A Sleight Of Hand At The NCUA

Something doesn't add up with the NCUA internal watchdog's report.

Let’s pursue the past a little further as to the history of $1 billion in highly questionable legal fees paid from credit union funds by the NCUA.

Running down the numerous omissions in the NCUA Office of Inspector General’s letter to Congressman Issa is pretty dull stuff. I’ve already discussed the great sleight of hand the Office of Inspector General (OIG) tried to bring to Congressman Issa’s simple question as to whether the $42 million pass the cash contingency legal fees were politically motivated. Click here to read that post.

The OIG reported the NCUA’s chief legal counsel prepared his final recommendation to the NCUA board for approval on Aug. 20, 2009, and the contingency legal agreements were signed Sept. 1, 2009. Board member Michael Fryzel stated he wasn’t familiar with the law firms, chair Debbie Matz claimed she didn’t know what was going on because she didn’t start work until Aug. 24, 2009, and board member Gigi Hyland’s whereabouts and involvement are strangely omitted.

So no one was present at the scene of the crime. Extremely convenient, but not very probable.

But here’s a question: On page 10 of the Issa letter, the OIG states: We note further that an OGC (Office of the General Counsel) memorandum to the NCUA board setting forth the General Counsel’s final recommendation regarding the choice of law firms was dated Aug. 20, 2009 …

Final recommendation … to the NCUA board … regarding choice of law firms … dated Aug. 20, 2009.

Clearly and logically, it was the NCUA board’s choice as to whether to go forward with the contingency legal fee agreements and to choose which law firms. So, the NCUA board approved the deal, but at which board meeting did they vote? The two nearest NCUA board meetings according to the NCUA website were July 16, 2009, and Sept. 24, 2009.

Final recommendation Aug. 20, 2009 … contract signed Sept. 1, 2009 … something doesn’t add up with the NCUA’s internal watchdog’s report.

OMG … OIG. Accountable? Competent? Transparent?

The current NCUA board should act to clear the agency’s name: What is the truth?

This post ran originally on Jim Blaine on Credit Unions on Nov 1, 2016.

November 9, 2016

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