Berkeley Hall of Famer Rodrigo Rato…

… picked up his business degree at the Haas School and then launched his glorious career of theft on a massive scale. Like Dominique Strauss-Kahn he put in his time as head of the IMF and as an important person at various banks, and he seems along the way to have pocketed whatever he could, however he could.

His latest unpleasantness, which yesterday featured unhappy Spaniards shouting son of a bitch at him as he entered yet another courtroom, involves stealing from credit cards, but there’s so much more.

Yet more reason Berkeley features him as a hall of famer: In 2012, Bloomberg ranked him as one of the world’s worst CEO’s.

Go Haas!

Geert Bekaert’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Semester.

The Leon Cooperman Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia University must be in a pretty foul mood.

Not only is he the object of a colleague’s high-profile sexual harassment lawsuit; his very title has become besmirched. Leon Cooperman has just been accused of insider trading.

From Bernie Madoff on Down, Universities Need the Benevolence of Nasty Billionaires…

…just as nasty billionaires, in a beautiful synergy, need the, uh, colonic properties of universities.

Bernie and his comrade in trade Ezra Merkin were madly generous, madly esteemed trustees of Yeshiva University. That pious institution made them look pure as the driven snow, preoccupied with things of the mind, things of the spirit; and Bernie and Ezra for obvious reasons valued this look highly.

Yeshiva continues to confer sweetness and light upon the likes of Ira Rennert and Zygi Wilf; and in this it resembles many other American universities, whose buildings and scholarships and professorships bear some seriously nasty names.


Here’s one. Much-esteemed University of Pennsylvania benefactor Howard Marks is an investor who writes judicious memos about how “markets make mistakes and the greatest market mistakes are driven by emotion – [like] too much greed…”

Marks himself owns but has never lived in a 22,000-square-foot Manhattan apartment which among many other things contains “30 rooms, six terraces, two dozen closets, two chefs kitchens, [and] two libraries.” It sits there on Park Avenue, completely empty, year after year. Like the California venture capitalist who got hold of a long-public beach only in order to post armed guards there to keep anyone from using it, Howard Marks has been driven by some emotion or other to dispense $52 million in order to spend years and years loudly, daily, breaking down the walls of two floors of dead space.

His downstairs neighbors have had enough and are suing. They point out that he’s been breaking building construction rules involving noise levels and hours of work per day for years, and ignoring their pleas that he stop. He has made their lives hell. Not only does he not give a shit; his lawyers are fighting the neighbors tooth and nail.

U Penn gets all excited and writes of Marks as if he’s a god because he gives a few hundred thousand to some of their writing programs, while their benefactor directs his real money to this twisted nihilistic project characterized by vacancy, aggression, and stunning waste.

Wharton’s Age of Innocence…

… is over! (Trumper Warning)

The halcyon days of graduates like Michael Milken, David S. Brown, Robert Salsbury, Ira B. Sokolow, Bruce Lee Newberg, Raj Rajaratnam, Courtney Dupree, Craig Toll, Anil Kumar, Thomas Hardin, Rajiv Goel, Steven Cohen, and many more have given way to the dark days of Wharton grad Donald Trump.

Silent until now about their honor roll of distinguished alumni (known to all as “The Wharton Mafia”), Wharton folk have lately decided to go public.

A letter disinvesting themselves from Trump has gone out from Wharton grads past and present. They begin with a questionable assertion:

At the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, students are taught to represent the highest levels of respect and integrity. We are taught to embrace humility and diversity.

There must be a serious teacher quality problem at Wharton, because it’s really not getting through.

The letter goes on to express “deep disappointment” in Trump’s hateful arrogant ways, so at odds with sweet humble Wharton… It’s important, its co-authors say, to “speak out against” Trump… But where’s the letter speaking out about decades and decades of The Wharton Mafia?

Say what you will about Trump, no one’s claiming he’s going to jail anytime soon, which is where much of The Wharton Mafia went.

And while we’re on the subject of massive tax evaders massively endowing Harvard University…

… What, if anything, do you do when you’re a socially conscious sociologist whose professorship turns out to have been endowed by a man who cheated on virtually all of his various tax obligations,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said. “To top it off, when the IRS auditors examined his returns, Zukerman allegedly schemed to defraud and obstruct the IRS auditors who were examining his false tax returns.”

Morris Zukerman faces 28 years in prison. If guilty, he stole almost fifty million dollars from the United States. (Probably stole more than that. There’s a limit to what governments can do by way of identifying stolen goods and getting them back.) A veteran, contemptible, big-time criminal.

You are Harvard’s M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology, your professional name ever-emblazoned with, your children fed and your articles underwritten by, a man alleged to be one of America’s most socially destructive liar/thieves. This man’s wife is a “Trustee of Earthwatch Institute, an international environmental volunteer organization, which engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment,” and you better believe her family knows how to sustain environments. For itself.

Among the false deductions claimed by Zukerman on his Forms 1040 were those based on the fraudulent claim that Zukerman had contributed a total of $1 million in 2009 and 2011 to a conservation charity whereas, in truth and fact, Zukerman made no charitable gift and instead used the $1 million to purchase for himself and his family over 240 acres on an island off the coast of Maine.

See how the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment goes? Lie on your tax form and say you made a charitable land gift and then just take the land for the wife and kiddies! Sustain that sucker in the family!

So okay that’s just one teeny example of the beneficence of Mary Waters’ benefactor.


So what’s a person with that, er, ironic name on her professorship to do?

Let’s see.

1. Nothing. Who gives a shit. If Harvard really cared about the provenance of gifts, it would never get anywhere. So a larcenous piece of shit endowed my professorship. So what. How do you think these people made all their money, anyway? As Fran Leibowitz says, “You don’t earn a billion dollars. You steal it.”

2. Tell sardonic jokes. Assuming Waters has a sense of humor, she can respond to the raised eyebrows her title provokes by saying “Best I could do. It was a choice between that and the Enron Professor of Economics.”

3. Wait til he’s in jail (he’ll be found guilty but won’t go to jail – but anyway…) and mutter that he’s paying his debt to society.

4. Ask Harvard if it can strip his name from your professorship. Can the school keep the stolen goods and lose the Zukerman? Or will Waters be in the embarrassing position of having the federal government seeking to claw back her salary?

The University of Georgia’s Next Top Entrepreneur

An award-winning B-School Boy, PCP, UGA… these acronyms add up to a naked angry slimy mess inside a trash truck’s hopper …

The spectacle of this student fighting with the cops for his right to die in a mobile dumpster was impressive even on a campus famous for its immensities of trash. Crowds of student onlookers apparently took lots of videos.

It’s all very primal, isn’t it? Curled naked inside the dark wet womb, UGA’s finest sticks his thumb in his mouth, dilates his eyes and cries No! In thunder.

UD thanks John.

MIT’s Business School and La Belle Indifférence

Whether it’s one of their most admired deans or one of their most admired graduates, MIT exhibits the “beautiful indifference” long identified by the psychiatric community as an unsettling insouciance in regard to one’s own dire condition.

Dean Gabriel Bitran rots in prison while MIT publications continue to admire his commitment to “producing leaders with a social conscience.” To this day, MIT has said not one word about Bitran, though one of his campus colleagues has keened over his “immense suffering” as he dealt with the legal implications of having swindled thousands of people out of millions of dollars.

As for Sloan grad Chris Clemons, who is not currently but will soon be in prison… You’d think all those tech geniuses at MIT could figure out a way to remove this from the internet. Or if they don’t like doing that sort of thing, they could append an update to this front page article slobbering over Clemons for his selfless beneficence. Otherwise, since Clemons seems to have embezzled huge funds from the charter schools he founds, sentences like this one from the MIT article about him read a bit … awkwardly…

[W]hat really got me excited were the structural aspects of running a school, like finance, and accounting, and becoming a sophisticated leader of a multimillion dollar organization.

When he said “excited,” Clemons turns out to have had in mind spending tens of thousands of school dollars at “Hooters, Twin Peaks, and the strip clubs Goldrush Showbar and the Cheetah Lounge.”

The thing is, a lot of people start charter schools with just “passion.” But, Clemons explains, you also need MBA types like him.

“Sometimes charter schools struggle to efficiently manage their resources It’s a painful divide in the non-profit sector between those who have some business skills
and acumen and those who don’t.”

UD ain’t complaining that Sloan hires and graduates a few stinkers. Everybody does that. She wonders why the school just smiles like an idiot and pretends the stinkers have nothing to do with MIT.

“[F]or going on 40 years now, the primary business model for the American corporate class has been fraud.”

Why do you think Beware the B-School Boys is one of this blog’s perennially popular categories? If the statement in my headline is true, or roughly true, what do you think places like Wharton, which not only produced Donald Trump and Raj Rajatnaram and Steven Cohen and many of their, er, close associates, but boasts a long glorious history of producing scads of America’s most spectacular thieves, have been teaching people all these years? I mean, not the specific content of courses… I mean the gestalt.

And what a remarkable fact about American culture, that we have these gilded b-schools specializing in predatory capitalism. And the highest-profile b-school of them all produced not only the founder of Trump University, but – possibly – the next president of the United States.

“Seven years after the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the fact that no major Wall Street figure was ever prosecuted for crimes related to the financial crisis remains a sticking point for many.”

We manage to stick them occasionally for insider trading.



But the big boys at Goldman seem to have some sort of immunity.


Rajat Gupta’s Goldman Sachs crony was targeted… But nothing happened. Strangely, it didn’t go anywhere.

And you wonder why ol’ Bern is doing so well.

Wharton, We Have a Problem.

It all started back in the ‘eighties, with Donald Trump’s alma mater producing so many financial criminals that newspapers started keeping track of the ever-growing Wharton “Hall of Shame.” (Type WHARTON in my search engine for all the gory details.) The tradition persists today, with Wharton featuring prominently in articles with titles like Do Business Schools Incubate Criminals? and The Wharton Mafia. It’s positively embarrassing.

The Wharton School of Business has deified Donald Trump, boasting in its alumni magazine of his greatness and influence. It can’t get enough of him. It’s pleased as punch and bursting with pride to have spawned him…. or at least it was until around 2007. In a recent article about him in the U Penn paper, people are beginning to sound less enthusiastic.

A Wharton spokesperson said that the leadership of the alumni office and magazine have turned over since the publication of the article, and declined to comment further on Trump.

Hm. A bit snippy there… But, you know, it’s one thing to go the silence route (Trump? Trump who…?); it’s another thing – especially given Wharton’s cultural role as National Fraternal Order of America’s Great Insider Traders – actually to come out and repudiate “the worst human being who has ever won a Republican primary.”

UD doesn’t mean revoke his degree or anything. She means that given Wharton’s already filthy reputation, and given Trump’s incessant dropping of the Wharton name alongside his name, the school might consider issuing a statement distancing itself from its most famous graduate.

Ira Rennert, arguably the most honored man at Yeshiva University…

… and the man after whom the school’s Rennert Entrepreneurial Institute is named, once again shows YU students how to conduct themselves in business.

[T]he government said that Renco had lied when asked about the transaction to keep the pension insurer from finding out about the ownership change until too late. Once a controlled group has been broken, the pension agency loses its ability to go after the parent company’s assets.

And four months later, when R.G. Steel declared bankruptcy, the federal government had to take over the pension obligations and cover a $70 million loss. It sued Renco for fraud, arguing that the deal with Cerberus was a sham, intended primarily to break the link between R.G. Steel and Renco’s wealth.

Details on how to rob pensioners of their retirement income here.

Lies and fraud – that’s the way to be an enterpreneur, kids.


Sure, every once in awhile, just like Yeshiva trustee Zigi Wilf, you get caught. Big deal. Price of doing business.


Now, REI grads, go out there and make some deals!

UD Reads the New York Times Business Pages So You Don’t Have To.

Ms Herzer responded with a salacious lawsuit alleging that Mr Redstone was mentally incompetent and had an insatiable appetite for sex and steak.

“I know Gabriel has been suffering immensely over the past few years during this whole ordeal,” wrote Georgia Perakis, a professor of operations management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. “For someone with Gabriel’s character, all this is already a huge punishment.”

UD loves this shit. A hugely influential, venerated, and privileged MIT professor spends years and years stealing more than a hundred million dollars from clients. He did business with Bernard Madoff.

The Bitrans [this was one of those adorable father/son things] paid themselves as much as $16 million in management fees over the life of the businesses and recovered $12 million of their own investments when the funds were doing poorly, the U.S. said in court filings, adding that the two discussed their scheme in e-mail exchanges.

In addition to defrauding investors, the Bitrans lied to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and sought to hide assets by transferring property to a relative without the relative’s permission, prosecutors said.

And a fellow professor gets up during sentencing (three years and nine months) to anguish over his suffering during the long ordeal of running a Ponzi scheme, and to praise his excellent character.

And how does his colleague know firsthand how he’s suffered? Because for all of those “past few years” – in fact, since 2009, long after his Madoff connection and wrongdoing were publicly known – he remained an influential, venerated, and privileged MIT professor. He was even an associate dean. He finally left the school in 2013.


MIT has said nothing and done nothing in all this time. UD doubts that even now – with Bitran suiting up for prison – MIT will say anything about having for years retained on its faculty a massive fraudster.

Meanwhile, all over MIT websites there are statements like this one:

Deputy Dean Gabriel Bitran discussed [with the Financial Times the importance of] producing leaders with a social conscience.

Like Bernard Madoff’s Yeshiva University, you can direct your IT people to erase all images and mentions of Bitran on the school website. I mean, I’m sure MIT is busy scrubbing scrubbing scrubbing right now.

When you ask yourself why so many people detest professors, think of MIT and the way it protected Gabriel Bitran.


Oh by the way. How were the thieves caught?

The scheme was uncovered by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission when, while investigating potential victims of the Bernie Madoff fraud, SEC officials asked for documentation to support the Bitrans’ returns claims. The Bitrans then made false statements to the SEC examiners and provided fabricated records.

Here’s a management tip direct from the Sloan School:


UD’s fond of… call them cosmic convergences.

For instance, there was the time Sheldon Silver won the William M. Bulger Excellence in State Leadership Award. Silver, Bulger, Silver, Bulger … double-barreled … er … Excellence! Two fine gentlemen, the two fine civil servants… and in the case of Bulger an academic servant too! The world most incurious university president!

And one of them got a civic leadership award from the other one.

That was a beautiful convergence.

Here’s another one: Green, Milken.

Bernard Madoff’s … associate, Yair Green, is currently being sued by Irving Picard for all that money he got from Bernie and gave to the university that made him chair of its Executive Committee.

Several years ago, Green gave a paper at a conference sponsored by one of America’s most famous financial criminals, Michael Milken.

So Green, Milken… Another great convergence.

Next up in the Shkreli case…

…his noble defense lawyer.

Baruch Weiss’s “purpose in life is to undo injustice … [T]here is something almost superhuman” about [his] drive to do the right thing.”

Weiss worked unceasingly for another persecuted martyr, Sholom Rubashkin, and UD feels sure he will offer the same moral indignation at injustice to Martin Shkreli.

Next Page »

Latest UD posts at IHE