How Goldman Treated Warren Buffett

"Every day that Goldman does not call our preferred is money in the bank," Warren Buffett said last year. "Our preferred is paying $15 per second ... so as we sit here... tick tick tick ... its $15 in the bank. I don't want those ticks to go away."

Sadly, they're going away. As has been expected, Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) called Berkshire Hathaway's (NYSE: BRK-A  ) (NYSE: BRK-B  ) preferred stock investments on Friday.

This story begins in September 2008, when the entire financial system, including Goldman, neared collapse. Buffett swarmed in, buying $5 billion worth of preferred stock in Goldman (and $3 billion in General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) a few days later) on enviable terms: The preferred stock yielded 10% and could be called (canceled) by Goldman only at a 10% premium to par. Buffett also received warrants to buy 44 million Goldman shares at $115 a share. After being given the green light by the Federal Reserve on Friday, Goldman is now repaying Berkshire's preferred stock, canceling what has been expensive capital.

How'd Berkshire fare in this venture?

It's easy to get caught up in the big numbers ($15 per second!), but keep things in perspective. Berkshire has earned roughly $3.7 billion profit on a $5 billion investment over 2.5 years, which equals a return of about 25% per year.

This is a spectacular return, of course. But it, too, needs perspective. Goldman announced Berkshire's investment on Sep. 23, 2008. The Dow, closing at 10,854 that day, has since returned roughly 6% per year including dividends. Yet just a month later, on Oct. 23, the Dow was trading at 8,200. Anyone who invested in a simple index fund that day has earned about 19% per year since -- still less than Berkshire's Goldman investment, but not remarkably so. Move out to March 2009, and the Dow was around 6,600. Those who bought an index fund back then have since earned 37% per year -- better than Berkshire's Goldman investment, even adjusted for the shorter time frame.

Or here's a non-hypothetical example. Buffett sold shares of ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP  ) in the fourth quarter of 2008 to, as he himself notes, fund Berkshire's investments in Goldman and GE. There were likely some tax considerations in this move, but Conoco shares have since returned roughly 25% annually -- the same return earned from the Goldman investment they helped fund.

This is shameless cherry-picking with the benefit of hindsight. Guilty as charged. But it highlights an important point: There's an opportunity cost to every investment. Judged against alternative investments that could have been made during similar time frames, Berkshire's investment in Goldman looks good, but not great. And those alternatives (a diverse group of blue chip stocks) could arguably be looked at as significantly safer than a single investment in an overleveraged investment bank, even if the latter came in the form of preferred stock.

Then there's the issue Buffett biographer Alice Schroeder brought up a year ago: Financial gain aside, was Buffett's alliance with Goldman -- now a company most view as a symbol of moral hazard, regulatory abuse, and downright fraud -- worth it? "Buffett swapped his reputation at a cheap price," Schroeder writes. "It is painful to watch Buffett behaving like a hostage to Wall Street, damaging himself by defending investment banks and saying flattering things about Goldman in a way that contradicts any principled view of the securities business."

Buffett's partner Charlie Munger has shown shades of this contradiction. Last year, Munger was exceptionally critical of Lehman Brothers' behavior, saying "the whole place was pathological about its extremeness." Yet on the same day he defended Goldman by saying:

Goldman was in a world where Congress legalized all types of derivatives. It's an inherently dangerous world. Given that world, I see no reason to think Goldman misbehaved in some horrible fashion. Everyone was doing it, and it's only natural to increase your moneymaking activities when you can do so legally.

Yes, Lehman went bankrupt, and Goldman did not (although a little bailout influenced that outcome). Yet it's difficult to reconcile Munger's two views from a moral standpoint other than acknowledging that Goldman pays Berkshire $15 per second, and Lehman does not.

I don't mean this to be overly critical. In the end, Berkshire's Goldman investment worked as planned. That plan, though, may not have been as lucrative as some assume. As Schroeder notes: "The money wasn't enough. Goldman outsmarted Buffett in this deal."

Think otherwise? Sound off below.

Fool contributor Morgan Housel owns shares of Berkshire. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Berkshire Hathaway is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 11:53 AM, TMFSymington wrote:

    Though you did mention it briefly, I think you need to give more attention to the warrants Berkshire received (to buy 44 million Goldman shares at $115 a share) in an effort to adequately describe the amount of money Buffett will have made on this deal. With GS currently selling at approximately a 40% premium to the value of the warrants, this makes Buffett's deal even sweeter. I understand we won't be able to put a final value on the investment until sometime in 2013 (the end of the five year period during which the warrants must be exercised), but I'm betting GS will be trading substantially higher by then.

    Additionally, I'm not convinced the damage done to Buffett's reputation is significant enough to matter. He's one of the most talented businessmen in the world, and this his ability to (nearly) always be proven right will override his debatably-immoral decision to support Goldman Sachs.

    Besides (as Buffet says he likes to do), what kind of sportsman shoots fish in a barrel after the water has run out? Regardless of whether it's fair to the fish, I guarantee you he'll never go hungry.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 11:55 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    ^ The analysis includes the current value of the warrants.

    Thanks,

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:03 PM, TMFSymington wrote:

    Noted, and thanks for the clarification.

    It'll be interesting to see how the value changes as the expiration nears, and whether it changes any of the antagonistic arguments regarding the investment.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:07 PM, siggie71 wrote:

    I think it is safe to say that Buffet carefully analyzed the risk of the Goldman investment and determined it to be less risky than investing in a diverse group of blue chips.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:25 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    symie5,

    "It'll be interesting to see how the value changes as the expiration nears, and whether it changes any of the antagonistic arguments regarding the investment."

    It will be interesting, but to clarify, I'm not trying to be antagonistic here. Buffett's investment in Goldman worked very, very well ... but so did most investments over the past 2.5 years.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:51 PM, BlackSwanCapital wrote:

    Any "reputational damage" would only reside among mainstreeters who don't understand/would wantonly lay blame on anyone who enjoys a higher income.

    In any business program around the country, Goldman has thier pick of the best of the best. And those that they don't pick end up working at other bulge bracket banks and will hold thier Goldman peers to considerable esteem.

    By the time the warrants expire, GSs' reputation will have mended. Buffett was wrong when he said a reputation takes a lifetime to forge. Sometimes, you can parley a momentary decision into a lasting reputation that you have a life to squander. Case in point, Paulson and Pellengrini's bet against housing.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:54 PM, SeanFlynn1 wrote:

    I think your article is petty sniping of Buffett's deal. The point isn't necessarily how much Buffett made, the point is that he made even the mighty Goldman pony up on terms akin to a subprime borrower with a 500 credit score. A 10% yield and a 10% call premium?

    Unlike an index fund, that money is money in the bank. With a deal like that you don't have to be a buy and hope investor like indexers are. Schroeder is dead wrong, Goldman didn't outsmart anybody. Goldman was begging for its life and it went to the only sympathetic capital source it could find to get a lifeline.

    And another thing, the only reason that Goldman has a negative reputation is because the media has painted them as the bad guy. Munger has it right, in the world of finance you do what you have to do to make money. That's what the investment banking business is all about: finding opportunities in the financial system and exploiting them for profit.

    The bottom line is this: Buffett didn't get to be rich investing in index funds. Nobody does, except the mutual fund companies. This was a brilliant deal at the time it was made and still is. The tide may have risen since 2008 and lifted all the boats but to try to deride this deal makes you look a fool, with a lowercase 'f.'

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 12:59 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    "Munger has it right, in the world of finance you do what you have to do to make money. That's what the investment banking business is all about: finding opportunities in the financial system and exploiting them for profit."

    Agreed, which is why Lehman et al. went hog wild, which munger criticized them for.

    I had a feeling this article would be controversial. I don't think anyone at TMF would come close to calling me a Buffett critic -- quite the opposite -- but I hoped this piece would stew some debate.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 1:01 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    One more thing:

    "Unlike an index fund, that money is money in the bank. With a deal like that you don't have to be a buy and hope investor like indexers are."

    The bulk of the profit came from the warrants, which was "buy and hope," if you want to call it that (I wouldn't ... the price made sense, but it wasn't guaranteed money).

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 1:17 PM, pryan37bb wrote:

    While I can see and agree with the point of the article was to highlight the opportunity cost involved in Buffett's investment relative to other options at the time, the thing that ought not be forgotten was that the purchase was made during a ferocious bear market, with people getting burned by value traps all the way down to the bottom, and the only scenario in which Buffett's move underperformed the broader market was if people bought exactly at the bottom, which not only is a lot harder to do without hindsight (even though apparently both President Obama and Mark Haines called that bottom in March), but it takes balls of steel to buy with that much blood in the street.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 5:50 PM, jperkins123 wrote:

    What has always puzzled me is how the chosen few were bailed out and most were left the fail.

    Why did Goldman get bailed and most were left to fail? Lehman bankruptcy, etc.

    Surely our political system has not deteriorated to that level, or has it!

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 6:07 PM, plange01 wrote:

    goldman asked for the money and agreed to the price.this just shows how bad goldman really is...

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 6:13 PM, talotu wrote:

    Nice article, though I'm afraid many readers seem to be missing the point. Buffett and Munger appear to be able to get away with the contradictions without taking any flak, but some of their credibility was spent with this deal.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 6:55 PM, knighttof3 wrote:

    FWIW, I agree with your analysis. Buffett and Munger have shown pretzel-like intellectual dexterity in blaming the financial meltdown on everyone but Goldman Sachs.

    No one can call market bottoms, but when the highly-leveraged hedge funds were blowing up during Nov 2008 - March 2009, it was apparent that the bearish sentiment was overdone, even if you couldn't quantify it. Buffett could have chosen stocks and bonds of a host of quality companies to invest in. This is how the Buffett of old has made his money (TMF profanity filter made me remove his famous analogy from this sentence :-)). But he had already spent a bulk on GS, GE and HOG preferred shares.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 7:00 PM, BruceHBi wrote:

    Buffet did business with Goldman, nothing more. He made a good [maybe not great] profit. It is interesting to see that no human is monolithic in their values or actions. We all operate within a sphere of accceptable actions that don't always look like they go together to outsiders.

    This is an interesting peek into Warren Buffet.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 7:01 PM, TMFHousel wrote:

    "pretzel-like intellectual dexterity"

    That made me laugh.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 8:57 PM, AdamFromPA wrote:

    Shame on Warren Buffet for not being able to time the exact bottom of the market

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2011, at 11:00 PM, foothills68 wrote:

    I think there's another element to this that is being overlooked. When Goldman's balance sheet effectively became Berkshire's balance sheet, the world breathed a bit more easily. The Buffett imprimatur restored faith in Goldman and helped stabilize Berkshire's other investments.

    As attractive as the terms were, I don't see this as an isolated trade by any stretch. Buffett has stated on numerous occasions that in the period leading up to this deal our economy was closer to catastrophe than most of us know, and I believe he means it. This was as much about providing psychic lubricant for the American economic machine as it was about a nice return. Even if he could have predicted the relative performance of ConocoPhillips vs. Goldman, I have to believe that the intent here was broader than this transaction. Note that I'm not suggesting that he was merely taking one for the team...the terms of the deal were obviously an important consideration.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 12:22 AM, clayman14 wrote:

    Interesting thoughts! I'm not so sure on the warrents though. The economy is still struggling and it seems things could go either way.

    Another major shake up and those warrents could go in the other direction...

    Just a thought!

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 12:33 AM, crca99 wrote:

    Would there have been such a huge rise in stock market if the Buffet bailout of Goldman had never happened? Wasn't Buffet preventing a too big to fail company from taking down the financial markets with it and sending country and major markets into extreme depression? If any part of that is true and not exaggeration, then why are we criticizing, or what is it we are criticizing?

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 12:46 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    crca99

    "Would there have been such a huge rise in stock market if the Buffet bailout of Goldman had never happened? Wasn't Buffet preventing a too big to fail company from taking down the financial markets with it and sending country and major markets into extreme depression?"

    Perhaps that was a factor, although the trillion-plus the Fed provided no doubt was right up there. Also important to note that markets still fell 50% after Buffett made his investment. It likely helped, but probably wasn't a game changer.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 12:53 AM, BlackSwanCapital wrote:

    Part of the controversy is because Buffett himself has never professed that he cared to maintain a "ethical image." He follows an inner scorecard, as long has he adhere's to his own moral code (and that code doesn't violate any legal terms) then who's to say he doesn't have the right to be profitable on behalf of BRK's shareholders?

    Think PetroChina, where he admitted that owning a large cap China security was akin to being partnered with the Chinese Government (insert the Sudanese ethical conflict). Or think of Salomon. He didn't mean "if you lose a shred of reputation I'll be ruthless in the sense that financial institutions have to live up to everyone's standard - just his, and the letter of the law.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 4:02 AM, jesvlim wrote:

    Far from being unethical, I think Buffett was a better man than most. While others were fleeing to safety, he came in dutifully (likely pressured into it but nobody really care) and help save GS, thereby helping to stave off a financial collapse on Wall street and even globally. Did he deserve the returns? Every penny. Was his 25% ROI boastful? Not quite, he has the ability to hold till now. Lesser mortals would have jumped ship at first profit opportunity.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 6:58 AM, FFMLDN wrote:

    The main difference is that the Goldman deal was considerably better from a risk/ reward perspective than the examples mentioned. 10% guaranteed yield from a bank which was very unlikely to go bust, plus a warrant with significant upside. Yes please.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 7:20 AM, SPARTANBURG wrote:

    I have to say that in the 10 years I've been following Buffett and Munger, the Goldman Sachs affair is the only one I feel tainted their prestine image. I agree that GS just didn't pay close to enough to allow for Buffett to graze in a little mud.

    ...and neither is the pay off from the warrants.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 9:57 AM, Rehydrogenated wrote:

    I have to agree with foothills68. I believe Buffett is more of a politician now than an investor and buying into Goldman was a political move. Once you reach a certain dollar amount, investing and politics overlap frequently.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 10:33 AM, desserg wrote:

    @Morgan:

    "The bulk of the profit came from the warrants, which was "buy and hope," if you want to call it that (I wouldn't ... the price made sense, but it wasn't guaranteed money)."

    The warrants were the upside. The downside protection came from the pref share and the dividend. So the previous posters assertion that it was money in the bank is about right... the money was as safe as Goldman's was with a dividend and premium - and the warrant gave the upside linked to future share price appreciation. This is a low risk deal structure which reflects the perceived risk at the time. The fact such a low risk investment managed to pretty much match the market demonstrates why Warren Buffet is richer than you...and me...and... :)

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 10:37 AM, clintspicks wrote:

    I disagree with the comment that this was a good return, not a great one. With as much capital as Buffett needs to invest to move the needle, this was a great return.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 10:44 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    Thanks for the comments folks,

    Only because I've received several emails, let me make something clear: Yes, I'm aware of the difference between preferred and common stock. This article's comparison of preferred and common stock is valid, I think, in this sentence:

    "And those alternatives (a diverse group of blue chip stocks) could arguably be looked at as significantly safer than a single investment in an overleveraged investment bank, even if the latter came in the form of preferred stock."

    As to the downside protection of preferred shares, let's be real: Preferred shareholders would have been wiped out along with common shareholders if GS faced a run, which wasn't a long shot by any means that week. Ask Lehman Bros. preferred shareholders how their downside protection worked out.

    Thanks again,

    Morgan

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 10:49 AM, TMFHousel wrote:

    "I disagree with the comment that this was a good return, not a great one. With as much capital as Buffett needs to invest to move the needle, this was a great return."

    Keep in mind that a lot of the funding for the GS and GE investments came from sales of existing BRK assets, so much of the investment wasn't new capital deployment as much as it was a shifting of the balance sheet.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 11:03 AM, BBRAF wrote:

    I wonder if able any of the critics would have ma de the deal.Given what we know prabaly most of them. But at the time i think most would not and not for moral consideration but for lack of ball.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 11:06 AM, joaquingrech wrote:

    I agree the investment was not great compared to the market as a whole after these years run-up. But I think it was brilliant at the time. Nobody knew how long it would take for the market to recover or how much more it would fall. Imagine that the market had tanked for 1 more year... does GS with a 10% dividend just for waiting it out plus increase on warrant price looks like a bad choice?

    By any measure, it's an extraordinary investment choice. The market just recovered far faster than most expected.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 11:15 AM, mtf00l wrote:

    I hope no one really believes that the government would have ever nor will ever let GS fail! Look at all the former GS employees running the government. This was in fact a safe investment and Buffet knew it.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 2:08 PM, turtle26 wrote:

    FFMLDN wrote:

    "The main difference is that the Goldman deal was considerably better from a risk/ reward perspective than the examples mentioned. 10% guaranteed yield from a bank which was very unlikely to go bust, plus a warrant with significant upside. Yes please."

    THIS.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 2:11 PM, turtle26 wrote:

    " As Schroeder notes: "The money wasn't enough. Goldman outsmarted Buffett in this deal."

    They both won. Goldman has access to the discount window and we all know that the primary dealers have been fueling the rally in the equity market ever since QE came into existence. Buffett on the other hand doesn't have that advantage and so Goldman took the spread over the rise in the market less the terms of the borrow and they both look good to their shareholders. It was mutually beneficial.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 4:27 PM, NeedaClue7 wrote:

    One often overlooked aspect of the Goldman deal is that the dividends Berkshire received are largely tax free, since corporations get a dividends received deduction of 70% of any dividend income, meaning they only pay tax on 30% of the dividends they receive. If your analysis missed this point, your hypothetical return calculation is understated.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 4:31 PM, drobertus wrote:

    The comparison to stock market returns is foolish- those returns were not predictable and depended on market timing whereas the preferred shares were fair more stable and certain by comparison.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 7:27 PM, ilovesumm wrote:

    Why doesn't TMF push the govt for regulation that allows current shareholders a pro-rata opportunity?

    I owned several stocks that Buffett got the same deal but regular shareholders are not even given the chance to buy.

    The game is rigged if all shareholders are not treated equal when offers are made without their participation.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 7:28 PM, beechtree1 wrote:

    foothills68, got it just right. Warren Buffett's actions

    and words of Autumn 2008 above all helped stabilize

    the markets... and so stabilize Berkshire's other

    (long term) investments.

  • Report this Comment On March 22, 2011, at 7:30 PM, ilovesumm wrote:

    Besides if the companies offered current shareholders first they would reduce the comissions paid to outside banks.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2011, at 8:59 PM, ynotc wrote:

    Morgan,

    thanks for pointing out Buffett's hypocrisy. I also thought his schilling for Goldman was a terrible bookend to a fabulous career where the hallmark has been his candor.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2011, at 10:34 PM, 0123Abc wrote:

    Buffett first visited GS when he was about 12 years old, if I remember correctly, so I think he has a lot of knowledge about it and an emotional attachment. Fwiw.

  • Report this Comment On March 23, 2011, at 10:43 PM, foolrot wrote:

    This article reads like most that question Buffett's investing prowess: Statement that he was wrong, half wrangled truth about why, and finally an ending that says I don't mean to question him, but...

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2011, at 3:31 PM, ernieslog wrote:

    as i read the article just now i kept wondering, why doesn't he mention the warrents, i realize the author THINKS he included the value of the warrents but we really will not know until they are sold or exersized. until then the end of the investment has not come and buffett has all his money back. incidently i sold a little over half my position in cop yesterday

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2011, at 3:53 PM, ernieslog wrote:

    ps: goldman paying buffett off lowers their cost of capital and increases the value of the warrents

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2011, at 7:07 PM, rmiers wrote:

    Everyone is strange. Buffet in his support of a socialist and his friendship with a monopolist.

    Both of these guys would have stopped him with heavy taxes, lawsuits, and political clout in his money accumulation years.

    Buffet is not a perfect person

    Good friends tell me he is an ace

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2011, at 10:25 PM, fjconstantino wrote:

    Actually, Buffett's investment (and words) offered much needed confidence in the market. The market continued to dive but who knows how far it could have gone without a vote of confidence from Buffett. He's not perfect I'm sure - but "He who is without sin cast the first stone"

  • Report this Comment On March 26, 2011, at 4:45 PM, Olivier1999 wrote:

    Was the investment by Warren's investment brain or

    Warren's American Nationalist brain.

    He sure played a significant role in boosting confidence and arresting further implosion.

    I do not know. I am satisfied with 25% per annum while also helping the entire system. I would not know to pick the bottoms of the other opportunities cited, anyway.

  • Report this Comment On March 27, 2011, at 12:02 PM, joaquingrech wrote:

    Morgan,

    Just a question about the numbers. Without looking at the warrants, I went ahead and compared the numbers and dates.

    Sept 23, 2008 when the deal with GS was announced. GS price $125.05, S&P500 was at 1188.22

    March 21, 2011, when this was written. GS price $160, S&P500 is 1298.38

    GS capital gain = 27.94%

    S&P500 = 9.27%

    GS beats it confortably.

    Then add to that the $115 warrant (so it should be considered from $115 not $125) + the dividends already paid at 10%.

    I just don't see how this was not "sweet" enough. It beat the market by a wide margin. Am I misscalculating something?

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2011, at 11:46 AM, jaketen2001 wrote:

    By keeping open the bloodsucking squid, Buffet cost the taxpayer billions in claims that they pursued against AIG.

  • Report this Comment On March 28, 2011, at 6:07 PM, rovobo wrote:

    I am sure that Warren bailed out GS for other than profit ,although that is his first responsibility to his shareholders,I think his motive may have been to stabilize the markets as J.P. Morgan did decades ago. The man has GRAVITAS which is lacking in a lot of our so called financial leaders such as Paulson , grecco or whatever the NYSE CEO was named, they take their golden parachutes and investors be damned.Shamefully men like Buffet and Munger and Bill Gates and others in the position to affect the lives of common folk, like me are few and far between. They are not looking to build financial dynasties. GOD BLESS THEM ALL

    rovobo

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 4:01 AM, 58mile wrote:

    but i may bet that sticky fingers in this business in relation to this time period have crossed more than enough moneys to make Buffet look like a pauper peasant in comparison but......................

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 4:07 AM, 58mile wrote:

    why he called the "heat" for a 10 percent gurantee guarantee protection politic protection "scheme" and bingo now his associatives are revealed as back stabbing rip offs.....should have been the humor pages i am so late in life cartooning realities.........to late to the game

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 4:13 AM, 58mile wrote:

    he was the child of political privelege and the wealth of such used for investment, luck , determination, intelligence , surely, but that "taint" remains, clean nose? what of the taint of mafia scions..?

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 4:24 AM, 58mile wrote:

    and there is a rub, disputed sticky fingers and protections, its a big world, and dispute and disagreement and opinion of such exist, think about it , 60 billion , an amount equal to all the money involved in world war 2, includind the debts involved and the set up funds required to progress to and thru that ( "game" ?) endevor, may be what is associatived to "Buffet" and now look at a possibility its a paultry sum as todays standards as todays standards, and end that, i would have ripped off a continental rail to profit as security be dammed, roll the dice, .....................balls

  • Report this Comment On April 09, 2011, at 4:27 AM, 58mile wrote:

    at 10 percent guaranteed..................

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