Sen. Levin Grills Goldman Sachs Exec On "Shitty Deal" E-mail

Huffington Post has this amusing exchange between Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Goldman Sachs executive Dan Sparks today.

Chairman Carl Levin, to the delight of the crowd, continually repeated a descriptive, colorful word typically left out of family newspapers that was used by a top Goldman executive to describe a deal it made for clients.

The security, named Timberwolf I, a collateralized debt obligation of other collateralized debt obligations that were based not on actual home mortgage bonds but instead on those bonds' movements, was referenced in a June 22, 2007, email from a Goldman senior executive, Tom Montag, to another, Dan Sparks. Sparks is testifying today before Levin's panel.

In his email, Montag remarked of the Timberwolf I deal, "[B]oy, that timeberwof [sic] was one shitty deal."

Levin used the word "shitty" 11 times -- eliciting multiple rounds of quiet giggles -- in questioning Dan Sparks, the former head of Goldman's mortgage department, about why Montag would describe it as "shitty," how long they had known it was "shitty," and whether they knew the deal was "shitty" when they peddled it to clients.

"Our clients' interests always come first," Goldman says on its website.

That security was rated less than three months prior to Montag's email. It lost 80 percent of its value within five months of issuance. Sparks and Montag have since left the firm.

Levin grew exasperated with Sparks' non-answers: "I don't think you want to answer."

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