House Republicans Say Homeland Security Chief’s $60 Billion Budget Concedes Border Cannot Be Secured

House Republicans Say Homeland Security Chief’s $60 Billion Budget Concedes Border Cannot Be Secured

Authored by John Haughey via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Any federal department head with a $60.4 billion annual spending request is going to see fiscal hawks on Congressional panels flash their budget-cutting knives in appropriations hearings.

Cars head to Mexico at the border crossing at San Luis, Ariz. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

But when it comes to embattled United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas—literally, the face of President Joe Biden’s much-maligned border and immigration policies—House Republicans don’t want to trim his budget, they want his head on a platter.

According to DHS, there have been 4.7 million “encounters” with illegal immigrants reported at the nation’s southern border since the Biden administration assumed office in January 2021.

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in Washington on March 28, 2023. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

An estimated 1.3 million “got-aways” have eluded border agents and escaped into the country—a figure many say is underestimated by up to 20 percent.

As a result critics, which include the entire Republican Congressional contingent as well as some Democrats, say there were more than 1,100 attacks on U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents while the flow of fentanyl remains unabated across the southern border, contributing to more than 75,000 poisoning deaths attributed to the drug in 2022.

“Mr. Secretary, you are failing at doing your job. These numbers speak for themselves,” Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) said.

“The policies of this administration have directly contributed to this failure. In my mind, it is very clear this has been a complete failure in you doing your job and we need new leadership.

What will it take for you to resign and step down from this … because I see this as a complete failure. What will it take?” Hinson asked.

Mayorkas didn’t directly respond to Hinson’s query during his two-and-a-half-hour March 29 hearing before the House Appropriation Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.

Nor did the DHS chief answer pointed questions about allegedly shifting funding away from already allocated money for border wall construction, or respond to queries about whether Mexican cartels should be declared foreign terrorist organizations or his claim in April 2022 that DHS had “operational control” of the border. That statement was later refuted by U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz.

It was Mayorkas’s second Congressional hearing of the week and the first of two set for March 29.

The day before, he was ripped by Senate Appropriations Committee Republicans with Texas Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz calling for him to “be fired” or, as a bill now circulating about Capitol Hill demands, be impeached.

“For over two years, we’ve seen skyrocketing illegal migration at the border. This policy-driven crisis continues for one reason, and one reason only, this administration is unwilling to publicly dissuade migrants from coming to the border and unwilling to take action on the authority it already has on the books,” Subcommittee Chair Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) said.

“The Biden administration’s policies are undoubtedly driving our border security crisis,” he continued and referring to the DHS’s $60.4 billion Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) budget request added, “It is our job as appropriators to be good stewards of taxpayers’ money and to ensure we are not wasting money by supporting bad policies that don’t result in deserted outcomes.”

Budget of Wasteful ‘Gimmicks’

DHS’s FY24 budget request actually tops $103 billion with $60.4 billion defined as “discretionary.”

The department’s 260,000 employees deal with a wide range of domestic security concerns addressed by the Transportation Security Agency, the Coast Guard, FEMA, and the Secret Service.

This proposal is, unfortunately, more disappointing than it is promising,” Joyce said. “The budget is full of gimmicks that mask the true cost of protecting the homeland and makes our job as appropriators that much more difficult.”

The department’s total $60.4 billion budget request is “nearly equal to the current fiscal year,” he said but cited the $4.7 billion for the proposed Southwest Border Contingency Fund and another $1.6 billion in “illegal TSA fees” as wasteful allocations that will cost taxpayers more than $6 billion without addressing border security.

“Now is not the time for budget gimmicks,” Joyce said.

Demurrals On The Wall

Republicans called the Southwest Border Contingency Fund a “slush fund” with Joyce claiming it “will spend more hard-earned tax dollars to achieve the same results with less oversight … that incentivizes this administration to not solve problems and do their job in the first place.”

The Biden administration is more dedicated to building more infrastructure for processing illegal immigrants “and then releasing them into the interior, [which] hasn’t worked,” Joyce said.

“Decreasing detention capacity hasn’t worked. Border security operators have been clear—without [increasing detention capacities] illegal immigration will continue unabated.”

Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas) said the $4.7 billion fund is “disturbing” because it essentially concedes the border cannot be safeguarded.

“What has happened under this administration is instead of trying to stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border, we’ve just gotten better at processing those immigrants,” he said.

Cloud, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas), and Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) accused Mayorkas of funneling money from revenue streams dedicated to building the border wall established under the Trump administration to other programs and projects.

Granger said there is $2.8 billion set aside to “complete the wall” with $200 million of that set to “go away” unless it is spent “in the next few months.”

We just going to let that happen?” she asked.

Mayorkas would not answer the question but said he has approved 129 “gates and gaps” projects along stretches of the wall that already exist.

Illegal immigrants, mostly of Venezuelan origin, attempt to forcibly cross into the United States at the Paso del Norte International Bridge in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua state, Mexico, on March 12, 2023. (Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images)

The Biden administration is not going to approve any more wall construction, he said, and is espousing technologies, such as drones, and “investing in personnel.”

“I have approved a number of projects and we will comply with our legal obligations with respect to the funds provided for the wall,” Mayorkas said.

Cloud said DHS prevented Texas from funding portions of the wall on its own. “Right now,” he asked, “we’re paying for [the] border wall to be stored and not built. Is that correct?

“We are indeed,” Mayorkas said.

Cloud said Border Patrol and CPB officials themselves say, “the border wall is the most effective force-multiplier” claiming the budget request “takes money we’ve already allocated and moves it in different directions, is that correct?”

“We will comply with our legal obligations,” Mayorkas said.

“It’s not people or infrastructure. It’s both,” Cloud said. “You are taking what we already appropriated for border wall construction and rescinded that and want to use that for other purposes. Is that correct?”

“Congressman,” Mayorkas replied, “we will comply with our legal obligations.”

“That’s a well-worded way to get around” answering the question, Cloud said. “You’re missing the overall objective of securing the border by funding these little legal loopholes to get out of things.”

“I understand we are not going to build a wall from sea to shiny sea,” Guest said, but a wall is effective in certain places in certain sectors.

“It seems to me this administration is saying we are not going to build any walls. Walls are bad. I disagree with that, walls are beneficial. I think that they do a great job.”

Fire ‘Border Czar’ Too

Hinson said the Border Patrol is budgeted for 19,800 agents but now has only about 19,000. She said Ortiz maintains it needs at least 22,000 agents to effectively patrol the border.

She said DHS should be asking for many more agents, which is an initiative his GOP critics would support.

Mayorkas said the Border Patrol added 300 agents last year and will continue to build its ranks every year. “There is a limit to how many we can functionally hire in a particular year.”

He said, “We need more.”

Good luck, Hinson said. “The policies of this administration have truly affected retention” and said the budget reflects “a lack of meaningful work to address retention challenges. Throwing out increased numbers looks nice, but it doesn’t actually address the reality of the situation at the southern border.”

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) suggested if the administration needs more money to hire Border Patrol agents, he has some ideas.

“It’s strange that this department wants to add 350 Border Patrol agents and 87,000 armed IRS agents,” he said, suggesting Mayorkas contact the IRS “and see if it wants to share some of that wealth with you and perhaps share some of the funding with you.”

Harris said Mayorkas should not be the only administration official to resign over the border situation. Vice President Kamala Harris, as the designated “border czar,” should also step down, he said.

“The last time she was [at the border] was June 2021, that’s more than 2 million crossings ago,” he said. “Our border czar should also resign because she isn’t doing her job.”

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 19:40

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Is There A Link Between Obesity Levels In States And Concentration Of Fast Food Stores?

Is There A Link Between Obesity Levels In States And Concentration Of Fast Food Stores?

The US is grappling with an obesity crisis, as approximately 4 out of 10 Americans currently meet the medical criteria for being overweight. This makes them susceptible to severe health complications like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. 

The question is, what’s the source of the obesity crisis?.. Well, it’s likely the eating habits of Americans. 

According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) survey, as many as 1 out of every 3 Americans eat fast food daily.  

Fast food is associated with causing obesity because its high in calories and fat. It’s processed food packed with additives and often fried. Fast food costs less, and it’s quick, and tens of thousands of fast food restaurants with convenient drive-thrus are situated across America.

Before examining the regions in the US with the highest concentration of fast-food restaurants, it’s important to note that 2021 CDC data showed the highest amount of obesity among Americans was spread across the Midwest, Deep South, and Rust Belt states.

It’s crucial to remember the regions mentioned in the above data. When analyzing the locations of the ten largest fast-food chains in the US, it becomes apparent that many of these stores are indeed situated in the areas with the highest rates of obesity among Americans.





Taco Bell

Burger King

Pizza Hut



Dairy Queen

There might be a connection between the presence of fast-food outlets in particular regions throughout the nation and the increasing obesity rates in those areas. 

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 19:20

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California Man Arrested 10 Times In 31 Days, Faces 33 Charges

California Man Arrested 10 Times In 31 Days, Faces 33 Charges

Authored by Jason Blair via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A man in Fresno County, California was arrested 10 times within a span of 31 days, according to the Clovis Police Department.

Keith Chastain. (Courtesy of Clovis Police Department)

Keith Chastain’s first arrest was on Feb. 19, and his tenth was on March 21. He was booked by Clovis police six times and other agencies four times.

Chastain, 38, faces 18 felonies and 15 misdemeanors. Charges include six stolen vehicles, vandalism, DUI, possession of a controlled substance, fraud, and more, according to authorities.

“I don’t know what is happening in his life to cause him to steal so many people’s vehicles and property. It’s sad; I hope he gets some help,” Clovis Police Corporal Meredith Alexander told KMPH Fox 26.

On his tenth arrest, police received a tip over the phone and caught Chastain driving a stolen truck in Old Town Clovis. Police said he was on his way to the police station in the stolen vehicle to pick up his personal property.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 19:00

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There Was No Good Reason Offered, It Turns Out, for the Gag Order on Students in Doe v. UNC

On Feb. 28, I blogged about Doe v. U.N.C. Sys. (W.D.N.C.), a case challenging the expulsion of plaintiff Jacob Doe for alleged sexual assault; in the case, the court issued a quite remarkable TRO that, among other things, required defendants “to direct all individuals, including but not limited to employees and students, over whom they exercise control to refrain from publishing or disclosing any information concerning the Plaintiff, the disciplinary proceedings, or the outcomes of such proceedings” (emphasis added).

This struck me as likely unconstitutional, because of its substantive scope, because it was entered as an ex parte TRO with no opportunity for the defendants to be heard, and because it purports to restrict the free speech rights of third parties who also had no opportunity to be heard. But when I tried to figure out why the court entered such a broad restriction, I couldn’t, because the motion for the TRO and the supporting memorandum were sealed. And when I tried to figure out the basis for the sealing, I couldn’t, because there was no official sealing order authorizing and explaining the sealing (even though the W.D.N.C. local rules seem to require such sealing orders).

The ACLU of N.C., representing itself and the Freedom of the Press Foundation, joined by my pro bono local counsel Mark Sigmon, representing me therefore moved to unseal the motion seeking the order. I had hoped that this would give some explanation of why such an extraordinary gag order was sought and issued.

The court promptly granted our motion, and also vacated the order (per the parties’ joint agreement). But, having reviewed the unsealed memorandum supporting the TRO, I saw nothing at all that explained the gag order. The memorandum doesn’t discuss the First Amendment, the very strong presumption against prior restraints, or more generally any of the legal analysis that might justify gag orders. Its arguments about UNC’s supposed sex bias and other errors in the proceedings might justify ordering the UNC, as a state agency, not to publicize the outcome of those supposedly illegal proceedings. But I don’t see how anything there explains how the prohibition can apply to students.

I encourage you folks to review the memorandum yourselves, and let me know if there’s something I’m missing. And unfortunately the judge simply issued the TRO that the motion sought, though I’m glad that it did end up being vacated.

In any event, I’m sorry I didn’t blog about this more promptly myself, but I got distracted by the press of other business, and just returned to it; better late than never, I hope.

The post There Was No Good Reason Offered, It Turns Out, for the Gag Order on Students in <i>Doe v. UNC</i> appeared first on

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May Universities Revoke Degrees Based on Findings of Ex-Student’s “Academic Misconduct in Pursuit of That Degree”?

The case is today’s Hartzell v. S.O. (majority opinion by Justice Lehrmann); the court concludes the power is implicit in the statutory scheme authorizing the Texas public university systems, though it also holds that the university must provide due process before revoking a degree. There’s also a short concurrence by Justice Boyd, and a long dissent by Judge Blaylock. An excerpt from the dissent:

The only resource in Texas legal history bearing on the question presented is a 1969 Attorney General Opinion, with which I largely agree. The Attorney General Opinion concludes that a state university wishing to rescind a graduate’s degree must do what any other regretful grantor of property must do to rescind the grant. It must ask a court to require the property’s return. That is correct. A party seeking rescission of someone else’s property is quite obviously not managing its own internal affairs. It is seeking to manage the affairs of the party resisting its claims, and for this it typically needs the judicial power of a court. Nor is it exercising a power that flows naturally from the power to confer the property in the first place. The power to bestow something of value on another normally does not entail the power to unilaterally take it back. This kind of “self-help” remedy is rarely found in the law. It is so rare that I would expect it to be stated clearly in the governing statutes if the Legislature indeed gave it to universities.

An excerpt from the majority’s response:

Further, the Attorney General’s conclusion that a “[c]ourt of competent jurisdiction” is the only appropriate forum for revocation of a degree is inconsistent with our recognition that “[j]udicial interposition in the disciplinary decisions of state supported schools raises problems requiring care and restraint.” The need for such restraint is particularly acute when those disciplinary decisions involve the exercise of academic judgment…. “[C]ourts are ill equipped to evaluate the academic judgment of professors and universities” … The Attorney General opinion also ignores the fact that conferring a degree amounts to a continuing certification regarding the recipient’s fulfillment of the university’s requirements. That characteristic distinguishes revocation of a degree from rescission of other transactions requiring court intervention, like a sale of property.

And an important note about the limited question the court was resolving:

[T]he University officials rely solely on events that transpired while K.E. and S.O. were students in pursuit of their respective degrees as the basis for revoking those degrees. The University officials do not claim, and for good reason, that they may take such action against K.E., S.O., or any other former student based on conduct occurring after a degree is conferred. Instead, they argue that they may rescind a degree upon determining that it was not earned—and thus should not have been awarded—in the first place. We thus consider only whether the University officials may revoke the degrees of former students who are found to have engaged in academic misconduct while enrolled at the Universities.

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NYC Mayor Eric Adams Blames Tik Tok For 32% Surge In Car Thefts

NYC Mayor Eric Adams Blames Tik Tok For 32% Surge In Car Thefts

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has finally figured out the hive mind of a rash of car thefts in New York City: Tik Tok.

The mayor has taken to blaming the social media platform this week for a growing number of grand theft autos that are taking place under his watch in New York City. He says he wants to “hold the platform accountable”, according to a new Bloomberg report

Joined by New York Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Adams has said the “Kia Challenge”, a Tik Tok-based viral video showing how to steal Kia and Hyundai cars, is to blame for about 109 arrests made this year related to theft of Kia and Hyundai sedans. 

At a press conference Thursday, Adams said: “This really emphasizes my continuous call for the responsible behavior of social media. This challenge in particular with Kia and Hyundai, we see it as not only stealing a vehicle, but it’s stealing the future of our young people.”

Car theft spiked during the pandemic and hasn’t returned to pre-pandemic levels, the report says. Grand larceny of vehicles in New York was up a stunning 32% last year, more than any other felony. According to Sewell, most thefts are taking place in the Bronx and northern Manhattan. 

The videos that Adams references targets Hyundais and Kias that lack an engine immobilizer, Bloomberg reports. They have made their way around social media since last September, targeting vehicles made in the 2015-2019 year range. 

When asked about his opinion about a ban on Tik Tok due to national security concerns, however, Adams responded: “I think that it’s imperative for Congress and the federal lawmakers to do a deep dive and come up with the right way to monitor social media.”

He concluded: “As we continue to decrease crime and move crime in the right direction, we don’t need aggravating factors such as what we’re seeing in a social media challenge of this magnitude. We don’t need social media to contribute to social disorder.”

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 18:40

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Where’s Waldo At Club Fed?

Where’s Waldo At Club Fed?

Authored by Joni Ernst and Adam Andrzejewski, op-ed via,

Government bureaucrats are slowly returning to the office after three years of working remotely. Washington, D.C. has the highest work-from-home rate in the country, and the mayor is angry because the city is a ghost town.

Despite empty government cubicles, President Joe Biden tucked a 5.2% pay raise for the 1.4 million employees of executive agencies into his proposed budget. That would be the single largest pay hike for the Swamp since 1980.

They don’t call it Club Fed for nothing.

According to newly released data obtained from the Biden administration via the Freedom of Information Act, these same bureaucrats are already collectively making $1.2 million a minute, $72 million an hour, and over $576 million a day. And that’s just the cash compensation cost to taxpayers!

Last year, the average salaries for employees at 109 of Washington’s 125 agencies were over $100,000 per year. And the lucrative perks included 44 days of paid time off “earned” after just three years on the job—nearly nine full weeks paid to sip margaritas on the beach.

It’s long past time to review the “cost effectiveness gap” at the Swamp’s manifold agencies and ask why federal employees are paid so much to deliver so little in the way of results.

For example, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is supposed to ensure the safety and soundness of our banking system. 5,800 employees and auditors at the FDIC make an average annual salary of nearly $160,000. With the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and headlines pointing to a fragile and distressed banking system, are taxpayers really getting what they’re paying for?

Then, there are the little-known agencies, such as the Appalachian Regional Commission, where the top-paid executives make close to $176,300. The commission is charged with helping pull residents out of poverty in 423 counties across 13 states. However, since the agency was created in 1965 under President Lyndon Johnson, only four counties have attained that goal.

Besides high salaries, there were the 1 million bureaucrats who received $1.5 billion in bonuses, after a whopping 99% of federal employees were rated “fully successful.” That’s not even plausible.

Cherry trees near their peak bloom on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol on March 20, 2023 in Washington, D.C.CHIP SOMODEVILLA/GETTY IMAGES

As the COVID-19 pandemic waned in 2021, Congress established a $570 million federal worker relief fund. The half-billion-dollar program provided paid leave for federal workers who had children not yet back for in-person schooling. Eligible bureaucrats could earn up to $21,000 over 15 weeks.

One of our Senate offices, alongside the other’s private organizational auditors, are now demanding answers to three existential questions posed by the reality of the modern federal workforce. Who is working? Where are they? And, most importantly, what are they doing?

Taking stock of the administrative state is difficult: The Biden administration just redacted the names of a whopping 350,861 rank-and-file federal workers from the Fiscal Year 2022 payroll disclosure. And it isn’t that these are all intelligence officers or spies; by comparison, in the final fiscal year of the Obama administration (FY 2016), only 2,300 names were redacted.

The administration also redacted 281,656 employee work locations.

So, we can’t accurately map the Swamp because it’s a literal game of “Where’s Waldo?” when it comes to the modern administrative state.

Again, we aren’t complaining about names or locations redacted from the National Security Administration, the Pentagon, or the Central Intelligence Agency, where there is a legitimate secrecy shield for national security.

The Biden administration is deliberately hiding key information on hundreds of thousands of regular employees within the alphabet-soup of agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Education, and so on.

We estimate that roughly $36 billion in salary and bonus compensation is hidden from oversight. We don’t yet know who, what, where, or how much. But we plan to find out.

All of which raises the question: Are these federal workers actually working, and what is their real value for the American taxpayer?

*  *  *

Joni Ernst, a Republican, is a U.S. senator from Iowa. Adam Andrzejewski is the founder and CEO of the nonprofit

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 18:20

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US Extends Carrier Deployment To Provide Military “Options” In Syria

US Extends Carrier Deployment To Provide Military “Options” In Syria

Following last week’s deadly attacks on US bases in northeast Syria by what the Pentagon called pro-Iran forces, the United States has announced an extension of the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group’s deployment in the Mediterranean region

“The extension of the George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group, inclusive of the USS Leyte Gulf, the USS Delbert D. Black, and the USNS Arctic, allows options to potentially bolster the capabilities of CENTCOM to respond to a range of contingencies in the Middle East,” US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said Friday.

The George HW Bush carrier is currently near Italy and Sicily. Like with prior US military intervention in Syria, for example the major anti-government strikes on Damascus and elsewhere in 2017 and 2018 under the Trump administration, the Pentagon typically launches missiles from the Mediterranean.

According to Reuters, “Buccino also noted a scheduled, expedited deployment of a squadron of A-10 attack aircraft to the region.”

“One U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Bush strike group was expected to remain in the European Command area of responsibility,” the report continues.

Last Thursday, US forces mounted attacks against Iranian-linked groups in Syria after a US contractor was killed and five military service members and another US contractor were wounded in a drone strike conducted by an unknown group.

But the Pentagon has now revised the number of American wounded upward to 12, citing “traumatic brain injuries”, per CNN

Six US service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries as a result of attacks from Iran-backed groups in Syria last week.

Four US troops at the coalition base near al Hasakah that was attacked on March 23 by a suspected Iranian drone, and two service members at Mission Support Site Green Village attacked on March 24, have been identified as having brain injuries in screening since the attacks, Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said Thursday.

Gen. Ryder explained, “As standard procedure, all personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injuries.” He added: “So these additional injuries were identified during post-attack medical screenings.”

Traumatic brain injuries among US troops were last reported on a large-scale in February 2020 after Iran launched cruise missiles on an American base in neighboring Iraq, in retaliation for the Jan. 3rd US killing of IRGC General Qassem Soleimani in drone strike at the Baghdad airport.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 18:00

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Billionaires Brin, Pritzker, Zuckerman And Ovitz Issued Subpoenas In Epstein Lawsuit

Billionaires Brin, Pritzker, Zuckerman And Ovitz Issued Subpoenas In Epstein Lawsuit

Billionaires Sergey Brin, Thomas Pritzker, Mortimer Zuckerman and Michael Ovitz were issued subpoenas this week by the US Virgin Islands as part of its lawsuit against JPMorgan over the bank’s relationship with now-deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

The subpoenas seek any communications or documents related to JPMorgan and Epstein.

The four men are some of the wealthiest people in the U.S., and it couldn’t be determined why they were being asked for the communications and documents. In civil cases, lawyers can use subpoenas during the discovery process to get information from people who aren’t a party to a lawsuit but could provide evidence related to the case. -WSJ

JPMorgan is being sued by the US Virgin Islands along with several Epstein accusers in a combined case over Epstein’s sex trafficking operation. The plaintiffs claim that the bank facilitated abuse by allowing Epstein to remain a client while helping send money to his victims. The lawsuit also alleges that JPMorgan turned a blind eye to Epstein’s activities after receiving referrals for high-value business opportunities.

Hyatt Hotels Corp.’s Executive Chairman Thomas Pritzker and Google co-founder Sergey Brin.Photo: Franck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency, Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Brin is a co-founder of Google and sits on the board of parent company Alphabet. Pritzker is executive chairman of Hyatt Hotels. Ovitz is a venture capitalist and co-founder of the Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and Zuckerman is a real-estate billionaire and owns US News & World Report.

Michael Ovitz, venture capitalist and former Hollywood agent, and Mort Zuckerman, real-estate investor. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters, Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg News

As we noted on Tuesday, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is expected to be deposed under oath regarding the bank’s relationship with Epstein – who banked with JPMorgan for 15 years until it eventually cut ties with the convicted sex offender in 2013.

“Jamie Dimon knew in 2008 that his billionaire client was a sex trafficker,” argued US Virgin Islands attorney Mimi Liu during a March hearing in front of Manhattan US District Judge Jed Rakoff, referring to the year Epstein was first criminally charged with sex crimes, CNBC reported earlier this month.

Lawyers have questioned several JPMorgan employees so far in this case and another filed by an unnamed woman who accused Epstein of sexual abuse. The cases are running together in Manhattan federal court.

JPMorgan has sought to have the lawsuits dismissed. The bank has denied that it aided Epstein and has sought to blame any relationship on former executive Jes Staley, whom the bank has sued. Mr. Staley has maintained he was friendly with Epstein but never knew about his alleged crimes. -WSJ

“If Staley is a rogue employee, why isn’t Jamie Dimon?” Liu said during the hearing to discuss the bank’s efforts to have the USVI lawsuit against the bank dismissed, referring to former JPMorgan executive Jes Staley, who is not named in the current litigation.

“Staley knew, Dimon knew, JPMorgan Chase knew,” Liu continued, noting that there were several cash transfers and wire transfers made by the prolific pedophile (Epstein), including several hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to several women which should have been flagged as suspicious.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 17:40

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Exodus Trend Persists: Homebuyers Unfazed By High Mortgage Rates Leave Expensive Cities

Exodus Trend Persists: Homebuyers Unfazed By High Mortgage Rates Leave Expensive Cities

A new report from real estate brokerage Redfin indicates that, despite elevated mortgage rates, homebuyers continue to leave expensive metro areas like New York and Seattle for more affordable housing options in cities like Miami and Pheonix. 

Miami, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Sacramento, and Tampa were some of the most popular destinations for homebuyers to relocate from pricey cities such as New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in February. 

“Relatively affordable Sun Belt metros perennially top the list of places people are looking to move, due mainly to their comparatively cheap housing and warm weather,” Redfin wrote in the report.

Even though the homes in the cities with the most inflows last month were considerably more expensive compared with pre-pandemic prices, they remain comparatively affordable. 

The typical Miami home sold for $485,000 in February, compared with $640,000 in New York, the most common origin for homebuyers looking to move in. And the typical Phoenix home sold for $425,000, compared with $710,000 Seattle, the most common origin. –Redfin report 

For the Federal Reserve, which is trying to cool down the housing market, Phoenix Redfin agent Heather Mahmood-Corley has some troubling news: 

“For buyers coming from the Bay Area or another expensive place, homes in Phoenix seem cheap. That’s why out-of-towners are still buying homes even though rates are high.

“Desirable, well-priced homes are selling quickly, sometimes with a bidding war–largely because there are still so many buyers moving in from out of town.”

Top 10 Metros Homebuyers Are Moving Into, by Net Inflow

Redfin noted homebuyers are leaving San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles more than any other metro in February, followed by Washington, D.C., and Chicago. 

Expensive coastal job centers typically top the list of places people are leaving. That trend became more pronounced in recent years as remote work allowed homebuyers to relocate to more affordable areas. –Redfin report 

 Top 10 Metros Homebuyers Are Leaving, by Net Outflow

While increasing mortgage rates have made home buying the most expensive in a generation, some folks relocating are unconcerned, as they are moving to areas with more affordable housing options.

Tyler Durden
Fri, 03/31/2023 – 17:20

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