So this happened:
An Ohio hotel has been fending off angry phone calls because a broken rope on its flagpole led some to think the business was mourning the death of Osama bin Laden. The rope left the U.S. flag stuck at half-staff outside a Hampton Inn in Springfield in western Ohio two days before bin Laden was killed, its assistant general manager Connie Smith told msnbc.com. However, people started noticing the flag and assuming its position was in honor of bin Laden on Tuesday. The hotel and its company received dozens of calls from people who were either upset or angry. One threatened to run the hoteliers out of town.
Allegedly! Knowing the city of Lincoln, Nebraska like we do, it’s entirely possible that these two bros were simply still not over the Husker football team’s dismal display in the last two games of the season and this shitty refund was simply the kernel that busted the storage bin.
Lincoln police said one man was arrested after he refused to leave H&R Block when he became upset with his tax refund. And the man’s brother is accused of stealing an employee’s vehicle, according to police.
Authorities were called when Joshua Brown, 26, refused to leave the H&R Block on O Street. They said he was upset with his refund and insisted on talking with all the tax professionals in the building. Officers said they removed him from the property and cited him for trespassing and fail to disperse.
A half-hour later, officers said they were called back to the same business regarding a stolen Ford Explorer. An employee found her car and keys missing, police said.
Officers said Brown was inside the business with his brother, 31-year-old Michael Medina. Police said they found the Ford Explorer in the parking lot across from the brothers’ apartment on 10th Street. Police said Medina was arrested on auto theft charges.
Receiving news that you might be expected to earn less money would upset the most mild-mannered of Americans.
But if you’re the King of All Media and you hear through the grapevine that your company’s Chief Financial Officer says this: “At the time of the [Sirius and XM Radio ] merger we were in many long-term contracts. As they come up for renewal, we’ll have the opportunity to get more favorable economic terms there.”
You might react with the following:
“I am not taking a f—ing paycut,” Stern said. “Why would I have to take a paycut? … Who is this guy to say this in public?”
“I know what I have done in this company,” he said. “I am more important than Oprah, in this company anyway. Oprah’s out getting the Kennedy Center honor and I’ve got the CFO announcing to Wall Street that I have to take a paycut.”
“Nevermind getting respect from the industry,” Stern continued, “I want respect from the company.”
Which you might follow up with this:
“I am calling my agent today that want more f—ing money. I don’t want it perceived that I took a paycut,” Stern railed, disclosing that Frear got a raise in 2008, putting his annual salary at $3.3 million. “Where’s your paycut, David?”
To be fair – if you tell someone who makes 3% of what you’re pulling in to take a paycut, it may be time to get some perspective.
It’s not surprising that FASB’s Bob Herz was called to submit comment on the House Financial Services Committee’s hearings on Lehman – more specifically, Public Policy Issues Raised by the Report of the Lehman Bankruptcy Examiner – and it’s even less surprising that Herz stated that the FASB will be ready when the SEC is to alter repo accounting rules should this be, you know, a big deal going forward.
As many of you already know, the FASB has a history of taking a reactive stance to accounting issues during the financial crisis (case in point: mark to market) and repo accounting is no exception. Sort of like the SEC cracking down on Madoff-esque Ponzi schemes after Madoff, it defeats the purpose as financial criminals very rarely repeat techniques that have already been uncovered and prosecuted. But oh well, showing up late to the party is still showing up and proves FASB is at least paying attention.
Herz’s testimony reinforces FASB’s position as standards setter, not regulator. Working with the SEC will allow the regulators to put together a case for accounting standards that could address repo accounting should the SEC discover it is widespread among financial firms but for now, FASB will be sitting back and waiting to see what the SEC comes up with.
As it turns out, FASB isn’t nearly as reactive as it appears on the surface: plenty of guidance already exists for handling these transactions and perhaps had Ernst & Young been looking hard enough, they would have easily found something amiss.
When developing the guidance for determining whether a company maintains effective control over transferred assets, the FASB noted repo transactions have attributes of both sales and secured borrowings. On one hand, having a forward purchase contract is not the same as owning the asset. On the other hand, the contemporaneous transfer and repurchase commitment entered into in a repo transaction raises questions about whether control actually has been relinquished. To differentiate between the two, the FASB developed criteria for determining whether a company maintains effective control over securities transferred in a repo transaction.
Control? Is that was this about?
Regardless, FASB is prepared to offer even more guidance on the matter should current guidance not be sufficient to make sense of future contracts that could be used in a fraudulent manner. Of course, the financial criminals have likely already discovered a new, innovative way to hide liabilities or stash nasties off-sheet but instead of looking for those, the SEC will be working closely with FASB in the future to prevent another Lehman. History always repeats itself but, sadly, financial crimes rarely do. It appears our friends at FASB never got that memo.
As we still tread in the wake of the Joe Stack attack on the IRS, it seems that bizarro things are happening all over this great land of ours and many of them have to do with taxes and/or the IRS. Jailbirds requesting fraudulent refunds and receiving them, IRS-inspired bulldozing of houses and now we’ve learned about a woman who tried to kill her husband who wouldn’t share their tax refund money.
And like Joe, Bulldozer Terry and the Florida inmates, the woman is pretty satisfied with her actions:
Investigators say the woman then went into the city of St. Louis and threw the gun in a sewer. Police contacted the woman a short time later and she turned herself in. Police say she didn’t seem sorry.
“She felt more than justified. She cooperated very well, with the reasoning why she fired the shots, as well as recovering the gun. She said she didn’t want a child to find the gun in the sewer,” says Daniel O’Conner, the Assistant Chief of Police for Pine Lawn.
This lady can’t be all bad; she was thinking about the kids when she threw that gun in the river. There’s no indication that the husband in this little caper was just a greedy SOB or if his not-so-good sharing skills were justified due to a spendy Mrs.
Regardless, it’s seems that every hour brings another story that strengthens the argument that taxes are the cause of all the strife and violence in this country. We should have taken the IRS shotgun shopping spree as a sign.