Sundance author series to feature Gretchen Morgenson
March 20, 2012
When the economy began crumbling in 2008 and came down with a crash, New York Times finance writer Gretchen Morgenson was there.
In fact, Morgenson, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her New York Times coverage of the 9/11 attacks, and Joshua Rosner, Managing Director of Graham, Fisher & Co., an investment research firm in New York City, joined forces and wrote the book "Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon," which was published last year by Times Books.
The book tells how the economic disaster started and how those who were supposed to be watching and protecting fell asleep on the job.
Morgenson will open the 2012 Sundance Author Series with a presentation that will feature a 30-minute lecture followed by a question and answering session at the Sundance Resort on Saturday, March 24.
Other authors scheduled for the series include "Swim Back to Me" by Ann Packer on May 19, "One on One: Scenes with Greats of the Game by John Feinstein on June 16, and Stephanie Nelson, author of "Heaven Is Here" on Sept. 15.
This will be Morgenson’s first visit to the Sundance Resort.
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"The publisher of ‘Reckless Endangerment’ received a request from Sundance last summer and asked if I’d be willing to come out and join in," Morgenson said during a phone interview with The Park Record from her office in New York City. "It was something that I had not known about, and was thrilled to be invited. Although I’m a big Utah fan, I’ve never been to Sundance, so this is great opportunity for me."
The presentation will be about the research, information gathering and writing of her book.
"It will be a combination of why we tackled the issue and the way we tackled it, but it will also be about where we are now, in the process and the economy," Morgenson explained. "I think people are interested in seeing if we have to endure years more of the crisis, when we’ve already endured quite a bit to date. We’ve seen a bit of improvement in the economy, so some are feeling the worst is over. And that’s what I’ll talk about."
Morgenson, who has covered financial markets for the New York Times since 1998, said she and Rosner felt although the economic disaster started to unfold in the fall of 2008, they had to go back in time to understand what really took place.
"This wasn’t something that happened overnight and sprang forth fully formed in two years." she explained. "We wanted to educate people and get them to understand that you really have to get back to the early 1990s where the groundwork was laid and by whom."
The writers knew they were taking a little chance because there were other books being written at the time about the same topic.
"We weren’t sure ours would be like everyone else’s, but (ours) turned out to be very different and I have been greatly gratified by the response we have seen and the interest that continues to this day," she said.
The ebb and flow of economic disasters has been a norm in the financial world since before Morgenson can remember.
"Before I was at the New York Times, I was at Forbes magazine," she said. "Before that I was also a stock broker on Wall Street for three years during the beginning of my career, and I learned a lot about the business and they way the world works and how companies raise capital and grow."
Morgenson found during her career that there would bee good times and then some bad times, but the problems in the past few years have been pretty consistent.
"I hesitate to say there is more corruption now, because it’s very difficult to judge and a lot of time you look back and have to wonder how nostalgia colors your view of the old days," she said. "But since joining the Times in 1998, it’s been scandal-rama.
"We had the Russian-debt crisis, the Long Term Capital Management hedge fund collapse and the Internet bubble, Enron, World Com," she said. "So I have been very busy, and it’s been a little distressing, because it didn’t always used to be that way."
During her time at Forbes, she would always have a story about a company making good investments and decisions through innovation.
"There does seem to be, especially in this last episode with the housing crisis, a tremendous amount of corruption every step of the way from the creation of bad mortgages to the selling of them and lack of regulation by government agencies who were supposed to keep an eye on these companies," she said. "Now, (we’re finding) the corruption runs through the foreclosure crisis where we have banks filing phony documents with the courts about the homes they are foreclosing on."
Trying to understand to what went on in this particular crisis has taken a lot longer because the information Morgenson and Rosner were trying to uncover was hidden from view.
"It’s taken a while to get a grasp of the questionable practices that went on," Morgenson said. "One of the things that troubles a lot of people is how few prosecutions have arisen out of the crisis.
"There was billions of dollars lost and millions of people losing jobs and homes and there have not been any major criminal prosecutions of people who were central to the crisis," she said. "That’s what I’ll talk about."
The 2012 Sundance Author Series kicks off with Pulitzer Prize winning author Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times on Saturday, March 24, at the Sundance Resort, 8841 N. Alpine Loop Rd., Sundance. Brunch will begin at noon and the presentation will start at 1 p.m. Tickets are $75 and include brunch, lecture and a signed copy of "Reckless Endangerment." Tickets are available by calling (866) 734-4428 or visiting http://www.sundanceresort.com.