Bloomberg article targets one of Fannie and Freddie’s biggest naysayers

Josh Rosner's beef with IRS grabs some media attention

Josh Rosner is co-author of the New York Times bestseller "Reckless Endangerment "How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon", and is the managing director at independent research consultancy Graham Fisher & Co. He advises regulators, policymakers and institutional investors on banking and mortgage finance and twice penned op-eds for HousingWire.

But Rosner is also a lightning rod. In recent memory he waged a negative Twitter campaign against the now-former president of the Mortgage Bankers Association David Stevens (see his HW op-ed page to get a taste of his feelings on this).

Rosner is also a survivor of 9/11 and his experience with the event impacted him greatly, as anyone who has spent a meaningful amount of time with him would agree.

And it is that experience that is now the basis for his lawsuit against the United States of America. According to Robert Schmidt, reporting for Bloomberg, Rosner, who successfully runs a financial services business is claiming financial disability — but only in his personal life.

Yet as Rosner’s profile grew and, according to people familiar with the matter, he got work from prominent hedge funds like Paulson and Co. and Elliott Management Corp., he was having trouble managing his own finances.

For years, even as he made federal tax payments, Rosner failed to file his returns with the Internal Revenue Service. When he and his accountants finally sorted things out, they discovered he had overpaid hundreds of thousands of dollars. His request for refunds, however, was denied because he sought them too late.

Now, Rosner is suing the government to get the money back. And, he’s making a novel argument for somebody who earns a living as a financial expert, contending the Sept. 11 attacks rendered him “financially disabled.” He also asserts that the IRS has targeted him as retaliation for his public criticism of the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bank bailout a decade ago.

What seems unclear is why Schmidt is bringing Rosner’s personal life, especially traumas from 9/11, into an overlapping examination of his public life. While it makes sense that personal events impact personal tax behaviors, Rosner’s wherewithal as a member of the Wall Street professional community are also being called into question by Schmidt, but without drawing a direct correlation between the two, except to say the IRS is harassing Rosner (he claims) for his negative opinions on the Treasury. It's a jump and the resulting Bloomberg piece feels incomplete, and Rosner gives his idea as to why.

A review of Rosner’s activity on Twitter (examples below) reveals a public naming and shaming of the article allegedly before it’s publication.  Namely, Rosner appears to claim a bias at Bloomberg in a series of public messages (see attachments to his tweets), and in turn calls into question the very impetus of the piece. Not to miss an opportunity, Rosner also goes after the MBA leadership again.

In a letter dated October 17, Rosner appeals to Schmidt’s morality, charging the latter with supporting the interest of high-frequency Bloomberg terminal users, such as large banks with substantial secondary markets staff.

If accurate, it appears Schmidt actively rejected Rosner’s claims and clearly went ahead with the article anyway.

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