Something Smells Over at Wells (updated)
0 comment Sunday, May 18, 2014 |
Cheronda Guyton, a senior vice president with Wells Fargo, allegedly helped herself to one of the more prestigious properties in the bank's foreclosure portfolio: an exclusive Malibu beach house (view from the back porch pictured here). Its former owners got Madoffed and lost the house and all its furnishings.
This summer, Ms. Guyton reportedly began using this bank-owned beach house, valued at $12 million, as her own. Neighbors claim she threw numerous and lavish parties; at one of these grand galas, a yacht was anchored off shore and a smaller boat ferried guests to and fro.
Here's the story from an ABC affiliate:

It would certainly appear that Cheronda Guyton is enjoying hefty perks as a senior VP of a bailed-out bank. The house is listed as a vacation rental for $60,000.00 a month. Oy vey!
Not surprisingly, Ms. Guyton did not answer reporters' calls at her office.
Wells Fargo, however, came out boldly with an ambiguously-worded statement:

"Wells Fargo & Company said today that its internal policies, including those that govern team member conduct, prohibit personal use of properties held by Wells Fargo. Based on these operating principles, the company has launched a full internal investigation of allegations that a team member was improperly using a bank-owned residential property in Malibu, California."Indeed, reports the LA Times, Wells says it will,
"take decisive action with respect to any team member who may have violated Wells Fargo�s policies. The allegations certainly do not reflect the conduct we expect of our team members. We place the highest value on honesty, trust and integrity to guide our team members in making business decisions each day. We regret the disruption to the neighboring property owners since these allegations were made."Blah, blah, blah. Blather, blather, blather. This begs several questions, the biggest being, why hasn't the bank denied all knowledge of Ms. Guyton's supposedly illicit self-dealing?
And if Wells Fargo didn't know she was using the house, if it didn't know about these posh parties, complete with yacht, why not? It certainly knew there were offers to buy the house -- offers that, according to the listing agent, Wells Fargo "repeatedly rebuffed."
If we are to believe Wells Fargo did not sponsor or, at the very least, sanction these parties, then who picked up all the party tabs? Ms. Guyton? This seems unlikely, if her nearby-Los Angeles house in Fairfax is any indication. She and her husband Andrew paid $900,000 for it in 2004 -- modest by California standards, even then.
But assuming Wells Fargo was clueless, a notion that stretches credulity, then the high-flying Ms. Guyton is drawing far too large a salary, a salary the taxpayers are funding, no less. Because, you may recall, Wells Fargo received at least $25 billion in bail-out money from the federal government.
Look out, Ms. Guyton! I smell a rat scapegoat. I hear a bus.
9/13/09 correction (thanks to commenter Gretchen): This post has been updated to reflect Ms. Guyton's house is not in Marin County. And, as Gretchen points out, Fairfax is indeed a middle-class neighborhood.

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