They Thought The Party Would Last Forever

We know all the stories. Lavish parties. Ridiculous indulgences. Excessive influence over politicians.

No, not on Wall Street, we’re talking about the California Avocado Commission:

NYT: Indeed, even as the state’s avocado farmers suffer through one of their worst slumps in memory, the audit showed that commission employees were buying season tickets for the Los Angeles Angels and hockey’s Mighty Ducks; getting paid gym memberships, complete with stipends for vitamins and workout clothes; and running up large clothing bills.

“I was not pleased,” said Rick Shade, the unpaid chairman of the board and third-generation avocado man, who learned of the audit’s findings last fall.

The audit, prompted by complaints from some of the group’s members, covered a three-year period ending in May, when the commission’s longtime president and chief executive, Mark Affleck, resigned.

An avocado trade group is a funny example, but we’re guessing you’d find this behaviour throughout many industries. When money is flowing too good, people blow it, especially if it’s not theirs.

There’s no doubt Wall Street committed egregious sins over the past several years, but the one it usually gets fingered for — greed — is not what sets it apart.

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