Posts Tagged ‘Department of Justice’

Degrees of separation between one of the most notorious emissions brokers and the Tribune Corp. bankrutpcy morass

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

In 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in this press release that Anne Sholtz, a then-high-flying entrepreneuer instrumental in creation of the planet’s first smog cap-and-trade, had admitted to defrauding an obscure New York-based energy trader called AG Clean Air. Sholtz’s little-noticed plea and corporate bankrutpcies ignited a mess that still has many smarting and confused, while giving global warming skeptics such as Texas Rep. Joe Barton ammunition to question the prudence of Pres. Obama’s hope for a greenhouse gas market. Oh yeah, there’s also this issue of whether Sholtz, a former Caltech economist and owner of a resplendent mansion, perpetrated an earlier fraud –with the supposed help of ex-CIA and military operatives — that never went investigated or flagged by authorities. See my story about her and “Operation Bald Headed Eagle” for the particulars.

Now, lookie here. The apparent parent company of AG Clean Air,  is one of the creditors of the Tribune Corp. bankruptcy. For those who don’t know, Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times, our hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune and other media assets. As this story shows, former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner is bidding to become Tribune’s post-bankruptcy chairman.

Here’s a crucial passage: “… Tribune and its creditors are still struggling to negotiate a settlement around charges that (Sam) Zell’s 2007 leveraged buyout was a case of “fraudulent conveyance,” meaning the transaction rendered the company insolvent from Day One. That settlement would serve as the basis for a plan of reorganization, but depending on how negotiations go, it could be months in coming or the case could easily devolve into litigation.

Nobody in the case doubts that senior creditors led by money center bank JPMorgan Chase and two hedge funds, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and Oaktree Capital Management, will end up owning Tribune by virtue of their $8.6 billion in claims …”

In a earlier article, the L.A. Times depicted Angelo, Gordon & Co. as a “distressed-debt hedge fund.” Here’s the company’s website, so judge for yourself.

When I contacted the company for comment about my last story on Shotz last summer, the PR flack initially denied there was a connection between AG Clean Air (which apparently stood for Angelo, Gordon Clear Air) and Angelo, Gordon & Co. until I disputed otherwise and said the court documents show the exact same New York address for both entities: 245 Park Ave., 26th floor, New York, NY 10167.

Coincidene? I think not.

Whether AG Clean Air still exists is not clear. That the parent is the same one entangled in the debacle that Sam Zell created with his highly leveraged Tribune purchase some years back seems undeniable.

How Sholtz and AG fit into the L.A. air-pollution saga is detailed and contexualized in our book, Smogtown: the Lung-Burning History of Pollution in Los Angeles.