Marketplace Scratch Pad

I’m gonna make him an offer…

Paddy Hirsch May 4, 2009

A spat’s brewing about the government’s allegedly aggressive lobbying of those holdout non-TARP lenders to Chrysler. In case you’ve missed it, the government’s plan to get Chrysler in and out of bankruptcy at lightning speed depends on the co-operation of a number of lenders. But they’re holding out for what they believe could be a better deal.

Tom Lauria of White & Case represents the Chrysler holdouts. He was interviewed on News/Talk WJR by host Frank Beckmann, and told how one of his 20 clients was strongarmed.

Lauria: One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House, and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight. That’s how hard it is to stand on this side of the fence.

Beckmann: Was that Perella Weinberg?

Lauria: That was Perella Weinberg.

But Perella Weinberg is now denying this.

Dealbook reports that Perella released a statement saying the firm decided to back the government-proposed settlement Thursday afternoon, after Mr. Obama criticized the lenders in harsh terms.

“The charge is of course false as both parties who would know the facts have pointed out,” Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, told DealBook. “It is neither substantiated by people involved in the conversations nor by what has transpired over the course of the last couple of days.”

And, of course, the government would never resort to such underhand, sleazy, well, Nixonian tactics.

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