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A "how Not To" Lesson In Post-crash Pr

It's not quite AIG's $440,000 corporate retreat, but the former regulators and government lawyers cashing in on the post-crash fire sale of real estate-related assets haven't done themselves any favors in this Times piece. A few choice snippets:

“It is a good time to be me,” said John L. Douglas, a partner in Atlanta at the law firm Paul Hastings and a former lawyer for bank regulators who helped create the agency that administered the last federal bailout, the Resolution Trust Corporation.

Some of these former federal officials, like L. William Seidman, the first chairman of the R.T.C., are serving as advisers — sharing ideas with Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama — even while they are separately directing investors or banks on how to best profit from this advice.

“It is an enormous market,” said Mr. Seidman, who has already joined two such potential money-making efforts and is evaluating proposals to participate in a third. “I am enjoying this.” ...

The planned sale by the F.D.I.C of the assets of IndyMac, the failed bank, has turned into an alumni event of sorts for veterans of the R.T.C. era, including John J. Oros, who was chairman of a financial industry council that advised bank regulators during the savings and loan crisis. Now he is a partner in J. C. Flowers, one of the private equity firms negotiating to buy part of IndyMac. ...

Although the financial meltdown is a disaster for the country, Mr. Oros said, “the opportunity going forward is unprecedented. It is fantastic. It is as if I had been training for this for the last 40 years of my career.”

It wouldn't surprise me if Obama were forced to clamp down a bit on this profiteering (though a certain amount is obviously inevitable--the distressed assets have to be sold off, and there are only so many people with the expertise to take part in the buying and selling...) If nothing else, I'd guess some of these characters won't be advising the transition for much longer.

--Noam Scheiber