Mozilo, Icahn & Vice-President Hottie


That was the phrase I heard from someone who just received his settlement checks in a class action suit against Countrywide, now owned by Bank of America .

He received five checks, each for $16, for each of the five loans he got through Countrywide between January 2000 and April 2005.


The California lawsuit was brought by homeowners who claim Countrywide Home Loans charged illegal fees. One accusation is that the mortgage giant charged a "documentation preparation fee" allegedly for legal services, and "Countrywide allegedly may not lawfully charge for legal services." The second accusation is that Countrywide's website said the document preparation fee "was charged to prepare truth-in-lending statements when allegedly it is not legal to charge for such statements."

Countrywide denies the accusations and contested the claims, but eventually the company settled. While customers are getting $16 per loan, average doc prep fees range from $50-$250 according to GoodFaithEstimate.biz , or $171 on FeeDisclosure.com , so they're not coming out ahead.

Meantime, the plaintiff's lawyers are getting $1.6 million, 100,000 times more than each of their clients.


Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP VP candidate , goes by the nickname "Governor Hottie" back home. If McCain is elected, and, God forbid, something happens to him, we'd have President Hottie.

Something about this makes me laugh -- Hugo Chavez or Vladimir Putin or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad trying to stare down a beautiful mother of five from a male-dominated frontier state who is a lifelong NRA member.

By the way, Ahmadinejad has a blog ! Except he hasn't posted since December, when he wrote, "If one recognizes government as a privilege and prey ?of the governors, then the period of governance can be counted as an opportunity to fulfill ?the expectations of certain individuals and groups or the ostentation and hedonism of the ?governors."

It's quite a read, and people are allowed to post their responses. Most of them, including those which claim to be from Americans, are quite positive, though I did see one from "Nicolas": "You're one of the most stupid presidents ever!"


After I finished an interview with Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman the other day, I asked him about all the people he's met (believe me, he has met everyone, except for maybe Gov. Sarah Palin).

He told me of all the people he's gotten to know, "Sharon Stone is the nicest, sweetest person you will ever meet," adding that when the star was in town filming "Casino," he had her and some others over for dinner. Sharon Stone helped his wife with the dishes.

Goodman's favorite part of the job? The Mayor says there are so many fun things about holding that office in Sin City, but "I love being able to tell people to drop dead." Who?, I asked.

He told me that Carl Icahn once marched into his office to demand approval of a $20 million extreme roller coaster to add to the side of the Stratosphere. "That didn't really fit in with our redevelopment plans," Goodman says. He claims Icahn told him, "If this was New York, I could go into the mayor's office and he'd do what I want." "Well, this is Las Vegas," Goodman told him.

The coaster didn't happen.

Icahn can be a pretty intimidating guy I'm told, but given that before he was mayor, Oscar Goodman was a very successful criminal defense attorney -- in Las Vegas, Icahn is probably a lightweight compared to the characters Hizzoner dealt with in his previous life...

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