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Way back in the dark ages of 2002, there was an election in New Hampshire in which the phones being used by Democrats to contact voters and arrange rides to the polls were jammed by an automatic dialing program that tied up the lines for just a few hours.  Eventually, the culprits were identified as Alan Raymond, who pled guilty and went to prison, and Jim Tobin, the New England director for Bush/Cheney, whose defense was funded by the Republican National Committee and whose conviction was eventually overturned.

Wanting to know who was handling the defense and where the money might be coming from, I did a bit of sleuthing and came up with a list of important personages.  But, being a really unimportant personage myself, pencil jottings on the back of a rip-off calendar is as far as the information went.  But I also didn't throw it out.  The ratty notes have sat on my desk for six years.  So, I decided to do some refreshing.........

Imagine my surprise when one of the first personages, one Finn M.W.Caspersen, former chairman of the board of the Hodson Trust, former chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Law School,former chair and CEO of Beneficial Corp (which became Household International and, most recently, was acquired by Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation), former CEO of Knickerbocker LLC and, until he resigned his seat in August of this year, a commissioner in the town of Jupiter Island, Florida, committed suicide in Rhode Island on Labor Day.

The Harvard Law School and the United States Equestrian Team Foundation, of which Casperson was the President Emeritus, both issued fulsome praise without mentioning the cause of his demise.

Finn M.W. Caspersen ’66, who chaired the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Law School and led the school’s recent Setting the Standard fundraising campaign to a record-breaking end, died Monday in Rhode Island at the age of 67.

"Finn Caspersen once said that Harvard Law School challenged him to think, and he in turn became an extraordinary friend and supporter of the school and its mission," said HLS Dean Martha Minow. "Our hearts go out to his family and friends as we mourn the loss of a visionary believer in the power of education."

Known for his philanthropic work, Caspersen led the Law School’s "Setting the Standard" campaign, which raised over $476 million by the time of its conclusion last year, exceeding its goal and making it the largest and most successful campaign in the history of legal education.

Former Dean Elena Kagan ’86 announced that the student center wing of the new Northwest Corner Building, which is currently under construction on the HLS campus, will be named in his honor. The wing will be home to student organizations, journals, and social activities.

Caspersen has served in important leadership roles at all of his alma maters. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Brown, where he later served as a trustee. A graduate of the Peddie School in New Jersey, Caspersen was a member of the school’s Board of Trustees since 1970. Other institutions that benefitted from his dedication to education include the Hodson Trust, Drew University and the New Jersey State Board of Higher Education.

For some reason, Harvard left out Casperson's eleemosynary contributions to Johns Hopkins University.  Jealousy perhaps?

At a ceremony at the university on July 7, Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of the board of The Hodson Trust, recalled the history of the trust, created in 1920 by Maryland lawyer and state senator Thomas Hodson. His son, Clarence, a lawyer and banker who was commissioned a colonel in the Maryland Militia, provided the trust's assets. Clarence Hodson had founded the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914 to make small loans available to working-class Americans. The society became Beneficial Corp., which, when it merged last year into Household International, was the largest consumer credit company in the United States.

For some reason, horses never get a lot of press, but the United States Equestrian Team Foundation provides some interesting tidbits in this case.

During Mr. Caspersen's tenure, which began in 1982 when he was elected to the USET board, the team won 71 medals, including 25 golds in the Olympics, World Championships and Pan American Games.

His personal involvement with combined driving led the U.S. to prominence in the discipline, previously dominated by Europeans. Mr. Caspersen's determination to put America on the map in that sport paid off with a gold medal in the 1991 World Pairs Driving Championship, which opened the door to his hugely successful staging of the 1993 World Pairs Championship at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, N.J., home of the USET.

Mr. Caspersen was elected as the USET's treasurer in 1987, and three years later, became president and chairman of the executive committee. In 1992, he moved up to be chairman of the board, a post he held until 2002.

As chairman of Beneficial Corp., which owned Hamilton Farm at one time, Mr. Caspersen made sure that the USET would always have access to its historic headquarters by making sure the property was deeded to the team.

And, no doubt, Beneficial enjoyed a tax deduction, in addition to the honor.

Perhaps subconsciously I've been reconsidering Beneficial for a while, including its transition into Household International because the controversy over ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, rang a bell.  You see, there was a settlement of a law suit in 2003.

Nov. 26--Household International Inc. will pay nearly $100 million to settle several class-action lawsuits accusing the company of predatory lending practices.

The settlement ends the series of lawsuits brought against Prospect Heights-based Household, which operated under the names HFC and Beneficial, according to company spokesman Mark Friedlander.

In an agreement reached with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also known as Acorn, Household agreed to establish a $72 million foreclosure assistance ...

The SEC press release includes a little more information:

The core of the proposed settlement is a Foreclosure Avoidance Program (FAP). FAP will provide relief to
Household borrowers who are delinquent on their payments and at risk of losing their homes.
Components of FAP include:
• Interest rate reductions.
• Waivers of unpaid late charges.
• Deferral of accrued unpaid interest.
• Principal reductions.

"The proposed settlement reaffirms Household’s leadership and commitment to ethical mortgage lending practices," said William F. Aldinger, chairman and chief executive officer, Household International.  "We look forward to working closely with ACORN in administering these important programs for consumers, and we commend them on their continued efforts to promote financial literacy throughout the United States."
ACORN’s case was filed last year in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, prior to HSBC’s acquisition of Household in March 2003. The settlement will become effective only if approved by the

About Household International, Inc
Household International, Inc., based in Prospect Heights, Ill., is a wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc (NYSE: HBC), one of the largest banking and financial services organizations in the world.
Household’s businesses are leading providers of consumer loans, credit cards, auto finance and credit insurance products in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.  In the United States, Household companies operate under the two oldest and most recognized names in consumer finance - HFC and Beneficial.  Additionally, Household’s businesses are some of the nation's largest issuers of private label
and general-purpose credit cards, including The GM Card® and the AFL-CIO's Union Plus® card. For more information, visit

Gregory D. Squires has written a book, Why the poor pay more: how to stop predatory lending which puts it in a nut shell, or rather, a global perspective.

An inescapable trend in this new millenium is the export of subprime lending models beyond the United States.  Citigroup, following its acquisition of Associates First Capital Corporation in late 2000, began offering subprime loans to lower-income consumsers in countries from Brazil and Mexico to India and Korea.  The Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) bought Household International a month after Household settled predatory lending charges with attorneys general in 42 states for half a billion dollars.  In making the deal, HSBC chairman Sir John Bond said that the profits would come from exporting Household's model to the 81 other countries in which HSBC does business; a month later, HSBC announced it would compete in subprime lending with Citigroup in Brazil.
From Australia through North America and back to Eastern Europe, General Electric, through its GE Capital unit, has developed a subprime lending capacity on which the sun never sets.  The insurance company AIG has more quietly taken the subprime lending model of American General, which AIG bought in 2001, to the other countries in which AIG does business.

Caspersen had sold Beneficial to Household International in 1998 for over $8 billion as part of the process of financial services consolidation.

Former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean said Caspersen gave away tens of millions of dollars to charity, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. While running Beneficial, Caspersen built a corporate headquarters in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey, the newspaper said.

Caspersen gave about $590,000 to the Republican Party between 1998 and 2001, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

But, it seems, Caspersen didn't like to pay taxes.

The New York Times reported:

At the time of his death, investigators were building a case against Mr. Caspersen on suspicion of using secret offshore bank accounts to evade taxes.

The authorities had asserted he might have owed as much as $100 million in back taxes and fines or, possibly, even have faced prison, according to a person briefed on the investigation, who was granted anonymity because of the delicacy of the case and the events surrounding Mr. Caspersen’s death.

Whispers of some sort of tax trouble went through the crowd at Mr. Caspersen’s funeral on Tuesday. About 800 people attended the service in Morristown, N.J.

"He made everything right for so many people, and that is why this is such a tragedy," Susan Wachter, a friend and former Beneficial board member, said of Mr. Caspersen’s death.

Yes, Mr. Casperson "made everything right" with other people's (poor people's) money.  He was one of the sequestering class who get filthy rich by stealing other people's money.

President Obama's address yesterday was on bank regulation.

He's slated to discuss that matter with the G-20.  Also, September 23, 2009 is the deadline for tax cheats to come clean voluntarily to the IRS and avoid criminal prosecutions over their unreported income, as I made mention in this diary earlier in the week.

And ACORN is in the news.  Because, yes, Barack Obama cut his legal teeth as an associate advising ACORN on a number of class action suits that challenged bankers and the power elite.  There's no reason to doubt the record brought forth by Republican Michigander.  That the first case, Buyck­s-Ro­berso­n v. Cit­iba­nk­ Fed­. Sa­v. Ba­nk was settled, as was the Houshold International one, is entirely consistent with the fact that financial institutions would rather pay out dollars than open their records.  After all, how they extract super revenue from poor people is the information HSBC paid a bundle for to acquire from Household International.

HSBC chairman Sir John Bond said that the profits would come from exporting Household's model to the 81 other countries in which HSBC does business.

The value is in the proprietary information on how best to extract money from poor people and give it to the rich, because they're "worth it," don't you know?

Originally posted to hannah on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  rec'd and tip'd for all the homework, good job. (10+ / 0-)
      •  Thank you. (7+ / 0-)

        I'm thinking I wasn't clear enough about the special halls and equestrian honors and laudatory write-ups that people buy with poor people's money.

        Harvard and Johns Hopkins getting new buildings does not help people who can no longer afford to study there.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:37:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sidebar: Nine Colonial Colleges (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hannah, 4Freedom

          When you give up on the un-insured and the under-insured you give up on your countrymen/women ~ Hate, Greed, Lies, Gullible vs. Health Care For All

          by anyname on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 09:24:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Interesting. The egalitarian tradition really (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snakelass, 4Freedom, Toon, Bluefin

            hasn't been accepted fully, either by the elite or their followers.  I was startled to be told by an attendee at a McCain town hall that the American Revolution wasn't a rejection of rule by Britain; rather it was a rejection of European law like that habeas corpus provision.  In other words, there's a considerable number of people who like being ruled by a royal that they can choose. Dictatorship is fine with them, as long as the dictator is a Christian.  

            It turns out that was also the problem with the Soviet state.  It was a "godless" state.

            Their preferred interpretation of the separation of church and state is that the state will not interfere with the church, but will take direction from it.  So, in the conservative mind, the church is a higher authority to which the state is supposed to be obedient.  And, when necessary, the state needs to be available to back up the dictates of the church with force.

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 10:11:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pilgram's Society: needs fact from fiction review (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:


              "There are several curious things about these Pilgrims functions. In the first place there is present at these dinners an array of notables such as it would be difficult to bring together under one roof for any other purpose and by any other society... Among the guests were John D. Rockefeller and J.P. Morgan, Thomas W. Lamont and other members of the House of Morgan... We are entitled to know what the Pilgrim Society is, what it stands for, and who these powerful Pilgrims are that can call out the great to hear a British Ambassador expound to Americans the virtues of a united democratic front."

              "[The aim of the international bankers was] nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was
              to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences." - Professor Carroll Quigley, 'Tragedy & Hope', p. 324. Can the Pilgrims, which Quigley never mentioned, verify his story of an Anglo-American Establishment?

              When you give up on the un-insured and the under-insured you give up on your countrymen/women ~ Hate, Greed, Lies, Gullible vs. Health Care For All

              by anyname on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 11:01:21 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Speak Softly & Carry a Big Stick with the Intent (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Toon, FarWestGirl, ilovecheese

    of using it on corporate greedmongering trash.  GOD Bless Teddy Roosevelt.  Rot in Hell Ronald Reagan with your fraudulent "tricle down" economics and deregulation of the most unscrupulous, obscenely wealthy scum on the planet; may Phil and Wendy Gramm join you soon with their Republican friends like George W. Bush.

  •  Thanks for pulling the reins to steer us to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, 4Freedom, ilovecheese

    info which we may use to end their reign of terror on poor folk.

    Just horsing around about spelling.  Was he friends with heckuva job Brownie?  

    Odd how easily the supposedly smart class of haves and have mores are fooled by crooks who donate a widow's mite to charity compared to their massive thefts. Or Bernie could not have Madoff with their money so handily.

    Little dollars open doors to uppercrust civilization where theft from poor is quite the accepted path to obscene wealth. Yet they are shocked when they too are victimized.

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 09:29:03 AM PDT

    •  I realized I'd misspelled after I posted the (4+ / 0-)

      comment and found that I could still edit the diary, but not the comment.  The option was to scratch the whole thing and start over and I decided to be lazy.  Besides, reigning in the banks is not entirely wrong, since the people who reign in the banks are ruling the rest of us.  The control of money has become a substitute for the use of physical force to coerce.

      Also, I left out Brownie although there's definitely a connection between the International Arabian Horse Association and the U.S. Equestrian Team as sponsors of events and, given that GWB had no truck with horses at all, it's likely that Brownie was recommended by someone who did.  But, the diary is already too convoluted.  LOL

      What I'm wondering is at what point Republicans will learn that getting favors from Obama is not necessarily a good thing.  Goldman Sachs seems to have caught on quickly that the bailout was an opportunity to have a look at their books.  Which is, of course, the curse of the CRA.

      I have to admit to not being objective here.  I filed a challenge to a bank branching under the CRA in 1979.  The challenge failed, of course, in part because the people I had scheduled to testify about having been discriminated against were bought off, but it still remains as the earliest effort to use that legislation in the region supervised by Atlanta.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 09:56:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  :) I too dream of edit for misspelled comment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hannah, snakelass

        now & then.

        I call them "dollar royals" when they use cash to trash our rights & maneuver us to further wage slavery.   They truly act as if they deserve to rule rather than serve we peons.

        Kind of sad that robbing small amounts gets long prison sentence but financial weapons of mass destruction against millions of victims --- earns a knuckle rap.


        De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

        by Neon Mama on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 12:18:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The IAHA fired Brownie, iirc. About the time (0+ / 0-)

      that that registry was resorbed into the main Arabian Horse Registry. And he would have been very unlikely to have had any contact with USET people, Arabs are very uncommon in those disciplines. USET and FEI competitions are generally made up of Thoroughbreds and Warmbloods.

      Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

      by FarWestGirl on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 12:35:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for this interesting research (5+ / 0-)

    and insight into the dark heart of the typical filthy rich CEO:  All goodness and light on the surface while stabbing you in the back.  How do we regulate these guys and the companies they run?  How do we shed the light of day upon the complicated relationships between these guys and the legislators they "buy"?

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." - JFK

    by moose67 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 09:46:47 AM PDT

    •  Public exposure does seem to be effective. (6+ / 0-)

      Much of their power depends on being able to act in secret.  The passage of the FOIA was perhaps much more significant than any other piece of legislation.  Together with local government in the sunshine provisions, it seems to have prompted the scurry to privatize government functions in hopes that secrecy would be protected by patent law and "proprietary information" provisions.  
      That hope seems to have been somewhat dashed by shareholders discovering that lawsuits by them are an effective means of control because, like class-action suits, they force the opening of records.  It's this vulnerability on the part of corporations which accounts for the repeated calls for tort reform.  

      The civil law is really sort of pernicious.  Not only can anyone file a suit, but if a judge can be persuaded that the argument has merit, the defendant HAS to respond or lose the suit by default.  In addition, the plaintiff can demand access to information that would substantiate his/her claim and, again, a failure to respond results in a victory by default.  Which makes sense because what it says is that it's best not to piss people off.

      The people who complain about the law of torts like to pretend that the civil suits filed against them are completely irrational and the whole law ought to be changed.  There's no basis in fact for this claim, just as there's no basis in fact for the assertion that ACORN's victory in its class-action suit against Household International is responsible for them having made loans to unqualified borrowers.  The reason the sub-prime borrowers defaulted was because the loans were designed to defraud them.  Never mind that there's no logical reason why people with little money should be charged high interest rates and rich people should get signature loans.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 10:26:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good read and good info. (5+ / 0-)

    Having done time on Wall Street, I'm all too aware of the push to the bottom finance capital orchestrates.

    Exporting the Household and similar models is exporting economic misery to the countries where it is deployed. It may also bring financial imbalance to its central government, as it did to ours.

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