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Arthur Laffer, former San Diegan and supply side economist who is generally considered the primary force behind the Reagan tax cuts of the 1980s, was sued in a Texas court Jan. 11 for alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme. Some 52 Texas investors claim defendants took $3.1 million. Laffer was paid a fee to increase the credibility of the scheme, according to the suit.

Laffer took his company, Laffer Associates, to Nashville from San Diego in early 2007 or thereabouts, as far as I have been able to determine. In September of 2006, the defendant firm invested in Business Radio Network and by December of that year had invested $1.5 million in it.

The suit charges the network with being a Ponzi. Laffer invested with other defendants through the entity of Laffer Frishberg Wallace Economic Opportunity Fund. A spokesman for Laffer Associates told Courthouse News Service that Laffer is no longer associated with that fund.

In 2004, Laffer was sued for his alleged role in a San Diego company called Qualmag. Again, Laffer was charged with lending his name to enhance credibility. The suit was settled but the jury exonerated Laffer. In 1990, Laffer was paid $5,000 to tout a multi-level marketing scheme called FundAmerica. He plugged it in a video.

The founder of FundAmerica was charged in Florida with running a pyramid scheme. In 2002, Forbes magazine criticized Laffer for his involvement in Casmyn Corp., which mined gold in Zambia and Zimbabwe and collapsed in scandal. Laffer told me that he had gotten out of Casmyn.

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Comments

InOmbra Jan. 16, 2012 @ 9:30 a.m.

Golly. San Diego, Nashville, Florida,...where else have I read about that triad of locales? Ah! Nancy Graham, another scoundrel who has gone largely unpunished. Surely she and Laffer have recently chatted over drinks in Tennessee. She's from Nashville and lives just 30 miles up the road now. She took West Palm Beach for a ride prior to riding into San Diego, then riding out under a cloud of accusations. Anything that needs hired guns to increase its credibility is worth avoiding. As are the hired guns.

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Don Bauder Jan. 16, 2012 @ 10:51 a.m.

One of my columns I particularly feel good about appeared in the Reader Nov. 23, 2005. I warned of Nancy Graham, and her cozy relationships with developers, particularly Related Group, while in political office in West Palm Beach. I wrote that column before she ever arrived in San Diego. I repeat something I have said before: Nancy Graham was hired BECAUSE of her shabby and wholly unethical dealings with developers while in office in Florida, not DESPITE of them. She was devoid of ethics and that is exactly what Centre City wanted. Her hiring was never a case of CCDC not doing its due diligence. It looked at her dubious record and decided she would fit very well into San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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InOmbra Jan. 16, 2012 @ 1:20 p.m.

Yes, you sure got it right. If only you were in charge of what goes on in San Diego, we'd be better off! She's supposedly teaching business law at a private college in Lebanon, TN. She no longer has a law license, but did graduate from Florida's Levin College of Law and was licensed in FL in 1982. I'm sure she has lots of shrewd advice to pass on to aspiring and apt students.

Back to Laffer - here he is being interviewed on PBS just last week (supply sider? I'd say he deserves a harsher defining name): http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/jan-june12/makingsense_01-11.html

Laffer's introduced as "Reagan's controversial economist" who had his "life threatened, his California home vandalized,"...and who "dropped out of the public eye for years, moved here to Nashville, Tennessee. But though he's an avid collector of fossils, he's no dinosaur,..." Haha.

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Don Bauder Jan. 16, 2012 @ 3:26 p.m.

I am not aware that Laffer's home was vandalized, or, at least, Laffer claims that it was. Nor have I heard that his life was threatened. Mine has been threatened several times; it goes with the territory. He did not drop out of the public eye. During the time he was in San Diego, he regularly wrote op-eds for the Wall Street Journal and was on TV often. That continued after he moved to Nashville. Even though I had written about dubious activities he was involved in (beginning in the early 1990s), I would still interview him from time to time on economic matters, although I have never been a supply-sider. I appeared with him on TV even after exposing that caper in the early 1990s. My interviews with him were both at the U-T and the Reader. I got regular email commentaries from his economics firm for well over a dozen years, even after he moved to Nashville. He has never been out of the public eye since he emerged in the 1970s. Best, Don Bauder

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InOmbra Jan. 19, 2012 @ 2:48 p.m.

I've been thinking about PBS and how I've lost confidence (and interest) in their reporting over the past decade...certainly what was said on the News Hour report with Laffer, compared to what you know/haven't heard about Laffer, deserves some fact finding effort. Anyway, today I ran across this survey, which is interesting: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/01/3rd-annual-tv-news-trust-poll.html I trust what I read more than what I watch.

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Don Bauder Jan. 19, 2012 @ 4:27 p.m.

You and many others trust what you read more than what you watch, yet daily newspapers, magazines, etc. are suffering declines; metro dailies could be nearly obsolete in a decade or so. Network TV is also declining, and radio is in real trouble. So people must be getting more and more off the web (including the sites run by metro papers). There are good sides to this trend: there are a lot of good blogs out there. Best, Don Bauder

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