And They Said President Bush Was a Moron

This takes the cake:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (TheStreet) — The Treasury Department, not the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., should be held responsible for a public relations gaffe last month in which the FDIC closed a Chicago bank just hours after it received an award from Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, according to FDIC spokesman David Barr.

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Park National Bank of Chicago received $50 million in tax credits to encourage investment in poor communities at an Oct. 30 ceremony attended by Geithner. Hours later, though, it was seized along with eight other banks around the country that formed part of a holding company called FBOP Corp. and sold to U.S. Bancorp (USB Quote).One financial services executive, who did not want to be on the record for fear of running afoul of regulators, accused the FDIC of timing the closure as it did in a deliberate effort to embarrass Geithner.

FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair has tangled with Geithner before over issues such as her approval of Wells Fargo (WFC Quote)’s acquisition of Wachovia after the failed bank had initially struck a deal with Citigroup (C Quote), according to a Bloomberg News report last year. The report said Geithner tried to push Bair out of office.

FDIC Spokesman Barr says questions over the issue should be directed to John Dugan, the Comptroller of the Currency, which is a bureau within the Treasury Department. Barr says Dugan sits on the FDIC’s board and could have warned Geithner of the impending closure, since the FDIC took bids on FBOP Bank October 20 — 10 days before the bank was closed.

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