Inner City
        Press' Bank Beat Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ Bank Beat.  We aim to scrutinize the industry, from high to low. Our other Reporters cover Community Reinvestment, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.   ICP has published a (double) book about the Bank Beat-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, an interactive map, and ordering information. The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters." See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," by Matt Pacenza, City Limits, Sept.-Oct. 2004. The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site. Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere, which include bank-related topics.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv  Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press.  Until next time, for or with more information, contact us.

September 13, 2021

PNC Bank Filed Request For Subpoena on Dreambuilders Now Another Friday Request

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 10 –  PNC Bank has been sued for assignment of loan to "Dreambuilder Investments, LLC which describes itself as "a mortgage resolution and investment company bringing liquidity, efficiency and humanity to distressed markets."

  On July 30 PNC filed a request in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for an order empowering a subpoena on Dreambuilder of 30 Wall Street and its CEO Peter J Andrews of 55 Liberty Street.

  In another Federal case, an order says "Dreambuilder Investments LLC (“DBI”) is owned by a series of LLCs, each of which owned by Andrews and Rockingham Capital."

Now on September 10, PNC has complained to the assigned Judge, Valerie E. Caproni, about non-compliance with the subpoenas, and requests an order for documents in five days, deposition two days after that. PNC says "time is of the essence because the discovery cut-off in the California proceeding is October 15, 2021."

  Inner City Press, which covers the SDNY, found and is immediately reporting on the case. It is In Re Application of PNC Bank, N.A., 21-mc-611 (Caproni)

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September 6, 2021

In XRP Case Ripple Wants Trading Records of SEC Staff and Family on Crypto, SEC Says No

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Podcast
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 3 – In SEC v. Ripple Labs Inc. et al., a discovery hearing was held on April 30 before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Netburn. Inner City Press live tweeted it, see below, then put underlying emails on Patreon here.

On May 21, after an SEC submission now on Patreon here, podcast here, Judge Netburn held another conference, this time on whether the SEC can get access to legal advise to Ripple. Inner City Press fought to cover it and did, live tweeting it here and below.

On September 3, the SEC opposed Ripple's motion to compel the production of details of the trading of SEC employees and their family members. The SEC argues that its policy states that even ethically cleared transactions do not imply that what is bought is legal. Watch this site.

On August 31, Judge Netburn held another proceeding, and agreed to review documents in camera as to which the SEC asserts deliberative process privilege. Inner City Press live tweeted it, here and below, and now publishes from the case an email involving Tenreiro and others saying

"Thanks for your email. We did not agree to produce any DAEO list but did agree to look into your question regarding the presence of BTC, ETH, or XRP on such a list and to provide any additional SEC internal trading policies from 2013-18. This email addresses your questions re the DAEO list and we will produce a small number of additional policies this week. Our Ethics Office has a “Prohibited Holdings” list pertaining to securities that fall within 5 C.F.R. 4401.102(c)(1). BTC, ETH, and XRP have never appeared on this list." On Patreon here.

August 30, 2021

With Griffith Jailed Before NoKo Trial He Asks To Exclude Evidence of Wealth, Tor & DPRK

By Matthew Russell Lee, Pod Exclusive Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 27 – Virgil Griffith, charged with violating North Korea sanctions in connection with a crypto-currency conference there, faced a bail review proceeding - in person - on July 20. He lost and was remanded. Inner City Press was there, and live tweeted, here and below (podcast here)

Now late on August 27 Griffith's lawyers have filed his motions to limine, seeking to exclude evidence at trial including about his "purported personal wealth and cryptocurrency holdings.. involvement with Tor / 'Dark Web'... DPRK's nuclear program and any implication that Mr. Griffith was involved in said program." Watch this site.

On August 24 the US Attorney's Office acknowledged that at least four FBI agents not on the case accessed the search warrant returns from Griffith's accounts:

"(1) On May 4, 2020, a now-retired FBI agent conducted a search on the Platform and then,  based on the returns from that search, viewed at least some portion of the Search  Warrant Returns. 

(2) On April 6, 2021, and April 19, 2021, an FBI analyst ran three searches on the Platform and viewed at least some portion of the Search Warrant Returns. 

(3) On May 27, 2021, an FBI analyst conducted a search on the Platform and, as a result  of that search, viewed at least some portion of the Search Warrant Returns.

(4) As described above, on August 11, 2021, an FBI analyst conducted a search in the  Platform and viewed at least some portion of the Search Warrant Returns. She shared those results with, among others, an FBI agent also not on the prosecution team, who  emailed them to the FBI case agent." Full letter on Inner City Press' DocumentCloud here.

On August 13, the US Attorney's Office filed its motions in limine, including that Griffith "forwarded CC-4's email to the co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation and Griffith's ultimate boss ('Individual-1') and another Ethereum Foundation leader." The US wants to use these individuals, and communications, against Griffith at trial. Watch this site.

August 23, 2021

Calk Found Guilty Of Manafort Loans To Get Cabinet or UN Position, Moves For Acquittal

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Podcast 2 3 5
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 20 – After months of preliminaries, the trial of Stephen Calk for conspiracy to trade his bank's loans to Paul Manafort for the Secretary of the Army position began on June 23. Inner City Press live tweeted, here, previous coverage here,  podcast here

 On July 13, after mere hours, the jury found him guilty. Inner City Press verdict tweet here; in front of 40 Foley Square, Calk refused questions (including on his bank and desire of UN Ambassador position) and was whisked off in a black car. Video here. Sentencing set for January 10, 2022. Podcast here.

Update, with comment from Calk's lawyer: "We are very disappointed by the verdict and will be pursuing all available legal remedies, including an appeal," said Paul H. Schoeman, Co-Managing Partner at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.

On August 20, Kramer Levin filed a letter seeking acquittal, arguing among other things that Manafort's help wasn't worth the requisite $1000," amounting to no more that "one email to Jared Kushner and communications with Scaramucci." Watch this site.

August 16, 2021

Avenatti Finances Unsealed After Inner City Press Filings, $1.4 Million PPP Loan Exposed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Song Radio
BBC - Decrypt - LightRead - Order Affidavit

SDNY COURTHOUSE,  August 13 – Michael Avenatti's financial affidavit to get a publicly paid lawyer, which Inner City Press has formally sought to have unsealed for eleven months, were on July 27 been ordered unsealed. Order.
Podcast here. Aug 13 podcast here.

 But on August 10 Avenatti's Federal Defenders have filed a copy of the affidavit with multiple redactions. The form refers on nearly every question to an attachment, which is blacked out in absurd ways. It reads, for example, "I own stock in two closely held companies that may have value: (a) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED] and (b) [REDACTED] located in [REDACTED]... I technically still have an interest in a private aircraft (model: HondaJet 420) that was seized by the IRS and is still in their possession. This interest is held through a single-purpose entity named [REDACTED]," and so forth.

Inner City Press  published the redacted affidavit on its DocumentCloud here and asked, Will the Court be accepting this?

On August 11, the correct answer was: No. "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Avenatti (1) on [139] LETTER MOTION re: [139] LETTER MOTION addressed to Judge Jesse M. Furman from Robert Baum, Tamara Giwa & Andrew Dalack dated August 10, 2021 re: Letter Motion In Response to Court's Order to File Financial Affidavit. ENDORSEMENT: The Court is unpersuaded that privacy interests justify redacting the names and locations of the corporate entities in Paragraphs 14, 15, and 17 of ECF No. 139-1."

  After hours on August 12, some redactions were removed: Avenatti's owned a plane through Passport 420 LLC; an unnamed "non-family-member acquaintance" paid a NY-based attorney in the Nike case, whose name is redacted. Unredacted: Avenatti owns stock in Tyrian Systems (aka Seek Thermal) of Santa Barbara, CA and Centurion Holdings I, LLC of St. Louis Missouri."

 Not to fast. Inner City Press research in the hours after the removal of the improper redactions found that Centurion Holdings I, LLC is based in Arnold, Missouri - and "received a PPP loan of $60,477 in May, 2020." That's the Paycheck Protection Program; the funds came through the Central Bank of St. Louis.

Bigger, the aka: "Seek Thermal, Inc of  6300 Hollister Ave in Goleta, California received a Coronavirus-related PPP loan from the SBA of $1,365,062.00 in April, 2020." We'll have more on this.

 Watch this site.

August 9, 2021

Haiti Is Sued For $27 Million Non-Payment For Oil, Central Bank Moves to Bar Citibank Answers

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 4 – Haiti and its developement agency are being sued for non-payment of $27 million worth of delivered oil, with the Central Bank of Haiti on August 4 moving to intervene.  

The August 4 emergency motion filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York seeks to bar Citibank from responding to plaintiff Preble-Rish Haiti S.A.'s subpoena and interrogatories. Inner City Press found the filing in the SDNY, which it covers daily while banned by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres from the UN where it asked and asks about the UN bringing cholera to Haiti.

   Preble-Rish Haiti is represented by the Blank Rome law firm; the Banque de la Republique d'Haiti has hired two other New York-based firms for its motion to intervene and to quash.

August 2, 2021

PNC Bank Files Friday Night Request For Subpoena on Dreambuilders in SDNY

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 30 –  PNC Bank has been sued for assignment of loan to "Dreambuilder Investments, LLC which describes itself as "a mortgage resolution and investment company bringing liquidity, efficiency and humanity to distressed markets."

  On July 30 PNC filed a request in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for an order empowering a subpoena on Dreambuilder of 30 Wall Street and its CEO Peter J Andrews of 55 Liberty Street.

  In another Federal case, an order says "Dreambuilder Investments LLC (“DBI”) is owned by a series of LLCs, each of which owned by Andrews and Rockingham Capital."

  Inner City Press, which covers the SDNY, found and is immediately reporting on the case. It is In Re Application of PNC Bank, N.A., 21-mc-611 (Unassigned)

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Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

July 26, 2021

Sterling National Bank Is Sued For China Wires As Webster CRA Protest By Fair Finance Watch

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - CJR - PFT

SOUTH BRONX / SDNY, July 13 – The proposed merger of Webster Financial Corp. and Sterling Bancorp has been challenged, on disparate lending and regulatory evasions, first to the Federal Reserve and  the OCC.

  On June 25, the Fed asked the banks a series of questions, below and full letter on Patreon here

  Now Inner City Press can report that, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on July 12, it emerged that Sterling has been sued for allowing the unauthorized wiring to China and Singapore of $12 million in funds from NJ-based contractor Niram. This is an adverse managerial resources factor to be raised to / acted on by the Federal Reserve, including under the new antitrust Executive Order. Watch this site.

There are also at least two lawsuits have been filed against the ill-conceived proposed merger. Will the banks settle those, while doubling down on their contempt for the Community Reinvestment Act? The lawsuits:

Elaine Wang sued Sterling and its directors, including Fernando Ferrer, for violations of the Security Exchange Act of 1934.  In short order, Alex Ciccotelli sued them as well, along with Webster. Inner City Press is following the case.

  Fair Finance Watch has found that in 2019 in its home state of Connecticut, Webster National Bank made 3147 mortgage loans to whites, with 1364 denial to whites - while making only 71 loans to African Americans with fully 99 denials to African American. This is significantly worse than other banks in the state; the merger must be denied.

July 12, 2021

JPMChase Barred Woman From Joint Account After Husband's Death, Judge Says Find Trace

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 9 – Lurline Lewy and her husband Rudolph had a $104,000 account at JP Morgan Chase Bank at 596 Fort Washington Avenue in Manhattan. 

  Her husband died, and Chase denied her access to the funds. Now after years are asking she has sued, and Chase says it's too late. 

      On June 8, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it. 

  Morgan Chase pushed its argument that it is too late.

Judge Hellerstein remarked that a bank should be expected to keep records.

He denied the motion to dismiss.

On July 9, Judge Hellerstein held another proceeding in the case. He said pointedly that he found it hard to believe there are not traces of where the money is. He told the parties what to do before the next conference, which he said should be on a Friday, "I do it on Fridays." It is December 10, 2021 at 10 am, along with other cases.

The case is Lewy v. JP Morgan Chase Bank & Co. et al., 20-cv-10048 (Hellerstein)

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Your support means a lot. As little as $5 a month helps keep us going and grants you access to exclusive bonus material on our Patreon page. Click here to become a patron.

July 5, 2021

JPM Chase Is Sued After Theft of $453,000 Now Discovery Into Bank's Policies Until Dec 2

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK -