Saturday, June 30, 2007

Queen of Corporate Bankruptcy Fraud

Darla Moore -- president of the private investment firm Rainwater Inc. -- was named to Fortune's 1999 list of the 50 most powerful women. Along the way she has notched three different careers and earned such distinctions as "the queen of DIP" (debtor-in-possession financing, which Moore pioneered during her highly successful tenure at Chemical Bank), "the toughest babe in business" (emblazoned on a Fortune magazine cover story), and "the best investment I ever made" (attributed to husband Richard Rainwater).

In 1991, Darla Moore married investor Richard Rainwater. In 1993 she became president of Rainwater Inc. According to Fortune, by 1997 she had tripled her husband's net worth, to $1.5 billion.

She started working with the Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C. Politics, she thought then, was synonymous with power and the ability to influence people and events. She attended business school at George Washington University and then joined 30 other MBAs in the training program at Chemical Bank (now Chase).

Moore entered corporate bankruptcy area. The idea was to work with companies that got into financial trouble. At the time there were very few of them, and no one was doing anything remotely like making any money on it.

"I worked in the trenches with these financially distressed companies while the LBO establishment continued to churn out ever bigger, ever more expensive mergers and acquisitions. These people had no concept that there would ever be an economic downturn."

Of course there was, just look at Columbia/HCA, and "America blew up, largely as a result of greed, a total lack of perspective ? and the overleveraging of the corporate environment. I had watched all this going on and thought, 'Keep financing this, boys, because you are just creating business for me,'" Moore says.
She does not mention the fact that greed was FRAUD...

By the early 1990s, Moore had become the highest-paid woman in banking and an extremely tough negotiator. "All of a sudden, this product I had created was the 'product du jour.' Nobody in the country had any kind of infrastructure or knowledge that could address this, other than what I had developed over a several-year period. I was the only person with the expertise, and our area was the only one making any money. It had become a powerful profit center within the bank."

As it did with Columbia/HCA, where Moore eventually fired CEO Rick Scott, a friend of her husband's, after the health care company became the target of a federal criminal investigation. (Richard Rainwater was also an officer at cognito)

When the federal government, which accounted for 40% of Columbia's revenues, attempted to get information from the company, "management stonewalled. If that had continued, I believe the fate of Columbia would have been similar to that of Drexel. The government will kill you if they are of mind. They could have killed Columbia just as they did Drexel. That was what created the aggressiveness on my part. We would not have done what we did if the stakes had not been so high -- the potential loss of the whole company. ?

Most materials copyright © 2000 of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Published January 2000

1 comment:

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