Sunday Stanford

March 1, 2009

The day that the SEC filed its complaint about Allen Stanford, Tzvee’s Talmudic Blog immediately worried, and put up a blog entry titled "Is Robert Allen Stanford Jewish?". You can see where the concern would have come from: to have one multi-billion-dollar Jewish Ponzi artist might be considered a misfortune, but to have two looks seriously bad.

Turns out that Tzvee had nothing to worry about. The West Orlando News has one of my favorite headlines of the whole Stanford saga: "Small-Town ‘Christians’ Ran Stanford Dynasty". Turns out that Stanford and his CFO, James Davis, met at the Christian Baylor University, while Davis met Laura Pendergest-Holt at church. The newspaper reports:

One focus of the SEC investigation is the relationship between Ms Pendergest-Holt, James Davis, chief financial officer of Stanford Financial, and a small group of associates – a number of them apparently committed Christians – who were dubbed the “Baldwyn set” by other Stanford employees.

I’m reminded of these line from William Burroughs’s "Words of Advice For Young People":

If you’re doing business with a religious son-of-a-bitch,
Get it in writing.
His word isn’t worth shit.
Not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

Of course, Madoff and Stanford were more than happy to promise — in writing — that their investors would get their money back. Sometimes it’s best just not to do business with certain people at all.

Meanwhile, the case against Stanford is moving along in a predictably slow manner, with Davis pleading the Fifth and remaining silent on all matters so as not to incriminate himself. Stanford will surely do the same, as soon as he gets himself squared up with a defense lawyer.

And in another delicious twist to the Stanford saga, it turns out that the most powerful art dealer in the world, Larry Gagosian, decided to use Stanford Coins & Bullion when he needed $3 million of gold blocks for a Beverly Hills art installation. Naturally, he now has neither the money nor the gold. Whether the lack of a solid-gold art installation at Gagosian Beverly Hills counts as a downside of the Stanford scandal, of course, is a matter of opinion.

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