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Rolling Stone: Jefferson County was a Mafia Hit

Trial of the three investment bankers who took down Jefferson County in a hail of default swaps is like an old-fashioned mafia trial, says Rolling Stone. Here: mobster Frank Costello outside the Kefauver hearings in New York, 1952.

Trial of the three investment bankers who took down Jefferson County in a hail of default swaps is like an old-fashioned mafia trial, says Rolling Stone. Here: mobster Frank Costello outside the Kefauver hearings in New York, 1952.

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Rolling Stone calls it “The Scam Wall Street Learned from the Mafia” and one of the victims, they say, is Jefferson County, Alabama.

Writing for Rolling Stone June 21, Matt Tiabbi says the defendants in the case—Dominick Carollo, Steven Goldberg and Peter Grimm—“spent the past decade taking part in a breathtakingly broad scheme to skim billions of dollars from the coffers of cities and small towns across America.”

By rigging bids on municipal bonds, Tiabbi wrote, the three caused institutions like hospitals, libraries, schools, nursing homes and more to pay more than they should have for everyday fundraising needs.

One of his examples is bankrupt Jefferson County. “Chase paid just $75 million for its role in the bribe-and-payola scandal that saddled Jefferson County, Alabama, with more than $3 billion in sewer debt,” said Tiabbi.

The case didn’t capture the public attention like an old-fashioned Mafia trial, Tiabbi said, but dresses out like one. “In fact, stripped of all the camouflaging financial verbiage, the crimes the defendants and their co-conspirators committed were virtually indistinguishable from the kind of thuggery practiced for decades by the Mafia, which has long made manipulation of public bids for things like garbage collection and construction contracts a cornerstone of its business.”

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