More From Eric Dixon at http://www.NYBusinessCounsel.com

Twitter Rank #35 For Startup Advice May 2014 (#44 June 2014, #50 July 2014 -- now TRENDING UP at #41 for August 2014). Go to my professional site for solutions to your legal, business and strategic problems. Bitcoin Protocol Development -- Among the World's Legal Leaders in New Bitcoin Technology -- Top Strategic Judgment -- When You Need A Fixer -- Explore Information Protection and Cryptographic Security -- MUST-WIN: JUST DON'T LOSE -- SURVIVE!: Under Investigation? Being Sued? Handling Extreme Stress -- Corporate Issues -- Startup Issues -- Investor Issues -- Contracts To Meet Your Needs -- Opposition Research -- Trademark, Patent, Copyright -- Media and Reputation Issues -- Independent, top-notch legal, strategic and personal advice -- Extensive ghostwriting, speechwriting, book writing, issue research, press and crisis management services. Listed among the American Bar Association's Law Bloggers (Blawgers). Contact EDixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com 917-696-2442.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Opposing Bruce Harris Nomination To NJ Supreme Court

Bruce Harris, a career finance lawyer with no courtroom experience, has been nominated by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for a seven year term on the state's highest court.  My prepared testimony before the State Senate Judiciary Committee follows:

My name is Eric Dixon.  I have been a New Jersey resident and member of our State Bar since 1996.  I am here today to speak in opposition to the nomination of Mr. Harris.  My reason is simple: his professional credentials mirror my own, and I would never purport to be qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.

 

Both Mr. Harris and I graduated from Yale Law School. He graduated in 1992.  I graduated in 1994.  Both of us became transactional attorneys.  But that's where the similarities end.  The differences in what we did with our education will show that Mr. Harris is not yet qualified to be a Supreme Court Justice.

 

During every stage of an attorney's career we have opportunities to get courtroom experience, whether it is through pro bono work or one's own business generation.  When I was a junior attorney doing public offerings and venture capital, I worked at firms which did not give me the chance to go to court; for that I had to take my own initiative.   During my career I have represented about two dozen candidates as an election lawyer – several of which I represented in court and won cases to keep them on the ballot.  I have investigated complex frauds, negotiated complex transactions and become an advocate and regular commentator on constitutional and policy issues. 

 

We don't hear Mr. Harris doing any of these things to develop courtroom experience or a constitutional philosophy. He is, according to my research, a cipher, saying nothing on the record on those issues. While I have more courtroom experience than Mr. Harris, I would never claim that I am prepared to be a judge, even if the Christie Administration considered me qualified. Bruce Harris is a smart and highly educated man, but he is not ready to sit on the Supreme Court.   




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Second Housing Collapse Imminent, Warns Analyst

A second, much more severe collapse in real estate prices may be imminent and may blast major metropolitan areas including the New York tri-state region, according to noted real estate analyst Keith Jurow.

Jurow has bucked conventional wisdom in writing for the past few years that the steep drop in housing prices was not over by any measure.

I will emphasize that unlike most commentators and real estate experts -- of whom many have undisclosed conflicts with the industry -- Jurow has uncovered facts to support his prediction.  The current optimistic real estate commentators have few facts supporting their predictions of a price recovery; in fact, they appear to often ignore both the available facts and basic common sense.

Keith Jurow will present additional facts supporting his hypothesis at an upcoming, invitation-only event hosted by the Financial Policy Council in New York City on Monday evening, June 11th.  For access to this event, contact Eric Dixon at ericdixonlaw@gmail.com.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Dewey & LeBoeuf Goes Bankrupt

The storied New York law firm of Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for bankruptcy protection on Sunday evening, May 27th.

The firm, formed in 2007 when Dewey Ballantine and LeBoeuf, Lamb, Leiby & Macrae merged, had been beset in recent years by overcommitments to certain rainmaker partners in the form of guaranteed contracts.  A former federal judge characterized the bankruptcy filing as "unprecedented."

The firm's demise further escalates a shift in the law firm economic paradigm, where mere technical competence is hardly a guarantee of a good salary -- regardless of experience level -- and where significant business generation is a requirement for any degree of job security as a lawyer.  All other support staff, on the other hand, have much more job security than the "professionals" whose legal services are the essence of the institution. 

It is a good reason to consider the merits of hiring independent lawyers who run their own solo or boutique practices and provide top legal counsel at rates which are a fraction of what the "megafirms" charge.



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chris Christie Not A Conservative: National Review

The nation's preeminent conservative* magazine National Review declares that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is "not a conservative."

The article, by Andrew McCarthy, goes on to call Christie a "cardboard cut-out northeastern GOP moderate proponent of progressive taxation and the welfare state."  McCarthy goes on to recite a list of facts (noticed to few but the keenest of Christie observers dating back to his tenure as U.S. Attorney in New Jersey) about his curious embrace of Muslim activists including Mohamed Qatanani, his creative accounting to hide the fact that he has done nothing to solve the ever-worsening state employee pension debt, and the failure to get property taxes under control.

* - The asterisk signifies that there are several other conservative periodical magazines which can validly take exception to the claims that National Review is either the preeminent conservative magazine or even conservative at all.

Eric Dixon is a New York and New Jersey lawyer, political strategist and radio talk show co-host.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Government Wants Fraud Whistleblowers, But There's a Catch

The federal government is announcing it is looking for fraud whistleblowers to provide inside information on the workings of residential mortgage backed securities and the investment funds which bundled and sold them.  However, the government has plenty of hoops through which potential whistleblowers must jump. Whistleblowers should consider the drawbacks first.

The incentives for whistleblowers to come forward are not substantial, not when one considers the personal and professional fallout many whistleblowers suffer.  Insiders can face the loss of their jobs or careers, ostracization from friends and family, overt skepticism and accusations of complicity or criminality from co-workers and others who are suspicious of "do-gooders," and even intimidation from the government which holds the power to investigate and prosecute whistleblowers for crimes including making any "false statements" (however that is really defined) to any government agent.

I have previously stated my concerns about the new Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation's whistleblower provisions, which exclude lawyers and accountants (in order to preserve client confidentiality) while simultaneously recognizing the enhanced responsibilities (and even risks of criminal and civil liability) which are unilaterally imposed upon such professionals by regulators.  In fact, I was cited numerous times within recent materials handed out at a 2011 American Bar Association symposium on the Dodd-Frank legislation with regards to attorney confidentiality and whistleblower procedures.

Eric Dixon is a New York investigative attorney with significant knowledge of residential mortgage backed securities.  Mr. Dixon recently developed a position paper, published by the Financial Policy Council think tank, on how investors in RMBS can be incentivized to participate in Mr. Dixon's proprietary principal reduction plan that, at no cost to taxpayers, could aid the recovery of the residential real estate sector.

Politician's Arrest Shows Danger of Computer Hacking

The new mayor of West New York, NJ, Dr. Felix Roque, and his son were arrested by the FBI this morning on charges of computer hacking and gaining unauthorized access to computers in order to damage them.  It is alleged that the Roques committed these activities (alleged cybercrimes) in order to intimidate and silence political opponents.  The elder Roque was elected West New York mayor in 2011 and quickly became subject to a recall.

Another interesting followup story, alleging Roque would "not have a problem serving time in jail," is sure to provoke heated reactions within the small Hudson County town and the interesting world of Hudson County politics.

The charges illustrate the dangers of technology.  There is political competitiveness and mischief.  However, our dependence on computers and files have made us dependent in turn on their security (through passwords, encryption and other technology) to safeguard otherwise confidential or personal information.  We have gained a false sense of security in the privacy of our information.  Hence, the danger of activities which threaten to breach such security.  These activities, if proven as crimes, will illustrate the risks that such people pose to our privacy.  And, as always, computer technology can be misused and such misuse can have unintended and tragic consequences (see the case of Dharun Ravi and Tyler Clementi).

Eric Dixon is an investigative attorney who is licensed to practice in both New York and New Jersey.




Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bogus Housing Recovery; Major Housing Price Drop Ahead?

Some home sales statistics released this morning make it sound as if a housing recovery is on the way. But check out this CNBC report from Diana Olick (one of the few real estate bears) which breaks down the numbers by region and price point to show a different picture: significant home sale drops in the West and South.

Commercial real estate may not be faring any better.

Mind you, these statistics don't address the prime stat you should care about: home price movements.  As to that issue, noted real estate economist Dr. Keith Jurow is holding to a belief that there is no housing bottom in sight.  He has cited recent sale price statistics to show that New York home sale prices and New Jersey home sale prices are still declining and could be at risk for a major, imminent price collapse.

If you want to learn more about the reasons why, and how much of a price drop could occur, contact me or come to this upcoming presentation.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Catholic Groups Sue To Stop Obama's Contraceptive Mandate

Roman Catholic institutions across the country filed a wave of federal lawsuits today to stop enforcement of the ObamaCare mandate that religious institutions not qualifying for exemptions as being "sufficiently religious" must cover -- that is, pay for -- contraceptive services for employees, in violation of 2,000 years of Roman Catholic doctrine.

The New York Archdiocese and the University of Notre Dame are among the dozens of institutions which filed separate, but coordinated, lawsuits today.

I have written before that the mandate is being driven by a distinctly anti-religious, if not targeted anti-Catholic agenda that seeks to coerce a change in Church doctrine by imposing overt and covert punishments upon Catholic institutions which do not comply with the mandate.  Such actions compromise a core constitutional right (that of freedom of religion) under the First Amendment.

Such targeted attacks upon the Catholic Church, in particular, included Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke testifying in support of the contraceptive mandate before an ad hoc Congressional committee that many female students were suffering because their contraceptives were not subsidized by their university health plans -- meaning, other students.  Fluke's comments drew strong criticism from many quarters including this writer and Rush Limbaugh, whose show was boycotted by several dozen advertisers after he sharply rebuked her.   

Tyler Clementi Webcam Crime Results in Lindsay Lohan Jail Time for Dharun Ravi

Former Rutgers student Dharun Ravi was sentenced today to 30 days in state prison by a New Jersey judge for using his own computer webcam to stream video of his college dorm roommate Tyler Clementi's same-sex encounter, days before Clementi committed suicide.

This is the same length of sentence meted out to child-actress-turned-train-wreck Lindsay Lohan for multiple probation violations in California.

More discussion of this trial to follow on this afternoon's Conservative Commandos radio network, where I co-host between 4:00 and 5:00.

FOLLOW-UP: Here is a poignant column from the New York Post's Andrea Peyser that nails the point of the missing compassion and support towards Clementi from his family when it counted.

Politically Incorrect Crime: Dharun Ravi and Tyler Clementi

Former Rutgers University student Dharan Ravi is scheduled to be sentenced today for his conviction on multiple criminal counts arising from his use of a computer webcam to spy upon his gay dorm roommate, Tyler Clementi, who subsequently committed suicide.

Ravi faces up to ten years in prison. He likely will receive much less jail time, but prison is a very likely possibility. (So is an appeal of both the conviction and the sentence, so stay tuned.) 




Sunday, May 20, 2012

Heat Stops Green Bay Marathon

Sunday's Green Bay Marathon was halted around 9:30 am local time because of excessive heat combined with high humidity. 

National Weather Service records indicate that the race began with 70 degree heat but a 64% relative humidity and dewpoint of 57, but that by 9:00 am (about the time the top runners would be nearing the finish) the temperature had already surpassed 80 and the dewpoint had increased to 61.  Any dewpoint over 60 means you feel oppressive, so even a cool day with lower 60s temperatures will make you feel sticky (indeed, when the temperature and dewpoint almost are equal, assume the relative humidity is near or at 100%). 

Dewpoint is most critical because this measure of water vapor in the air indicates how readily perspiration will evaporate from skin.  Higher dewpoints indicate increased difficulty of runners -- or all mammals -- to release heat through perspiration because higher dewpoints will mean perspiration will collect on skin and not dissipate as rapidly.  The chain reaction is not good; impaired perspiration means that the body heats up but releases less heat than it would in optimal conditions.  For any endurance activity where the body is in constant motion, the heating reaction never stops. 

Unlike any team sport -- even soccer, where the runners may slow down for considerable stretches -- marathoners are moving constantly so the body never cools down (relatively speaking).  Add in the elements, and bodily core temperatures can rise to dangerous levels, irrespective of the experience and hydration of the runner.  In other words, such conditions pose a grave health danger to all but the most trained, world-class-elite runners whose fitness is presumably so high that their exertion on such days is not as great.

Is Insider Trading a Wall Street Epidemic?

Is criminal insider trading out of control in America's financial community?

Insider trading, the practice by which some people trade on material non-public information about a company whose stock trades publicly, in violation of their duty not to disclose or use (or to obey a blackout or quarantine forbidding its release until a specified time and date), can seriously distort the so-called rational market and allow those "in the know" to have an unfair advantage over everyone else in the stock market.  In short, insider trading allows its perpetrators to profit at the expense of whomever was on the other side of their transaction.  (This is why the commentators who claim insider trading is victimless have it wrong.)

This New York Times report details how some people in the financial industry believe that insider trading has become institutionalized, and that the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission are ineffective in their efforts to deter, uncover and prosecute insider trading and other abuses.  The trail of events whereby the former Lehman analyst and whistleblower (and apparent victim) has now lost his career in the industry bears careful reading.




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fixing The Housing Market, At No Cost To Taxpayers

While the federal government and every commentator across academia, the think tank community and financial press push for government bailouts to "fix" the housing market, I have come up with a plan to fix the housing market and offer homeowners the chance at mortgage principal reduction that does not cost the taxpayer one penny in subsidies.  (To see the plan, click the link to the website of the financial think tank Financial Policy Council.)

My plan accomplishes all of the following:
  • All homeowners are treated equally
  • Participating homeowners get an immediate and substantial profit
  • The cost to taxpayers: ZERO
  • Homeowners keep all their future price appreciation, so they are encouraged to stay put
  • Strategic defaults are discouraged as homeowners get incentivized not to default, thus reducing defaults and foreclosures and price erosion (wealth destruction)
  • Unlike other profit-sharing proposals, the government gets no share of future price appreciation, removing the government's temptation to create another real estate  bubble for its benefit
  • Banks, or the investors holding the mortgages, get a benefit of receiving liquidity -- real cash -- in exchange for writing down principal, so banks and investors can participate voluntarily and see this as an opportunity, instead of a mandate forced upon them by the government
  • By keeping good risk homeowners in their homes instead of choosing economically rational strategic defaults, the servicing banks keep getting fees for their servicing work and avoid having to pick up the cost of property taxes and property insurance on abandoned homes.
  • We avoid the error of a huge waste of taxpayer money (or forcing banks to eat losses) to subsidize interest rate and principal reductions aimed only at defaulting homeowners who likely cannot stay in those homes...at any price.
  • By not hammering the banks, we foster an environment in which banks are willing to lend and issue new mortgages, essential to a robust real estate market dependent on credit
  • We avoid the risks of moral hazards which incentivize the worst behavior and discourage the best behavior
  • Finally, we use natural incentives to depress supply, helping us get back to a healthy real estate market where supply and demand are in equilibrium.
Compare this with anything you've seen in the last five years.




EPIC FAIL: Democrats' Third Party Trojan Horse Admits Failure

An ostensibly-independent effort -- widely thought of as a Democratic tactic to hurt the Republican ticket -- to field a third party presidential candidate has failed, according to an early Tuesday morning email admitting the failure of its online nominating model.

The efforts by Americans Elect have been beset by a lack of interest despite significant funding sources.  Americans Elect had been suspected of being a plant or Trojan Horse designed to siphon anti-incumbent votes away from the Republican ticket in swing states, thus helping the re-election prospects of President Obama.






Monday, May 14, 2012

Pedro Espada Convicted

Long-running Bronx state senator Pedro Espada was convicted earlier today by a Brooklyn federal jury of various theft charges stemming from his ownership and operation of a nonprofit health care organization.  

See the latest report from the New York Post. 


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Crony Justice: The Government's Doomsday Weapon To Make Sure You Lose

The war on free enterprise has taken a new and dangerous turn.  If you're worried about crony capitalism, meet its new bastard twin: crony justice.

Largely unnoticed in President Obama's State of the Union speech this past January was his call for a new enforcement agency to prosecute financial crime.  The implication was clear: financial crime is largely to blame for the economic crisis (or crises) of the last five years. What should really worry us is the logical extension of the implied message: more members of the proletariat class -- that is, business owners, leaders, managers and entrepreneurs, the "one percent" -- must go to jail. By any means necessary, in fact, as the end justifies the means. 

And Obama does not need Congress (which makes the laws) to cooperate; he can create a new executive agency of which the staffing and decisions on which cases to investigate and prosecute can effectively criminalize targeted industries, activities and businesses.  This power is in addition to the vast enforcement and investigative powers of the many executive agencies, and of course, the power to prosecute and imprison by the Department of Justice.

Under the cloak of populist appeals to equality and compassion for the "victims," expect our federal government to move us closer to the criminalization of private enterprise.  Even without outright criminalization of industries and previously-legal activities, a new era of legal uncertainty and unpredictability will dawn featuring  increasingly arbitrary and inconsistent enforcement, investigations and prosecutions that will chill the economic activity of all but the most defiant (or clueless). 

The quandary for most Americans is like that of players on the pitch, who are uncertain of the rules, receive conflicting, devious or no answers whatsoever to their questions and cannot tell where the powdered chalk lines have marked the boundaries of legally uncertain or illegal behavior.  Under such circumstances, one can expect hesitancy to play the game; one can hardly expect players to win the game if they are fighting an opponent (here, the government) with the power to change the rules "on the fly" without reason and without warning. 

In reality, financial crime is fairly constant in its frequency. Crooks are like viruses; they are opportunistic and strike when, well, there is a victim to be had.  What varies is the detection of crime and, yes, the willingness of the authorities to carefully investigate and uncover the various white-collar frauds and other business crimes which plague us. This is why the recent news reports that financial fraud prosecutions have fallen to just a fraction of the level during the Clinton Administration lead to unprecedented accusations that the Obama Administration's Justice Department has a two-track system of enforcement, investigation and prosecution.1  One track for leniency for those from the "too big to fail" institutions, and another track for show trials for everyone else.

In short, when Wall Street fails, Main Street goes to jail.

Are agencies like the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodities Futures Trading Commission failing their mission?  Or are these agencies merely following orders from the top of their organizational chain of command, the top of the executive branch -- the President?

Traditionally, the Department of Justice was staffed with -- and by many anecdotal accounts still retains -- many career prosecutors committed to upholding the agency's professionalism and commitment to justice over numbers (of convictions).  However, the presidential prerogative of political appointees, combined with the ability to create and staff entirely new agencies with blank slate agendas, untethered by precedent or the traditional "way things are done," create the opportunity for overzealous command-and-control acolytes to set the new paradigms for "how things are done." With this Administration's unique zeal for government to command and control all aspects of our lives, the danger that politics or purely personal vendettas will infect each and every decision-making process among the executive agencies entrusted with the administration of justice becomes high indeed.  

There is plenty of criminal wrongdoing out there. There are plenty of white-collar crimes that can be prosecuted by the Justice Department. We have "regular" securities fraud (e.g., lying about a company's new drug), accounting fraud (making the numbers look better), mortgage fraud (lying to get one), appraisal fraud, bank fraud, identity fraud and wire fraud (e.g., telemarketing).  And there are plenty of laws an aggressive or vindictive prosecutor can use to "get" a target, particularly a "name" defendant whose conviction can help "make" a prosecutor's career. (Some commentators argue that there is such a dangerous myriad of laws that even the innocent probably commit at least three federal felonies each day, on average.2 )

This is why we now question why huge, historic frauds and industry collapses have gone unpunished criminally. We see curious prosecutions, such as show trials of small businessmen and failed takeover artist David Stockman, who was prosecuted for alleged fraud when his company declared bankruptcy, only to have the Justice Department drop the charges before trial. We see the alarming cases of hapless employees such as former Goldman Sachs computer programmer Sergey Aleynikov, who was convicted and jailed for stealing purported proprietary trade secrets (in the form of publicly-available computer source code), only to be later acquitted by a three-judge federal appellate court and ordered immediately released from federal prison only hours after hearing the appeal!  As these examples demonstrate, managements of much smaller companies which fail often are investigated and some are prosecuted, sometimes despite circumstantial evidence and, frankly, evidence no stronger that questionable or perjurious cooperating witness testimony. The Justice Department has had little problem finding cases to bring, particularly against smaller enterprises (for they lack the resources of behemoth enterprises and thus are thought easier to attack and get convictions -- the "numbers"). 

Nothing has prevented a reallocation of resources towards the "big" cases involving the "too big to fail" crowd -- nothing but unannounced agendas that one must suspect to be at work.  Yet we get the curious decision by the  Justice Department to decline to prosecute Countrywide Financial's management, and just as curiously, to reach that decision less than two years after beginning an investigation.5   While careful and complex investigations may take years to bring, one may be excused for sensing a rush to sweep under the rug -- if not exonerate publicly -- the embarrassing activities at Countrywide including its infamous "Friends of Angelo [CEO Mozilo]" program whereby certain congressmen got favorable mortgage terms. 

The crony capitalism we see today uses special treatment bestowed by today's government decisionmakers (who soon will be in the private sector) upon their private sector friends. This crony capitalism uses the four corners of the law to cover the tracks of unfair and inequitable treatment. Equality of opportunity and a fair playing field are concepts to be honored, in the breach.   

But now the public is beginning to see and believe, what some of us like myself, like David Stockman and Raymond Donovan before him have spoken about, and that is the metastasizing of crony capitalism into crony justice, which employs the government's most terrifying power of being able to threaten to deprive you of your freedom in order to achieve someone's vendetta, dysfunctional objective or dystopian social engineering.

Crony justice is the latest weapon in the government arsenal through which its power to prosecute you - worse that overregulating or taxing you to induce you to move or close your business - can determine who wins and loses.  

The fearsome power of crony justice is the fear it can create. It can be the government's prime weapon in its War of Terror on Capitalism, instilling the fear that merely daring to step onto the playing field can mean reputational death and imprisonment.  It is almost as bad as the savage game memorialized in the 1973 classic movie, "Rollerball." (James Caan plays the hero; John Houseman plays the role of the "one percenters.") 

It is the latest "daisy cutter" weapon, but its use domestically can be powerful in inducing the people to "accept their fate," to be average, mediocre, to follow orders. In short, to obey.

NOTE: Much of this text was adapted from my earlier articles appearing on the Crime, Politics and Policy web blog, available at http://www.ericdixonlaw.com.
(c) Eric Dixon, Esq. 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Friday, May 4, 2012

First Guilty Plea In NYC City Council Slush Fund

Many New York City politicians may be sweating bullets right now.

The first New York City politician to plead guilty in the three-year-long federal investigation into the City Council's "slush fund" practices was former Councilman (and later disgraced state senator) Hiram Monserrate earlier today, according to this New York Post report.  Monserrate faces up to 27 months (equating to less than two years under federal guidelines for early release) in prison.  No indication if Monserrate will now "cooperate" with the government in its investigations of others.

As I explained nearly three years ago in Crime, Politics & Policy, the alleged slush fund practices were surely fraudulent and illegal.  The illegality and criminal complicity may extend far and wide within both the City Council and even possibly the administration of Mayor Mike Bloomberg. 

Stay tuned. 

Eric Dixon is a New York investigative attorney who is admitted to the bar in both New York and New Jersey.

Another Obama Jobs Disaster

The April monthly jobs numbers are out, and they are bad for President Obama.

The numbers -- that is, if you even choose to believe them -- show that the private non-farm sector has basically stopped hiring. (Not that they were hiring much to begin with, in this supposed "recovery" that is only a recovery relative to the sharp recession of 2008-09.)

The Labor Department employment numbers show that our economic sectors that actually produce things have started shrinking again.  Any marginal employment growth is in retail trade, health care and professional and business services (combined +110,000).  In plain English, that means we have more Wal-Mart greeters, nurses, pharmaceutical salesmen, and cold-callers for mortgage modification and credit repair companies. The overall nonfarm numbers for February and March were revised slightly upward, further illustrating the April decline in growth.

Go to page 4 of the report and you will see that the civilian noninstitutional labor force actually shrank by about 350,000 for the month.  You will hear from political flacks for President Obama that "unemployment continues to decline" (officially, down to 8.1%) but page 4 of this report shows you -- in the government's own numbers -- that the civilian noninstitutional labor force participation rate declined from 63.8% in March to  63.6% in April.

Put bluntly, the official unemployment rate continues to decline -- because people continue to drop out of the labor force.

Another alarming fact: the average duration of unemployment jumped nearly two weeks, from 40 to 42 weeks (page 23, unadjusted number).

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer, consultant and political strategist.







Thursday, May 3, 2012

Ross Mandell Gets 12 Years, $50 Million Forfeiture

In a federal case with broad implications for the international capital finance industry, former Sky Capital founder Ross Mandell was sentenced to twelve years (144 months) in federal prison and ordered to forfeit $50 million for his conviction on several counts related to alleged securities fraud arising from the trading of his brokerage's securities on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investments Market, and his promotion of several other securities through private placements which are now alleged to be not just illiquid, but worthless and fraudulent.

An appeal has been promised.  Among the grounds for appeal will be a challenge to the extraterrorial nature of the charges against Mandell and Adam Harrington (sentenced Friday to 60 months and ordered to forfeit $20 million) based upon the Supreme Court's recent ruling in Morrison v. Australia National Bank that the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 does not apply to foreign securities transactions.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dewey & LeBoeuf On Verge Of Destruction

Breaking...In a sign that the legal services business model has changed permanently, an internal memo from venerable New York law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf reportedly urges firm partners to look for another job immediately.

The memo, first reported late last night by the New York Times, by necessity implies that the firm is facing imminent liquidation.  About 2,000 lawyers and support staff face the imminent loss of their jobs.

While teams of lawyers may leave in groups to other firms -- if they are lucky and only if the team has a rainmaker with a sizable book of business and rolodex -- many lawyers, and certainly most of the support staff, will be hard-pressed to find equivalent employment.

Eric Dixon is an independent New York corporate lawyer who is admitted to practice in both New York and New Jersey.  Mr. Dixon counsels businesses and individuals on sensitive legal, strategic and political matters.