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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bank layoff

Los Alamos Bank lays off 10% of workforce With all the other boarded up store fronts in town and closed businesses, this is just one more sign that the money is running out.


Anonymous said...

Why is this a top post? Seriously, NOTHING in the article leads a competent person to the conclusion that "the money is running out". What does that even mean?

The bank was found to have committed accounting fraud and had to pay a fine. When the bank hired better managers they did a proper accounting and the bank found itself with more employees than it needed. Being cost efficient is how banks stay in business. Cutting employees will make more money available for granting loans in the future.

Anonymous said...

This is just another troll post. What money is running out? The troll wants to say something bad about LANL and UC is now desperate to find anything that could bolster that point of view. This bank has very little to do with LANL or UC get over it.

Anonymous said...

Drive through Los Alamos and you immediately notice that the town is unwell. At the entrance, at the Trinity-Central fork, you are greeted by an abandoned hotel, formerly Best Western. Next to it is an abandoned gas station. Behind, an abandoned supermarket (former home of Smith's). More abandoned structures are scattered across town, former Mobile gas station for instance. I don't think this is the sign that the money ran out. Heck, since the last contract change the county has been enjoying the GRT windfall. But obviously the money is mismanaged, as is the development plan.

Come to think of it, the same can be said about the Lab.

Anonymous said...

Spend some effort to look into the situation and you might discover who was in charge of internal audits for the directors when all the accounting fraud was being committed. Yes, it was none other than a position created for the spouse of a former LANL Deputy Lab Director. If you actually lived in Los Alamos, you would know that it is impossible to separate any of the institutions in the county from LANL, and LANB is no exception.

Anonymous said...

Responding to 10:06 PM

The reason the Hilltop Inn was abandoned is because two other much larger hotels were built. Ever been in the Hilltop? The hallways were starting to slope downhill. The net for the town was a large increase in modern hotel rooms, so that's not evidence that Los Alamos is unwell.

The Conoco by the Hilltop was abandoned as were two others gas stations. Smith's built one new one. The reason those stations were forced to close is because all three were facing having to dig their gasoline tanks up and replace them with tanks that meet current environmental standards. The stations couldn't afford to do that so they closed. Even though the town is net down on gas stations, the reason is not because the town is unwell, people still buy gasoline.

The Smith's supermarket wasn't abandoned, it moved across the street. The reason the space formerly occupied by Smith's is still vacant is because the owner has put limitations on what kind of store can occupy the space - any new store can't compete with Smith's or sell merchandise that competes. Since the new Smith's is far larger than the old one and it sells a much greater variety of merchandise, that's not evidence that the town is unwell either.

The truth is that Los Alamos has been pretty stagnant for decades, it's not any more unwell than it has ever has been.

Anonymous said...

Internal bank auditor is not a position that can be "created" for a specific person as every bank has an internal auditor. Maybe the position was given to a specific person but it most certainly was not created for that person.

Anonymous said...

The LANB Vice President of Internal Audits at the time the books were being cooked was Karl Hjelvik. That's publically-available information.

You don't have to be coy, if you're telling the truth you can come right out and say which former LANL Deputy Lab Director Karl was married to.

Anonymous said...

Spend some effort to look into the situation and you might discover who was in charge of internal audits for the directors when all the accounting fraud was being committed. Yes, it was none other than a position created for the spouse of a former LANL Deputy Lab Director. If you actually lived in Los Alamos, you would know that it is impossible to separate any of the institutions in the county from LANL, and LANB is no exception.

October 23, 2017 at 4:43 AM

The schools and the lab even have to coordinate snow delay and closing. Indeed it is a one-pony county.

Anonymous said...

Bill Press was Deputy Lab Director and his wife Jeffrey Howell was placed on the bank's board of directors at the request of UC when Press moved to LANL. According to the public records related to the improper activities at the bank, she was in charge of the board audits for the entire time.

Anonymous said...

John Browne was Lab Director and Bill Press was Deputy Director. Brown got LANB to hire Press' wife (had a different last name) as one of the Board of Directors. That must be what the fuss is about?

Anonymous said...

Responding to 11:36 pm.

That’s right, the new mode of operation for businesses in Los Alamos is simply to abandon their old structures. Just build new hotels, stores, gas stations, or McDonald’s and leave the old ones to decay in full public view. Let someone else worry about all those ghost buildings. Why does the County allow this? Do they have planners? If an old structure cannot be leased to someone else, it needs to be demolished. If appropriate, the businesses should share the cost. Again, the County has the money, enough to build Taj Mahals and grand golf course structures. It’s about misallocation of resources and poor planning. It’s not normal to have the town littered with abandoned, decaying structures.

It’s certainly wasn’t always this way, 12 years ago the streets didn’t look like a neutron bomb went off.

Anonymous said...

Source; Security and Exchange Commission,

"As alleged in the SEC’s complaint, the fraud was directed by Trinity’s [Trinity owns LANB] former Chief Executive Officer William Enloe, former Chief Credit Officer Jill Cook, and former Senior Lending Officer Mark Pierce. The complaint also alleges that former Chief Financial Officer Daniel Bartholomew and the Vice President of Internal Audit Karl Hjelvik failed to implement sufficient internal accounting controls and failed to ensure the bank’s books and records were reasonably accurate."

These five were charged. Only these five were charged. Enloe, Bartholomew, and Hjelvik agreed to settle the SEC’s charges, litigation continues against Cook and Pierce.

So what did Jeffrey Howell have to do with this again? What was she charged with?

Anonymous said...

If there is an overwhelming need to demolish a structure, the county can buy it from the owner and demolish it. Of course that would cost the taxpayers a huge amount of money. The county can also order the owner to make improvements if the structure is a public hazard, but just being an eyesore doesn't warrant government intervention.

If being an eyesore was enough cause for the government to demolish structures, half the homes in Los Alamos would have been demolished decades ago.

Seriously, would you really ask the County Council to prevent Holiday Inn from building a nice, new hotel because the Hilltop Inn won't get demolished soon enough for you? WHAT?? How would that work? The two hotels have two different owners.

By the way, there were as many decrepit buildings in Los Alamos 25 years ago as there are now. Remember the County's Quonset huts? What an eyesore! Remember the trashy apartments that got torn down for the new municipal building?

Anonymous said...

You are conveniently omitting Kroger and McDonald’s from your argument. They were allowed by the County to just abandon their old structures. I guess the next time I buy a new car, I will just abandon my old junker at the entrance to the town. Right next to my old couch, mattress, and a CRT television set. Don’t feel like spending any money or time to properly dispose of them.

Incidentally, who owns the Hilltop inn building?

Anonymous said...

Someone touched a nerve for 9:31 PM!

Just because the SEC did not charge anyone on the board of directors in the LANB case, that is hardly a ringing endorsement. If they had been performing their audit oversight function correctly, then the fraud should not have occurred, or at the worst it should have been discovered and addressed in the next quarter's audit. Perhaps it was incompetence or it was laziness on the part of the directors, but the SEC did not elevate it to the level of bringing charges against them in this case.

Remember that Lay and Skilling are known for their role in the Enron fraud, but the larger failing was that the oversight audit function of Arthur Anderson led to the closure of the entire business.

Anonymous said...

To suggest that Kroger has abandoned the former Smith's store is completely false. Kroger owns the entire Merrimac center, they still have operating outlets there, are still paying taxes on the property, and they are trying to develop the property.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the old McDonalds building and land isn't owned by McDonalds, it's owned by the Shannon Corp. That's the same organization that owns many dumpy apartment buildings in the town. Shannon is actively trying to find a new leasee.

Your beef isn't at all what you claim it to be.

Anonymous said...

I never endorsed anyone. I didn't slander anyone either, but you did.

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