J.P. Morgan versus Jeremy Griffin

(Comment by Stephen, SAFE volunteer)

The Consummate American Capitalist

John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan was the founder of the Wall Street commercial/investment bank J.P. Morgan Co., known a century ago as the “House of Morgan.” He had his hand in the birth of General Electric, US Steel, International Harvester, AT&T, and the entire US railroad industry. The top-hatted banker in the game Monopoly is said to be modeled after J.P. Morgan.

After Congress passed the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, the House of Morgan had to spin off its investment division. In 1935, Henry S. Morgan (J.P. Morgan’s grandson) and Harold Stanley founded the investment bank Morgan Stanley.

According to Morgan Stanley’s website, the late 19th and early 20th centuries were times of unregulated markets that allowed for incredible growth, profiteering, and cheating. But J.P., the website claims, would have none of it, demanding instead “trust, integrity, and honesty.” Jack Morgan – J.P.’s son and Henry’s dad – described his goal as “doing only first-class business, and that in a firstclass way.”

During the Civil War, J.P. bought 5000 rifles at $3.50 a piece and sold them to a Union general for $22.00 each. nfortunately the rifles were defective and maimed the soldiers using them. A federal judge upheld the deal on the grounds that it was a binding contract.

Doing first-class business in a first-class way, apparently, did not extend to the thousands of underpaid and overworked immigrants and war veterans who battled bitter cold and heat to lay 100,000 miles of J.P.’s railroad tracks.
Per the Interstate Commerce Commission, 22,000 railroad workers, mostly Chinese and Irish immigrants, were killed or injured in 1889 alone.

Recent Legal Issues (from Wikipedia):

2003: $ – Paid $125 million to settle a suit brought by several US agencies for providing ntentionally misleading research to win investment-banking business.

2004: $ – Paid $54 million to settle a sex discrimination suit.
$ – Paid $19 million in fines imposed by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for sundry rule violations.

2005: $ – Paid another $19 million fine by the NYSE.
$ – Florida Jury found Morgan Stanley guilty of fraud: total damages $1.45 billion. Overturned on appeal.
2006: $ – Paid $42.5 million to settle unfair labor practice suit brought by Morgan Stanley employees.
$ – Paid $15 million fine to Security and Exchange Commission for not cooperating with investigators and for deleting e-mail evidence.

2007: $ – Paid $46 million to settle classaction lawsuit brought by eight female brokers.
$ – Paid $12.5 million to settle a suit with customers who lost arbitration cases because Morgan Stanley claimed
e-mail records were destroyed in the 9/11 attacks when backup e-mails had actually been available at another location.
$ – Paid $4.4 million to settle suit for incorrect storage charges of precious metals.
$ – Fined $6.1 million for charging excessive fees to customers.

2008: $ – In court settlement with NY State, forced to repurchase $4.5 billion in auction rate ecurities that their marketing and sales department misrepresented.

2009: $ – Must pay $7 million for mishandling accounts of 90 retirees.

2009: $ – Fined £1.4 million for failing to control a rogue trader.
$ – Morgan Stanley’s managing director Du Jun convicted of insider trading at a criminal trial in Hong Kong.

2010: $ – Fined $14 million for attempt to hide prohibited trading in oil futures.

2011: $ – Department of Justice seeks $4.8 million in fines for price-fixing scandal costing NY State electricity customers $300 million. Morgan Stanley made $21.6 million from this fraud.
2012: $ – Federal Reserve announces consent order for “a pattern of misconduct and negligence in esidential mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure processing.”
$ – Paid $2.4 million to settle suit with US agency for inappropriate recommendations to its retail brokerage customers.
$ – Anticipating potential lawsuits in Facebook IPO, for touting this stock while secretly downgrading Facebook’s earnings forecast.
$ – Agreed to pay $6.75 million in fines for making fictitious sales in futures contracts.

Government Loans:

2008: To stay afloat when the banking industry was melting down, Morgan Stanley borrowed $107.3 billion from the Federal Reserve, the most of any bank.

Jeremy Griffin: The Consummate American Worker

For years Jeremy Griffin labored as an ironworker, a job involving the placement and tying of rebar, structural steel framing, for buildings, stadiums, bridges, and all sorts of civil engineering projects. The job requires reading plans and physically carrying on your shoulders tons of rebar each day.

After ten years working as an ironworker, Jeremy bought out his boss, starting his own business in 2008, just prior to the beginning of the Great Recession and the virtual end of the construction industry for the next four years.

His timing could not have been worse. Within months he was out of business.

After the stress of years of unemployment and underemployment, his life partner left him. Soon his mortgage went into default. Then in 2012, the construction industry started to awake from its slumber, and Jeremy finally got a job again as an ironworker setting rebar on a bridge near his South Park, Seattle, home. He told his bank, Wells Fargo, he could now pay his mortgage, but they were not interested.

Since the mortgage note was in Jeremy’s partner’s name, Wells Fargo wouldn’t talk with him, even though Jeremy’s name is on the deed and he had been the one living in the home and paying the mortgage. At the end of 2012, Wells Fargo bought back Jeremy’s home at auction. While Wells Fargo serviced Jeremy’s mortgage, the actual owner of the note was an investment bank called Morgan Stanley.

Recent Legal Issues:

2013: Jeremy has only been to court once – to save his home. Outside of issues relating to falling into debt, Jeremy’s only brush with the law has been an occasional traffic ticket. At his eviction hearing in King County Superior Court, he argued that Morgan Stanley should have at least had the human decency to talk, let alone negotiate, with him before throwing him out of his home. Morgan Stanley’s lawyer’s reply was that, human decency aside, “they were under no legal obligation to do so.” The Court found in favor of Morgan Stanley. Jeremy is filing an appeal.

Government Loans:

2012: None. (Before Jeremy went into default, he borrowed money from his family, but he still couldn’t make ends meet.)



Upcoming Actions:

Thursday, May 9, 6:30 – 8:30 PM: Shoreline Town Hall, 17500 Midvale Ave N, Shoreline (Meet up outside of building.): Town Hall Meeting with Sheriff John Urquhart: Ask the Sheriff why he’s supporting fraudulent banks.
Jeremy Griffin is appealing the King County Superior Court’s ruling that he must vacate his home. We will update you as we know more.
We are coordinating contacts with local media (If you have experience in this area, please let us know.)

If you wish to join SAFE’s Rapid Response Network (to be alerted as soon as we get word of the eviction), please visit www.SAFEinSeattle.org to sign up.

If you wish to be part of the 24-hour Watch Brigade on Jeremy’s South Park lawn to monitor any attempt by the Sheriff to evict, please also sign up on our website.

Monday, May 13, 4:30 – 6:00 PM: Stuff, stamp, and label envelopes for SAFE mailing to homeowners and tenants in foreclosure.

Three auction disruptions are scheduled: May 17 (for Larry and Flor), May 31 (for Jane), and June 14 (for Jen). More details in next week’s newsletter.Thursday, May 9, 7:00 – 8:30 PM:
Thursday, May 23, 6:30 – 8:30 PM: Northgate Community Center, 10510 5th Ave NE, Seattle (Meet up outside of building.): Town Hall Meeting with

Attorney General Bob Ferguson: Ask the AG what he’s doing to stop foreclosures and evictions. Demand a Moratorium.

This Past Week:

Sunday, May 5:

Covered Jeremy’s South Park home with huge banners and signs reading, “Eviction Free Zone,” “We Shall Not Be Moved,” and “Together We Can Fight the Banks”.

Continued building our Rapid Response Network and a list of those willing to monitor round-the-clock the Sheriff’s movements from tents on Jeremy’s lawn.

Other Upcoming & Ongoing Events:

Tuesdays, 7:00 – 8:30 PM: Weekly SAFE Meeting: Bethany UCC, 6230 Beacon Ave S (NE corner of Graham St). All are welcome!

Questions? Comments?

You can reach us at info@SAFEinSeattle.org or 206-203-2125. Please visit our web site: www.SAFEinSeattle.org.

Housing is a Human Right!

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