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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oregon's vulture investor buddy in the news again

The State of Oregon has more than $1 billion invested with this guy, who's now throwing a flimsy-looking life preserver to Merrill Lynch.

Comments (3)

I'm a bit ambivalent about the vulture designation. Opportunist, yeah. They pick over distressed loans, purchase for dimes on the dollar, and profit only to the extent they pay for the investment, pay hundreds of employees, pay themselves and modify loans or foreclose and salvage asset value. I'm certain they modify a lot of the loans, complete stalled construction projects, and thereby turn many bad loans into good ones. Of course then, they must pay many more employees to service the loans. Ok, I'll settle for carrion, buzzard perhaps, but I think vulture is a bit strong.

By the way, in the old days they just bundled these up, re-securitized them and sold them to the investment market - those were more vulture-like days.

If he (or Singapore) can buy a mortgage-backed note at a steep discount from the face of the note should the obligor not also be presented with the very same offer, contemporaneously? It is little different than requiring that the price for the sale of goods that are subject to a bankruptcy be sold for the highest price possible.

I would demand that Merrill Lynch's write-down be conditional upon them delivering a IRS 1099-c (cancellation of debt) to each of the affected mortgagor's that corresponds precisely to Merrill Lynch's factual assertion of partial worthlessness of the debt to the IRS. The mortgagors could then have their reportable income raised by the amount (even if partial) of the write-off, contemporaneous with the write-off.

If Merrill Lynch remains on the hook to cover non-payment of the notes (as noted in the article) then they should not be able to claim their write-off. This is one weird arrangement they have, but is fully explainable from the invitation to claim a write-off . . . even before it is "ripe" for adjudication.

Am I wrong?

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