A Picture Paints 1000 Words, the Kushner Affect, Kodak, Chemdas and Covid-19…

FOIA Request to the DFC, dated May 12, 2020

Eastman Kodak, A Loan From the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, a Fabulous Share Price, Kushner and a Donation

The underlying premise of the following opinion analysis is that there was and has been a relationship between Jared Kushner and Kodak’s board member George Karfunkel. That relationship, as we see it, is one based in real estate holdings and transactions, between well connected religious families that travel in the same circles, either directly or indirectly strengthened to religious connections; and then fostered by Kushner’s lifelong political elite status. This is a relationship that, when accompanied by a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” approach, offers Trump significant access to donations and religious Jewish bloc voting as well as the ear of officials in countries like Israel and the Ukraine. It’s all about money and Jewish geography.

It is our belief that the $750M loan to Kodak by a little known US government development corporation whose head is a former Kushner college roommate was no coincidence and was a means to filter money to Kodak, couched in a brain trust Kushner was tasked with building to try to overcome a formidable opponent, Covid-19. Whether or not the company’s head knew of the seeming lack of propriety of the Kodak deal remains open to debate. He spoke frequently about the deal and seems to have sincerely believed he was going to both rebuild a company and slow or even stop the spread of Covid-19.

He has claimed that Covid-19 made the entire loan idea completely reasonable. We beg to differ. Regardless, Kodak had been lobbying the US government for months and while somewhat questionable, Kodak’s ability to re-define itself might have been palatable, or at least was not exquisitely unfathomable. Had monumental increase in share price and corporate greed not come to lay waste on the transaction in the form of some dubious stock trades, including a donation, that loan probably would have materialized.

On August 7th, 2020 it was put on hold. We do not believe it should be provided.

We opine that the metioric rise of Kodak share price on the announcement of the Kodak loan was well-timed by Kodak’s board member, also the Director of Amtrust, George Karfunkel who used a single moment in time to run a significant donation through a mysterious [” virtually non-existent”] yeshiva, Chemdas Yisroel, effectively maximizing gains in the stock which otherwise would not have materialized. The parenthetical in the previous sentence regarding the status of Chemdas Yisroel is based upon a complete lack of paper for the mysterious Yeshiva, an address which is an unlikely place to hide a Yeshiva with a newly acquired $100+Million and corporate filings that seem inconsistent with a company that donates or that fosters young minds. The board of directors is also not easily found but word is that it is a group of people, family members of Karfunkel, who are oft involved in monumentally profitable loophole-based transactions.

Not coincidentally, the Yeshiva was incorporated by a signatory located at an address in Monsey, New York, 25 Robert Pitt Drive, a location that is the alleged principal location for dozens of seemingly opaque companies, nearly all in the hard money lending, real estate, finance and not-for-profit charities and Yeshivas industries. The Char 440 Registration Statement for Chemdas Yisroel, Inc. can be found here.

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Eastman Kodak’s Lobbying Costs Increased Astronomically, “A Basket of Strange Things”

What You Can’t Find in the English Press Shows Up in the Chinese Language Press – Kodak’s Substantially Increased Lobbying Costs, Obscure Yeshiva Donations and “A Basket of Strange Things”…. 

 Note to reader:

The original piece is written in the Chinese Language Press. We used “Google Translate” for the English and do not vouchsafe the accuracy of Google’s translation system. It is fairly consistent, however, with accounts in the English speaking press of the various questionable events that occurred with Kodak and its share price. There is little in this article that is irrelevant. The issue of substantially increased lobbying costs paid by Eastman Kodak has not been the subject of mainstream press but this piece has picked up on that point.

Hopefully some courageous journalist will take it from here. 

To find the Chinese Version of the article, click here.


[Google Translate:

Lobbying Fees Have Increased Sharply, High-level Donations of Stocks – There is a Basket of Strange Things Behind Kodak’s Skyrocketing



〔財經頻道/綜合報導〕柯達(Eastman Kodak)7月28日因學名藥生產的政府融資消息,而讓股價飆漲以後,各種質疑也接踵而來,如27日在無消息面的情況下,股價大漲24%、執行長獲得175萬股認股權等,而現在也傳出柯達今年遊說費用大增,以及有高層在股價飆漲當天,大肆捐贈給由本人經營的慈善團體,疑似避稅等種種可疑事情。


除此以外,《CNN》報導,柯達董事George Karfunkel在29日股價飆上頂點當天,捐贈給1間註冊名為Congregation Chemdas Yisroel、由他本人擔任會長的正統派猶太會堂300萬股股票,這些股票當時價值一度超過1億美元,由於在註冊地紐約州,宗教團體屬慈善機構,因此George Karfunkel的捐贈能有減稅的效果。


[Financial Channel/Comprehensive Report]

After the stock price of Eastman Kodak soared due to the government financing news on the production of scientific-name drugs on July 28, various questions also followed. For example, on the 27th, when there was no news, The stock price soared 24%, the CEO received 1.75 million stock options, and it is now reported that Kodak’s lobbying costs have increased sharply this year, and that on the day the stock price soared, high-level donations to charities run by themselves, suspected of tax avoidance, etc. All kinds of suspicious things. “Reuters” reported that after spending less than US$5,000 in lobbying fees in the first quarter of 2019, Kodak has never spent any money to lobby the US government. However, between April and June this year, Kodak suddenly spent US$870,000 in lobbying fees. The suspicion of “inside trading” has continued to increase; Kodak emphasized to Reuters that the large increase in lobbying fees is due to, like many companies, seeking opportunities to help each other with the government during the epidemic. In addition, CNN reported that on the day when the stock price soared on the 29th, Kodak director George Karfunkel donated 3 million shares of an orthodox synagogue registered as Congregation Chemdas Yisroel and chaired by him. These shares At that time, the value was more than 100 million U.S. dollars. Since religious organizations are charities in New York State where they are registered, George Karfunkel’s donations can have a tax cut effect.



監督及提供慈善機構訊息的非營利組織CharityWatch執董Laurie Styron表示,George Karfunkel的捐贈值得關注,因為他可能透過柯達董事身分,而對股票有些「特別知道」的事情,理論上,慈善機構會有機制防止不正當的避稅行為,但是George Karfunkel是該組織的會長,而柯達董事會對他捐贈行為的審核及批准是否獨立進行也不清楚。



Laurie Styron, executive director of Charity Watch, a non-profit organization that oversees and provides information on charities, said that George Karfunkel’s donation is worthy of attention, because he may be a director of Kodak and has some “special knowledge” about stocks. In theory, charities will have The mechanism to prevent improper tax avoidance, but George Karfunkel is the chairman of the organization, and it is unclear whether the review and approval of his donation by the Kodak board of directors is independent.

An Instamatic of a Story – Kodak, Government Loans, Stock Options, Yeshiva Donations, Developing…


Garage Sale Finds: What was on TV May 1st through 7th, 1971

Kodak, The Twilight Zone, “Pushing a Product” and a “Well Told Story” 

[Our thoughts…] [Corrected 8.14.20 to reflect comments – thank you for the comments]

In May of 1971, the Instamatic was being sold to “Make Your Pictures Count.” They were made affordable so everyone could buy one. They were simple so theoretically everyone could use one. They did not require threading film into a camera, winding it, potentially exposing the pictures already taken or even understanding the development process. It was officially a “point and shoot” a phrase not coined until sometime after its release.

Each piece of the Instamatic was self-confined, from the “Magicube” flash, to the film cartridge, to its ability to be used without batteries. This was an “aim and shoot” camera and Kodak was the most innovative in the business. We could continue to reminisce for hours on this; but that’s not today’s story. What’s important to understand for today’s purposes is that Kodak was, and always continued to be, a company engaged in all things “film and camera related” whether it was the chemical developer and other solutions of the earlier “threaded film” days or the cartridges which were loaded into Kodak’s Instamatic and its flashbulb components or the Kodachrome film used in motion pictures. The company was ahead of its time.

However, it was not then  nor is it now a pharmaceutical company. The idea of somehow pivoting to pharma was a surprise.

When the announcement was made by the Federal Government in late July that on “July 29, [we] signed a Letter of Interest with Eastman Kodak,” which LOI contemplated $750 Million in Loans so Eastman Kodak to further a newly contrived division called “Kodak Pharmaceuticals,” there were more than enough skeptics. We were among those who thought the whole venture absurd and nothing, if not cagey.

It was more like a “shake one’s head” moment, not unfamiliar in our current world which feels like a daily walk into the “Twilight Zone.” And our video clip of the Twilight Zone above will explain that reference and its connection to this story.   

But the “reinvention” of Eastman Kodak did not begin there on July 29, 2020. It began several months earlier with negotiations among the Executives at Eastman Kodak and the Federal Government, presumably including feasibility studies and other logistical considerations, which likely lasted for months. A pharma division represented a material change to a public company, which would undoubtedly affect share prices (and that played out on July 29, 2020).

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A “Kodak Moment”… Board Member Donates Millions in Shares to its Own Non-for-Profit on Day Trading Peaked

TIMING IS EVERYTHING! A $54M Tax Benefit at the Perfect Moment, a Kodak Moment…

For the time being, let’s set aside our belief that the entire Kodak transaction was cagey from the get-go. President Donald Trump was going to magically turn a legendary camera and film company into a Pharmaceutical Giant with a simple Samantha-esque shaking of his nose. Or perhaps, more like Genie stepping out of the bottle. Hmmmm… were those shows filmed in Kodachrome?

Let us also set aside the number of people who became very wealthy from a few presses of the proverbial cursor to conduct some well-timed Kodak trades, not only on the day the US Stock Market made history 20 triggers later, but far sooner.

Let us also ignore how many of those people had insider knowledge and were making trades as early as negotiations had begun with the Trump Administration and the Kodak executives for Kodak to pivot to pharmaceuticals. 

On July 29, 2020, Kodak’s shares rose so fast that they tripped the SEC’s circuit breakers 20 times. This is the first time in the history of the system put in place to halt trading, that it has been triggered that many times. On that day, CNN reported:

Kodak’s stock rose so fast it tripped 20 circuit breakers in a single day

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced the company would receive a $765 million loan to launch Kodak Pharmaceuticals, which will produce generic active pharmaceutical ingredients to reduce America’s dependency on foreign drug makers.
The company’s shares have skyrocketed on the news. Following a more than 200% jump in Tuesday trading, the rally continued on Wednesday and the shares ended up 318%.
But the soaring performance wasn’t without hiccups: The New York Stock Exchange halted trading in the shares 20 times throughout Wednesday’s trading session as the stock soared, climbing more than 650% at its highest.

Behind the scenes, on that same day, one of Kodak’s board member was timing a donation to a charity, Chemdas Yisroel, started by, well… him. While we do not question the philanthropy of the Karfunkel’s, we are questioning the integrity of the entire transaction. 

Mr. Karfunkel is, or was, an insider on the day the donation was made. A transfer of shares in our opinion, whether gifted to a charity or to a child is still akin to a transaction in those shares, particularly if the donor is given an equitable benefit of that transfer. In this case the Karfunkel’s benefited from a tax perspective to the order of $54 Million Dollars in tax benefits after a donation valued at approximately 119M.

Moreover, if the transfer was timed with the moment the shares were at their peak, which given the nuances of donation is altogether possible, were they effectively halted at the moment of donation? And, if all shareholders were “halted” from a securities trading perspective, why can the paper be transferred at the time of the halt? Is this not a securities violation? In other words, could they even transfer from an ownership perspective at the timing they transferred and for the value received? 

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A Little Reported Donation of Kodak Shares, Congregation Chemdas Yisroel, Insider Trading and President Trump

As if the Outrageous Kodak Pivot to Pharma Wasn’t Absurd Enough… We Could Jokingly Commented: “All We Need is a Tax Deductible Donation to a Synagogue”

Kodak came up in an article we wrote in 2018 which is, we believe, relevant to the utter insanity of the recent Kodak transaction. Whomever concocted this folly deserves a prize for one of most creative ways to manipulate the financial markets amidst a pandemic. The greatest victims are Kodak shareholders and those unsavy investors who thought buying Kodak was a good idea. It wasn’t, unless you caught it JUST IN TIME. To do that, you had to be an Insider (with few exceptions).

Yesterday (7/28/20), President Trump surprised a LOT of people announcing that via the Defense Production Act (DPA) the US government is going to give Kodak (NYSE:KODK) $765 million to make pharmaceuticals. The tie to current COVID-19 pandemic issues, for which the Act was invoked, is at best tenuous. Somehow the announcement seems to be more about moving pharma production back to the USA. Which is why it left me, and a lot of others, asking, “why would you pick Kodak?” Seeking Alpha

Will Kodak Successfully Pivot Into Pharmaceuticals? I Doubt It

Trump’s ties to the Orthodox Jewish community is no surprise to those of us researching these topics. He did, after all, commute the sentence of Shalom Rubashkin, heavily tied to both the Chabad and the Satmar communities. This was undoubtedly a favor returned for the bloc vote, and likely other personal and professional benefits for friends and family.

Trump’s daughter and son-in-law have deep, heavily leveraged and big money ties to the Jewish community, most particularly as it connects to Chabad. Ivanka’s former business partner has millions in taxes forgiven by the Internal Revenue Service with many of us left to shake our heads. He was then accused of duping diamond dealers. It should be noted that Ivanka’s former partner denied he owed taxes. But then there’s the odd arson claim involving the same partner.

Jared Kushner’s ties to the power brokers within the religious real-estate mogulcommunity is heavily documented in numerous (questionable) transactions. He has lobbied for his personal success and his wishes have indeed been granted.

So, the only thing missing from the absurdity of the Kodak transaction was the

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