invest, I'd put my attention on the loan portfolio. From their 10-K (emphasis added):

Business Concentrations
No individual or single group of related accounts is considered material in relation to the assets or deposits of our bank, or in relation to the overall business of the Company. However, approximately 86% of our loan portfolio held for investment at December 31, 2009 consisted of real estate-related loans, including construction loans, residential mortgage loans and commercial mortgage loans. See “Part II, Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition—Loan Portfolio.” Our business activities are now focused primarily in Hawaii and we are winding down our California operations. Consequently, our results of operations and financial condition are impacted by the general economic trends in Hawaii, and to a lesser extent in California, particularly in the commercial and residential real estate markets. While during periods of economic strength, the real estate market and the real estate industry typically perform well, during periods of economic weakness, they typically are adversely affected. During the past several years we have incurred substantial losses on our Hawaii and mainland real estate portfolios, which have resulted in deteriorating capital ratios and increased regulatory supervision. Given the high concentration risk that exists in our loan portfolio, we expect credit costs to remain elevated through 2010.

I got this off the investor relations section of CPB's website. So they have very high concentration risk in real estate loans. The big question is do they have enough capital to sustain the bank until the market recovers?

The real estate market is showing signs of improvement in Hawaii. See the report I posted here: Real Estate Market - Dallas tops the list

Even so, I would not be inclined to take a chance on this bank. If I did, I'd look at it as a Vegas casino type gamble. One other thing I'd think about is how does the fact this bank is in your community impact your analysis?

This could be a good thing since you're financially savy and know what's going on in your community. Or it could be you're seeing the bank's chances as too favorable because they are important to many people in Hawaii.

From their website: "Founded by a small group of World War II veterans in 1954 to help immigrant families build a life away from the plantations, the bank has grown to serve the financial needs of all families and small businesses in the Islands. We are a leading force in supporting homeownership and small businesses in Hawaii as a market leader in residential mortgage and SBA loan originations." Pretty words but not a big factor in the FDIC's decision process.
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FDIC Considerations
Old 06-06-2010, 03:12 PM   #13
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FDIC Considerations

Hope this clarifies a couple of questions.

Technically, FDIC doesn't close a bank. A financial institution that is covered by FDIC insurance has either a federal or state charter that authorizes it to operate. Only the chartering authority can close an institution and then have the FDIC appointed its receiver. That's similar to the court appointing the trustee if a business files for bankruptcy. If the chartering authority does not close institution that appears to be failing the FDIC can revoke its deposit insurance.

In the "old" days, the triggering event for closing a failing financial institution was failing to meet its cash letter. In other words, the institution was illiquid. An analogy is a person being house rich and cash poor - someone who's net worth is locked up in the home, but unable to pay daily bills.

In the more current environment, there are other considerations for the chartering agencies such as engaging in unsafe and unsound practices that will affect the institution's ability to be an ongoing concern.

The reason for the preference to close on Fridays is to allow enough time for processing the transaction, whether that be transferring assets and/or liabilities to another financial institution or preparing to payout depositors.

However, the Comptroller of the Currency, which provides for federal bank charters, tends to close an institution on Thursdays because much of its staff works a compressed schedule that results in Fridays off.

Another comment on this thread is correct that minimizing the cost to the FDIC insurance fund is factor in how a failing institution is handled.
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Old 06-06-2010, 10:58 PM   #14
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Just want to throw this out... who was the poster who kept saying Hawaii prices were not going down That every investment made was 'great'....

Wonder if he is still around...

Nords... another thought... say everything goes great... will they be able to make enough money where the stock price will recover IOW, they first have to get out of the deep hole they are in BEFORE they can start to make any real money and real value... sounds to me that it would be better to invest in someone who is not already in the hole....
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:15 AM   #15
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Hope this clarifies a couple of questions.
Another comment on this thread is correct that minimizing the cost to the FDIC insurance fund is factor in how a failing institution is handled.
Thanks. Since they're already on the hook with the consent decree, looks like FDIC could let this drag on indefinitely unless CPB does something to piss them off.

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Just want to throw this out... who was the poster who kept saying Hawaii prices were not going down That every investment made was 'great'....
Wonder if he is still around...
It's my understanding that Honobob is no longer able to post to this board. But he's stalking HawaiiThreads.com and posting to... the real estate threads. He's well-behaved (so far) but it'll be interesting to see if he's really turned over a new leaf or if it's just deja vu all over again.

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Nords... another thought... say everything goes great... will they be able to make enough money where the stock price will recover IOW, they first have to get out of the deep hole they are in BEFORE they can start to make any real money and real value... sounds to me that it would be better to invest in someone who is not already in the hole....
I think they just have to make people (and possibly an index fund or two) feel good about them. A reverse stock split, a profitable quarter... hope... but you're right that the company is going to be crippled until they get the FDIC off their backs. I see no fundamental reason for the stock to leave its $2-$3 share price until they restore profits & dividends, which could take another year or two.

Looks like John Dean has already decided to hit the road shows:
Bank's chief will go on tour to raise cash - Hawaii Business - Staradvertiser.com

I think a recap investment by a VC or a private equity fund is exactly the type of "hope" he's selling.

Another issue, that I'm still trying to sort out for another thread-starter, is just how much more money I need to chase. I certainly don't need the risk, and I don't have any spending plans for prospective cap gains. There's way more curiosity here than commitment.
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Old 06-07-2010, 09:26 AM   #16
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Just want to throw this out... who was the poster who kept saying Hawaii prices were not going down That every investment made was 'great'....

Wonder if he is still around...

Nords... another thought... say everything goes great... will they be able to make enough money where the stock price will recover IOW, they first have to get out of the deep hole they are in BEFORE they can start to make any real money and real value... sounds to me that it would be better to invest in someone who is not already in the hole....
I have come to realize.... that we have hit the Hawaiian banking lottery...
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Old 06-07-2010, 10:11 AM   #17
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I've managed to avoid buying individual stocks for over two years. Talk me down.
Given your post I am very tempted to put $1k into it and see what happens. I would go for it if I were you.
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Old 06-07-2010, 12:47 PM   #18
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Talked to my boss today about this bank... he said it is not going under... seems some senator from Hawaii has a huge stake of common... and has pulled some strings...

As long as he is a primary investor... I don't see it being closed unless they do really bad things...
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Old 06-07-2010, 01:38 PM   #19
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Talked to my boss today about this bank... he said it is not going under... seems some senator from Hawaii has a huge stake of common... and has pulled some strings...

As long as he is a primary investor... I don't see it being closed unless they do really bad things...
Well, isn't that interesting....

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Old 06-07-2010, 01:47 PM   #20
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Dag nab it!
When are we going to start requiring investments of congressmen and senators to be held in blind trust?
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Pacific versus Europe Rich_by_the_Bay FIRE and Money 4 12-13-2006 11:49 AM

 

 
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