The TARP Made Me Do It. Yeah, Dat’s It.

There's been a lot of talk about how the credit crunch has been so bad for business. But really, it can be your friend!


Or, at the very least, your alibi.

Ed “Jean Luc” Kleefield, a restaurateur in the tony Hamptons region of Long Island, was arrested last week for allegedly passing two bad checks totaling nearly $300,000.

Kleefield told the New York Post’s Page Six that he borrowed money from “a concrete cement contractor with a criminal record,” whom he would later pay back with bad checks.

Apparently you don’t need your kneecaps in the restaurant business.

After the “contractor” demanded keys to Kleefield’s restaurants — Grappa, JLX Bistro, Madame Tong’s and Prime 103 — as payment, Kleefield made the obvious choice: He turned himself in to police and did an interview with Page Six.

At that point, most of us would've given up and admitted we screwed up. Or, at the very least, demanded a bailout.

Not Kleefield. He put this credit crisis to work for him. In explaining why he turned to such a shady lender, Kleefield said it was because he was a victim of the TARP:

“In the current economy, where banks are sitting on the money provided to them via the TARP arrangements, small business owners like me needed to find alternative sources of financing,” Kleefield told Page Six. “I became involved with a provider of finance to support my business who I, unfortunately, realized later was a modern-day loan shark.”

It's like Tony Soprano said: "You BLEEP up once, you lose two teeth ..."

You BLEEP up twice, just blame the TARP!

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