CBS Plays Class-Envy Card Over Countrywide Event That Didn't Happen
Imagine being sent to a luxurious resort in Colorado to investigate a ‚Äúposh‚ÄĚ corporate event, but it gets canceled right before air time. What do you do? CBS covered it anyway.
‚ÄúThe execs who foreclosed on 90,000 homes and laid off 12,000 people ‚Äď off to a posh ski retreat, $725 a night,‚ÄĚ CBS ‚ÄúEarly Show‚ÄĚ anchor Harry Smith said on the February 25 broadcast, teasing a forthcoming story.
Still, that didn‚Äôt stop ‚ÄúThe Early Show‚ÄĚ from giving viewers a glimpse at how lavish the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch ski resort in Avon, Colo., was. The CBS segment, which aired at 7:05 a.m. EST, called the event a ‚Äúsnow job.‚ÄĚ
‚Äú[W]hile the economy in general and many homeowners remain in serious trouble, Countrywide has picked a place where those troubles will go away, for a price,‚ÄĚ CBS correspondent Jeff Glor said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a winter retreat for the rich ‚Äď the Bachelor Gulch Ritz-Carlton resort in Avon, Colorado. Rooms start at $725 a night.‚ÄĚ
Glor‚Äôs reporting resembled something more appropriately aired on The Travel Channel, as he laid it on thick about the planned site of the non-event.
‚ÄúThe mountains are snow-capped, the skiing top-notch,‚ÄĚ Glor continued. ‚ÄúAnd then there's the food. At the famed Spago restaurant, goat cheese layer cakes, tuna tartare, and a sliced Kobe steak dish for $91. For the budget conscious, only 36 bucks for chicken. This is where the troubled home lender Countrywide scheduled a lavish wine-and-dine getaway for mortgage bankers from around the country, for three days, all expenses paid.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThe Early Show‚ÄĚ reported later during its February 25 broadcast, at 8:05 a.m., the ‚Äújunket‚ÄĚ had been canceled.
‚ÄúThis morning Countrywide Financial, the nation's largest mortgage company, under pressure has been forced into canceling a lavish gathering for clients,‚ÄĚ CBS‚Äôs Russ Mitchell said.
‚ÄúThe junket was scheduled for this exclusive $750-a-night ski resort as Countrywide‚Äôs CEO is getting grilled by Congress about his company's problems,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúNinety thousand of Countrywide‚Äôs mortgages are in foreclosure. In a statement the company says ‚Äėin light of recent events,‚Äô it had decided to cancel all gatherings with business partners and clients for the rest of the year.‚ÄĚ
Countrywide agreed to sell itself to Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) for $4.1 billion last month. Angelo Mozilo, the founder and CEO of Countrywide, is scheduled to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform later this week. Mozilo gave up $37.5 million in pay earlier this year, but still was criticized by the media.