Monday, February 2, 2009

Trading Nightmares: The Carlyle Group & GTCR Golder Rauner

Consider two horrific nightmares. First, you find yourself acutely ill in a hospital bed. Rain pelts against the window. You feel the high rise facility rocking in hurricance force winds. Power goes out. Nurses manually perform the functions of life saving machines. The room gets hotter and hotter and hotter. Toilets don't flush, the smell of sewage permeates the oppressively humid air. You sit in that environment for five days before rescue. Thirty four of your fellow patients expire during the wait, including the sweet lady in the bed next to you.

Second, someone nabbed you off the street. You don't know who kidnapped you, as your head is under a black bag. Breathing is difficult. Your wrists hurt from the plastic restraints, given an extra cinching by your sadistic captors. A sharp pain in your upper arm is followed by a burning sensation. What was in the shot someone just injected? You hear plane engines roaring and the floor bumps beneath you. The landing gear just retracted. The stewardess says, "our flight destination today is Syria, land of the thousand beatings." You've been renditioned.

The above situations happened to real people. American corporations were involved, more than one. Even misery can be horse traded.

The dead hospital scenario occurred in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. GTCR Golder Rauner sold LifeCare Hospitals to The Carlyle Group in August 2005. Katrina struck weeks later. The LifeCare unit in Memorial Medical Center lost 24 patients. Tenet Health's Memorial lost another 10. The hospital with the highest death toll warranted not one mention in George W. Bush's Lessons Learned report.

Landmark Aviation, a flight based operation company, is rumored to provide rendition flights for Uncle Sam. People are snatched from the street, airport, or bus station and flown to other countries for interrogation, usually beatings. This occurs in secrecy, the kidnapped have no rights. The Carlyle Group sold Landmark Aviation to an intermediary, Dubai Aerospace, which later sold it to GTCR Golder Rauner. The media raised heck over Dubai Ports World, but couldn't utter a peep over fifty some North American airport operations.

Nightmares were delivered and horse traded by two private equity firms. What if Carlyle used Landmark's fleet of private jets to save LifeCare patients after Hurricane Katrina? Twenty four patients might not have died. The bad dreams seem to compound. What's next from GTCR Golder Rauner and The Carlyle Group? Will they get together for SAW 7? Will Rahm Emanuel star in the twisted production? Golder Rauner's Chairman is Rahm's career mentor and The Carlyle Group his political sponsor. Stay tuned.