Grifters gotta grift: the Trump swamp (updated)

Why has this crook not already resigned, or been fired? Oh that’s right, he works for America’s premier grifter, Donald Trump.

Dan Alexander at Forbes reports on Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross robbing his clients blind to build his fortune. New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting:

A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork. Two weeks ago, just before the start of a trial with $4 million on the line, Ross and Storper agreed to a confidential settlement, whose existence has never been reported and whose terms remain secret.

* * *

There are bigger allegations. Over several months, in speaking with 21 people who know Ross, Forbes uncovered a pattern: Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually. But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million. If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.

Those who’ve done business with Ross generally tell a consistent story, of a man obsessed with money and untethered to facts. “He’ll push the edge of truthfulness and use whatever power he has to grab assets,” says New York financier Asher Edelman. One of Ross’ former colleagues is more direct: “He’s a pathological liar.”

Wilbur Ross figured out at some point that money, or the aura of it, translates into power. Forbes has previously documented how Ross seemingly lied to us, over many years, launching himself onto, and then higher on, our billionaire rankings, at one point even lying about an apparent multibillion-dollar transfer to family members to explain why his financial disclosure report showed fewer assets than he claimed. “What I don’t want,” Ross said, “is for people to suddenly think that I’ve lost a lot of money when it’s not true.”

Hmmm, why does this sound so familiar? See this report from Jonathan Greenberg, Trump lied to me about his wealth to get onto the Forbes 400. Here are the tapes, and from Fortune, Trump Allegedly Lied About His Wealth to Get on the Forbes 400 List in the 1980s.

Such machinations now seem pathetic. But his billionaire status was not lost on another person obsessed with his net worth. Donald Trump termed Ross a “legendary Wall Street genius” and named him to his cabinet. “In these particular positions,” Trump explained to a crowd of supporters, “I just don’t want a poor person.”

No, “I prefer other legendary grifters.” There is more to this story. You should read the entire Forbes report.

Wilbur Ross is just the latest Trump cabinet secretary to be embroiled in scandal, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, and the now departed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (who has ties to the report below. He tripled his investment when divesting of his stock in Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited to become secretary, according to the Wall Street Journal). Corruption in the Trump Administration Is Spreading.

Today, Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY), the very first Republican congressman to endorse Donald Trump for president, was indicted by the feds for insider trading. With friends like these … New York Congressman Chris Collins Is Charged With Insider Trading:

Representative Chris Collins was at the Congressional Picnic on the South Lawn of the White House last summer when he received an unexpected email from the head of a drug company in which he was heavily invested. The company’s only product — an experimental treatment for multiple sclerosis — had just failed a do-or-die scientific trial.

What Mr. Collins did next, apparently in a state of panic, forms the core of a federal indictment for insider trading and lying to federal agents that was unsealed on Wednesday in New York. Federal prosecutors charged Mr. Collins with brazenly using his private information about the company to help his son and others avoid financial disaster.

The charges against Mr. Collins, a New York Republican who was one of President Trump’s earliest and most ardent supporters, stem from his involvement with Innate Immunotherapeutics Limited, a small drug maker based in Australia, which had no approved drugs but several well-placed allies in the capital.

Within minutes of learning about the company’s unsuccessful test, Mr. Collins frantically called his son, Cameron Collins, who, in the days that followed, sold off his stock, avoiding losses of more than $570,000, prosecutors said.

Brought to court by the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, the indictment cast what could be a long shadow in the House. At least five Republican lawmakers were shareholders in Innate Immunotherapeutics at the time of the Collins family sell-off, according to financial disclosures.

Mr. Collins’s case has also raised ethical questions about the propriety of a member of Congress, sitting on the House committee with jurisdiction over health care companies, being not only the largest shareholder of an Australian drug maker, but also a member of its board.

Shortly after the charges were announced, the speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, stripped Mr. Collins of his seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee and called for the House Ethics Committee to look into the allegations. “Insider trading is a clear violation of the public trust,” Mr. Ryan said in a statement.

Unbelievably, Rep. Collins said in an email to supporters he would remain on the ballot for re-election in the 27th Congressional District in Western New York.

Mr. Collins pleaded not guilty in federal court in Manhattan on Wednesday and was released on a promise he would produce a $500,000 bond within two weeks. He said nothing as he left the courthouse and climbed into a black S.U.V. His son and Mr. Zarsky also pleaded not guilty and were given similar bail packages.

And it’s only Wednesday.





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2 responses to “Grifters gotta grift: the Trump swamp (updated)

  1. Frances Perkins

    If the White House occupant brings anymore brilliant businessmen into the cabinet, the Country will be broke. Don’t forget the hand cream sales lady and her yachts. They all made money the old fashioned ways, inherit it, steal it, insider trading, pyramid schemes, and illegal labor.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Betsy DeVos’s 4o million dollar yacht, one of ten, is registered in the Cayman Islands.

      So she doesn’t have to pay taxes on it in America. Because patriotism!

      Her brother is creating a mercenary army because evil.

      Like Ross and Trump, I am a billionaire also, and no, you can’t see my tax returns, because like Ross and Trump, I am lying about being a billionaire.