Friday, July 6, 2012

Mel Watt's then-chief of staff referred to Countrywide VIP unit

Joyce Brayboy, who served as U.S. Rep. Mel Watt's chief of staff for 12 years, was one of a number of staffers connected with the House Financial Services Committee to be referred to Countrywide's special VIP  lending unit, according to a House report released Thursday.

The VIP program was used to give special service and discounts to people in positions of power and other friends of then Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo, including numerous members of Congress.

Countrywide lobbyist Jimmie Williams, who referred to himself as a "personal friend" of Brayboy, directed her to the VIP unit in 2004 when she was looking for an adjustable rate loan. At the time, she was Watt's chief of staff. Williams also routinely directed Congressmen to the VIP unit.

Williams told a Countrywide staffer to handle Brayboy's loan "carefully," saying that she "reports directly to Congressman Mel Watt who introduced predatory lending legislation to address unscrupulous lending practices, and they do view Countrywide as a trusted advisor," according to an email turned up in the House investigation.

Brayboy did not end up getting a loan from Countrywide. 

Brayboy worked for Watt from 1995 to 2007. She now works for Goldman Sachs as a lobbyist.

2:30 p.m. Friday update: Watt said Friday that he had not seen the report and was not aware of the House's investigation, so he did not want to comment on it. He also said that Brayboy was not dealing with financial services issues at the time.

"If this report was like most government oversight reports, it's more about speculation than fact anyway," he said.


Garth Vader said...

"She now works for Goldman Sachs as a lobbyist."

Jesus H. Christ is there NOWHERE the vampire squid doesn't have a tentacle?

Anonymous said...

Word to your Mother, Mel, word to your Mother!

Anonymous said...

In the end "Brayboy did not end up getting a loan from Countrywide." And your point of this article? I'm sure many were "referred".

Anonymous said...

10:35, if you care to, I'd recommend reading some of the articles I link to earlier in the post for more context on why it matters.