Tuesday, August 9, 2011

An Equitable Lifer; and Occasionally, an Equitable Death Too.

I suppose it wouldn't be unusual for a 66-year-old man to die in a public way of "heart trouble," but Jordan's case smacks of a ritualistic sacrifice of necessity of a type that does occur amid vast conspiracies, especially when they unravel. Jordan lacks that era's signature wound--a blow to the base of the skull, but perhaps heart-attack-mimicking drugs such as those apparently used in the September 11th, 2001 plans, were available in some form then. Better still---he could represent a hybrid semi-involuntarily committed suicide. Jordan clearly had to go and a goodbye visit to his son confirms it. The presence of "Dr. F.C. Wells of the Equitable," both on the subway platform, and in the news reporting later, is evidence I've come to see as crafted narrative detail. "Coroners' Physician Weston," (which makes for a fascinating Google by the way,) could, and did, go both ways.

The New York Times was the same old bitch selling her tired ass 90-years ago with her "came out of his retirement voluntarily" finesse. Jordan Sr. was on the lam for 20 months to evade the subpoenas of the Armstrong committee. There ought to be a law that shuts down a corporation until its Comptroller complies.

Jordan Jr. plays a strange role in that period too---a sort of opposite "coals to Newcastle" function. He sold fire insurance in---and to---the Equitable building, but for some reason nobody bought it. This served to clear the field of apparent motive for charges of incendiarism in the January 9, 1912 Equitable Building fire and collapse, unlike the later manifestation of Cantor-Fitzgerald, who took a reported $1.5 billion from just the government 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund alone, not to mention the fake art.

However, the history of insuring the Equitable building for fire, and then un-insuring it via young Jordan, provides our complex modern minds with a more satisfying smoking-gun resolution than "Jewish lightning." The usually compliant New-York Daily Tribune, on the fourth page of the Jan. 10, 1912 edition, in The Equitable Allowed $4,000,000 Policies to Expire, tells the Rumsfeld of what they didn't know they didn't know.

Jordan Jr. spoke briefly at the Armstrong hearings and was a punk. I've appended a transcript below.

July 15, 1908, New York Times,
Ex-Controller of the Equitable Expires of Heart Disease on Wall Street Platform.
In Connection with Revelations Before the Armstrong Committee
Death Overtook Him While on Way Home.
Thomas D. Jordan, ex-Controller of the Equitable Life Assurance Society, who was indicted for forgery a year ago because of his connection with the Equitable's "yellow dog fund," dropped dead on the downtown platform of the Wall Street Subway station yesterday afternoon. Mr. Jordon had lived in Englewood, N.J., for many years. He came into town yesterday to see some friends. He then called to see his son, Frank B. Jordan, who has a general fire insurance brokerage office in the Equitable Building. The younger Mr. Jordan accompanied his father to the entrance of the Subway station and then returned to his office.

The elder Mr. Jordan, after purchasing his ticket, was seen to walk up and down the platform several times. Suddenly he staggered back to the railing, and after leaning there for a second or two, fell to the ground. In the crowd on the platform was Dr. F.C. Wells of the Equitable. He recognized Mr. Jordan and telephoned to his son. Mr. Jordan's body was taken to the Church Street Police Station, and later to his home, at Englewood. Coroners' Physician Weston, who examined it before issuing a removal permit, found that the cause of death was heart trouble.

Mr. Jordan was 66 years old. He was born in New York City and entered the employ of the Equitable as errand boy when he was 17 years old. He afterward became a solicitor for the company and was promoted to one executive place after another. When the Armstrong Investigating Committee turned its attention to the Equitable, on Sept. 1, 1905, subpoena servers tried to find Mr. Jordan, who was then Controller of the society. He was never served.

His son, Frank D. Jordan, surprised the Investigating Committee and its counsel, now Gov. Hughes, by testifying on the stand a few months later that he did not know where his mother and father were, or whether they were dead or alive.

In May of last year the elder Mr. Jordan came out of his retirement voluntarily and pleaded not guilty to eighteen indictments for forgery in the third degree and one charging perjury, Mr. Jordan all the indictments having been found by the Special Life Insurance Grand Jury. Most of the forgery indictments grew out of so-called loans which Mr. Jordan, as Controller of the Equitable, made to various employes of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., These loans were put as bona fide loans on the Equitable books. But Kuhn, Loeb & Co. never received any money from them or deposited any securities with the Equitable as collateral.

Mr. Jordan is said to have made the entries or caused them to be made with a view to reducing the Equitable's actual bank balence in order to conceal the amount of policy holders' money lying idle in bank at a small rate of interest. The names of Louis A. Heinsheimer of Kuhn, Loeb & Co. appeared on the Kuhn, Loeb & Co. checks. Mr. Heinsheimer afterward denied Mr. Jordan's statements concerning his dealings with the firm. The perjury indictment was based on a false report which Mr. Jordan, as the Controller of the Equitable, was said to have made to the Insurance Department as to the transactions covered by the forgery indictments in May, 1907. Mr. Jordan was released in $10,000 bail for trial last October.

Besides his wife and son, Mr. Jordan leaves a daughter, Mrs. Edward D. O'Brien of New York City.
Armstrong Committee Testimony
pages 3260 - 3264
FRANK B. JORDAN, called as a witness, being duly sworn, testified as follows:
Q. Mr. Jordan have you learned of the whereabouts of your father since you were last on the stand? A. No, sir, I have not.

Q. Have you had any communication with him? A. No, sir.

Q. Or with your mother? A. I received a letter from my mother.

Q. Where was it from? A. I think if I am not mistaken, I think it was from Canada.

Q. What? A. Canada, I think.

Q. Did she say that your father was with her? A. Did not say anything about him.

Q. Have you any idea when he is coming back? A. I don't know.

Q. Do you keep a record of the amounts that you have received for placing fire insurance upon properties mortgaged to the Equitable? A. I have a record, yes, sir.

Q. Can you state approximately what that amount has been? A. No, sir; I never figured it out.

Q. Has anyone been interested with you in that business? A. No, sir.

Q. Has your father received any portion of the moneys that you have received for placing such fire insurance? A. Never.

Q. Any member of your family? A. None whatever.

Q. Has anyone connected with the Equitable Life Assurance Society received any portion of the moneys which you have had for placing fire insurance on properties mortgaged to the Equitable Life? A. Emphatically, no.

Q. How did it happen that this business was put in your hands? A. That I don't know, sir.

Q. Was it a surprise to you? A. Well, I guess so.

Q. When was it first placed in your hands? A. About five years ago.

Q. What had been your business previously? A. General fire insurance.

Q. General fire insurance? A. Yes, sir.

Q. Had you placed any fire insurance upon properties mortgaged to the Equitable before that time? A. I have placed them, yes, sir.

Q. But you did not have the entire business? A. No, sir; I have not the entire business now.

Q. You mean that there are still some old mortgages still outstanding where the mortgagors have the option to place it where they please? A. I don't know about that, sir.

Q. Don't you know that there is a clause in the mortgages of the Equitable for about the last five years to the effect that the Equitable has the the right to determine through whom the insurance shall be placed? A. I believe there is such a clause.

3265 - 3269

Q. And you know that under that the Equitable requires that the policies of insurance should be placed through you? A. No, sir, they can place with whom they please.

Q. Don't you know that the Equitable refers persons who are placing fire insurance upon such properties to you? A. I do not, sir.

Q. How much fire insurance have you placed in the last year? A. That I don't know.

Q. Can you tell within a million dollars? A. I cannot, no, sir.

Q. Within five millions? A. No, sir.

Q. Within ten million dollars? A. No, sir, I could not.

Q. Well, you have placed fifty million dollars of insurance? A. I don't know, sir.

Q. Haven't the wildest idea? A. No, sir.

Q. I suppose you can get all that for us? A. I can get that if you wish, yes, sir.

Q. Has there been any change in the policy of the Equitable Life with regard to placing fire insurance through you within the last few months? A. I have placed some of their business to date, yes, sir.

Q. Are you still placing, that is the business of fire insurance upon properties mortgaged to the Equitable? A. Some of it, yes, sir.

Q. How much of it have you placed within the last two months? A. That I don't know.

Q. Have you any idea? A. No, sir.

Q. Have you any compensation from the Equitable? A. None whatever.

Q. What portion of your business is furnished by the Equitable in this manner? A. I don't know.

Q. Have you anv idea? A. No. sir.

Q. Have you any idea whether you have any business except that? A. I have, yes, sir.

Q. Does the Equitable furnish nine-tenths of the business that you have? A. It does not, no, sir.

Q. Will you give me a statement, please, showing what the amount of the business upon properties mortgaged to the Equitable has been during the past five years and the amounts that have been made from it? A. Yes, sir.

Q. What is your rent that you pay to the Equitable Life? A. Equitable Life?

Q. Yes. A. $60 a month.

Q. What offices do you occupy? A. I am on the seventh floor, room 23.

Q. Have you any compensation from the Equitable? A. None whatever.

Q. Never had? A. Never, no, sir.
What makes this level of non-compliance so frustrating is the several levels of investigation preceding the Armstrong hearing. You might think a spoiled punk nepotism beneficiary might get his act together--instead he reveals the real power dynamic. And the following story in the Times? Pure meaningless window-dressing. Get it now?

May 19, 1905, NYT,
Favoritism Alleged in Fire Insurance for Equitable Clients.
Moses Tanenbaum of the insurance firm of I. Tanenbaum & Co., with offices in the Whitehall Building, Battery Place, sent yesterday to Chairman Henry C. Frick, of the investigating committee of Equitable Directors, a letter in which he called the committee's attention to an alleged practice in the society of inserting in its bond and mortgage forms a provision compelling the holder of the mortgage to procure his fire insurance through a broker of the Equitable's selection. Coupled with this information was the statement that a near relative of an officer of the society is the broker through whom the fire insurance on property mortgaged to the Equitable is placed.

Deputy Superindendent of Insurance Robert Hunter, with Congressman Driscoll of Syracuse, Superintendent Hendricks's personal counsel, yesterday took up the examination of William H. McIntyre, Fourth Vice President of the Equitable, who was once private secretary to the late Henry B. Hyde. Mr. McIntyre, was before the Deputy Superintendent all day. The Frick investigating committee also held a session yesterday in the Equitable Building.

In the Supreme Ciurt yesterday Justice Greenbaum reserved decision on the application of William McCulloh of Alexander & Green to vacate the order to show cause why James H. Hyde, James W. Alexander, and Gage E. Tarbell should not be examined before trial in the suit of Herbert E. Tull of Phildelphia to enforce a distribution of the Equitable's surplus. Yesterday's daily peace report, had it that William Nelson Cromwell had become one of the counsel representing President Alexander.

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