• The Florida Senate Race Just Got Interesting, and No, This Isn't About Charlie Crist

    Charley Krist, who's that? Never heard of him.

    Forget it, let's talk about the Florida Senate race. Guess who's announcing his candidacy today: billionaire investor Jeff Greene, who's running as a Democrat. Want to know what's so interesting about Jeff Greene?

    No, it's not the fact that he's friends with Heidi Fleiss. It's not the fact that Mike Tyson was best man at his wedding. It's not even the fact that Howard Dean's former campaign manager Joe Trippi is one of his strategists.

    It's this:

    In early 2006 Greene called hedge fund manager John Paulson of Paulson & Co., to whom he had been introduced in the Hamptons a few years earlier. Greene says J.P., as he calls Paulson, suggested he could short real estate by buying insurance on bonds backed by subprime loans. Greene says he sat down with Paulson for half an hour and looked over a ten-page offering memo for a fund that would make such bets. When he asked whether he could do the trades himself, Paulson told him he was unlikely to gain bank approval, Greene says. [Ed. note: John Paulson never met a subprime loan he wouldn't short, remember?]

    In April 2006, just as the housing market was peaking, Greene convinced Wall Street banks to allow him to trade credit default swaps; he is believed to be the first individual to do so. Greene put up $30 million to buy swaps that would pay off from a default from paper backed by subprime mortgages.

    I realize it's not my place to tell experts like Joe Trippi how to do their jobs, but if I may suggest a campaign slogan: "Jeff Greene for Senate. Swimmin' Right Through the Crap Pools."

    Tags: Democrats, Economy, Florida, Jeff Greene, Joe Trippi, Money, Senate


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