Oakland Today

Years ago JoAnne was part of a Board of Directors for a bank in Oakland. She was invited to join a Board of Directors that was 90% Chinese with a Chinese woman president. Although she probably had more banking experience than most other Board members I wondered why she was selected.

The bank was formed in 2005 and was and still is locating Chinatown in Oakland. JoAnne liked the President whose first name was Poppy. Every once in awhile I read the minutes of the meetings especially in early 2008 when the market began to shake.

Long story short, today Poppy is serving 20 years along with the CFO and the two others lower in rank are serving less time. It turned out that they were selling E5, or is it B5 visas which required $250,000. Investment in an underserved community. Voila, investors. That was only part of the problem since the visa lasts only 2 years and then another infusion was required. The real kicker was the fact that in order to make that cash’s increase Poppy decided to put that cash into the market for additional $$ for the fledgling bank- or so she said as part of her plea.

The underlings were less bold and brave and they caved. However the legal part was years long and for a time I feared that the Board would be caught up. I begged Jo to quit. She liked the cash for each meeting – even after it was clear that really bad stuff was going on.

Finally she resigned. I took her out for a celebratory lunch in the city.

It turns out that somehow she had more than 6700 shares which at one time was negative because they owed so much money to ripped off ” clients ” and bad loans.

Today there was Stockholders meeting. I went. First I called to make certain it was still on at their attorney’s office on 15th Street near Harrison. Pretty dicey part of the constantly changing city.

That’s my car in the nearly empty lot. I left it there at almost 2:30 with a teeny prayer to the ghosts that take care of cars. I got to the office

Where all the Board members were assembled. 100 % white and male with a brown secretary. The President stepped out and said they had just concluded the meeting and that rather that starting at 2:30 they decided to start at 2.

After his apologies and saying that everything they went over was part of the packet sent via mail. Nothing new. He said he would be happy to answer any questions I might have and gave me his card.


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On the planet in California

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