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Friday, May 25, 2007

In memory of Robert D. Baker, CLP


Bob Baker, CLP, now in Heaven
    Correction: CIT Class Action Trial
        On Line Employment Posting Sites
    Sterling finds $165MM Fraud/Fires 5 Officers
Barker to be sentenced today
    Key Equipment Finance v. AmeriCap Credit
        LaSalle continues leasing business
    Classified Ads---Help Wanted
Executive may avoid guaranty in lease
“To Tell the Truth”---by Eric T. Berkman
    Interimus unique US wide Sales Survey
        Texas AG Abbott Secures More Insurance Refunds
    CIT Completes major $512 Million CLO
BofA Formally Launches Mobile Banking Service
    Exchange Bank/Immigrant Workers without Accounts
        Dell will start selling PCs in stores: at Wal-Mart
    Law firm to pay $39 million
$10, no-frills airline lifts off Portsmith, NH
    News Briefs---
        You May have Missed---
    California Nuts Brief---
"Gimme that Wine"
    Calendar Events
        Snapple Real Facts
    Today's Top Event in History
This Day in American History
    Baseball Poem
            Daily Puzzle

The List---to be up-dated on Monday
"Yes, Virginia, we will have a Memorial Day edition."

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release”


Bob Baker, CLP, now in Heaven

Robert D. Baker, CLP passed away at age 58, much too young to die. We have all been praying for his recovery from a second stroke.

As long time friend, Ginny Young expressed: "We can only hope he is at peace. Soon he will join Melissa and their wonderful souls will be together forever. God bless you Bob."

Visitation is on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 from 4-8:00 pm

Buchholz Mortuary West
2211 Clarkson Rd
(at Wilson Rd)
Chesterfield, MO. 63017
Phone: 636-532-2400

Funeral Service is Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 11:00 am

Forever Bellerive
740 North Mason Road
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Phone: 314-434-3933

We here at Leasing News will miss one of our founding advisors, who was quite active and supportive; during the early years, the controversies, always our champion. He would not only send me e-mails, but call on the telephone. He often was the first to respond when the Leasing News Advisory Board was asked a question or an opinion. He never held back. He certainly will be missed for his friendship, his thoughtfulness, and courage to stand up for his convictions.

He was also my personal good friend and colleague.

In 1995, after being in the finance and leasing industry for over 30 years, Robert D. Baker, CLP, formed the Wildwood Financial Group, Ltd. The concept of Wildwood was created by accident. Bob was a frequent speaker conducting seminars and workshops at various leasing association conferences. After a Bob’s sessions at these workshops, several companies approached him to do in-house training. It quickly became apparent that a decision needed to be made to run his leasing company or concentrate on training, so he made the decision to form Wildwood and concentrate 100% of his efforts in the training industry.

Since then, Bob personally conducted training for the majority of the major leasing companies in the country, as well as conducted training for hundreds of leasing professionals through his continuing workshops and seminars at conferences. Bob was the 33rd person to receive the prestigious CLP (Certified Lease Professional) certification and shortly after, he began Wildwood, and he expanded training to include preparation for the CLP examination.

Bob had a very close relationship with Bill Granieri, who was considered by many, to be the foremost trainer in the leasing industry. Bob sought Bills advice in the expansion of his business.

Bob then made the decision to create a “Business Opportunity” for individuals who wished to enter the equipment leasing industry. He began monthly training in the form of a three-day school in the St. Louis area where Wildwood is based. The Wildwood business opportunity originally consisted of three days of intensive training, which includes the cost of the hotel rooms and meals, etc. as well as all of the essential tools i.e. books, calculators, software, training manuals etc.

Another key to Wildwoods success is that graduates of his program were able to have immediate access to several of the primary funding sources that agreed to waive their time in business requirements. This allowed them to avoid the normal issue of super brokers that a new person entering the leasing industry would encounter.

The last component, which Bob considers the most important, is the support that he and his staff supply to his graduates. For six months, the support is very pro-active, and Bob or a member of his staff contacts each graduate at least once a week. Support after the six months continues at no additional charge whenever a graduate needs guidance or assistance. Wildwood also conducts training for banks, and insurance companies, as well as giving “expert” testimony in litigation related to equipment leasing.

Even though Bob did not disclose the exact number of individuals he has trained, he did state that several hundred have completed the Wildwood training. Bob, without question, has brought more new members to the leasing associations than any other individual or company in the industry. Wildwood wins their membership contest virtually every year.

He also developed a staff to carry on his ethics and methods to bring leasing professional
to our industry.

During his career, Bob Baker served as a Regional Chair several times for the United Association of Equipment Leasing, also serving four years on the Board of Directors. Bob was also Director of Education for the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers (NAELB) for several years. He has produced a full series of training tapes and a workbook for NAELB, and has served on the Advisory Boards for Colonial Pacific Leasing, Business Credit Leasing (BCL), Denrich Leasing, and The Manifest Group.

Bob shared with me that out of all the awards he has received, the one that he considers the most precious, was being the first recipient awarded the “Bill Granieri Top Gun Memorial Award” in 1998, which was established by the NAELB shortly after Bills death from cancer.

Many of the individuals that Bob has trained at Wildwood have formed extremely successful leasing companies, some have volunteered to be Regional Chairs for the Leasing Associations, and several have earned their CLP certification. Many consider the Wildwood Financial Group, Ltd., to be considered the premier lease training company in the United States today.

God bless you, Bob.

Christopher Menkin, Publisher



Correction: CIT Class Action Trial

The suit against Avaya, a CIT subsidiary, was filed in 2003, as noted in the article. The $64 million (according to attorney Steven L. Nicholas) 2003 suit over its Insurance Program was certified this year in this action for a Class Action trial.

CASE NO. 03-2072-HYT

This matter came before the Court on Plaintiffs motion to certify a class composed of all persons and entities who have or had a lease agreement with the Defendant, and who incurred insurance charges within six (6) years ofthe filing ofthis Complaint (the "Class"), divided into two subclasses: (1) those customers who paid insurance charges for insurance placed through Lease Insurance Services Corp., or its successors; and (2) those customers who paid insurance charges for insurance placed with American Bankers Insurance Co. Excluded from the Class are the Defendant, any subsidiaries, and any affiliated entities; any employees, officers, or directors of any of them, and any of their legal representatives, heirs, successors and assigns; and Plaintiff s class counsel.


Steven L. Nicholas, Cunningham, Bounds, Crowder, Brown & Breedlove, LLC, told Leasing News "... would try to amend the suit to include the later period if we are successful on appeal, as opposed to filing a new suit."

Leasing News contacted CIT Financial for a comment, but they stand by the policy of not commenting on any matter in litigation.

Steven L. Nicholas
Cunningham, Bounds, Crowder, Brown & Breedlove, LLC
P.O. Box 66705
Mobile, Alabama 36660
Phone: (251) 471-6191
Fax: (251) 479-1031

Copy of Certification:

The original filing:



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Sterling Financial finds $165MM Fraud/Fires Five Officers

Significant, Sophisticated Loan Scheme Uncovered

Sterling Financial Corporation of Lancaster, PA (NASDAQ:
SLFI) announced today, based on information from a still ongoing investigation, that previously reported irregularities in certain financing contracts in one of Sterling’s financial services affiliates,
Equipment Finance LLC (EFI), are a direct result of collusion by a group of EFI employees. The company specialized in commercial financing company for the forestry, land clearing and construction industries.

"As a result of our investigation, Sterling implemented immediate changes in EFI’s management structure. Five EFI employees have now been terminated, including the Chief Operating Officer and
Executive Vice President, and Sterling installed an acting Chief Operating Officer," said J. Roger Moyer, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Sterling Financial Corporation.

Web sites and other information regarding EFI has been removed from the WWW.
What remains is

Readers who can give us the names of the five officers dismissed,
please send to

Sterling currently expects to record a cumulative after-tax charge to the December 31, 2006 financial statements of approximately $145 million to $165 million, based upon the results of the investigation’s preliminary findings. However, at this point in the investigation, Sterling has not determined the final financial impact, including any potential recoveries, such as insurance and collateral.
Sterling is working closely with its regulators and all appropriate federal authorities on the ongoing investigation.

Sterling’s investigation to date has revealed evidence of a sophisticated loan scheme, orchestrated deliberately by certain EFI officers and employees over an extended period of time, to conceal credit delinquencies, falsify financing contracts and related documents, and subvert Sterling’s established internal controls and reporting systems. The scheme was able to avoid detection until recently due to the depth and breadth of the collusion. In other words, employees at different seniority levels and functional areas were apparently involved.

These deceptive activities were limited to EFI and no customer accounts in Sterling’s banks or other affiliates were involved.

Sterling moved to centralize management and control of financial, credit and information systems previously managed by EFI. In addition, the Promontory Financial Group, an international financial
and regulatory consulting firm with world class expertise in bank control mechanisms, headed by former Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig, has been engaged to evaluate controls across
all of Sterling and make recommendations.

“Having taken immediate action, we are now focused on developing a long-term plan,” Moyer added. “Sterling, through its affiliates, has a successful history tracing back more than 150 years, and
we’re currently developing a strategy for the future to rebuild shareholder value.” The capital restoration plan includes consolidating four of Sterling’s affiliate banks in order to maximize capital.

According to a Sterling Financial press release, effective at one minute past midnight today, and based on approval of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Bank of Hanover and Trust Company, Pennsylvania State Bank, Bay First Bank, N.A., and Bank of Lancaster County, N.A., will all become divisions of BLC Bank, N.A. All branches will continue to operate under their current names, with the same personnel and the same types of products and services that our customers know and rely on.

The plan also includes halting the payment of dividends to Sterling Financial Corporation shareholders for a period of time, and exploring all strategic options, including raising additional capital, the sale of certain assets and/or business units, and entering into a business combination with a strategic partner. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods has been retained to assist Sterling in exploring these options.

Moyer continued, “This has certainly been a difficult time for all of us at Sterling, but among our organization’s greatest assets are the more than 1,100 hardworking employees, strong franchises and
market position, and loyal customers. All of our banking and other offices continue to provide the same exceptional service that customers have relied on for over 150 years.”

As background, on April 19th, Sterling Financial Corporation announced that it had received information suggesting irregularities in certain financing contracts at EFI, one of its financial
services group companies. EFI provides commercial financing for the soft pulp logging and landclearing industries, primarily in the southeastern United States. Management moved immediately to
notify the Audit Committee and Board of Directors about this information, and the Audit Committee engaged nationally recognized, expert accountants and legal counsel to conduct an independent investigation.

Subsequently on April 30th, Sterling announced its previously issued financial statements, the reports on the audited financial statements and related internal controls issued by its independent
registered public accounting firm, and all earnings releases issued for 2004 through 2006, should no longer be relied upon due to the expected material impact of these irregularities. Sterling expects to
restate or amend these financial statements once the final financial impact has been determined. The impact of the irregularities may also be material for years prior to 2004, depending on the results of
the investigation.

Moyer states "Sterling and its affiliates are committed to delivering excellent relationship-based service, quality and care for our clients and customers, a proud tradition that is the hallmark of Sterling."

Previous story:



Barker to be sentenced today

Stephen Barker is the last to be sentenced in the RW Professional scandal. He was reprimanded to jail in February, 2006, when found guilty in the defrauding of Bank of New York, various leasing entities, and individuals in a lease double dipping, fraudulent transactions, and a host of other charges that eventually may exceed $50 million. Leasing News was told by a reliable source that he turned computer information over the U.S. Attorney's office and will be most likely receiving a sentence of six years today.

Steven L. Tiscione, Assistant United States Attorney Eastern District of New York, and his colleague Geoffrey Kaiser are now handling the case as the lead attorney Linda Lacewell recently left the office.

Barry Drayer,67, was convicted of heading up the group that defrauded banks of $28 million, leasing brokers and leasing companies, as well as lessees in perhaps another $25 million. He was sentenced to 11 1/2 years in prison Federal Judge Arthur Spatt, Central Islip, New York. He will presently surrender and be assigned a facility by the Bureau of Prisons. He has been under house arrest for five years.

He originally started a suit against Leasing News for writing about his company, but on June 21, 2002, forty FBI agents raided the offices of RW Professional Leasing in Island Park, NY, on Long Island. Those arrested were RW's president and co-owner, Rochelle Drayer Besser, also known as Rochelle Drayer, of Long Beach, California; her brother, RW's senior vice president, Barry Drayer, who operated a branch in Wellesley, Mass.(reportedly the defacto CEO); another brother, Roger Drayer, of Long Beach, who holds various titles, operating a small office in California; and Roger Drayer's daughter, Jennifer Tarantino, also known as Jennifer Drayer, 31, of Oceanside, California.

RW Professional stories:



Key Equipment Finance v. AmeriCap Credit


In 2004, Key Equipment Finance, a leasing company based in Cleveland, Ohio, part of Key Corp., acquired American Express Business Finance Corp., formerly a business unit of the American Express financial company. In March 2005, unhappy with their new owners, a group of executives from that unit left Key to create Ameri­Cap Credit, a commercial finance company for construction and commercial vehicles. (The company, which is based in Oak Brook, Ill., changed its name to MeriCap Credit after securing $80 million in financing last April from a private-equity invest­ment firm.)

Their departure might have been a straightforward solution to an unhappy union, except for some electronic documents.

Computer forensic examiner, Craig Ball found a trail of deleted electronic evidence, and that led to the case’s quick conclusion.

Here is the story that appeared in the American Bar Association journal, not only about this specific case, but the role of so-called "deleted e-mails."



LaSalle continues leasing business

It is reported that the main obstacle to the bid for ABN Amro Holding NV by the group that includes Fortis Bank of Belgium is the legal dispute over ABN's American arm, LaSalle Bank. Fortis and its partners Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc will clarify their bid next week, while Bank of America has their top attorneys in both Europe and the US getting ready to litigate.

As a matter of fact, the BofA attorneys just opened an office in Towson, Maryland, headquarters of LaSalle Leasing, where its president Ed Dahlka is located.

“LaSalle originations were flat in April, but the pipeline is much stronger for May and excellent for June, "Ed Dahlka, President, LaSalle National Leasing Corporation, said, although his company may be owned by Bank of America sooner than later.

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association and Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation leader is confident of a change around, although the latest April ELFA MLFI-25 survey reporting released yesterday showed overall new business volume for the period declined by 19.5 percent compared to the previous month.

When compared to the same month in 2006, new business volume for April 2007 declined by 1.5 percent. Reviewing year-to-date cumulative totals, new business volume for 2007 was 10.3 percent higher when comparing the same period in 2006 (January-April).

"April originations confirm our observation that the equipment finance business builds each quarter similar to the growth we see over the calendar year,” he said." We still see 2007 volume exceeding a good 2006, with credit quality showing some weakness. We also see many lessors adding headcount which indicates others see a good volume year developing."

Not so good was the continuing indication that not only are leasing companies not hiring, but also either letting staff go or not fulfilling replacements who retire or leave for other positions. There has
been indication those leaving the mortgage and insurance business would be entering leasing, but evidently as brokers, not employees.

Perhaps the credit decline is also an indication of the number of applications declining, as well.

The charge offs were down, but basically in line with the first quarter of the year:

To view all the charts in a power presentation, please go here:



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Executive may avoid guaranty in lease

Commercial agreement signed in haste

By Eric T. Berkman
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

A company president was not subject to a personal guaranty in a commercial lease that he quickly signed without reading while he rushed to catch a flight, a panel of the District Court's Appellate Division has found.

The defendant president — who was on the verge of resigning from his company at the time — argued that the guaranty was unenforceable under the doctrine of fraud in the factum because he had been led to believe he was not signing the guaranty in his personal capacity.

The Appellate Division agreed, affirming a District Court judge's findings at trial.

"[The defendant] had good reason to believe from the whole course of the negotiations that he was not signing a guaranty in his personal capacity," Judge Robert V. Greco wrote on behalf of the panel. "No one in his position would have put hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money on the line for a company in which he had no stake and which he felt was heading in the wrong business direction."

Greco added that "nothing in the lease negotiations or in his dealings with [the plaintiff landlord] gave him any reason to believe that his personal guaranty was being sought."

The eight-page decision is Cummings Properties, Inc. v. Aspeon Solutions, Inc., Lawyers Weekly No. 13-019-07.

'Cautionary signal'
Defense counsel Kevin F. Moloney of Boston called the decision "a cautionary signal that courts will be mindful of representations people make in negotiations." He added that the decision should and will be read by anyone who represents people in business transactions.

In terms of the ruling's potential impact, Moloney predicted that it would make "more fair and civilized the dealings between people after they have negotiated a lease or a contract."

People will be sure to write up what they agreed to and not misrepresent the nature of the written document to the other side, he said.

Boston attorney Martin P. Desmery, who represented the plaintiff, could not be reached for comment prior to deadline.

Quick execution
In the late 1990s, defendant Theodore Mountzuris formed a company called Restaurant Consulting Services, Inc., maintaining a 50-percent interest.

In August 1999, RCS became a subsidiary of Aspeon, Inc., a public corporation. The defendant stayed on as president and chief executive officer of RCS, reporting to Aspeon's CEO.

As part of his duties, the defendant became involved in the search for office space for Aspeon Solutions, a new subsidiary that Aspeon was creating. Ultimately, he became involved in negotiations for a lease in a building owned by plaintiff Cummings Properties, LLC.

During the course of negotiations, the defendant apparently became disenchanted with Aspeon's new management group and the decisions it was making. While he made it known that he was considering leaving the company, he continued to handle certain matters, including the lease with the plaintiff.

On March 7, 2000, the plaintiff's leasing officer appeared at the defendant's office and requested his signature on the lease.

Because the defendant had not been involved in the most recent negotiations, he asked why he should be the one signing it.

After being assured by his assistant that he was being asked to execute the lease, the defendant met with the leasing officer and asked whether the documents had been reviewed by Aspeon's legal counsel and negotiated by Aspeon and if the documents presented were the final terms.

Relying on the officer's representation — and without reading the lease — the defendant, who was in a rush to catch a flight, signed it in two places.

As it turned out, there was a section on the signature page marked "LESSEE," next to which was typed "ASPEON SOLUTIONS, INC." Below that was a signature line that was checked and began with the printed word, "By." The defendant had signed that line.

Additionally, at the bottom of the page was a section clearly designated as a guaranty. Below the text of the guaranty was another signature line, with a check mark, but without the words "By" or "Duly authorized" or anything else to that effect. The defendant signed that line as well, and his name was later typed in below his signature.

After signing the lease, the defendant hurried off to catch his plane.

Nobody signed the lease on behalf of the plaintiff until March 31, once the plaintiff and Aspeon reached agreement on a "buildout" of the premises. The defendant was not involved in those negotiations.

Ultimately, a dispute over the lease wound up in District Court over a variety of issues.

One issue was the enforceability of the guaranty. The defendant testified that he never had any intention of signing a personal guaranty, given that he no longer had any ownership interest in the company and was planning to leave.

Additionally, the plaintiff's general manager testified that the plaintiff did not always require personal guaranties on its leases.

The general manager further testified that generally the person signing a personal guaranty presents himself as a principal of the lessee company and would generally have a stake in the corporation, noting that the defendant had never presented himself as an Aspeon stakeholder or indicated a willingness to sign a personal guaranty.

Finally, Aspeon's chief financial officer testified that when he raised the issue of a guaranty with the plaintiff's leasing officer, he told the officer that any guaranty should be by Aspeon, Inc.

After a five-day trial, Judge Anthony P. Sullivan found that even though the defendant had the opportunity to read the lease and its guaranty provision and signed the lease without indicating that he was acting in a representative capacity, he was not bound by the guaranty.

Fraud in the factum
On appeal, Greco noted that under G.L.c. 106, Sect. 3-305, the doctrine of fraud in the factum renders an obligation unenforceable when "the right to enforce the obligation of a party … is subject to … fraud that induced the obligor to sign the instrument with neither knowledge nor reasonable opportunity to learn of its character or essential terms."

Among the factors to consider in making this analysis is whether the signer had good reason to rely on the representations of the other party, the judge continued.

The court then likened this case to Jack Parker Indus. v. Federal Dep. Ins. Corp., a 1989 state appellate ruling from Texas, where a defendant also admitted to signing a document in question but denied being aware that he was signing a personal guaranty. The defendant in that case claimed he had received assurances that he was signing simply in his representative capacity as president of a company.

Turning then to this case, Greco stated that "the trial judge's finding … was founded upon a reasonable view of the evidence and clearly plausible."

For one thing, said the judge, the defendant had good reason to believe from the whole course of negotiations that he was not signing the guaranty in a personal capacity. As the defendant testified, nobody would put a significant sum of their own money on the line for a company in which they held no stake and felt was heading in the wrong direction, Greco continued.

Additionally, the defendant did not receive any indication during the negotiations that his personal guaranty was being sought, the judge pointed out.

Meanwhile, said Greco, "[a] careful reading of the lease would not have alerted [the defendant] that he was giving a personal guaranty. Names were not printed on the forms. The trial judge could well have concluded that [the defendant] assumed that [the plaintiff] would later type in the entity on behalf of which [the defendant] was signing."

Accordingly, said the judge, "the [trial] judge could have found that there was no meeting of the minds."

Greco conceded that the defendant would have done well to take an extra step and specifically indicate the capacity in which he was signing.

"But while he may have been hasty and a bit cavalier in failing to do so, he was not negligent in view of all the circumstances of this transaction," Greco wrote.

Eric T. Berkman, formerly a reporter for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, is a freelance writer.

Subscriptions to the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly is available here:
Classified ads: lawyers, experts, lawyer-to-lawyer, legal products and services, plus current news and opinions in New England are available at:


### Press Release ###########################

Interimus launches unique US wide Sales Benchmarking Survey

UK based Leasing Research Consultancy, Interimus Limited,
is conducting Sales Benchmarking Survey: USA Leasing. Following a successful launch in the UK, this unique US focused research will define definitive benchmarks for Salaries, Bonuses, Targets, Longevity, Training, Customer Touch and Satisfaction across the entire US based leasing sales community.

“This research goes way beyond the scope of conventional salary surveys” said Brian Whelan, Director, Interimus Limited, “it will identify the links between salaries and targets, training and performance and act as a health check on the job satisfaction levels of the US Leasing sales community”

Whelan continued, “The survey is targeted at anyone in a Leasing sales role, from Inside Sales thru to VP of Sales, and because the survey takes only 8 minutes and is completely anonymous, take up is expected to be good”

Research results will be publicized at the end of the summer, with the survey closing at the end of July. Separately, and following similar surveys in the Europe a unique on-line web portal is being created by Interimus to provide leasing companies a benchmark database subscription service as well as provide individuals the ability to conduct self benchmarking, free of charge.

In a unique move, Interimus also announced that 10% of profits from the corporate subscription service would be donated to a charity chosen by respondents to the survey. “ With survey responses being anonymous, we wanted to find a way of thanking respondents for taking part in the initiative, so we decided to ring fence 10% of subscription profits and donate that to a charity chosen by the respondents, it’s a win win all round.”

Those wishing to participate anonymously in this survey can find the link at

About Interimus

Interimus Limited is a UK based Leasing Consultancy specialising in unique research aimed at supporting the leasing market. In addition to research, Interimus provides sales and marketing support services to European based leasing companies and manufacturer captives who are looking to improve the efficiency and success of their leasing teams or programs.

Interimus Media Contact:

Brian Whelan
+44 (0) 7768 467 413


### Press Release ###########################

Attorney General Abbott Secures More Refunds for Auto Credit Insurance Buyers

Settlement with American National Insurance Co. to benefit 17,000 Texas consumers

AUSTIN – Attorney General Greg Abbott has reached the second settlement this month that protects auto credit insurance purchasers. The $6.5 million settlement with American National Insurance Co. of Galveston provides an average of $313 in premium refunds to more than 17,000 Texas vehicle owners.

Attorney General Greg Abbott

"Vendors who benefit from doing business in Texas must comply with Texas law," Attorney General Abbott said. "Today's settlement ensures that affected credit insurance purchasers receive the refunds they deserve. The Office of Attorney General will continue aggressively working to protect auto credit insurance purchasers in Texas."

Policies sold by American National cover payments owed to financing institutions in the event the borrower dies or becomes disabled. American National customers bought policies through dealerships at the time they purchased their vehicles. The full cost of the credit insurance policy was bundled into the buyer's vehicle loan. The coverage period lasted through the term of the loan, in some cases as long as six years.

Under the Texas Insurance Code, the company was obligated to refund the unearned portion of the insurance premiums to those customers who paid off their loans ahead of schedule. American National, however, retained the unearned premiums from customers who paid off their loans early between 2002 and 2006.

The Attorney General has taken legal action against several credit insurance companies. Earlier this month, Enterprise Life Insurance Co. of Irving was the first company to settle with the Attorney General and offer refunds to eligible customers.

American National Life Insurance Co., the largest life insurance company domiciled in Texas, will make settlement information available within 30 days on its Web site at Consumers may also speak to American National about the settlement at (800) 899-6502, or call the Office of Attorney General toll-free at (800) 252-8011.

Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with American National Life Insurance

Agreed Order Approving the AVC


### Press Release ###########################

CIT Completes $512 Million Collateralized Loan Obligation (CLO) Transaction

First in a Series of Asset Management Initiatives Designed to Leverage

CIT's Expanded Origination Platforms; Generate Non-Spread Revenues and
Increase Return on Equity

NEW YORK, -- CIT Group Inc. (NYSE: CIT) a leading global provider of commercial and consumer finance solutions, yesterday announced that it has priced and closed its collateralized loan obligation (CLO) transaction, CIT CLO I, Ltd. Proceeds from the $512 million transaction were used primarily to acquire a diversified group of CIT originated middle market loans, third-party originated middle market loans and broadly syndicated loans. The CLO closed on May 23, 2007.

This transaction represents the first in a series of asset management initiatives designed to diversify and grow non-spread revenues while capitalizing on CIT's core strengths of asset origination, risk management and client service.

Jeffrey M. Peek, CIT Chairman/CEO

"The launch of this CLO supports our corporate strategy to build an asset management platform that will enable us to better leverage our originations capabilities and drive fee generation as we utilize our balance sheet more efficiently," said Jeffrey M. Peek, CIT Chairman and CEO.

Walter J. Owens, President, CIT Corporate Finance Group

Walter J. Owens, President of CIT's Corporate Finance Group, said, "The talented and experienced executive team we have in place will allow us to build upon the success of this CLO. The team's ability to close CLO transactions will enable us to better leverage the origination capabilities of our front end while providing an ongoing source of capital through the creation of asset management and servicing fees."


### Press Release ###########################

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Calendar Events This Day

African Freedom Day: Anniversary –
Public holiday in Chad, Zambia and some other African states Members of the Organization for African Unity (formed May 25, 1963) commemorates their independence from colonial rule. Sports contest, political rallies and tribal dances.

Argentina: Revolution Day –
National holiday. Commemorates of revolt against Spanish rule in 1810.

Jordan: Independence Day –
National holiday. Commemorates treaty in 1946 proclaiming independence from Britain and establishing monarchy.

National Mission Children’s Day –
To promote awareness of the problem of missing children, to offer a forum for change and to offer safety information for children in school and community. Annually, May 25.

National Tap Dance Day -
To celebrate this unique American art form that represents a fusion of Africa and European cultures and transmit tap to succeeding generation through documentation and archival and performance support. Held on the anniversary for the birth of Bill “Bojangles” Robinson to honor his outstanding contribution to the art of tap dancing on stage and in films through the unification of diverse stylistic and racial elements.

Poetry Day in Florida –
In 1974 the legislature decreed this day to be “Poetry Day in all of the public schools of Florida.”

Self Reliance Day



The area code in Cape Canaveral, Florida is 321.



Today's Top Event in History

1971-ADAMS, WILLIAM E.—Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Place and Date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971. Entered Service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo. Citation: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U S. Army.


This Day in American History

    1607- the first battle between English colonist and Native Americans took place this day in Jamestown, Virgina. One hundred and five colonists were able to repulse an attack by two hundred Native American Warriors.
    1647- Achsah Young of Massachusetts was hanged as a witch. According to historians, Margaret Jones of Charlestown, MA was the first accused of being a witch, but was not executed until 1648 by drowning.
    1721-The first fire insurance agent is said to have been John Copson of High Street, Philadelphia ,PA, who inserted an advertisement this day in the American Weekly Mercury announcing that he would open an office for insurance on “vessels, goods and merchandise.”
    1787- At Philadelphia, PA, delegates from seven states, forming a quorum, opened the Constitutional Convention, which had been proposed by the Annapolis Convention Sept 11—14,1786. Among those who were in attendance: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.
    1790-The first copyright law was enacted by Congress “for the encouragement of learning by securing the copies of maps, charts and books to the authors and proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned.” Protection was extended over a 14-year period, renewal rights being granted only if the author was still alive.
    1793-The first Catholic priest ordained in the United States as father Stephen Theodore Badin, by Bishop John Carroll in Baltimore, MD. He was appointed to the mission of Kentucky and held his first mass there on the first Sunday of Advent, 1793, in the house of Ennis McCarthy in Lexington, KY. In British colonial America, there were few English-speaking Catholics outside of Maryland, which was established in 1634 as a haven for Roman Catholics persecuted in England. One hundred years later, John Carroll was born in Baltimore into a prominent Catholic family. As secondary Catholic education was forbidden by the British colonial authorities, Carroll traveled to Europe, where he was ordained in 1769. Returning to America, he aided the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War, and in 1790 was chosen by the Vatican to become the first bishop of the US Catholic Church.
Carroll supported the separation between church and state, and advocated an autonomous US clergy that would elect its own bishops and carry out its own training. In his early years as bishop, he endorsed the use of English in the liturgy, and in 1793 presided over the first ordination of a Catholic priest on US soil. Although the US Catholic Church grew substantially under Carroll’s leadership, it was the mass immigration of Catholics from Ireland, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the Balkans during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries that made Catholicism a major force in US religious life.
    1803-Rlaph Waldo Emerson birthday, American author and philosopher born at Boston, MA, and died there Apr 27, 1882. It was Emerson who wrote (in his essay "Self-Reliance," 1841), "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do."
    1825- American Unitarian Association founded
    1829—The first letter written on a “typographer,” the first typewriter, was sent by John P. Sheldon, editor of the Michigan Gazette, Detroit, MI, to Martin Van Buren, secretary of state. The first practical typewriter was invented in 1867 by Christopher Latham Sholes, who coined the word “type-writer.” It was first manufactured in 1873. The typewriter ribbon was patented on September 14, 1886 by George K. Anderson of Memphis, TN.
    1844-The gas engine was invented by Stuart Perry of Jew York City, who received a patent for it. He invented both air-and-water-cooled types and used turpentine gases as fuel.
    1844-The first news dispatch by telegram was sent from Washington, DC, to the offices of the Baltimore Patriot. The message read: “One o’clock. There has just been made a motion in the House to go into committee on the whole on the Oregon question. Rejected. Ayes 79-Nays 86.” The Democratic platform was nationalistic, calling for the annexation of Texas and control of the entire Oregon Territory, then shared with England.
    1847-John Alexander Dowie birthday, Evangelist and claimant of the title "Elijah the Restorer" was born at Edinburgh, Scotland. He established the Christian Catholic Church at Zion, IL, where some 5,000 followers created a unique community without pharmacies, physicians, theaters or dance halls and where smoking, drinking and the eating of pork were prohibited. Dowie's ostentatiously expensive personal lifestyle and his unsuccessful attempt to convert New York City were partially responsible for the falling away of his followers. He was expelled from the church in 1906 and died at Chicago, IL, Mar 9, 1907.
    1849-Birthday of pianist Thomas Green Bethune, known as "Blind Tom," the first black artist known to have performed at the White House. He played the piano for President James Buchanan in 1859. Accounts from the period made it clear he was a phenomenal prodigy, an idiot savant, who was said to have played like Mozart, Beethoven or Gottschalk.
    1862- First Battle of Winchester VA (there were three)
Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson notches a victory on his brilliant campaign in the Shenandoah Valley. Jackson, with 17'000 soldiers under his command, was sent to the Shenandoah to relieve pressure on the Confederate troops near Richmond, who were facing the growing force of George McClellan on the James Peninsula. In early May, Jackson struck John C. Fremont's force at McDowell, in western Virginia. After driving Fremont out of the area, Jackson turned his attention to an army under the command of Nathaniel Banks, situated at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley. With only 10,000 troops, Banks had the unenviable task of holding off the fast-moving Jackson. On 25 May, Jackson found Banks outside of Winchester. He attacked the Union force but was initially repulsed. The Confederates then struck each Union flank, and this time the Yankee line broke. A confused retreat ensued through the town of Winchester, and even some residents fired on the departing Yankees. Banks fled the Shenandoah into Maryland, and Jackson continued his rampage. The Union lost 62 killed, 243 wounded, and over 1700 captured or missing, while Jackson's men lost 68 killed and 329 wounded. The numbers from Jackson's 1862 valley campaign are stunning. His men marched 550 km in a month; occupied 60'000 Yankee soldiers, preventing them from applying pressure on Richmond; won four battles against three armies; and inflicted twice as many casualties as they suffered. Jackson's record cemented his reputation as one of the greatest generals of all time.
    1864 - Battle of New Hope Church GA. Joseph E. Johnston tried to halt Sherman’s advance on Atlanta at the Hell Hole.
    1878- Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, born , Richmond, VA, the grandson of a slave, Robinson is considered one of the greatest tap dancers. He is best known for a routine in which he tap-danced up and down a staircase. He appeared in several films with Shirley Temple and taught Gene Kelly, Sammy Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines, and others. Died at New York City, Nov 25, 1949.
( lower half of: )
    1895-The first golf book was “Golf in America, “ a practical manual by James Parish Lee, published by Dodd, Mead and Company, New York City. In consisted of 194 pages and a front’s piece.
    1898-James Joseph “Gene” Tunney birthday, heavyweight boxing champion, business executive. The famous "long count" occurred in the seventh round of the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney world championship fight, Sept 22, 1927, at Soldier Field, Chicago, IL. Tunney was born at New York, NY, and died at Greenwich, CT, Nov 7, 1978.
    1898-The First military expeditionary force to be sent beyond the Western Hemisphere sailed from San Francisco, California, on the Australia, City of Pekin, and City of Sydney, bound for Manila, Philippines, a distance of 6,220 miles. The expeditionary force consisted of 115 officers and 2,386 enlisted men commanded by General Wesley Merritt. They arrived off Manila on June 3 and landed on July 1. Admiral George Dewey and General Merritt demanded the surrender of Manila on August 7. The city complied on August 13.
    1908 -- American poet Theodore Roethke born, Saginaw, Michigan.
    1917-Clarinestist/tenor sax player Jimmy Hamilton born Dillon, SC, perhaps best known for playing with Duke Ellington Hamilton, who played with Duke Ellington from 1943-68, had a gorgeous, pure clarinet tone, while his tenor sax sound was rougher and funkier. He also was an arranger, and one of his was “In a Mellow Tone.” Early in his career, Hamilton performed in bands led by Lucky Millinder, Jimmy Mundy, Teddy Wilson, and Eddie Haywood. Died Sept 20, 1994 at age 77
    1926- Jazz trumpeter Miles Davis was born at Alton, IL. He was influenced by the be-bop music style of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and ended up leaving the Julliard School of Music to join Parker’s quintet in 1945 at the age of 19. He experimented with different styles throughout his career, exploring new voicings in jazz with arranger Gil Evans. I met him several times, one of them in the Men’s room at a night club (Mocombo on Sunset Strip? 1960?) in Hollywood. He was followed shortly thereafter by two white men in business suits, who asked me if I had seen him come in. I told them I had not. After they left, I opened the door, seeing them gone, informed Mr. Davis, who’s bathroom door opened and he was rolling down his sleeve. He thanked me and left as quickly as he had entered. I saw a performance of his again, and I swear he gave me a “high five” in the crowd. His “Kinda Blue” Album is one of his classics, but I think the albums with Gil Evans as arranger and conductor are perhaps his best, although early recordings with Charlie Parker perhaps remain one of my favorites.
You can hear in his albums his growth in style.
    1926-Tombonist Milt Bernhart born Valparaiso, Ind.
    1929- Beverly Sills birthday, premier coloratura soprano with the New York City Opera for 25 years. She became its director 1979-89, and in 1994 was named director of Lincoln Center. Sills sang in more than 50 different operas and was a highly respected musician. Although always seen as a very upbeat woman - her nickname is Bubbles - her life was filled with tragedy. Meredith (Muffy), her first born child was almost deaf and never heart her sing and her second child was born retarded.
    1935-Jesse Owens sets six world records in less than an hour in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
    1935-George Herman Ruth could barely run and could no longer hit like he used to , but occasionally the Babe could still put on a show with his bat. On May 25th, Ruth, playing for the Boston Braves, hit three home runs before a crowd of only 10,000 at Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. His last home run of the day—his 714th in regular season play—proved to be Babe’s last major league home run as well as his last big-league hit.
    1937- Future Hall of Famer Mickey Cochrane's career ends after being beaned with an 3-1 inside fastball thrown by Yankee hurler Bump Hadley. Near death at first, the Tiger catcher/ manager will spend six weeks in the hospital and will return to the team only as its skipper.
    1943 - The Trident Conference ends. Roosevelt and Churchill, and their staffs, reach compromises on all of the significant differences. Among the decisions taken is the target date for the invasion of Western Europe (D-Day) -- May 1, 1944. British General Morgan is appointed to prepare plans for the invasion. His is designated Chief of Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander (COSSAC).
    1943 - There was a riot at Mobile, Al., shipyard over upgrading 12 black workers.
    1953---Top Hits
Song from Moulin Rouge - The Percy Faith Orchestra
I Believe - Frankie Laine
April in Portugal - The Les Baxter Orchestra
Mexican Joe - Jim Reeves
    1955 - Two tornadoes struck the town of Blackwell, OK, within a few minutes time during the late evening. The tornadoes killed 18 persons and injured more than 500 others. Early the next morning a tornado virtually obliterated the small community of Udall KS killing 80 persons and injuring 270 persons. More than half the persons in the community were killed or injured by the tornado.
    1961-- President Kennedy asked the US to work toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
    1961---Top Hits
Mother-In-Law - Ernie K-Doe
Daddy’s Home - Shep & The Limelites
Travelin’ Man - Ricky Nelson
Hello Walls - Faron Young
    1962 - The Isley Brothers release ``Twist and Shout.''
    1965-Muhammad Ali knocked out Sonny Liston just one minute into the first round of a controversial rematch for the heavyweight championship in Lewiston, ME. Liston went down from a short right-hand punch that some swore never hit him.
    1968-The Rolling Stones return to straight rock & roll releasing "Jumpin' Jack Flash," a single later included on several greatest hits collections, but not on a regular release album.
    1968- The 1968 Monterey Pop Festival is canceled because of pressure from the local government and citizenry. In the wake of the cancellation, $52,000 is discovered missing from the previous festival's profits and the festival's bookkeeper, Mrs. Sandra Beebe, can't be located.
    1969---Top Hits
Get Back - The Beatles
Love (Can Make You Happy) - Mercy
Oh Happy Day - The Edwin Hawkins’ Singers
My Life (Throw It Away if I Want To) - Bill Anderson
    1971-ADAMS, WILLIAM E.—Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, A/227th Assault Helicopter Company, 52d Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Place and Date: Kontum Province, Republic of Vietnam, 25 May 1971. Entered Service at: Kansas City, Mo. Born: 16 June 1939, Casper, Wyo. Citation: Maj. Adams distinguished himself on 25 May 1971 while serving as a helicopter pilot in Kontum Province in the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, Maj. Adams volunteered to fly a lightly armed helicopter in an attempt to evacuate 3 seriously wounded soldiers from a small fire base which was under attack by a large enemy force. He made the decision with full knowledge that numerous antiaircraft weapons were positioned around the base and that the clear weather would afford the enemy gunners unobstructed view of all routes into the base. As he approached the base, the enemy gunners opened fire with heavy machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and small arms. Undaunted by the fusillade, he continued his approach determined to accomplish the mission. Displaying tremendous courage under fire, he calmly directed the attacks of supporting gunships while maintaining absolute control of the helicopter he was flying. He landed the aircraft at the fire base despite the ever-increasing enemy fire and calmly waited until the wounded soldiers were placed on board. As his aircraft departed from the fire base, it was struck and seriously damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire and began descending. Flying with exceptional skill, he immediately regained control of the crippled aircraft and attempted a controlled landing. Despite his valiant efforts, the helicopter exploded, overturned, and plummeted to earth amid the hail of enemy fire. Maj. Adams' conspicuous gallantry, intrepidity, and humanitarian regard for his fellow man were in keeping with the most cherished traditions of the military service and reflected utmost credit on him and the U S. Army.
    1973—The first space station launched by the United Sates was Skylab 2, which lifted off from Cape Canaveral, FL. Three astronauts Charles Conrad, J., Joseph Peter Kerwin, and Paul J. Weitz, spent nearly a month in the station conducting long-duration flight tests and other scientific experiments. The mission ended successfully on June 22, when the astronauts returned to earth, leaving Skylab in orbit. It later disintegrated in the earth’s upper atmosphere.
    1975 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: ``Before the Next Teardrop Falls,'' Freddy Fender.
    1977-“Star Wars” released. “May the Force be with you,” entered the modern lexicon as a new kind of science fiction film opened at 32 theaters. George Lucas’ space epic, starring Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia, featured stunning special effects and was a smash hit worldwide. It went on to win six Academy Awards out of ten nominations—plus an additional special Academy award for sound effects. The film was part of a larger sage, and in later years was re-titled Star Wars—Episode IV: A New Hope as sequels were released.
    1977---Top Hits
Sir Duke - Stevie Wonder
Couldn’t Get It Right - Climax Blues Band
I’m Your Boogie Man - KC & The Sunshine Band
Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love) - Waylon Jennings
    1979-An American Airlines DC-10 lost an engine upon takeoff and crashed seconds later, killing all 272 aboard and three people on the ground. This is the worst US air disaster in history.
    1982-Pitcher Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs recorded the 3,000th strikeout in his major league career in a 2-1 loss to the San Diego Padres. Jenkins, the seventh pitcher to reach 3,000 strikeouts, wound up his career with 3,192 Ks. night on the all-time list.
    1983 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: ``Flashdance ... What a Feeling,'' Irene Cara.
    1985---Top Hits
Everything She Wants - Wham!
Everybody Wants to Rule the World - Tears for Fears
Axel F - Harold Faltermeyer
Radio Heart - Charly McClain
    1987-Herve Fillon drove Commander Bond to victory in the third race at Yonkers Raceway in New York to become the first harness racing driver to record 10,000 wins.
    1994--- The media report that Compaq Computer Corporation had unseated IBM and Apple as the world's leading computer seller. Compaq would retain its lead position throughout the rest of the decade. Compaq's US market share reached 12.4%, beating out Apple's top ranking: Apple's share slipped from 13.5% to 10.4%. Apple's decline in market share would continue, dwindling to 3% by 1997. Today Apple is close to 5% and Compaq has been merged into Hewlett-Packard, the largest seller of computers today.
    1998- Cardinal Mark McGwire becomes the first player in major league history to hit 25 home runs before June 1. Ken Griffey Jr. is the only other player to hit 24 home runs before the start of the sixth month.
    1999 - Nearly 70,000 readers of Country Weekly choose George Strait as favorite entertainer, favorite male artist and favorite video entertainer in voting for the publication's annual Golden Pick Awards. Strait also takes honors for favorite album, favorite song and favorite line dance song.
    2000 - Wilson Pickett collects three W.C. Handy Awards during the Blues Foundation's ceremony at the Orpheum Theater in Memphis. The veteran R&B singer's set "It's Harder Now" is named soul/blues album of the year and comeback album of the year, and Pickett takes honors for soul/blues male artist of the year.
    2002 -With four homers on Thursday (5/23), one on Friday (5/24) and two more on Saturday (5/25), Shawn Green becomes the first major leaguer to hit seven homers in three games. The Dodger outfielder's nine home runs in a week also breaks a National League record, established by Ralph Kiner with eight and tied by Ted Kluszewski and Nate Colbert.
    2002- Getting his 3,509th K, Diamondback southpaw Randy Johnson passes Walter Johnson to become seventh on the all-time career strikeout list. After fanning Shawn Green in the first to catch the 'Big Train', Dodger outfielder Brian Jordan swings and misses a 2-2 pitch in the second inning to become the 'Big Unit's' historic victim.
    2005 - The "country girl" prevails as Carrie Underwood is named the "American Idol" at the conclusion of the Fox show's two-hour fourth season finale at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The 22-year-old Oklahoma native beats out "rocker" Bo Bice, taking in the most votes cast by viewers.

NBA Finals Champions This Date

    1975---Golden State Warriors

Stanley Cup Champions This Date

    1978 Montreal Canadiens
    1989 Calgary Flames
    1991 Pittsburgh Penguins



Baseball Poem

How It All Started


It all started
when Pedro threw a no-hitter on Opening Day.
Nomar backed him up
with a triple play deep in the hole
and Manny Ramirez smashed
the first of 90 home runs.

Suddenly things got brighter.
Flowers sprang whole from the earth
and the cod swarmed to George's Bank.
The war ended. U.S. Marines
danced in the streets with handsome Fedayeen.
(Jerry Falwell married them off
while the Pope and the imams cheered.)

Israel and Palestine agreed
to share everything: beds, cities, streets,
temples and mosques,
falafel and coffee and tea.
Air pollution stopped
along with global warming and gum disease.

The Sox won it all of course,
beating the Yankees in three
and the Yankees in four
and the Yankees in five
(they lost one just to keep the Series alive).
Mia Hamm hit a grand slam
to put it away in the ninth.

Boston exploded with joy.
Babe Ruth signed the game-winning ball
and nobody sold it on E-bay.

That's how it all started.
At least, that's what I recall





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