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Catalyst Capital Group Inc -- Questions about hedge fund expansion from casino management to controlling food supplies

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(Article changed on September 2, 2013 at 07:58)

CCG Inc - Your food in their hands?
CCG Inc - Your food in their hands?
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Toronto based hedge fund Catalyst Capital Group Inc is leading the pack when it comes to bean counters taking over our food supply chain. Not content with a portfolio including fine art reproductions, telecommunication, film/media assets, phone services, wholesale power generation, steel & other construction products, biopharmaceuticals, and the development/operation of casinos, the group also includes restaurants and supermarkets.

It's over two years since CCG took over some of the failing grocery outlets in the troubled US Super Fresh chain. For anyone unlucky enough to rely on one of these renamed Fresh & Green's outlets to feed their family then like me you are probably wondering what happened to all the promises made by the new management? Claims by a company spokesman in Supermarket News that they "would broaden the appeal of their stores by retaining the current shopper base and providing items that shoppers might otherwise make another trip to buy', appear to have failed at my local store and that's despite firing workers and slashing wages. The management needs to make adjustments at a much senior level instead of picking on local store managers and shelf-stackers.

The company CEO makes a point of claiming 'we are paid to perform and protect our investors. We're not paid to be rock stars'. Where I live they are neither - just a disappointing & expensive bunch of jokers.

As if this isn't bad enough, these Canadian whiz kids are paying for expensive weekly advertising of in-store specials to be dropped through my mail-box & then frequently don't even carry the same items! And don't even get me started about the lamentable range of products, high prices, and poor quality of fresh goods - I've shopped in Third World supermarkets with more appeal!

Not that the competition in my area is much better -- from what I can see Fresh & Green's are in a race to the bottom with the dismal Acme chain. But as a consumer at least I can just walk away and shop elsewhere - unlike Catalyst Group investors who have a lot more to loose.

I'm not alone in my concerns. The landlord of one former Super Fresh store (also taken over by CCG in a similar bankruptcy auction) filed an action in the courts claiming the new owners did not have the experience or financial wherewithal to assume the lease or have the ability to match the sales generated by the previous owners.

Should Americans be worried that their food supply chain is being slowly taken over by hedge fund managers who may be experts in finance and running casinos? Judging by the stellar way some of them have helped to destroy our economy in the last few years I think the answer must be a resounding YES!

And exactly who is the genius who runs Catalyst Capital Group Inc? None other than the rarely photographed Newton "Buttercup' Glassman. Don't even ask about the nickname - it comes from a hagiography written by Theresa Tedesco, Chief Business Correspondent for Financial Post Magazine -- the nearest thing I've ever seen to a blow-job in print!

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Ted Newcomen is a citizen-journalist - someone who is tired of the lazy 'lamestream' media circus which is obsessed with the cult of celebrity and just recycles press releases for the establishment.
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