June 14, 2009

CHRIS DODD UPDATE: Hartford Courant: Loans Probe, Value Of Cottage Bedevil Dodd.

A year ago, Portfolio magazine reported that Dodd was enjoying more than $800,000 in favorable loans from subprime mortgage titan Countrywide Financial as a member of the “Friends of Angelo.” That was the exclusive club of borrowers given special treatment at the behest of Countrywide co-founder and president Angelo Mozilo.

In 2007, Countrywide, based in southern California, was the first major lender to collapse in the upheavals of the financial industry. Many expensive troubles followed and continue. Fingers continue to be pointed, blame apportioned and explanations floated.

Dodd trotted out myriad excuses for not honoring his early pledge to release his mortgage documents to the public last year. He held a snap press conference one Monday morning last winter and flashed a pile of papers purported to be his mortgage documents at some reporters. No copies were allowed and, curiously, no list was provided of what was in the stack to the few who were invited to Dodd’s office and the many who were not. . . .

With the political atmosphere heavy with suspicion, Dodd obtained a new appraisal on his 10-acre waterfront home in Ireland after the unusual circumstances around his ownership of it were raised in this column in February. . . . Last month, Dodd told Newsweek he paid Kessinger $207,000. While Dodd continues to revise the details of that 2002 deal, an immutable, nagging fact remains: Dodd appears to have received from Kessinger a gift of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which he never reported, in the year after Dodd obtained a presidential pardon for their friend Downe.

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