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Audit: MARTA made $15 million from risky AIG-backed leaseback deals

November 2, 2009 --

MARTA’s risky venture into complicated leaseback transactions with insurance giant AIG and others has turned a $15 million profit, at least so far, state auditors said today. Dozens of U.S. transit agencies took part in the leaseback deals, which offered a profit for MARTA and a tax shelter for the investors. The deals seemed safe until AIG lost its AAA credit rating a year ago, leaving MARTA on the line to pay termination fees that could have totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.

Car dealers protected from new consumer protection agency

Car dealers protected from new consumer protection agency
October 29, 2009 --

Last week, the House Financial Services Committee voted to establish a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency. The agency would have broad authority – but thanks to fierce lobbying, it’ll also have big gaps. Consumer advocates point to an exemption for auto dealers as one that’s particularly worrisome.