Neo-cons and neo-liberal global pols are pretending that just because there are many brands and many different stores that there is no monopoly---what they don't tell us is huge global corporations own most of those brands and stores----IT IS A MONOPOLY.
That is why Skippy costs the same as Jiff----why Kellogg's charges the same as Post----why a bottle of any soda all costs the same.
If products were manufactured locally there would be competition---the profit margin would not be guaranteed to be high all the time. Before Clinton neo-liberals took hold of the Democratic Party the Federal government actually enforced free market competition laws around price-fixing and monopolies.
THIS ALLOWED FOR A CENTURIES A BROAD SMALL AND REGIONAL BUSINESS ECONOMY THAT ALLOWED FOR A FREE MARKET
So, regulations on corporations and enforcement of activities like price fixing WAS GOOD FOR FREE MARKET.
What is Price Fixing?
by FreeAdvice staff
Price fixing is a conspiracy between business competitors to set their prices to buy or sell goods or services at a certain price point. This benefits all businesses or individuals that are on the same side of the market and involved in the conspiracy, as prices are either set high, stabilized, discounted, or fixed.
How Price Fixing Violates the LawPrice fixing violates state and federal competition laws, which prohibits businesses collusion. Business collusion is an agreement between businesses that fraudulently prevents other businesses from being able to compete in the open market. Price fixing violates competition law because it controls the market price or the supply and demand of a good or service. This prohibits other businesses from being able to compete against the businesses in the price fixing agreement, which prevents the public from being able to expect the benefits of free competition. This violation can be implied or express, with minimal evidence needed to prosecute.
Even if there is evidence that competitors have appeared to agree on a price, this can lead to a collusion charge. Price fixing can be prosecuted federally as a criminal violation under the Sherman Antitrust Act or a civil violation under the Federal Trade Commission. Price fixing can also be prosecuted under state antitrust laws.
How Price Fixing HappensPrice fixing can happen several ways. Businesses can agree to set their prices high, so that consumers have no choice but to buy at the high price. They can also agree to set mark-ups, sales, surcharges or discounts on goods or services at the same rate. Businesses can also agree to set their maximum purchasing price so that a seller of a product, service or commodity will be forced to sell at the set price. Price fixing can also happen in the credit market, where companies agree to standardize credit terms to consumers. Many states have “below sales-cost laws,” which prohibit businesses from selling goods or services below market cost, if their intent is anti-competitive.
It is important to remember that illegal price fixing only occurs when there is an agreement between businesses to fix prices. A business, acting on its own, may use legitimate efforts to obtain the best price they can, including the ability to raise prices to the detriment of the general public. Further, businesses that conform to the same prices without an express or implied agreement are not in violation of price fixing laws. However, there is a fine line between conforming to prices at one’s own accord, and having an implied agreement to do so.
I encourage my website viewers to Google this article for the graphic ----
As Clinton, Bush, and Obama have over a few decades been shouting FREE MARKET FREE MARKET---WE MUST DEREGULATE ------they were creating monopolies and stagnant markets with the worst of economic policy. All this was designed to kill American small and regional businesses because they do not want market share lost to anyone----
So, they built malls where national chain stores could operate more cheaply with shared real estate and utility costs----lowering prices taking consumers away from community stores. Free market allows businesses to do that-----but now these mall stores are global corporations and do not need to charge low prices because all local business competition is gone. They get the cheaper mall structures AND THEY CHARGE TOO MUCH......SUPER-SIZED PRICE-FIXING.
Remember, all these Federal laws are still there-----it is simply that the national politicians we elect are appointing to Federal agencies leaders who ignore these monopoly and free market rules and laws.
A state like Maryland can enforce monopoly and free market laws and a Mayor of Baltimore would make this a priority as we rebuild a local economy in Baltimore.
These 10 Companies Control Enormous Number Of Consumer Brands
[GRAPHIC]The Huffington Post | By Harry Bradford
Posted: 04/27/2012 11:54 am EDT Updated: 09/25/2014 1:59 pm EDT Huffington Post
It may be obvious that Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes are both made by Kellogg's, but did you know that Hot Pockets and L'Oreal share a parent company in Nestlé?
A ginormous number of brands are controlled by just 10 multinationals, according to this amazing infographic from French blog Convergence Alimentaire. Now we can see just how many products are owned by Kraft, Coca-Cola, General Mills, Kellogg's, Mars, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, P&G and Nestlé.
(Disclaimer: We are not sure how up-to-date the graphic is. For example, it has not been updated to reflect P&G's sale of Pringles to Kellogg's in February.)
It's not just the consumer goods industry that's become so consolidated. Ninety percent of the media is now controlled by just six companies, down from 50 in 1983, according to a Frugal Dad infographic from last year. Likewise, 37 banks merged to become JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and CitiGroup in a little over two decades, as seen in this 2010 graphic from Mother Jones.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misidentified General Mills as the parent company of Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes.
See what the 10 companies own in the infographic below:
WHERE IS THE FREE MARKET AND ANTI-TRUST? WELL SAY GLOBAL POLS---THERE IS NOT EVEN A UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION---they are not even speaking to US citizens when they say this.
Keep in mind all of the products in the graphic above come from global corporations. So, global pols are telling us that the US Constitution and monopoly laws written by Founding Fathers who wanted to keep global corporations from controlling the US economy-----no longer is meant to do that. Now, the US needs to open all markets in the US to global corporations from other nations to be considered free market to the world.
All of this is pure nonsense----it is illegal and unconstitutional but WE THE PEOPLE keep allowing Clinton/Obama neo-liberals control all of our Democratic primary elections. We can reverse all this easy peasy folks-----JUST GET RID OF THE GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS.
What makes matters worse is that these are not really product corporations-------it is the hedge funds and super-banks owning large sectors of all industries. How did they afford that? Well, there was the tens of trillions of dollars in corporate fraud-----the trillions since 2008 economic crash in FED and Congressional subsidy all called stimulating the economy and JOBS JOBS JOBS-----but almost all went to merger and acquisition and expanding overseas markets.
The next step is the International Economic Zones and Trans Pacific Trade Pact which seeks to eliminate the US Constitution altogether and make of the US simply one of the world's colonial economic zones -----NOW, CITIZENS ARE FORCED TO PRETEND THEY ARE PARTICIPATING IN THIS GLOBAL MARKET WITH ALL THE ENTREPRENEUR/STARTUPS GOING GLOBAL----but when Obama or a state governor like Erhlich, O'Malley, and now Hogan goes to Asia----they are not opening up global markets for you and me-----they are repaying their campaign donors and building future support for their careers.
'Super-Entity' Of 147 Companies At Center Of World's Economy, Study Claims
The Huffington Post Canada | By Daniel Tencer
Posted: 10/24/2011 1:37 pm EDT Updated: 12/24/2011 5:12 am EST
A Swiss study appears to have uncovered what anti-capitalist activists have been claiming for years -- that the global economy is controlled by a small group of deeply interconnected entities.
But don't grab a pitchfork and head to the nearest Occupy protest just yet. Systems researchers say this isn't the result of an Illuminati-type global conspiracy, but rather a natural force to be expected.
"Such structures are common in nature," complex systems expert George Sudihara told NewScientist.
- Advertisement -According to the study's authors -- a trio of systems researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology -- the research isn't ideologically motivated. Instead, they say, it's the first attempt at mapping the power structure of the global economy, an effort that may help to prevent future financial crises.
What they found, they say, was an economy so deeply interconnected that its structure is alarmingly susceptible to shocks.
The researchers say that while there's nothing wrong, in and of itself, with the concentration of capital in the hands of a small number of companies, when those companies become too interconnected, they can cause chain reactions that can harm the economy.
"If one [company] suffers distress," study co-author James Glattfelder said, "this propagates [itself]."
That fits with recent experience; the financial crisis of 2008 began as a problem of excessive liabilities at a handful of companies. But these companies had financial links to the rest of the industry, and their insolvency threatened to take down the entire financial system.
According to the study, which will be published shortly in the scientific journal PLoS One, there is a core group of 1,318 multinational companies that sit at the centre of global commerce. They own a majority of shares in 60 per cent of the world's large businesses and manufacturers.
Within that group, the researchers identified a "super-entity" of 147 companies that control 40 per cent of the wealth within the multinational commerce network. According to the researchers, each of the 147 companies is owned by other companies within the "super-entity," essentially creating a self-contained network of wealth.
A majority of the companies listed in the network are financial institutions, with British bank Barclays at the top of the list. Asset managers Capital Group Companies and Fidelity Investments are in second and third, while insurer AXA and State Street Corporation round off the top five.
Interestingly, the bogeyman of financial reform champions, Goldman Sachs, placed only 18th on the list.
The researchers say their work is evidence the world may need global anti-trust regulations -- rules designed to keep companies from becoming too large in their sector, or from developing de facto agreements to cooperate with competitors.
Complex systems experts note the tendency for wealth to concentrate in a small number of hands is natural.
"The Occupy Wall Street claim that one per cent of people have most of the wealth reflects a logical phase of the self-organising economy," Dan Braha of the New England Complex Systems Institute told NewScientist.
Critics of the study say the researchers were measuring the wrong things, and therefore providing an incorrect image of global wealth.
As one commenter argued on the Forbes website, looking at the ownership structure of multinational corporations doesn't give you an idea of who controls the wealth, because many of the companies on the study's list are managers of wealth, not owners of it.
The list also does''t measure "pension plans, corporate [retirement] plans and individual funds [that] manage trillions in assets ultimately belonging to individuals who are predominantly not in the 'one per cent,'" the commenter wrote. "There are a number of 'custodian banks' in the list ... Again, they do not own the assets, or even really control the assets -- they merely house the assets. A better list would be the actual asset OWNERS, rather than the vendors who manage, house and clear said assets."
Here are the 5 companies at the top of the Swiss researchers' rankings.
CAPITAL GROUP COMPANIES
This article does a good job in detailing just what our US Constitution says-----AND IT DOES NOT JUST GET RE-WRITTEN. States like Maryland have monopoly and free market laws plus it has a state sovereignty rights law which may not supercede Federal law but it can keep global corporations at bay.
This is one of the most important issues in this 2016 election---if left unchecked which global pols hope we do by making sure no one knows about all this-----then Bill of Rights, Rule of Law, Equal Protection, Labor rights will mean nothing. Meanwhile, we have labor and justice organizations fighting for $15 an hour----civil rights from police abuse-----equal pay for women----AND NONE OF THAT WILL MATTER UNDER THIS GLOBAL CORPORATE TRIBUNAL STRUCTURE AND INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ZONES.
MONOPOLIES AND THE CONSTITUTION: A HISTORY OF CRONY CAPITALISM
By Steven G. Calabresi1 & Larissa Price2
ABSTRACT: This article explores the right of the people to be free from government
granted monopolies or from what we would today call “Crony Capitalism.” We trace the
constitutional history of this right from Tudor England down to present day state and federal
constitutional law. We begin with Darcy v. Allen (also known as the Case of Monopolies
decided in 1603) and the Statute of Monopolies of 1624, both of which prohibited English Kings
and Queens from granting monopolies. We then show how the American colonists relied on
English rights to be free from government granted monopolies during the Revolutionary War
period as, for example, when American colonists protested against the East India Company’s
trade monopoly by holding the Boston Tea Party. We show that hatred of trade monopolies led
in part to the American Revolution. During the drafting and debates on the federal Constitution,
Thomas Jefferson and George Mason, as well as several Antifederalists, expressed grave
concern about government grants of monopoly power. The new federal government was thus
only given the enumerated power to create monopolies in the patent and copyright areas, and the
Framers at Philadelphia deliberately chose not to give Congress the power to charter
corporations which might be used to grant monopolies. During the Jacksonian era, it was a
hatred of government grants of monopoly that helped to lead to President Jackson’s killing of the
federally incorporated Bank of the United States. The same sentiment led as well to the Supreme
Court’s narrowing of the Contract Clause in the Charles River Bridge case. Many state laws
were struck down during the Jacksonian era for being monopolies, class laws, or grants of
special privilege. By the 1850s, the Abolitionists themselves had begun to borrow the
antimonopoly idea to argue that slavery was a constitutionally forbidden monopoly by slave
owners of the labor of African Americans. By 1868, when the Fourteenth Amendment was
adopted, the Reconstruction Congress was firmly opposed to all forms of class legislation, grants
of special privilege, or of monopoly. Concerns about the evils of government granted monopolies
were thus central to the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. We argue that
Americans have a constitutional right to be free from government grants of monopoly and other
forms of class legislation because of: 1) the rich English and American colonial history with
respect to the right to be free from monopolies; 2) the state constitutional law bans on
monopolies, class legislation, and special grants of privilege; 3) the limiting of federal
enumerated power to grant monopolies to the patent and copyright context; and 4) the original
meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment. We think that the Slaughter-House Cases were wrongly
decided, and we argue against rational basis review in economic liberties cases. We provide
historical and legal arguments that defend the classical liberalism of John Tomasi in his new
book defending economic liberty, Free Market Fairness.
I don't know if this reporter is Democrat or Republican but IT DOES NOT MATTER----all global pols are doing this. The Ameriacn people are sitting here wondering how in the world can all US lawyers be corrupt---why are they not fighting these frauds---and this article shows how entrenched in crime and corruption government is and no doubt---all lawyers are working to maximize profits or protect against illegal actions. These conditions soar in Baltimore and it is the reason crony political machines stay in office under such extreme injustice. The point is this from a monopoly/free market prospective-----THERE IS NO FREE MARKET IF PAY-TO-PLAY IS THE BIG GAME IN TOWN!
To rebuild a local economy a Mayor OF Baltimore must end this culture of backing a pol just so you get a job. Citizens will get jobs----they will get more money----and they will keep jobs longer if a local economic is functioning right AND THEY WILL GET TO BE CITIZENS WITH RIGHTS.
'But what Biden did was help fuel lucrative business for the tort bar. When courts in SimmonsCooper’s home base in Illinois finally started cracking down on what had become “America’s No. 1 judicial hellhole” for filing out-of-control tort claims, the firm turned East. And in Joe Biden’s Delaware, they created a new sanctuary'.
Put on your shocked faces: Another Crony Joe Biden scheme comes to light
By Michelle Malkin • October 23, 2012 01:09 PM
Charlie Gasparino has pieces in the NYPost and on FoxBusiness.com on a shady Iraqi home construction contract that appears to benefit Vice President Joe Biden’s brother, James.
In a nutshell:
James Biden isn’t a big name in the business of residential housing development, so what exactly qualifies him to work at a construction company and share in the winnings of a $1.5 billion project to build affordable homes in Iraq?
If you said it has something to do with his last name, the one shared by his older brother Vice President Joe Biden, you wouldn’t be far off. At least that’s the guess of some Wall Street analysts who cover the Marlton, NJ-based company Hill International and think they’ve seen yet another sordid tale of crony capitalism.
Hill has been around for decades; its main business is managing construction projects in the Middle East and here in America. It’s built a good reputation over the years, as has the father-son team who run it, Irv and David Richter.
But the bursting of the real-estate bubble took its toll; Hill shares are down 80 percent since 2008. Since 2011, the company has reported losses. Its Middle East business has also been stymied by the Arab Spring uprisings; in Libya alone, Hill is out $60 million in payments that it’s still trying to recover.
But it got some good news not long after its housing subsidiary hired James Biden as an executive vice president in late 2010. Just six months later, Hill won one of its biggest contracts ever, a $1.5 billion deal to build at least 100,000 affordable homes in Iraq.
A good deal for Hill, a relative newcomer to building homes — and for James Biden, who as one partner will get a good share of that $1.5 billion.
The deal is contingent on the Iraqi government providing financing, which it has yet to do, but Hill execs tell analysts the money could start flowing by the end of the year. That’s when everyone involved, James Biden included, will start collecting on tens of millions of dollars in profits.
Does James Biden’s name ring a bell? If you read Culture of Corruption, it will. As I reported in the book, brother James and the VP’s lobbyist son Hunter were caught up in a shady financial scheme that exposed the family’s nepotism-dependent business.
“Average Joe” Biden wants you to believe he hangs with the regular guys at Home Depot. But the BFFs (Best Friends Forever!) of the Bidens wear pin-striped suits, not coveralls. They carry briefcases, not toolboxes. And you can bet they’re not driving pick-up trucks.
One lucrative cloud seeded by “rainmaker” William Oldaker showered generous benefits on both Hunter Biden and his dad. In 2005–06, the Chicago-based personal injury law firm of Cooney and Conway paid Oldaker, Biden & Belair $220,000 to push its tort reform proposals. At the same time, Cooney and Conway gave Senator Biden’s political campaigns more than $70,000. The firm’s founding co-partner John Cooney told the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin that he struck up a friendship with Biden in 2004 over a legislative battle before Biden’s Senate Judiciary Committee. Cooney was part of a small group that strategized with Biden on campaign matters at his Delaware home.
Cooney and Conway represent clients claiming asbestos-related injuries. Biden sided with the trial lawyers, actively opposing measures to reduce frivolous lawsuits and reduce the returns on future lawsuits.
Other heavy-hitting law firms that pitched in to Biden’s campaigns: Baltimore-based Peter Angelos, whose law firm gave Biden $156,250; Wilmington-based Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, which kicked in $127, 979; and Pachulski Stang Zielhl & Jones, which donated $145,625, according to The American Lawyer. Philip Howard, author and founder of Common Good, a bipartisan coalition that advocates for legal reform, summed up his record: “Senator Biden has a pretty clear record of being close to the trial lawyers. To people who are interested in restoring reliability to the legal system, he’s probably unlikely to be the champion.”
Disgraced trial lawyer Richard Scruggs donated $11,500 to Biden in 2008. After Scruggs was convicted of attempting to bribe a federal judge, Biden tried to show his ethical bona fides by donating the money to a worthy charity. But Biden couldn’t steer clear of nepotism. The money ended up with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition—a charity where, The American Lawyer pointed out, Biden’s son Hunter sits on the board of directors.
Another Biden family pal in the trial lawyers’ community: Jeff Cooper. With his partner John Simmons, the 39-year-old Cooper built one of the biggest asbestos litigation firms in the country. SimmonsCooper, based in Madison County, Illinois, has donated a whopping $196,050 to Biden’s campaigns since 2003, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C. In that same time frame, the firm poured $6.5 million into lobbying against the same tort reform bill that fellow asbestos litigators Cooney and Conway opposed—and which Senator Biden worked hard to defeat. Without a hint of irony, Cooper extolled Biden’s anti-tort reform stance: “He understands the plight of the little guy and is against huge corporate interest.” But what Biden did was help fuel lucrative business for the tort bar. When courts in SimmonsCooper’s home base in Illinois finally started cracking down on what had become “America’s No. 1 judicial hellhole” for filing out-of-control tort claims, the firm turned East. And in Joe Biden’s Delaware, they created a new sanctuary. The Wall Street Journal explained:
SimmonsCooper is a big asbestos player, and Madison County was until recently one of America’s meccas for jackpot justice. But the story gets better: Mr. Biden has been helping the tort bar turn his home state of Delaware into a statewide Madison County.
SimmonsCooper made hundreds of millions of dollars on asbestos cases in Madison County, but that started to change in 2004. The business community helped to elect conservative Lloyd Karmeier to the Illinois Supreme Court. Madison County Circuit Judge Daniel Stack also took over the asbestos docket, was determined to clean house, and began dismissing suits filed by residents outside his jurisdiction.
SimmonsCooper and other firms started shopping for a new legal goldmine. And where better than Delaware? Many companies incorporate there, which means a list of defendants usually includes a Delaware target. Beginning in mid-2005, SimmonsCooper began transferring its suits to Bidenland.
The trial bar’s strategy has been to overwhelm Delaware’s once-sensible legal system, taking advantage of rules that pressure companies to settle. In the 22 months following SimmonsCooper’s first asbestos filing in Delaware, the state was hit with 412 suits, primarily from SimmonsCooper and fellow asbestos giant Baron & Budd.
According to the Madison County Record—a legal journal that has doggedly followed this story—clerks in Wilmington were “working nights and weekends to keep up” with the filings. The trial lawyers drew sympathetic judges that have already overseen big verdicts against defendants, primarily Detroit auto makers. Plaintiffs have obtained certain procedures that raise the costs of defense, and restrict defendants’ ability to take discovery.
Cooper first befriended Biden’s sons, Hunter and Beau, before deepening his financial and political relationship with their dad. There’s a personal connection: Cooper’s wife went to high school with Hunter Biden’s wife, Kathleen. And as Biden the Elder was carrying water for the trial lawyers in the U.S. Senate, SimmonsCooper was working another Biden channel through the Wilmington, Delaware, law firm of Bifferato, Gentilotti & Biden, where Joe’s son and Hunter’s brother, Beau, was a partner.
SimmonsCooper found Delaware an attractive new magnet for its asbestos litigation racket because many of the firm’s defendants included clients who had incorporated in the state.
SimmonsCooper recruited Beau’s firm to work as co-counsel on Delaware asbestos litigation cases. The Illinois firm steered dozens of cases Beau Biden’s way. He dropped an asbestos defense client to accommodate his deep-pocketed family friend. SimmonsCooper then forked over $35,000 to Beau Biden’s successful run for state attorney general in 2006. Steve Hantler, president of the American Justice Partnership Foundation, observed, “Delaware is fast becoming asbestos lawsuit central.…A tsunami of lawsuits being filed by the SimmonsCooper firm, along with the flow of campaign dollars to Delaware politicians is quite the troubling coincidence.”
Even more troubling was the financial partnership Hunter Biden and his Uncle James (Senator Biden’s brother) attempted to forge with SimmonsCooper. The Bidens approached SimmonsCooper with a proposition: Team up with the family to buy a hedge fund investment firm for $21 million. Cooper agreed to chip in $2 million in exchange for 10 percent interest. The Bidens negotiated the hedge fund buyout of Paradigm Global Advisors with business partner Anthony Lotito Jr. in 2006. As Paradigm chairman, Hunter Biden oversaw half a billion dollars of client money invested in hedge funds while remaining a lobbyist at Oldaker, Biden & Belair.
But things fell apart. In their haste to clean up the Biden image, they ended up with dirtier hands. According to Lotito, the Bidens pursued the venture to help get Hunter Biden out of the lobbying business before Dad launched another presidential campaign. The Madison County Record, which tracked the dealings of the Bidens and SimmonsCooper closely, laid out the timeline:
According to court records filed by Lotito, Joe Biden wanted Hunter Biden to find a different line of work because he couldn’t afford to run for president as father of a lobbyist.
Lotito claims he and James Biden discussed Hunter Biden’s job prospects.
Lotito met James Biden in 2002 and they invested together in 2005, according to Lotito.
Lotito introduced James Biden and Hunter Biden to lawyer John Fascian[a], and the four began planning to buy Paradigm Capital Management.
Majority owner James Parks had started Paradigm in 1991 and successfully promoted it as less volatile than most hedge funds.
Everyone agreed that the Bidens and Lotito would form a corporation to buy 54 percent of Paradigm for $21.3 million in cash.
They would install Hunter Biden as chief executive officer at a salary of $1.2 million.
In April 2006, they formed LBB Limited Liability Corporation.
In May 2006, SimmonsCooper invested $1 million.
In June 2006, according to Lotito, the Bidens told him to stay away.
In August 2006, according to Lotito, the Bidens formed a corporation, executed a promissory note for $8.1 million, and purchased Paradigm’s assets.
In September 2006, Lotito signed an agreement relinquishing his third of LBB.
He sued the Bidens in January 2007, alleging fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
Lie down with shady partners, get up with a public relations nightmare. Lotito maintained that the Bidens cut a secret deal and tried to fraudulently trick him into signing away his interest in the LLC that they had formed together. In court filings, Lotito’s lawyer asserted that the Bidens used their political clout to intimidate his client: “Ultimately, the Bidens threatened to use their alleged connections with a former U.S. Senator to retaliate against counsel for insisting that his bill be paid, claiming that the former Senator was prepared to use his influence with a federal judge to disadvantage counsel in a proceeding then pending before that court.”
The Bidens shot back that Lotito had neglected to mention that the lawyer he connected them with, John Fasciana, was a crook. Fasciana had been convicted in July 2005 on federal charges of conspiracy and wire and mail fraud over a scheme to cheat Electronic Data Systems (Ross Perot’s computer services company) of millions of dollars.
Fasciana was sentenced in 2008 to four years in prison, but has appealed the case. He sued the Bidens for nearly $200,000 in legal fees; they countersued Fasciana for overbilling him and committing fraud by concealing his criminal conviction. Hunter and James Biden also countersued Lotito in February 2007 seeking $10 million. The Bidens asserted that Lotito “hid debts and falsely claimed he held securities licenses to lure them as partners in the planned $21.3 million acquisition,” the Washington Post reported. “Had James and Hunter Biden known the truth about Anthony Lotito, they never would have gone into business with him,” their complaint alleged.
Where did this leave SimmonsCooper, which had kicked in half of a $2 million investment at the request of the Bidens? The Illinois firm had withdrawn from the deal after watching $1 million of its investment allegedly squandered by Lotito. The investment “converted to debt,” which Hunter and James Biden then attempted to shift to Lotito. A New York judge didn’t go along with the Bidens’ attempt to play the victim card. In May 2008, he rejected their bid after concluding they should have vetted the fund more carefully and performed their own due diligence. Cutting through the ploy, the judge ruled that the Bidens’ counterclaims “seek only to foment uncertainty and chaos between the parties in the event that plaintiff is successful in presenting the main claims.…Such pleading will not be countenanced.” Moreover, he ruled,
“Certainly defendants do not claim that the law permits sophisticated investors to rely on whatever representations a potential advisor makes without the need for a diligent inquiry by defendants, and that such representations are actionable if they wind up to have been faulty.”
In January 2009, court papers announced that the legal fracas had been settled confidentially —preventing any disclosure or discussion whatsoever regarding the nature of the settlement or the subject matter of the action. The record did note that the lawsuit was resolved “without cost to any party.” For anyone paying close attention, however, the cost to the Biden family’s “just folks” reputation was clear. Alas, the settlement didn’t end the sordid story for the Bidens…
From one smelly crony scheme to the next, Stimulus Sheriff Joe and his fam keep laughing all the way to the bank.