The Art of Bank Failures

alan_greenspan_pancake.jpgDeutsche Bank wins the prize for the most well-capitalized art collection, racking up 53,000 works in one of the largest corporate art collections in the world – as of 2004, worth an estimated $124 million (USD). Does that fall under PP&E? How does one depreciate a Cezanne hanging in a corporate office anyway? Oh wait, you don’t.
In honor of the year anniversary of Lehman’s fall, we find it worth noting here that Lehman’s Dick Fuld and his wife found that when you’re in desperate need of a capital infusion and facing epic failure, pawning off your precious fine art pieces works in a pinch.
More, after the jump


Guardian UK:

The bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers wants to sell at least $8m (£5.2m) worth of the art collection that once decorated its offices. The news comes as $20m of postwar art, put up for sale by the former Lehman boss Richard Fuld and his wife Kathy, goes on the block tonight at Christie’s in New York.

That’s got to hurt.
But Dick isn’t alone. If only banks would have considered these precious assets while spiraling down the toilet.
Portfolio has a do-not-miss on the art collections left behind by bank failures:

From coast to coast, millions of dollars of corporate art that once hung in the offices of well-known banks has itself become entangled in the fallout from the financial crisis. The fate of that artwork is still being sorted out, along with the assets involved in many of the unprecedented bank failures and resulting mergers that took place last year. Some of the surviving financial institutions appear to be holding onto the valuable artwork for their own collections, despite the chance to cushion their coffers with its sale. Others are selling the art or donating it to local museums and nonprofits.

Well, wait a minute, will this art have the same fate as the $4 billion in WaMu deposits the failed thrift is fighting to get back from JP Morgan? Just sayin.
This is nothing new. In 1991, the FDIC netted a cool $250,000 for the art collection of failed Boston Trade Bank. Though that was a pathetic catch in comparison to the $800,000 the collection of 219 pieces was estimated to be worth but hey, every little bit helps.
Wonder why no one’s thought to tap AIG for some precious paintings? Surely General Motors has a few pricey pieces lying around corporate offices, let’s use that to recoup that $23 billion American taxpayers may never see again!

alan_greenspan_pancake.jpgDeutsche Bank wins the prize for the most well-capitalized art collection, racking up 53,000 works in one of the largest corporate art collections in the world – as of 2004, worth an estimated $124 million (USD). Does that fall under PP&E? How does one depreciate a Cezanne hanging in a corporate office anyway? Oh wait, you don’t.
In honor of the year anniversary of Lehman’s fall, we find it worth noting here that Lehman’s Dick Fuld and his wife found that when you’re in desperate need of a capital infusion and facing epic failure, pawning off your precious fine art pieces works in a pinch.
More, after the jump


Guardian UK:

The bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers wants to sell at least $8m (£5.2m) worth of the art collection that once decorated its offices. The news comes as $20m of postwar art, put up for sale by the former Lehman boss Richard Fuld and his wife Kathy, goes on the block tonight at Christie’s in New York.

That’s got to hurt.
But Dick isn’t alone. If only banks would have considered these precious assets while spiraling down the toilet.
Portfolio has a do-not-miss on the art collections left behind by bank failures:

From coast to coast, millions of dollars of corporate art that once hung in the offices of well-known banks has itself become entangled in the fallout from the financial crisis. The fate of that artwork is still being sorted out, along with the assets involved in many of the unprecedented bank failures and resulting mergers that took place last year. Some of the surviving financial institutions appear to be holding onto the valuable artwork for their own collections, despite the chance to cushion their coffers with its sale. Others are selling the art or donating it to local museums and nonprofits.

Well, wait a minute, will this art have the same fate as the $4 billion in WaMu deposits the failed thrift is fighting to get back from JP Morgan? Just sayin.
This is nothing new. In 1991, the FDIC netted a cool $250,000 for the art collection of failed Boston Trade Bank. Though that was a pathetic catch in comparison to the $800,000 the collection of 219 pieces was estimated to be worth but hey, every little bit helps.
Wonder why no one’s thought to tap AIG for some precious paintings? Surely General Motors has a few pricey pieces lying around corporate offices, let’s use that to recoup that $23 billion American taxpayers may never see again!

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Are Today’s Accountants Already Occupying Wall Street?

Caleb and I had a talk last night and it made me think about this whole Occupy Wall Street thing. More importantly, it made me think about what I am and am not doing to support it. I haven’t been to a rally, even to take pictures (last time I tried to do that, I was the only one out in front of the Federal Reserve Board at 6 in the morning except for the lone Fed cop patrolling the perimeter).

I get that people are pissed off. I’m pissed off too. I’ve been pissed off, don’t tell me about being pissed off. I was lugging around aFed sign made on top of “Ron Paul ’08” acrylic three years ago, you don’t have to tell me about being pissed off. (Here I am in 2009 on SF Citizen in a “Bernanke 00%” t-shirt at an anti-Iraq war rally)

And I get that for some people, all there is to do is go downtown with a drum and some poorly-written signs on cardboard ripped from your mom’s Costco packages in the recycle bin. That’s totally fine, everyone has their own way of sticking it to the man.

For a lot of Going Concern readers, sticking it to the man means showing up every day in business casual pretending to give a fuck about COSO but actually knowing that it’s all a lie. They work you to the bone until you leave or submit and get promoted to manager. Partner if you’re lucky. Run on that hamster wheel, here have this bonus, keep going and one day you can beat your own subordinates into submission. Go, go, go… Many of you get that this is bullshit but keep showing up every day anyway, and to me, you are your own special kind of protester. Same as last year, motherfucker, it’s the ultimate form of rebellion.

Too much?


Point being, everyone has their own way of screwing the establishment. Francine does it railing against the Big 4. Bill Sheridan and Tom Hood do it at the MACPA with professionalism. Tom Selling does it by riling up fellow academics. Professor Dave Albrecht does it by being seen in public canoodling with known incendiaries like yours truly.

I do it by ripping on the IASB as often as I am allowed to, infiltrating the Hill to sniff out what’s the latest in CPA lobbying efforts and getting in as many F bombs as I can on the dry subject of accounting. That’s all I can do. I can’t abandon my day job to hang out in Manhattan eating vegan paninis. I can make and distribute offensive Bernanke fridge magnets.

I completely understand why people are attracted to Occupy Wall Street; the part I’m struggling with is why so many of the 99 Percenters seem obsessed with this thing called “fairness” that does not, in fact, exist. Is it fair that any of us have to drag our asses to work every day and do what we do? Is it fair that Becker costs $3,000 and doesn’t pass the CPA exam for you? Is it fair that many of you are drowning in student loan debt and seemingly forced to get Master’s degrees just to work in your field? Is it fair that Caleb gets listed in all the accounting publications and I’m stuck as the sidekick hack who always manages to piss people off? This world is unfair, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I have to write about accounting every day of my life, it’s un-fucking-fair, we get it.

In my view (for whatever that is worth, which is probably not more than our company pays me to write this post), the ultimate rebellion is assimilating and infiltrating the establishment to enact real change from the inside. Are partners scared as shit of this website? Yes. If they’re threatening you with termination if you even dare to write us for advice, we’re doing something right. And I didn’t even have to not shave my armpits to accomplish that (but Caleb probably shaved his).

Are any of you going to independently revolutionize the accounting industry? Probably not. But collectively, you have scared the pants off of lazy ass recruiters and partners across this country who thought you didn’t have it in you. They read us because they feel like they have to or else they’ll lose touch with what you guys are thinking, and it scares the living shit out of them. In my mind, that’s a far more effective message to send the The Establishment, whoever the hell they are.

I fully support the fundamental sentiment of Occupy Wall Street but much prefer fulfilling my incendiary duties here trying to get accounting kids riled up and questioning why they put up with the shit they do. Working mothers in public accounting should be allowed to have children. Interns should be allowed to ask questions (even dumb ones). Auditors should be expected to question last year’s logic. It’s not complicated but it’s important work that a lot of you do, and I hope that you get that.

It is not your fault that we’re here. Many of you just followed the rules.

Thanks for letting me be a part of that. Beats standing around with a fucking sign, that’s for sure.

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