Goldman in Litigation For Being on All Sides of a Deal; Blankfein to Support Same-Sex Marriage; Check Donations to Marriage and Family Groups – Goldman May Be Positioned Short on This Issue Too

Those Goldman boys have the golden touch, as long as they can operate on all sides. Goldman helped take Kinder Morgan private in 2006. Goldman owns 19.1% of Kinder Morgan. Goldman handled Kinder Morgan’s IPO in 2011. Goldman represented Kinder Morgan in its acquisition of El Paso Corporation. Goldman also represents El Paso in exploring possible spinoffs of some of its operations.

When all these roles came to light, never fear, dear reader, Goldman’s two directors on Kinder Morgan’s board refused to participate in deliberations. Ah, that oughta do it. Goldman convinced El Paso directors to go for the acquisition by Kinder Morgen, something that would help Goldman’s position as a part owner. Morgan Stanley, hired to advise the El Paso board on the heroic stuff of acquisitions, was not permitted to present alternative strategies to the acquisition, such as spinning off exploration and production. However, Goldman was exploring the possibility of executives of El Paso doing the spin-offs for themselves.

Got that? The shareholders of El Paso did and have filed suit alleging that Goldman had an interest in seeing the acquisition through because it would benefit through its ownership. Goldman indicates that its private equity folks and its investment banking folks are separate and apart and ne’re the twain shall meet. that the firm’s position in the transactions was cleared through its conflicts committee, Everyone denies any wrongdoing, and off to court we go.

On the same day that this litigation story appeared there was another story about Goldman’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein. Mr. Blankfein has agreed to become the Human Rights Campaign’s first national corporate spokesman. The Human Rights Campaign promotes equal rights for gay, lesbian, and transgender people. In particular, the HRC focuses on same-sex marriage initiatives in and among the states.

Perhaps the Human Rights Campaign should check Goldman’s and Blankfein’s involvement with Focus on the Family and other traditional marriage groups. Mr. Blankfein could be doing what Goldman has done well for almost a century: hedging, or playing on both sides just in case your side doesn’t win.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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