The Donald Sued for $4 BillionDonald Trump is getting hit with a lawsuit for a whopping $4 billion in Las Vegas. The plaintiff, Nights at Vegas, Inc., is a licensed management company that handles the leasing of many properties in the Donald’s new Trump International Hotel & Tower. According to legal papers obtained by TMZ.com, their complaint is that the real-estate mogul, who runs a competing leasing organization for units in the building, won’t let them use his own name in order to market the rentals. In other words, they can’t use the Trump brand to drum up interest. Trump’s own leasing agency charges owners more (50 percent of rental income, as opposed to the 20 percent that Nights at Vegas charges), which put it at a disadvantage without the no-branding rule. Still, both the suit and Trump’s marketing mandate come as a surprise. This may officially be the first time in history the Donald has ever asked people to stop saying his name.
Trump Sued for More Than He’s Worth [TMZ.com]
Breaking: John Edwards to Drop Out of RaceToday’s a big day for third-place candidates, it seems. After news spread last night that Giuliani will drop out of the Republican primary race as early as today, news hit this morning that John Edwards is planning the same thing. According to the Associated Press, the former Democratic senator will make the announcement today at 1 p.m. in New Orleans. No endorsement is yet planned.
Edwards to Quit Presidential Race [AP]
Law & Order, ECU — FBI Probes Investment Banks With Its UnitLate yesterday afternoon, the FBI announced it was investigating fourteen banks for accounting fraud relating to subprime-mortgage loans. “There are some irregularities we are looking at,” Neil Power, chief of the FBI’s Economic Crimes Unit, told ABC News, adding that “good old-fashioned greed,” likely played a part in the turmoil in the U.S. housing market, which has led to $135 billion in credit losses since last year. Power declined to say which companies were targets of the investigation but did say that they were “dealing with the people who securitize them and then the people who hold them, such as the investment banks.” Coincidentally, Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley yesterday all separately disclosed that government investigators had asked them for information about their subprime activities. And they might as well add UBS to their list: The Swiss bank, which posted its fourth-quarter results this morning, announced it would be writing off $14 billion, all of it related to subprime mortgages.
FBI Opens Subprime Inquiry [NYT]
Feds Investigate Banks Over Subprime Lending [CNBC]
FBI Wades Into Subprime Mess [ABC News]
UBS Writes Off $14 Billion [NYT]
The Beast Is Slain: Heilemann on Giuliani’s Precipitous CollapseThis past Sunday afternoon, Rudy Giuliani, his presidential bid squarely on the line, his political future hanging by a thread, rolled up in his campaign bus outside Paisano’s Gourmet Pizza in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Hizzoner had been quoted in that morning’s USA Today saying, “The rumors of my demise are premature” — a statement that called its veracity into question by its very utterance. Now, Giuliani stood before a crowd that might have just barely broken into triple digits (if you were rounding up) and delivered what had become of his stump speech. He talked about fighting Islamic terrorism, cutting taxes, and keeping Hillary Clinton from taking control of health care. Across a stream behind the restaurant, a bunch of Ron Paul supporters began chanting, “Rudy is a cross-dresser!” Giuliani was unfazed. “We have to have goals, bold goals, big goals,” he proclaimed. He mentioned that a woman up front had named her cat after him. “It’s better-looking than me,” Rudy said. “That’s one good-looking cat.” Then Giuliani brought his talk to a merciful conclusion — eight minutes and nine seconds after it commenced.