This spring, construction workers at Goldman Sachs' new headquarters in Battery Park City discovered a pregnant feral cat. A local couple rescued the kittens and placed them in homes. Goldman Sachs agreed to pay for their veterinary costs.
UPDATE: The cat rescuer, Patti Brotman, responded to our e-mail and says Goldman Sachs has paid up:
Yes, the bill has been paid and all of the kittens have been adopted into wonderful homes.
Thank you for your interest.
And Goldman is telling New York that the Express' reporting was "inaccurate" and that the company requested the bills on several occasions and paid up as soon as they got them. In which case we apologize to Goldman Sachs for the stuff we said about the cats, but not all the other stuff. It doesn't matter anyway, since they're not allowed to read Gawker.
SECOND UPDATE: Brotman responded to our follow-up e-mail, and says she got the check from Goldman two weeks ago, or roughly ten weeks after the firm pledged to pay the vet costs.
THIRD UPDATE: Brotman once again responded to yet another follow-up e-mail:
[T]he hold up was due to getting all the vet invoices together so we could send them as a batch instead of individually. When the batch was complete GS picked them up, processed them and cut a check to City Critters, Inc., our rescue group.
So Goldman Sachs did indeed process payment in a timely fashion, and do in fact love adorable kittens. Sorry, Goldman Sachs!
The Downtown Express, a lower Manhattan newspaper, covered the discovery of the kittens and their rescue by local residents Rich and Patti Brotman, who dubbed them "Blackberries." When a Goldman Sachs attorney read about Blackberries' plight in August, the company offered to pay the veterinary costs for the five kittens and to encourage their employees to adopt them.
"We want to be a good and responsible neighbor," a Goldman spokesperson told the Express. How very thoughtful of them.
Flash forward three months and, according to the Express, Goldman still hasn't ponied up. Three weeks ago, the Express' sister paper ran an editorial claiming that "the firm has not yet paid a few thousand dollars of vet bills for the five kittens born in its headquarters building." This week, the Express reported that all the Blackberries had found homes—it's not clear if any of them were with Goldman employees—but that the promised payment was still pending: "[Goldman] now appears to finally be about to cut the check."
We've e-mailed the Brotmans to ask if Goldman, which is on track to pay $20 billion in taxpayer-financed bonuses to its employees in the coming months, has managed to cobble up the estimated $300-per-kitten yet.
Of course, Goldman isn't a deadbeat in all its charitable endeavors. According to the Goldman Sachs Foundation's 2008 tax return, obtained by the New York Times but maddeningly not placed online, the foundation trades its endowment as frantically and shrewdly as the Ivy League financial ninjas at its for-profit namesake:
The latest tax filing for Goldman Sachs's foundation is as thick as a phone book. The list of trades is more than 200 pages, single spaced. Goldman, it seems, invests like no other, even for its own charity.... The foundation, whose returns do not appear outsized in recent years, has placed a lot of its money in hedge funds and trades heavily in futures contracts based on baskets of stocks, bonds and currencies.
So they still hustle when it comes to making money, they just don't like to give it to anybody—as the Awl notes, Goldman's foundation ranks among the top ten in terms of assets, but doesn't make the top 50 in terms of giving. Those poor Blackberries aren't alone.
So here's how Goldman Sachs goes about being a "good neighbor" when it's not busy humoring the local yokels by pretending to care about cats—the construction of the new HQ in which those kittens were born was financed by the state and city of New York to the tune of $390 million, including:
- Financing from $1.65 billion in low-interest Liberty Bonds, which saved Goldman $250 million in interest over the life of the bonds
- $25 million in Federal World Trade Center Job Creation and Retention Program cash grants
- $115 million in tax breaks
- Not to mention discounted property taxes that will never exceed $21 million per year over the term of Goldman's 65-year lease.
Stupid fucking cats.