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May 10, 2012 at 10:01 PM   |   Comments

Dimon: JPMorgan Chase lost $2B

NEW YORK, May 10 (UPI) -- JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said Thursday the company has lost an estimated $2 billion due to "egregious" and "self-inflicted" mistakes.

In a conference call with reporters, Dimon said the losses in a portfolio of credit investments occurred within the bank's Chief Investment Office, The New York Times reported.

"These were egregious mistakes," he said. "They were self-inflicted and this is not how we want to run a business."

The Chief Investment Office effects trades meant to balance assets and liabilities, and the losses will likely affect the company's overall earnings, the newspaper said.

The company said in a filing the Chief Investment Office is expected to report a second-quarter loss of $800 million. The final count will depend on what action the bank takes and how markets respond, but Dimon said it could "easily get worse."

"We have egg on our face," Dimon said. "We deserve any criticism we get."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said after the disclosure the losses are an indication that financial reform is needed.

"The enormous loss JPMorgan announced today is just the latest evidence that what banks call 'hedges' are often risky bets that so-called 'too big to fail' banks have no business making," Levin, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said in a statement issued by his office. "Today's announcement is a stark reminder of the need for regulators to establish tough, effective standards."


Justice Dept. files lawsuit against Arpaio

WASHINGTON, May 10 (UPI) -- The Justice Department says it is suing Arizona Sheriff Joseph Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for his campaign against illegal immigrants.

Federal prosecutors say Arpaio engaged in "discriminatory and otherwise unconstitutional law enforcement actions against Latinos who are frequently stopped, detained and arrested on the basis of race, color, or national origin." The Sheriff's Office is also accused of discriminatory jail practices against Hispanic inmates and taking illegal retaliation against perceived critics.

The Justice Department last December issued a letter of findings, alleging the discriminatory actions and said efforts to reach a resolution have failed, primarily because the Sheriff's Office refused to agree to oversight by an independent monitor.

The lawsuit alleges the Sheriff's Office "promotes and is indifferent to the discriminatory conduct of its law enforcement officers, as is demonstrated by inadequate policies, ineffective training, virtually non-existent accountability measures, poor supervision, scant data collection mechanisms, distorted enforcement prioritization (and) an ineffective complaint and disciplinary system."

The Justice Department said the Sheriff's Office promotes "a culture of disregard for Latinos that starts at the top and pervades the organization."

"At its core, this is an abuse of power case involving Sheriff Arpaio and a sheriff's office that disregarded the Constitution, ignored sound police practices, and did not hesitate to retaliate against perceived critics in a variety of unlawful ways," Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said Thursday in a statement.

"No one in Maricopa County is above the law and the department will fight to ensure that the promise of the Constitution is realized by everyone in Maricopa County."


Romney sorry, but doesn't remember pranks

OMAHA, May 10 (UPI) -- GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, campaigning in Omaha Thursday, apologized for a so-called prank in high school but said he didn't remember the incident.

Romney, the apparent Republican presidential nominee, also took a swipe at President Obama, calling him a "big money Democrat" who is even more liberal than former President Bill Clinton, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

The Romney campaign raised $800,000 at a fundraiser dinner at the Omaha Hilton, the report said.

Romney apologized repeatedly Thursday for what he characterized as high school pranks that may have hurt other students. But in an interview with Fox News Channel, the former Massachusetts governor said he doesn't remember them.

Romney spent his teenage years spent at Cranbrook, a prestigious prep school in Michigan, CBS News said.

The incidents were described in a Washington Post story.

The Post said in one incident friends held down a classmate believed to be gay while a young Romney repeatedly clipped his hair as the boy screamed for help.

"I don't remember that incident," Romney told Fox News. "I tell you I certainly don't believe that I ... thought the fella was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s. So that was not the case. But as to pranks that were played back then, I don't remember them all but again, high school days -- if I did stupid things I'm afraid I gotta say sorry for it."

The Post said the attack on the gay student was confirmed by five classmates who said it was "senseless, stupid, idiotic" and "vicious."

Romney also allegedly shouted "Atta girl!" when another supposedly gay student tried to speak up in class, among a series of other pranks, the report said.

The candidate said his propensity for pranks changed when he met his future wife Ann in high school, CBS reported.


Va. GOP denounces member's 'coup' remark

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., May 10 (UPI) -- Greene County (Va.) Republicans are denouncing a comment in their newsletter promoting "armed revolution" if President Barack Obama is re-elected.

The Greene County Republican Committee newsletter for March featured an editorial written by Ponch McPhee calling the November election a challenge to "remove an ideologue unlike anything world history has ever witnessed."

"We shall not have any coarse (sic) but armed revolution should we fail with the power of the vote in November," McPhee wrote. "This Republic cannot survive for 4 more years underneath this political socialist ideologue."

GCRC Chairman Gary E. Lowe says McPhee is no longer the editor of the newsletter, KYTX-TV, Charlottesville, reported Thursday.

In a statement posted on the committee's Web site, Lowe said the committee "denounces such language and does not subscribe to that thinking." He said McPhee's editorial had been written "before a change in the Greene County Republican Committee (GCRC) leadership."

Lowe noted the newsletter carried a disclaimer that its content "does not reflect the opinion of the Republican Party whole or in part, all contents offered are individual" and said the editorial comment is protected by First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

"While we believe this election is critical to the direction of the future of this great nation, we do not believe that if the results end up with the re-election of Barack Obama, that will necessitate what the author suggests," Lowe wrote.

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