Fond as we are, on this blog, of clerical hypocrites…

… the Rev Prebendary Stephen Green is obviously a major find – a much bigger find, indeed, than University Diaries has ever, uh, found. (A close contender is Monsignor Nunzio “Cinquecento” Scarano, but he didn’t run the bank the way Rev Green did.)

So far this blog has made do with the rad-rectitudinous team of Gordon Gee and Jim Tressel, plus (batting for UD‘s side) Yeshiva University trustees Ezra Merkin and Bernard Madoff. All of these men stand directly in the Elmer Gantry tradition, cloaking themselves in piety while engaging in antics that range from the morally despicable to, well, Madoff.

But Rev Green is made of bigger stuff than this, and he dovetails brilliantly with one of this blog’s most-used categories: Beware the B-School Boys. Banker and priest and tax evasion enabler extraordinaire, Green inspires the Guardian’s editorialists to rhetorical heights.

“Values,” wrote the Rev Prebendary Stephen Green, “go beyond ‘what you can get away with’.” Reassuring words from the part-time priest who for years ran one of the world’s biggest banks, before being brought into government by David Cameron. Courtesy of the HSBC files, however, we now know that this bank, when under his stewardship – first as chief exec, later as chair – was involved in concealing “black” accounts from the taxman, servicing the secretly stowed funds of corrupt businessmen and allowing the withdrawal of “bricks” of untraceable cash.

In the face of these ugly facts about his old bank’s Swiss operation, Lord Green has said only that it is for HSBC, and not for him, to comment on that institution’s past and current behaviour. No wonder. His obvious refuge would be to claim that, as the boss of a global business in London, he had other worries and could not be expected to know every detail of what distant colleagues in Geneva were up to. Sadly for him, this potential shelter took a battering from something else he wrote: “For companies, where does this [ethical] responsibility begin? With their boards, of course. There is no other task they have which is more important. It is their job … to promote and nurture a culture of ethical and purposeful business throughout the organisation.”

You can’t blame HSBC. What better cover for a tax evasion scam than an Anglican clergyman who writes books about morality?


Green is also “advising the archbishop of Canterbury on how to shake up the Church of England, advocating more vicars in an MBA mould.” Stay tuned!

“[William] Rauwerdink is also on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, where his biography on the university website does not include his stint at Lason or his convictions.”

Google the guy’s name and move down four — four — places on the list you get, and his massive fraud, his “greed and avarice” (according to the judge who put him away), his history of insider trading and securities fraud, is right there in your face. Again, you don’t even have to scroll down. It’s all in the first four paragraphs. Easy peasy.

So why is Rauwerdink on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Wisconsin Business School? After having his staff ascertain that Bill’s a career fraudster (they can’t have just stuck his name on the list; they must do a tad of research, no?), perhaps Dean François Ortalo-Magné said A bread and butter fraudster is one thing; Rauwerdink’s the real deal. He’s been at it, from an astonishing variety of approaches, for decades. I need his advice.

“It also determined that Song may have helped write the JPIM article and worked closely with its authors. Previously, he’d told The Star that he didn’t remember seeing the article before it was published.”

This Beware the B-School Boys story has it all: Planted journal articles, inflated statistics, made up statistics, the brains behind the scheme paid one of the highest salaries on campus, and said brains allowed to retire with hearty valedictories by his superiors after an independent audit revealed all.

The head of the entrepreneurship program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City really showed its young entrepreneurs how to get it done: If you want your program ranked first in the country, lie, lie, lie, lie, and lie. Life is about gaming systems, and Michael Song knows how to game. See his big office and big salary – all because he’s a game player.

Get it? Try it.

You say Song’s out of a job? Not for long. Not with his skill set. And note that in his departing statement he admits having done nothing other than showed at all times a relentless commitment to furthering the fortunes of the school. The chancellor, in his statement, agrees. Stand-up guy, Michael Song. We could use more like him.

Shabby, Crabby, and Gabby…

… American university professors (except for the genial, dressed for success business school guys) are often, from the point of view of a school’s corporate/trustee leadership, irritants. They file hilarious plagiarism reports against the chancellor. They blog. They get together and ask their university’s leadership why it’s spending all the school’s money on football. (They’re able to run the numbers to prove this because their ranks include really good economists.)

Two things UD has learned, over the years of this blog, about The Professor Problem:

1. Wise schools let their professors rant. No doubt it eats away at the entrails of some administrators that some professors do not behave the way employees in corporate settings behave. Yet it seldom makes sense to target this restive contingent. Doing so, you may not only be forgetting the protections of tenure; you may also be signalling to the free thinkers who will make up some of your best faculty that they’d better choose a less provincial campus for themselves. An administration which goes after irritant professors long enough ends up creating the University of Nebraska.

2. Even wiser schools realize that it’s precisely the areas of universities with which administrators feel a warm affinity – the business school, the engineering school, the medical school, and of course the athletic department – that tend to produce the really serious institutional embarrassments. Irritant professors merely irritate. Genial guys in suits (UD realizes there are exceptions to this rule) tend to be your money and/or research fraudsters, your alcohol- and sex- and violence- and litigation-challenged… It’s the quiet transportation engineer running a couple of businesses on the side to whom administrators ought to be paying attention, not the noisy old hippie making fun of the president.

See? This is EXACTLY what UD’s been calling for all these years…

…PLUS it comes with a fantastic photograph!

UD has been saying for years that the burgeoning business of business ethics courses is a joke (details here), and that universities should trash them and just scare their MBA students with guest lecturer/jailbirds — high-flying CEOs still in, or just out of, prison because of their clever lucrative business practices.

Just as football is inherently violent, so a good amount of this country’s way of doing business is inherently illegal, or so achingly close to illegal that… you know…

So one college course with some clueless pontificating non-multi-millionaire at the head of the room isn’t going to change that, kiddies. It’s only going to make it worse.

But a first-rate speaker drawn from the teeming ranks of our MBA internees – someone like Enron’s Andrew Fastow, who smiles and holds up his CFO of the Year trophy in one hand, and his prisoner identification card in the other – is fucking unbeatable. I ain’t saying every jailbound junior in the room is going to be scared straight. I especially make no promises about anyone enrolled at Wharton, a feeder school for the federal pen. What I am saying is that the simple souls on their way to this country’s hedge funds and insider trading units will be, er, unresponsive to discursive thought but hyperreactive to some guy who used to be fuck-you rich and is now fending off rapes in FCI Otisville. Fastow looks the part – graying temples, wry older but wiser face, slim wiry illfed post-prisoner body… And he’s got the gig down — props, pithy cautionary tales that speak right to the cynicism to which his audience clings…

In a rare public lecture, former Enron Chief Financial Officer Andy Fastow held up his “CFO of the Year” award in one hand, and his federal prison ID card in the other.

“I got both of these for doing the exact same thing,” he said before a crowd of eager [University of New Mexico] business students.

Hear that? Hear that? EAGER. CROWD. Try getting that sort of turnout and enthusiasm for a UNM football game.

Plus Fastow’s funny.

“I think inviting me to talk about business ethics is a bit like inviting Kim Kardashian to talk about chastity,” he said.

Okay, the material’s pretty shitty. But a guy like that… with his personal history and his delivery.. the line’s gonna get a big laugh.

“I thought I was so smart; I thought I was a hero for bending the rules,” Fastow said. “It comes down to individual people making a decision — we always asked ‘is it allowed?’ not ‘is it the right thing to do?’ …

You can always find an attorney to get you the answer you want. You can always find an accountant to get you the answer you want,” Fastow said. “There’s only one gatekeeper — you.”

Unfortunately, you don’t have any sense of individuality; you’ve been trained from day one in your MBA course sequence to work in groups…

I mean, I don’t think, say, even one Fastow-or-better per semester can do much about a culture where people like insider trader extraordinaire Steve Cohen and big-time fraudster Zygi Wilf are university trustees (Wilf’s a trustee of a religious university!). I just think that if our universities are going to do anything about America’s corporate culture (it’s arguable that their MBA programs, at least, shouldn’t bother, because they hopelessly reflect that culture), they’d be much better off booking charismatic cons than pious professors.

Does this taste funny to you?

[Ben] Edelman had little to gain here. He’s a very well-paid professor and consultant; $4 is not particularly significant to him. It certainly isn’t worth the time Edelman spent in trying to obtain it. Edelman’s time is extremely valuable, to the tune of at least $800/hr, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Spending any more than about two minutes on this refund makes this a losing proposition for Edelman. But he has made a career of examining predatory practices places like Facebook and in the airline industry. He probably believes sincerely that fraud in all forms should not be tolerated, and that as he goes about his life, he should use the full muscle of his education, experience, and privilege to set things right, so that other people are not taken advantage of.

A New Republic writer defends Harvard’s terror emailer, and in so doing provides a fascinating window onto postmodern American culture.

It would never occur to this writer that anyone demanding eight hundred dollars an hour – at least eight hundred dollars an hour – as a consultancy fee — over and above his Harvard salary — is pretty disgusting long before he begins intimidating local merchants who make him lose four dollars. Obscene levels of personal greed (“[W]e don’t say very much about greed, not comfortably at least. Perhaps that is the inevitable price of an economic system that relies on the vigor of self-interested pursuits, that it instills a kind of moral quietism in the face of avarice, for whether out of a desire to appear non-judgmental or for reasons of moral expediency, unless some action verges on the criminal, we hesitate to call it greed, much less evidence of someone greedy.”) are incredibly socially destructive.

But no – we should admire this man because he is, writes the New Republic guy, “a roving pro bono consumer protection unit.”

What a generous soul! This selfless guardian of the just distribution of wealth sets aside email time to harass restaurants that overcharge him by a pittance. All Hail Edelman.

O tempura! O moray!

Ben Edelman, Harvard’s terror-emailer – and the very embodiment of this blog’s signature category BEWARE THE B-SCHOOL BOYS – turns out to be a serial threatener of small businesses.

Four years ago, when a sushi restaurant wouldn’t honor his Groupon vouchers, he did it again, threatening to go after their license, etc., etc., etc., etc.

This time, though, the restaurant called his bluff, wished him luck with his complaints to the authorities, and told him that if he ever got near the place they’d call the police.


Naturally, we’re all wondering what’s next. Will Korean Korners release a 2010 email exchange in which, in response to having been charged twenty-five cents for a second trip to the jasmine tea dispenser, Edelman promises to “take this right to the top, to my good friend, Harvard colleague, and current head of the Consumer Protection Agency, Elizabeth Warren”?

I would be okay with everyone bashing Ben Edelman…

if I weren’t also dreading the inevitable cutesie denouement of this brand of story: The icky Harvard professor will suddenly radically un-ick himself and become best friends forever with the Chinese restaurant guy, and we will have to endure the two of them dragging their forgiveness and reconciliation act all over the media.


Okay, two limericks so far. One from a reader:

What a marvelous prof is Ben Edelman
His check was four more and it’s fatal, man
He’ll spew legalese
O’er this bill for Chinese
Ben’s too hungry to pay like a gentleman

And one from yours truly.

Few acts are more certainly fatal than
Arousing the wrath of Ben Edelman.
Everything jerks him
But nobody irks him
As much as a chef with a ladle can.


See? See? This is what I mean!

In an apology posted Wednesday afternoon on his Web site, Edelman wrote: “Having reflected on my interaction with Ran, including what I said and how I said it, it’s clear that I was very much out of line. I aspire to act with great respect and humility in dealing with others, no matter what the situation. Clearly I failed to do so. I am sorry, and I intend to do better in the future.”

Edelman, who is an attorney in addition to a professor, said that he’s reached out to Duan and plans to personally apologize to him.

Grr. Brace yourself not only for their joint Oprah appearance, but for their decision to open a restaurant together with some goddamn cutesie name like …


“Since 1997 Mr. Rorke has been on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.”

UD ain’t sayin’ they don’t look good. They look good!

This one graduated from a school on whose board of trustees sits no less a financial figure than Steven Cohen, and whose last president, in her role as Goldman Sachs trustee, approved a nine million dollar bonus one year for Lloyd Blankfein. And of course he’s been a professor since 1997 at Columbia University business school, whose dean is both a film star and a fan of Countrywide Financial Corp.

Gregory Rorke has definitely got the pedigree.

But what does UD always tell you? What does she tell you so often that it’s one of this blog’s most-used categories?

Sing it with me: BEWARE THE B-SCHOOL BOYS.

Scroll down here for Rorke’s long-form bio from his participation in a Columbia University conference titled Out of the Storm But Not Out of the Woods

Though given Rorke’s arrest for “bilking investors including a former student out of $3 million” (Including a former student! What good are students if they can’t be stooges? Talk about sitting ducks. They’re literally sitting there in your classroom being sitting ducks!) for him it currently looks more like Inside the Storm and Deep Into Preet’s Woods…

This would be Preet Bharara, scourge of Wall Street. “Columbia decline[d] to comment on Rorke’s arrest.” They’re taking the MIT route. Who? Bitr… How do you spell that? Thirty-five years on the faculty? Dean? What the hell are you talking about?


Did Rorke study creative writing at Brown?

[O]n November 28, 2012, after receiving multiple complaints from Navagate investors demanding repayment and/or threatening to sue RORKE, RORKE forwarded an email purporting to be from a representative of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank Corporation (“HSBC”), which falsely stated that HSBC had just signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Navagate when, in truth and in fact, the email appears to have been a complete fabrication.

November 2012… mere months after sharing his thoughts on “the emerging lucrative exit opportunities and the challenges that the private equity and venture capital industries are facing ahead” [Bit redundant there, says Scathing Online Schoolmarm. If they’re emerging, then they’re ahead…], Rorke was desperately penning good news from Shanghai…



“Bitran’s misdeeds were made public as early as 2009, yet he stayed on Sloan’s faculty until 2013.”

That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Sloan’s decision to keep Bitran for years after [a 2009 news story about his Madoff connection], and eight months after he agreed to pay the SEC some $4.8 million, suggests the school did not think the transgressions warranted stronger action against him.

Yeah. Well. What can MIT say? If it were honest it would say Man if we bumped every b-school boy doing a doo-doo on the SEC, we’d have to declare bankruptcy…

‘“MIT does not comment on pending criminal proceedings involving members of the MIT community,” Paul Denning, [an MIT spokesperson] said in an e-mail.’

And why, you might ask, not? Here’s one of your deans, a man who taught at your business school for decades, and you have nothing to say?

The former deputy dean of MIT’s business school and his son agreed to plead guilty Tuesday to operating a $500 million hedge fund scam.

Gabriel Bitran, 69, who taught at MIT for 35 years and served as deputy dean at the Sloan School of Business for five, allegedly lied to clients about the return on investments his hedge fund GMB Capital Partners was delivering.

He’ll probably go to prison for five years. He kissed the ass of Bernard Madoff (that’s how the SEC discovered his scam). He lied and tried to hide funds when the SEC started being interested. He skimmed millions off of his scammed money for himself.

He’s a dumbfuck too, having admitted in a series of emails to his son/partner in crime exactly what he was doing every step of the way.

This guy did incalculable damage to many people, and one of our highest-profile, most-esteemed universities harbored and esteemed him for over a generation. Gave him cover. Gave him respectability.

But eh we don’t wanna say nothing, man… It’s … pending! We don’t do pending…

But they were found guilty. What’s pending? You’re waiting a decent interval to see how many years he gets?

Way back in 2012 – when Bitran was barred from the securities industry and had to pay a massive fine to the SEC – MIT did the same thing: “It has nothing to do with the school.”

UD gets that universities dread being tainted by the crooks they hire and promote. But with something this high-profile, you simply have to acknowledge it and regret it and all of that. Otherwise you leave people wondering why your school retained a highly praised and highly compensated Ponzi schemer in its school of business.

Take a look at Yeshiva University – look at how well it’s doing with alumni giving and credit ratings and all of that in the wake of its decision to pretend that Bernard Madoff and Ezra Merkin had nothing to do with the school.

Update on the Ultimate University Simulacrum.

[My high-powered panel on business ethics] discussed at great length how an ethical culture had to come from the top, how ethics had, according to some panelists, grown rapidly in importance in business. And, indeed, how the most ethical companies are the most profitable.

But as we lurch from one corporate scandal to the next, surely it’s clear that, while big companies are creating more and more glossy brochures on corporate responsibility, the temptation to cut corners skews behaviour as much as it ever did. From alleged corruption in China by GSK and Rio Tinto to BP’s rig and refinery disasters, to the price fixing, sanctions busting, mis-selling and foolish lending of bonus-fuelled bankers, it seems all that changes is the scale of the wrongdoing.

What was most telling was how both academics [on the panel] admitted the lowly status the subject of ethics held within the MBA courses teaching the next generation of big business leaders. One confessed his pupils were rarely interested in the subject and that it barely merited a mention on the syllabus; the other told of how the great Lord Kalms – founder of Dixons – had bequeathed a large sum to the London Business School for a chair of business ethics at London Business School. Where is that position now? Sadly, quietly dropped.

More glossy brochures, more glossy courses. Looking good.

“A member of the Finance faculty said openly: ‘If we teach a course in business ethics, then it will only show that what I am teaching is unethical.'”

Honesty is such a lonely word!
Everyone is so untrue!

But not this guy, this Harvard finance professor who honestly complained to Amitai Etzioni that if Etzioni was going to be so … unseemly as to teach business ethics at Harvard, this guy would be outed as teaching his students to be greedy amoral sons of bitches…

Oh but no! Don’t put yourself down! Business schools aren’t teaching people to be amoral and greedy! In fact, business schools graduate people just like you and me. God knows where the excesses in the business world come from:

Thomas Donaldson …thinks that “the ‘greed’ explanation for Wall Street excesses” is “unhelpful.” He says, “I want to believe it too, but no serious study has shown that greed is higher on Wall Street than in other industries, or for that matter higher in any one industry than in another, or in any time period than in another. Greed no doubt varies by time and place, but it is notoriously hard to measure and is a persistent feature of the human condition.”

So complex, so persistent a feature of the human condition … forget it! If it’s ever occurred to anyone to wonder whether insisting on a sixty-seven million dollar bonus for a year spent undermining Americans’ faith in capital markets is greedy, forget it! Point One, every single one of us, under the same circumstances, would do it, because we’re all exactly like Mr Everyman Blankfein. Point Two, whether our industry is hedge fund or Red Cross, no serious study shows that any of our pursuits is less about the personal accumulation of huge amounts of money than any other.

In a way, it’s kind of wonderful. Under our differences, we’re all the same. We’re all greedy amoral sons of bitches.

So you can’t accuse b-schools of teaching greed, because it can’t be taught. Greed is Us. Indeed we should thank b-schools for saving civilization, because they’re teaching people to sublimate and channel their greed. Instead of killing their relatives for their life insurance money, Goldman Sachs employees have learned how to drive a “highly sophisticated engine for converting the useful, deployed wealth of society into the least useful, most wasteful and insoluble substance on Earth — pure profit for rich individuals.”


UD thanks Daniel.

“In his bid for leniency, Martoma mentions his 1999 expulsion from Harvard Law School for faking a transcript of his grades, arguing that he has been ‘punished enough’ by having the episode publicized at his trial.”

Oh honey. Why not tell the judge the whole story of your grade faking? If the judge knows everything, leniency will be that much more lenient. So let’s see. Here are the details:

In late 1998, [Mathew] Martoma, a graduate of Duke, altered the transcript of his first-year law school grades: He gave himself A’s in Civil Procedure, Contracts, and Criminal Law, rather than the B, B+, and B he’d earned, according to a Harvard Administrative Board report. He applied for clerkships with 23 judges using the altered transcripts. Weeks later, someone in the school’s registrar’s office discovered that the transcript had been changed. Martoma then withdrew the clerkship applications and told Harvard that the doctored transcripts had been sent out by mistake.

In a classic example of how the coverup is usually worse than the crime, Martoma appealed his dismissal from Harvard by arguing that he’d withdrawn the applications before he was caught and that the improper transcripts had been submitted accidentally. His efforts apparently involved creating a fake computer data forensics company, complete with a professional-looking marketing flyer, to corroborate the time stamps of his e-mails.

You didn’t just change a few grades! You created a whole fake company! You’ve got like seven aliases! You’re a real criminal, and because of your insider trading trial everyone knows it, and the fact of everyone knowing is a real source of suffering for you.

You see the same grounds for leniency in mafia trials in southern Italy. Yes, your honor, I’m a career piece of shit, but until now with omertà and all no one said it out loud. Show some mercy.

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