The men with Geithner’s ear

By Felix Salmon
October 8, 2009
tallies Tim Geithner's phone calls:

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The AP tallies Tim Geithner’s phone calls:

In the first seven months of Geithner’s tenure, his calendars reflect at least 80 contacts with Blankfein, Dimon, Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons or Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit…

Ken Lewis appears on Geithner’s calendars only three times. Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack also appears three times.

Why would Geithner speak to Paulson Blankfein so much more frequently than Mack? Well, there’s always this:

Mack was on the phone with Mitsubishi’s chief executive, Nobuo Kuroyanagi, and a translator trying to nail down the letter of intent. His assistant interrupted him, whispering, “Tim Geithner is on the phone—he has to talk to you.”

Cupping the receiver, Mack said, “Tell him I can’t speak now. I’ll call him back.”

Five minutes later, Paulson called. “I can’t. I’m on with the Japanese. I’ll call him when I’m off,” he told his assistant.

Two minutes later, Geithner was back on the line. “He says he has to talk to you and it’s important,” Mack’s assistant reported helplessly.

Mack was minutes away from reaching an agreement. He looked at Ji-Yeun Lee, who was standing in his office helping with the deal, and told her, “Cover your ears.”

“Tell him to get fucked,” Mack said of Geithner. “I’m trying to save my firm.”

Geithner should, in the interest of listening to the people who are going to tell him something he doesn’t already know, have made extra effort to talk to Mack after being told by him to get fucked. But the guy’s only human, and it’s understandable that he might not have.

Update: I thought “Blankfein” when I was posting this, but wrote “Paulson”. Wonder what that means. Many thanks to Justin Fox for noticing.


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now i have a picture of geithner’s ear in my head and i can’t get it out. thanks.

Posted by q | Report as abusive

If Government Sachs had any ethics at all, these conversations would be open and public, but they apparently do not, and these conversations will not be. Amid last fall’s crisis, closed door communication was understandable.

We are now in a world where the government’s actions more than anything else determine inflation or deflation and returns across all manner of asset classes. Thus Llyod Blankfein and the others have been dealing in insider information, day in and day out for all these months.

Lloyd Blankfein belongs in prison for insider trading for at least that reason.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

This cozy relationship clearly illustrates why im loosing money on all my investments consistently. Big banks and the Fed run the entire ponzi scheme. The lowly 401k investor trying to save for retirement as his portfolio is secretly sucked dry by Goldmans “Rapid Trading” supercomputer running algoritms executing trades miliseconds before anyone else in the market. Then meeting with Geithner plotting the next super bubble. The world market is an illusion a giant ponzi scheme run by a handful of connected ridiculously wealthy bubble boys. Forget about sustainalbe growth with these dinks running the show. The true bubble manipulators have a strong hold George Washington couldnt sever. Plan on inflation, job loss and market manipulation on a scale you cant fathom thats reality. “Free markets” what a joke. I called Geithner today and I couldnt even get his secretary hmm he must have been on the line with Government Sachs plotting their next move. These people should be in jail not manipulating world markets. How many Yachts do you really need? To big to fail…. too well connected to be allowed to fail. Once again the tax payer gets bent over. Its one year later who has been sentenced and sent to jail because of the rampant corruption on wall street and the sub prime market. … Answer no one. Why?

Posted by richard | Report as abusive

straight-talkin AND chivalrous, hmmmm? who could have guess? did he slam his fist down on a desk, too? god, nothing is more tedious than the macho narratives of capitalism……

Posted by nick | Report as abusive