Matt Taibbi has a field day with the deposition of Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan in the litigation MBIA v. Bank of America, Countrywide, and a Buttload of Other Shameless Mortgage Fraudsters.
Here’s the money shot:
“Thank God for Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. If you’re a court junkie, or have the misfortune (as some of us poor reporters do) of being forced professionally to spend a lot of time reading legal documents, the just-released Moynihan deposition in MBIA v. Bank of America, Countrywide, and a Buttload of Other Shameless Mortgage Fraudsters will go down as one of the great Nixonian-stonewalling efforts ever, and one of the more entertaining reads of the year.”
Taibbi does not hold back, invoking metaphors from Captain Kirk to Peter Sellers.
“In this long-awaited interrogation – Bank of America has been fighting to keep Moynihan from being deposed in this case for some time – Moynihan does a full Star Trek special, boldly going where no deponent has ever gone before, breaking out the “I don’t recall” line more often and perhaps more ridiculously than was previously thought possible. Moynihan seems to remember his own name, and perhaps his current job title, but beyond that, he’ll have to get back to you.”
Here’s some of the questioning from MBIA’s lawyer:
“Sir, you were CEO of Bank Of America in January, 2010, but you don’t know what Countrywide Financial Corporation was doing at that time?”
In an impressive display of balls, Moynihan essentially replies that Bank of America is a big company, and it’s unrealistic to ask the CEO to know about all of its parts, even the ones that are multi-billion-dollar suckholes about which the firm has been engaged in nearly constant litigation from the moment it acquired the company.
“We have several thousand legal entities,” is how Moynihan puts it. “Exactly what subsidiary took place [sic] is not what you do as the CEO. That is [sic] other people’s jobs to make sure.”
The exasperated MBIA lawyer tries again: If it’s true that Moynihan somehow managed to not know anything about the bank’s most important and most problematic subsidiary when he became CEO, well, did he ever make an effort to correct that ignorance? “Do you ever come to learn what CFC was doing?” is how the question is posed.
“I’m not sure that I recall exactly what CFC was doing versus other parts,” Moynihan sagely concludes.
The deposition rolls on like this for 223 agonizing pages. The entire time, the Bank of America CEO presents himself as a Being There-esque cipher who was placed in charge of a Too-Big-To-Fail global banking giant by some kind of historical accident beyond his control, and appears to know little to nothing at all about the business he is running.”
You don’t need to read all 223 pages — Taibbi does an admirable job pulling out the choice bits.
No Evidence He Was Stoned, But Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan Apparently Doesn’t Remember Much of the Last Four Years
Taibblog November 27, 2012