I’ve written twice about the scandal lurking behind Trump’s very suspicious use of the Defense Production Act to loan Kodak $765 in taxpayer money to reconfigure itself as a pharmaceutical company – and, coincidentally greatly enrich its CEO at the same time, via well-timed stock options. It also just so happens that Kodak was a big sponsor of Trump's Celebrity Apprentice show.
Monday night, Joy Reid asked business correspondent Stephanie Ruhle, “What the heck is going on with this deal?”
They filed in 2012. They tried to get their groove back and failed. They tried to get into the cryptocurrency space. But even in the last year, executives have been guiding Wall Street, saying, “We might not be able to continue much longer.” They issued a deal in the spring because they didn't have enough money.
So, here we are, a company with no pharmaceutical experience. Yes, they’ve got experience in making chemicals that had to do with developing film. No experience. So, if this administration wanted to say we're too dependent on getting drug ingredients from China, we want to bring it here, that makes a lot of sense. Guess what we have though, Joy? All sorts of viable drug companies that could do this. Eastman Kodak sure ain't one of them. That's my problem.
The supposed collateral for the loan is suspect, too. Although the company has emerged from bankruptcy, Ruhle questioned whether there's real assets protecting the public money given that the stock was trading at $2 a share before the loan was announced?
“Every lawmaker out there should be on the side of, at the very least, asking questions, as well as the SEC,” Ruhle said.
Reid raised the obvious question: Is there some kind of financial benefit to Trump in this deal?
Ruhle called it “premature” to draw such a conclusion but definitely time to start investigating.
UPDATE: The SEC is investigating. While I was writing this up, I found this further bit of stink, in an article about that in USA Today:
The details of the loan deal were revealed to local media outlets by the White House the day before the official announcement, which contributed to Kodak shares surging above $60. Shares of Kodak closed at $14.40 on Tuesday.
An earlier report said that Kodak had carelessly leaked the news. I'm not sure which is worse.
And then there's Trump:
Trump made a point of announcing the loan to Kodak himself.
Now that the SEC is investigating the matter...
"I wasn't involved in the deal."
— Eli Stokols (@EliStokols) August 4, 2020