New York’s Mayor Bloomberg rarely loses an opportunity to rush to the defense of the reckless financial industry where he first cut his fangs as an investment banker. His recent excuse of fellow 1 Percent Boy’s Club member Jamie Dimon in the wake of the JP Morgan blow-up was no exception.
What was exceptional, even for the tone-deaf mayor, was his particularcharacterization of the loss of a chunk of change big enough to exceed the Gross National Product of, oh, several dozen countries:
“Jamie Dimon, I think — and I think you’d get general consensus — is one of the smartest people in the financial industry,” the mayor said. JPMorgan, as he put it, has “had a stellar reputation up until this hiccup.”
$2.2 billon and counting. A hiccup.
Shareholders didn’t quite see it that way. They hauled Dimon in on Tuesday to the annual meeting in Florida to find out why their money disappeared (stock was down 11 percent by then). Shareholder Lisa Lindsley, director of capital strategies at the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (one of the country’s largest labor unions) gave the banker a piece of her mind: “On ‘Meet the Press,’ you said there were ‘warning signs’ and ‘red flags,’ yet management didn’t respond until it was $2 billion too late. … We are all weary of mistakes…”