Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Freddie Mac Chief Dies By Suicide

Has there been another "Great Recession" suicide, the kind of newsmaker that the media has been waiting to elevate to "celebrity death" status?

Update: ABC News Alerts is sending this out as an online bulletin. Breaking News from ABCNEWS.com: Freddie Mac CFO Found Hanging in His Basement, Law Enforcement Officials Tell ABC News [9:37 a.m. ET].

The media is building this into a lead story for the day. As I have written, flashing out the graphic details of the method of the suicide, especially in headline or bulletin form, as seen here above from ABC (and now others?) ties into research indicating behavior contagion follows.

Earlier reports were as follows:

David Kellermann, acting chief financial officer of Freddie Mac, died by suicide in his Hunter Mill Estates home on Wednesday morning, April 23, 2009, according to WTOP.

Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Mary Anne Jennings tells WTOP that Kellermann, 41, police responded to the home after family members called police around 5 a.m.

Police were called at 4:48 a.m. EDT to Reston, Virginia, spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell told Reuters.

"We were called from inside the house to come investigate an apparent suicide," Jennings says.

"We're not going to give you details of the condition of the body, except to say it was an apparent suicide."

Because of legal ramifications, Jennings says she can't describe the nature of the suicide. A medical examiner will make the final determination that the death was a suicide.

Police on the scene tell WTOP that Kellermann's body was found downstairs, but would not say exactly where.

The Kellermann home, which has two floors above ground and a three-car garage, sits on the corner of Raleigh Hill Road and Brittenford Drive in picturesque Hunter Mill Estates, a neighborhood of single-family homes outside of Vienna, just over the border from Reston. According to Fairfax County tax records, Kellermann's home is assessed at $898,440.

Neighbors driving by the scene tell WTOP they are surprised to hear about Kellermann's suicide. He has been with Freddie Mac for more than 16 years.

He was named acting chief financial officer in September 2008, taking over after Anthony "Buddy" Piszel resigned. Freddie Mac's CEO David Moffett resigned last month.

Government-controlled Freddie Mac, based in McLean, has been criticized heavily for reckless business practices. Some say those practices contributed to the nation's housing and financial crisis. Freddic Mac owns or guarantees about 13 million home loans.

As CFO, Kellermann was responsible for the company's financial controls, financial reporting and oversight of the company's budget and financial planning.

Freddie Mac has declined to comment on Kellermann's death.

Will copycats follow?

Who is on the comprehensive list of individuals who have died by suicide during this economical downturn?

The time for research on this issue is now.

4 comments:

Christopher Knowles said...

Shouldn't it be "suicide?"

Loren Coleman said...

Chris is correct.

The verdict and broadcasting of the cause of death being "suicide," of course, comes too quickly. But it serves the purposes of the media and law enforcement to pigeonhole and discuss this death in a fashion with which they can feel comfortable.

No inquest has occurred.

Shaun said...

Loren, note that Kellermann, whose name in German is "Cellar Man", hung himself in the basement.

Nomad said...

Have they found out conclusively about what caused Kellermann's death? All things considered, it seems doubtful that this was a suicide