February 17, 2012

A strange story

Here's an odd story from the BBC:
'Stolen' $9m jewels found in drawer 
Red faces over 'missing' jewels 
Five years after their disappearance, jewels thought stolen from the wife of the US ambassador to the Netherlands in 2006 have been found in the Hague. 
Dawn Arnall realised her 7m euro (£5.9m; $9.3m) gems were missing months after staying in a Dutch hotel. 
Unknown to her, the jewellery had been found and was held for safekeeping by the hotel, AFP reports, before being given to an employee as unclaimed. 
The employee, assuming the items were costume jewellery, forgot about them. 

Must be tasteful looking if everybody assumed they had to be costume jewelry.
Only after she recently found them in a drawer and took them to a jeweller for valuation did their true worth emerge. 
They were then handed in to police and have since been returned to the US. 
Mrs Arnall, whose husband Roland was the US ambassador to the country prior to his death in 2008, had received an insurance payout for her loss.

What adds interest to this was that subprime billionaire Roland Arnall, whom Bush had appointed Ambassador to the Netherlands for raising $12 million for him, who was the biggest donor to Arnold Schwarzenegger and, before him, Gray Davis, who co-founded the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the brow-beating Museum of Tolerance, was the founder of a couple of the biggest and worst subprime boiler rooms, Ameriquest and Argent. Previously, he had founded the notorious Long Beach Mortgage, which Washington Mutual bought.

In 2006, Arnall paid a $325 million fine to settle a lawsuit brought by 49 state attorneys general. Yet, Congress approved his nomination as ambassador. (Overall, states performed somewhat better in regulating subprime than feds, who mostly egged them on. The states were operating, on average, under older laws, while the feds were operating mostly under the U. of Chicago-style consensus that emerged over the last generation or so.) Here's Arnall's obituary by E. Scott Reckard of the L.A. Times, who covered subprime in real time better than anyone else. Roland invented the "stated income loan," which did so much to help people realize the American Dream.

His widow Dawn is being sued by his brother for $47.6 million. The brother claims that Roland claimed he was strapped for cash because of the $325 million fine.

I've never been tempted to write detective novels, because I have the world's worst criminal mind. I couldn't invent a scam to save my life. But, this jewelry discovery sounds like it would make a good opening chapter in a mystery.

In general, here we are five years down the road from the first subprime collapses, such as that of New Century Financial in February 2007. Has anybody tried to fictionalize the SoCal subprime scam artists yet?

13 comments:

Hunsdon said...

For some reason that line in the obit about "building bridges to the Islamic world" reminded me of the old quote from Tacitus, about making a desert and calling it peace.

Mr Lomez said...

This is already a famous short story:

Guy De Mappassant "The Necklace"

Steve Sailer said...

Yeah, the fact that this news story happens to be reminiscent of the world's most famous short story adds interest to the whole affair.

Matt said...

We certainly do show our worst side to the rest of the world. I know fifty people in Iowa alone who would do less to embarrass this country in the eyes of the Dutch than these two have. Aren't there some middle-class people of Dutch descent we could send over there to do this job, instead of this billionaire Jew and his wife?

Truly, can you imagine how this makes us look? I guess the theory is that being the world's only remaining superpower makes one unembarrassable. That might be true, but it doesn't mean we have nothing to be embarrassed for.

Anonymous said...

Roissy wrote an account of his encounter with a sub-prime operation.

http://heartiste.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/my-time-inside-the-housing-bubble/

David said...

Attorneys general not attorney generals.

No Name said...

You seem to be denigrating a Rich man Steve, the kind who made America great. Like most wealthy men he was a 'job creator' no matter how many $$$ millions of worthless loans he let.

And while I would never go traveling with millions of dollars in jewels for absolutely no reason, I believe in the right of rich people to do so, and then sue the hotel when the "maid" steals them.

To think otherwise is "Un-American".

epobirs said...

This guy gets some coverage in 'All The Devils Are Here.' Recommended.

Jorn said...

Michael Connelly's "The Fifth Witness" is a beautifully-written legal thriller about subprime. (The title refers to the defense goodguys' trick of getting the subprime CEO to take the Fifth on the stand so the jury concludes he's the guiltier one.)

Karen said...

This does sound like a scam. The hotel had every reason to remind Mrs. Ambassador about the rocks in their safe when she left and almost certainly did so. It's important to note that she'll have to pay back the insurance money.

Anonymous said...

In 2006, Arnall paid a $325 million fine to settle a lawsuit brought by 49 state attorneys general. Yet, Congress approved his nomination as ambassador

Some may call this anti-scots irish, but throughout european history, corrupt regimes always go hand in hand w/ scot irish moneylending/financing power. the monarchs that were reformist and populist were almost always ended up expelling the scots irish.
Isabell of spain comes to mind - compare her rule with her corrupt, decadent uncle before her.

RS said...

> At first glance, it is an utterly benign and heart-warming story

At second glance it is far better yet - nothing less than the essence of political life: affirming and taking responsibility for the social future.

Hunsdon said...

RS said: > At first glance, it is an utterly benign and heart-warming story

At second glance it is far better yet -

Hunsdon replied: At third glance, you posted a response in the wrong place, in comments to an entirely different story---unless you can spin me on the connections between jewelry in Amsterdam and refugee children in New Haven. (And I'd pay good money for that!)