Kit Menkin's Leasing News
www.leasingnews.org Thursday, September 26, 2002
Accurate, fair and unbiased news for the equipment Leasing Industry
Wednesday’s Leasing News posted www.leasingnews.org at 11:00am PDT
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Pictures from the Past
Sales: Deerfield, IL "UAEL" "MAEL"
Exp. sales pro for 10 yrs,prvtly held, ind. leasing co. Originate,fund,service transactions internally. Significant industry niche penetration/remarkable record of repeat business. Transactions $10,000 - $10,000,000. ave. $150,000. Email:
Sales: Irvine, CA "UAEL "
Well established Company with excellent funding sources are looking for established reps. Great environment with medical / dental and a high volume philosophy. Generous commission schedule. Email:email@example.com
Sales: Tustin, CA "UAEL"
Sales person for equipment financing company. Company has 10 years in business with a good reputation. Commission split 50% - 60%. Office supplies: Desk, Phone, Back up staff and telemarketer to assist in sales. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales: Des Moines, IA "UAEL "
Commission Sales Person(s)- work with full service and support for your Vendor Business. Be part of a dynamic, motivated and experienced team! Email:email@example.com
Sales: Atlanta, GA "ELA "
Opportunity for professional growth with a company that is headed straight to the top. Looking for experienced sales reps with strong small ticket vendor relationships. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sales: Gillette, NJ "EAEL"
10-year old lessor seeking professional to work lessee and vendor databases. Salary+Commission+Bonus. Great healthcare, dentalcare, 401K and profit sharing plans. Email:email@example.com
for full list, please go here:
Patriots must warm to the next task
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by Jeannine Aversa
WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Wednesday that a diversified and innovative financial system helped the U.S. economy weather the stock market slide and the terrorist attacks.
"Despite the draining impact of a loss of $8 trillion of stock market wealth, a sharp contraction in capital investment, and of course, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, our economy held firm," Greenspan said in a speech to top British finance officials in London.
"These episodes suggest a marked increase over the past two or three decades in the ability of modern economies to absorb shocks," Greenspan said. "The increased resiliency now clearly evident arguably supports the view that the world economy already has become more flexible."
A copy of Greenspan's speech was distributed in Washington.
Greenspan said financial innovations have allowed lenders to become more diversified and borrowers far less dependent on specific institutions or markets for financing.
"If risk is properly dispersed, shocks to the overall economic system will be better absorbed and less likely to create cascading failures that could threaten financial stability," he said.
In his remarks, Greenspan did not mention the future course of interest rate policy.
On Tuesday, over the objections of two members, the Federal Reserve held short-term interest rates steady. The two dissenting members wanted a rate cut, which has not occurred since December.
Economic uncertainties heightened by the possibility of a war with Iraq and that rare display of dissent within the Fed raised expectations among private economists that the central bank might cut interest rates before year's end.
The Fed cut rates 11 times in 2001 to rescue the economy from recession.
In an earlier speech Wednesday in London, Greenspan urged policy- makers not to regulate the over-the-counter derivatives market, saying it might crimp innovation in financial services.
"Regulation is not only unnecessary ... it is potentially damaging," Greenspan told the Society of Business Economists.
Greenspan repeatedly has warned Congress over the years not to regulate that $86.6 trillion market, saying that step could harm the financial system.
"By design, this market, presumed to involve dealings among sophisticated professionals, has been largely exempt from government regulation," Greenspan said. "In part, this exemption reflects the view that professionals do not require the investor protections commonly afforded to markets in which retail investors participate," he added.
Derivatives are complex financial instruments whose value depends on the value or change in value of an underlying security, commodity or asset. They are used by businesses to guard against losses from unexpected market movements, but also by high-risk investment funds to speculate.
Over-the-counter derivatives are traded privately between investors, as opposed to those derivatives traded on futures exchanges.
"Regulation presupposes disclosure and forced disclosure of proprietary information can undercut innovations in financial markets," Greenspan said.
In April, the Senate rejected an attempt by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D- Calif., to regulate this market. Feinstein maintained that her proposal would have "closed a loophole" that allowed energy giant Enron to buy and sell energy holdings largely in secret without government regulation. The company filed for bankruptcy last year.
Greenspan also attended the opening of a new British Treasury building in London, which he said remains an important financial center even with the emergence of the new European currency, the euro.
"London has stayed on top in the provision of financial services despite the emergence of the euro, which some expected would divert a significant share of foreign exchange trading to a single center on the continent," Greenspan said.
Greenspan, who has steered U.S. monetary policy since taking the helm of the Federal Reserve in 1987, was to receive an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II today. He was being honored for his contribution to global economic stability.
By Jeannine Aversa
WASHINGTON – Consumers, rattled by the possibility of a war with Iraq and worried about the economy's direction, bought fewer existing homes in August, sending sales down by 1.7 percent.
Sales of previously owned homes dipped to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million units, representing a 1.7 percent decline from July, the National Association of Realtors reported Wednesday.
Even with the decline, the association's chief economist said the level of sales was still quite brisk and that existing-home sales are on track for a record this year.
"It is still a very healthy pace but certainly we are winding down from the boom," David Lereah said.
Even as the economic recovery has faltered, home sales have been robust this year, powered by low mortgage rates.
Although the drop in August surprised analysts, economists said the brisk housing activity could not be maintained. Existing-home sales rose by 5.3 percent in July.
Economists said that worries about a conflict with Iraq and eroding consumer confidence in the economy contributed to the decline last month.
Consumer confidence sank to a 10-month low in September, the fourth straight monthly decline, the Conference Board reported Tuesday.
Wall Street continued its roller-coaster ride as the Dow Jones industrial average, which had suffered two days of steep declines, posted a solid gain of 158.69 points on Wednesday to close at 7,841.82.
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill told reporters he continues to believe the economy is headed for solid growth and the recovery is in no danger of faltering, powered by strong demand for big-ticket items such as homes.
"This will be the best year ever for new home sales in the United States," O'Neill said.
By region, existing-home sales last month fell by 5.9 percent in the Midwest to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.12 million. In the South, sales dropped by 1.8 percent to a rate of 2.13 million and in the Northeast, they went down by 1.6 percent to a rate of 630,000. But in the West, sales rose 2.2 percent to a rate of 1.40 million.
Wednesday's economic report suggested the booming housing market may be losing steam but is in good shape, economists said.
"We believe the housing market will remain healthy going forward as low interest rates entice home buyers and offset uncertainty," said Stan Shipley, economist at Merrill Lynch.
Housing is one of the economy's few bright spots and held up well during last year's recession, thanks to low mortgage rates.
The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in August was 6.29 percent, the lowest monthly figure since Freddie Mac, the mortgage company, began its nationwide survey in 1971. That was down from July's rate of 6.49 percent and well below the average rate of 6.95 percent seen in August last year.
Consumers, whose spending accounts for two-thirds of all economic activity in the United States, have been the main engine for the economy.
Their spending has been supported by low mortgage rates, rising home values and the refinancing boom that has left people with extra cash in their pockets.
Those factors have helped to offset fears about a war with Iraq, the roller-coaster stock market, a stagnant job market and falling consumer confidence.
In August, the median price of an existing home – the midpoint where half of the homes sold for more and half for less – was $163,600, a 6.4 percent increase from the same month a year ago.
The Federal Reserve decided to hold short-term interest rates steady on Tuesday over the objections of two members, who favored a rate cut, which would have been the first of the year. Economists said that the odds are growing that the Fed will cut rates before the end of this year.
California's economy will not crawl out of its slump until early 2003 at the earliest because the high-tech sector shows no signs of bouncing back, according to a forecast released Wednesday..
The survey, issued by the Anderson School at the University of California-Los Angeles, predicted the state would emerge from a sharp downturn next year on the heels of an improving national economy.
While economists at the Anderson School say the national economy is on the road to recovery, tech- dependent California is still waiting for its rebound to begin, according to Tom Lieser, the author of the California forecast.
``We are at the bottom right now,'' Lieser said. ``By early next year the improvement should become noticeable.''
The worst seems to be over for the semiconductor sector -- crucial to the high-tech industry -- but the question of when companies would start moving from cost cutting to placing new orders remains uncertain, he said.
High tech powered California's economy to dizzying heights during the dot-com boom but the sector now represents a drag on the state economy. The downturn has spurred job cuts and dried up revenue from stock options and capital gains that once filled state coffers, Lieser said.
California plummeted to 43rd place in the nation in personal income growth in 2001, down from fourth place in 2000 as technology stocks tumbled, the report said.
``The most important weakness is because of high tech,'' Lieser said. ``That has pulled our whole economy down and cascaded down with a disproportionate effect on the state economy.''
But the state economy also has a few bright spots, the report said. A robust housing sector sparked by historically low interest rates and renewed growth in foreign trade have kept California from falling further than it has.
Lieser added prolonged disruptions -- though unlikely -- at West Coast ports as union dock workers negotiate for a new contract would be crippling for the state economy.
``Although the state's ports remain under the cloud of a potentially disruptive strike, trade data for the second quarter of 2002 show an increase in dollar value of both exports and imports,'' the report said.
The main boost for California over the next year, however, will come from an already improving national economy, the report said.
As the state's economy improves, the report forecast that unemployment would remain higher than the national average, hovering in the 6.5 percent range through 2003. It will improve only marginally to 6.3 percent in 2004, the report said.
``We are not looking for a double-dip in the national outlook,'' Lieser said. ``The problem with California is we have not yet come out of the first dip.''
To: All Employees Worldwide
You may have read speculation by the Wall Street Journal that WorldCom could add about $2 billion to the $7 billion in accounting problems it has already disclosed. They further speculate that this would raise questions about whether WorldCom can actually emerge from bankruptcy intact.
As you know, we have been committed to diligently investigating all of our accounting since the first irregularity was uncovered. And we have always said that we will promptly disclose any irregularities that are discovered and take appropriate corrective action. That is still exactly what we will do. Investigate, make determinations, and take appropriate action.
On August 8, when we disclosed additional restatements, we
pointed out that as our investigation continues we may uncover additional improper accounting. We also said that we would likely write-off all of our goodwill and some of our property, plant and equipment.
In the past month as our examination of these extremely
complicated matters has progressed, we have discovered some
accounting that needs further scrutiny, and it is very possible that we will need to make additional revisions. The amount of these possible revisions is, at the moment, unknown. Thus, the Journal article is inaccurate and speculative in this respect.
I also disagree with the articles comment about our ability to emerge from Chapter 11 intact. These restatements are our effort to clean up our historical financial record. They do not impact our current financial position nor our operations. Therefore, if there are further restatements, they will have no bearing on our ability to emerge successfully from bankruptcy.
While our internal auditors and external investigators focus on our past, I would ask you to stay focused on our customers and our services. They, along with all of you, are the keys to
Thanks and have a great weekend,
WorldCom, Inc. Corporate Employee Communications
By GRETCHEN MORGENSON with ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
New York Times.
Tyco International agreed to pay a severance package of $44.8 million in
cash to Mark H. Swartz, its chief financial officer, while he was under investigation by a grand jury in Manhattan that later indicted him on fraud charges.
A copy of the Aug. 1 agreement was obtained yesterday from a person close to the investigation of Mr. Swartz and L. Dennis Kozlowski, Tyco's former chief executive. It was approved on Aug. 14 by two board members serving on Tyco's compensation committee. The amount paid to Mr. Swartz was not disclosed to shareholders, though the complex formula that Tyco used to devise his exit agreement was outlined in a document attached to its most recent quarterly filing.
The agreement was struck the same day that Mr.
Swartz resigned from Tyco at the behest of Edward D. Breen, the executive brought in to run the company after Mr. Kozlowski was indicted by the grand jury on tax evasion charges in June. Those charges were expanded on Sept. 12 when Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, announced indictments against Mr. Kozlowski and Mr. Swartz, arguing that they had reaped $600 million through racketeering that involving stock fraud, unauthorized bonuses and loans.
The disclosure of such a generous exit package for an executive who Tyco knew was under criminal investigation is expected to raise questions among shareholders, who bid up the stock yesterday after Mr. Breen outlined his plan to restore investor confidence.
At the time of the Swartz deal, Tyco was still reeling from the initial indictment of Mr. Kozlowski and had acknowledged that it would have to work hard to repair its image among investors as a company with a complacent board.
The details of the payment are bound to come as yet another unwelcome surprise to Tyco shareholders already disturbed by the revelation of one hidden scandal after another.
"To make a cash settlement of $44 million plus stock to somebody known to be under criminal investigation is highly questionable," Mr. Morgenthau said. "It is also inconsistent with what the company did with Kozlowski — they are not paying him anything. Kozlowski and Swartz were 2-to-1 partners on all deals, so why is Swartz being treated differently?"
He was referring to the routine arrangement at Tyco in which Mr. Kozlowski got bonuses or other remuneration twice as large as Mr. Swartz's.
A spokesman for Tyco said that Mr. Swartz was treated differently from Mr. Kozlowski because he had been more cooperative in the internal inquiry than had Mr. Kozlowski and because Mr. Swartz played a significant role in helping the company sell shares in its financing subsidiary, CIT, to the public on June 2.
Under the agreement, Mr. Swartz received the following amounts: $10.4 million from a deferred compensation plan, $24.5 million from an executive life insurance plan, nearly $9.1 million in a lump sum that represented three times the combined value of his salary and his highest proxy bonus, plus $756,250 from a consulting agreement.
The agreement also allowed Mr. Swartz to receive 702,533 shares of Tyco stock, worth $9 million on the date of the deal, and 2.03 million in unvested stock options. Beyond that, he got six years of medical and dental benefits and payments to cover his state and local income taxes.
Under the terms of Mr. Swartz's package, Tyco cannot sue him for return of the money; instead, Mr. Swartz and Tyco are required to resolve any disputes over the package through arbitration. Tyco said that it planned to bring an arbitration proceeding against Mr. Swartz.
The breakdown of the $44.8 million the company agreed to pay to Mr. Swartz was not disclosed by Tyco in its quarterly filing submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Aug. 9. Nor were the details made public in the report issued last week that was included in a so-called 8-K filing with the S.E.C. by the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner. The firm was hired to conduct an internal investigation into the practices of Tyco executives.
Walter Montgomery, a spokesman for Tyco, said: "The 8-K focused on who did what improperly, when and with what effect. It did not focus on negotiations with individuals." The company believes, he said, that it fulfilled its reporting requirements by including a copy of Mr. Swartz's severance agreement in the quarterly filing on Aug. 9.
"We paid over money due to him under various agreements including a deferred compensation agreement," Mr. Montgomery said. "We paid only approximately one-third of what he was entitled to under existing agreements with the company. And we reserve the right to go after that one-third."
Signatures of Stephen W. Foss and W. Peter Slusser, members of the compensation committee, appear on the Aug. 14 agreement approving the details of Mr. Swartz's severance. Paul Verkyil, a lawyer at Boies, Schiller, signed the agreement as a representative for Tyco.
Securities lawyers said that approval of the severance package by Mr. Foss and Mr. Slusser may give the S.E.C. room to expand the civil suit it filed against Mr. Kozlowski, Mr. Swartz and Mark Belnick, the company's chief counsel, on Sept. 12 by including the two board members as well. At the same time, the approval by the directors may give Mr. Swartz a defense against some of the S.E.C.'s arguments that the case involved "egregious, self- serving and clandestine misconduct."
Phone calls to Mr. Foss and Mr. Slusser were not returned. Charles Stillman, the lawyer representing Mr. Swartz, declined to comment.
Separately, the Tyco board came under fire yesterday from Mark Connolly, New Hampshire's director of securities regulation. In a letter to Mr. Breen, Mr. Connolly called on Tyco's board to resign.
"It is disingenuous to believe that the same board that breached its fiduciary duties in exercising oversight responsibility over certain wayward employees is the best arbiter of appropriate corporate governance," he wrote.
Mr. Foss and Mr. Slusser are among 9 board members of a total of 11 who voted two weeks ago not to renominate themselves for election as directors next year.
By GERALDINE FABRIKANT
The court hearing today in the divorce of John F. Welch Jr., the former chairman and chief executive of General Electric, from his wife, Jane, has been canceled, suggesting that a settlement is being discussed.
Mrs. Welch's lawyer, William D. Zabel of Schulte, Roth & Zabel, and Mr. Welch's lawyer, Samuel V. Schoonmaker III of Schoonmaker, George & Colin, declined to comment yesterday on the possibility of a settlement.
But on Tuesday, in a telephone interview, Mr. Schoonmaker said that if anyone had asked him two days earlier whether a settlement was possible, he would have said no. But now, he said, he was less inclined to say that, intimating that a settlement was being discussed.
On Sept. 5, Jane B. Welch filed an affidavit in Fairfield Superior Court in
Bridgeport, Conn., outlining her income and expenses as part of a request for additional support from Mr. Welch, who, she said, was providing her with $35,000 a month, after cutting off her credit cards.
She said the sum was not enough for her lifestyle. The affidavit detailed a lifestyle that included the couple's use of a Manhattan apartment bought for Mr. Welch by General Electric, which also paid for many of the expenses of the apartment. It also described arrangements for Mr. Welch and his wife to use corporate aircraft and get tickets to various events paid for by the company.
The description of Mr. Welch's perks, coming on the heels of widespread reports of executive indulgence, led to headlines and prompted Mr. Welch to defend his contract. He later said that he would change the contract, keeping only traditional office and administrative support.
At today's court hearing, Mr. Welch would have been required to file an affidavit detailing his assets and income.
If Mr. Welch is disturbed by the publicity, there was little indication of it yesterday, when he spoke at a conference in Manhattan. During a question- and-answer period, he referred to the divorce only obliquely. When asked how companies can structure compensation payments in an era when compensation packages and stock option plans are under fire, Mr. Welch replied: "Oh, I wouldn't know about that," he said, which brought a laugh from the audience.
Regulators will take action against corporate directors, SEC head says
WASHINGTON (AP) The Securities and Exchange Commission is promising action against corporate directors who neglect their duty to protect shareholders against abuses by companies.
Could U.S. economy be a casualty of a war with Iraq?
WASHINGTON (AP) The rising drumbeat of war against Iraq is taking a toll on the U.S. economy. Oil prices are climbing, consumer confidence is falling and Wall Street is suffering stomach-churning days.
American Airlines chief warns of Iraqi war's peril to industry
NEW YORK (AP) The chief executive of American Airlines said Wednesday that a war in Iraq would be a devastating blow to the already-distressed industry, warning that more bankruptcies were likely without additional financial assistance from the federal government.
California strips Arthur Andersen of operating license
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) A California board has stripped Arthur Andersen LLP of its license to operate in the state, officials said Wednesday.
United unions offer carrier $1 billion in annual labor cost cuts
CHICAGO (AP) United Airlines' union leaders said Wednesday they are ready to allow the financially struggling company to cut labor costs by $5 billion over five years, but would not agree to $9 billion over six years as the carrier had sought.
HP to cut additional 1,800 jobs
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Citing continued weak demand, Hewlett-Packard Co. said Wednesday it will cut 1,800 jobs beyond the 15,000 reductions planned as part of its Compaq Computer Corp. acquisition.
Patriots must warm to the next task
By Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe Staff
OXBOROUGH - There's no evidence that teams have solved the Patriots, that their mystique is in question, that the clock has struck midnight on them, or that we should remove the word ''genius'' from any references to coach Bill Belichick.
After all, the Patriots won Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, 41- 38, in overtime. To hear many people around here, the Patriots are now 2-1. No, they're undefeated - 3-0.
They are right there with the Dolphins, Saints, Panthers, Chargers, and Broncos. (The Raiders are 2-0.) They have beaten AFC Championship game runner-up Pittsburgh. They have beaten the divisional rival Jets, widely regarded before the season as a team that could win the division and the AFC. They have beaten the Chiefs, who were picked by some as a team on the way up.
They have beaten teams with a combined 2-6 record. They now must face the Chargers, then the Dolphins, two tough warm-weather games on the road. This is a challenging stretch for a team that was beaten up a bit by the Chiefs and may enter Sunday's game undermanned.
We'll know much more about the mettle and mental toughness of the Patriots in two weeks.
Sunday's game was not a loss, but it was an eye-opener for New England's opponents. They now understand that the Patriots are beatable. They understand they can be tackled and frustrated, and that their strong defense can be exposed.
''I think it creates some hope for teams playing the Patriots, but you can bet Coach Belichick is going to have them so ready on Sunday that the Chargers won't recognize the same defense they watched on tape all week,'' said an AFC general manager yesterday.
The Chargers' wins haven't come against strong teams, but they do have talented and ferocious players in Marcellus Wiley, Junior Seau, and Rodney Harrison. They have a young quarterback, Drew Brees, who looks more and more like Tom Brady every day. They have a crusty old coach, Marty Schottenheimer, who will keep them focused.
They will have the home-field advantage.
And they have memories of last October's regular-season meeting at Foxboro Stadium, in which the Patriots were in danger of falling to 1-4. They were trailing the Chargers, 26-16, with 8:38 left. But this was the game in which Brady became an NFL quarterback. He led his team to a tie at the end of regulation, then drove the team into position for Adam Vinatieri to kick the winning field goal in a 29-26 thriller.
''That's the game where I think the league started looking at Tom Brady as more than just a sixth-round draft pick,'' said Wiley. ''When he led the Patriots back like he did, it was frustrating for us, but I'll tell you, you look at what that kid did in that game and your respect for him grew leaps and bounds.''
Said Seau after the game: ''Tom Brady played the game of his life. We couldn't get them off the field.''
Funny, in a game involving Doug Flutie at Foxboro Stadium, it was Brady who performed the magic act. He led the Patriots to a Vinatieri field goal, and with 36 seconds left in regulation, threw a 3-yard pass to Jermaine Wiggins for the tie. The Patriots lost the coin flip to begin OT, but the defense held Flutie, giving Brady a chance to win it. He drove his team to the 26, from where Vinatieri kicked the winner (a 44-yarder) after having missed a 44-yarder earlier.
That day, the rookie Brees watched Flutie and Brady from the sideline. Sunday, he'll go head to head with Brady, and it won't be the first time.
In fact, the two have some unfinished business.
In a situation similar to Sunday's - both teams were undefeated - Brees's Purdue squad and Brady's Michigan squad were 4-0 entering a huge Big Ten game at Ann Arbor Oct. 2, 1999, Brady's senior year.
Brady's team prevailed, 38-12, before 111,468 fans.
Brady had a spectacular day, going 15 for 25 for 250 yards and two touchdowns, while Anthony Thomas ran for 116 yards on 23 carries. Brees was pressured by the Wolverines all day and was sacked twice, after having been sacked only once in three previous games.
''I remember it was a rainy day in Michigan and they had it going and we couldn't do much of anything,'' recalled Patriots offensive lineman Matt Light, who was Brees's left tackle. ''Tom had it cranked up then. So, yeah, he's used to situations where you have two undefeated teams facing each other.''
Brady found senior receiver Marcus Knight for 136 yards and threw to David Terrell for an early score. Brady did platoon a bit with Drew Henson in the game, but he was clearly the reason Michigan flattened Brees's squad.
Brady no longer has to worry about anyone looking over his shoulder, and Brees has won the job over Flutie.
Will Brees's Chargers be able to beat Brady's Patriots? Last week's narrow New England win over the Chiefs has given teams like the Chargers at least a glimmer of hope that they can play with, and maybe even beat, the defending Super Bowl champions.
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