January 14, 2009
Small business owners and financial professionals voiced their displeasure with the lack of transparency and inclusion in the allotment of the first $350 billion of the Trouble Asset Relief Program, today.
Panelists from a range of public and private sector organizations at the “Fallout from the Bailoutâ€ conference shared the resounding sentiment about the multibillion dollar rescue plan. They drummed up the now broken promises and lip service of Neel T. Kashkari, assistant secretary of the treasury and TARP’s administer, during Senate hearings. In an Oct. 17 meeting Kashkari made a commitment to evaluating the submission of legal, accounting and asset management firms assigned to do legwork to buy back debt from faltering banks, says Odysseus M. Lanier, Partner at McConnell, Jones, Lanier, and Murphy LLP. But this promise has not been kept, said Lanier.
He urged, “everyone who had the ability to make their mistake now has ability to correct their mistake. [The government is] giving banks access to capital they need to rework themselves, but not to those of us who need that capital.â€
The panel is on of many sessions apart of the 12th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit hosted by Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr.’s Rainbow Push Coalition.
For many in the room, it’s apparent that a spoils system and not a legitimate bidding process left out African American firms from securing the six and seven figure government contacts.
“With one exception, all the contracts went to majority firms,â€ says Emory Harlan, partner at Gonzalez, Saggio and Harlan law firm.
Black financial firms are betting on President-elect Barack Obama to lead the way for more transparency and a commitment to inclusion when securing vendors for the second allotment of the $350 billion bailout he’s been pushing for.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted that approval for the additional funds requested by Obama may be approved because it will be spent by “a president who’ll enforce the law,â€ she said on ABC’s “Good Morning Americaâ€ today.
The Senate is expected to vote on passage of the additional $350 billion in Thursday.
The conference runs through Jan. 16 at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.