Thursday, January 25, 2007

 

Hank Sims gets medieval on Maxxam!

Yesterday I posted the SF Chronicle editorial on the PALCO bankruptcy, and pretty much dared the local papers to publish something similar, suggesting they wouldn't. Hank informed me that I had "spoken too soon."

And how!

And he goes way beyond the Chronicle piece in terms of detail. Here are some clips.
But first, note one of the more curious aspects of the omnibus Pacific Lumber bankruptcy, which was finally announced, after years of lead-up, this last Thursday. For some reason known only to the company -- even veteran Maxxam Kremlinologists pronounced themselves stumped -- was the abrupt U-turn in company rhetoric. Once again, it was all the environmentalists' fault. This despite the fact that only last month, when the company laid off 90 workers, Palco President George O'Brien blamed his company's woes on the weak international market for softwood lumber. For some reason, that wasn't mentioned in this recent round of press releases.

In neither case, of course, was there any mention of the Maxxam Corp.'s seemingly insane (but perfectly sensible, from another point of view) business strategy. In a perfect world, you'd think, there would be some sort of law banning a plutocrat from mortgaging a company up to and beyond the hilt, just so the company could pay for the pleasure of being owned by said plutocrat. Then, too, you'd think that the plutocrat shouldn't be allowed to let that debt ride for 20-plus years, meanwhile selling off big chunks of the company's assets and disappearing the proceeds down a hole. But such is perfectly legal and proper business practice in the good old U.S.A.

....

Then, too, there is the $20 million that the company has diverted from its employee pension plan over the last few years. As John Driscoll reported in the Times-Standard on Tuesday, the taxpayers may well end up picking up that tab, through the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. That lost $20 million, which the company used to service its ludicrous debt structure, will end up coming out of your pockets and mine. Yet another parting gift from Maxxam owner Charles Hurwitz, whose place in Humboldt County history is now secure.
Lots more through the link.

So I guess the question for conspiracy theorists out there is, "how is Hank going to exploit the Maxxam/PALCO maneuver to the advantage of his Dark Lord puppetmaster Rob Arkley?" It's a vicious circle man!

Oh, and in the second half of his column he warns against purchasing pure-bred dogs over the Internet. Just in case you were thinking about it.

....

Meanwhile, in the same NCJ issue Bob Doran updates Nohum on the Mateel crisis. Apparently, Sohum lost a booking because the Mateel is inadequately staffed.
The "house that Reggae built" has not exactly fared well through all this. An Oregon-based concert promoter who called me yesterday said he wanted to bring KRS-ONE to the Mateel Jan. 31, but was told the place is not adequately staffed -- instead his show will run at Mazzotti's. (Winter Ruckus 4 was booked ages ago, before the mess got so ugly.)

Comments:
Nice writing on the Town Dandy this week, Hank!
 
Hank-It was good to hear the the pension fund was protected. I hope you are right.
 
Thankee, Eric and Carol and Richard.

I see there's lots of action on that Houston Chronicle blog Eric linked to above.
 
I dedicated a post to that Hank.
 
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