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Defoliating JC Flowers

William Cohan has a great takedown of J. Christopher Flowers and his struggling private equity firm in Fortune.

The story sheds light on how Flowers lost a good deal of money for his investors over the past few years and how this has tarnished the reputation he earned years ago at Goldman Sachs.

Cohan also does a great job chronicling the Flowers’ publicity machine, which excels at getting him linked in the business press to numerous potential deals. Even though Flowers’ firm never completes many of the deals he’s said to have interest in.

But the most intriguing part of Cohan’s story is Flowers’ claim that he was one of the people who alerted former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to the desperate situation facing American International Group a week before Lehman Brothers collapsed. Flowers says he learned of AIG’s terrible plight in early September when the giant insurer reached out to him as potential savior.

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