|Gloria Allred and Maureen Stemberg|
The nation seems to be gripped with news about the possibility that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney once lied under oath to help a business partner in a divorce case. Our post on the subject--which also showed that corporate titans Ted and Randall Rollins stooped to similar criminal activity in an Alabama divorce case--is gathering momentum.
Meanwhile, a Massachusetts judge yesterday unsealed testimony in the Stemberg divorce case, and early reports indicate that Romney, at the very least, provided misleading testimony to protect his partner and Staples founder Thomas Stemberg. The goal apparently was to keep Maureen Sullivan Stemberg from receiving an equitable share of marital assets, and celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred now is fighting back on Ms. Stemberg's behalf--and it could prove to be an "October Surprise" for the GOP.
Did Mitt Romney actually commit perjury? It seems too early to say, but the public certainly appears to have grounds to question the candidate's truthfulness, even when he's under oath in a court of law.
Our post was titled "Romney Might Prove That Ted And Randall Rollins Aren't The Only Rich Guys To Lie Under Oath." The post is gaining traction on the Web, and that indicates the issue resonates with a public that perhaps has grown weary of elites who seem to think the rules don't apply to them.
Business Insider picked up on our post yesterday, with a piece by reporter Abby Rogers titled "Mitt Romney Isn't The Only Rich Guy Accused Of Lying In A Divorce."
Crooks and Liars, one of the most highly read progressive Web sites in the country, picked up on the story this morning. My piece was included in "Mike's Blog Roundup," a daily compendium of top posts from around the country.
If Romney did pull a fast one to help his business buddy save millions in divorce-related expenses, we showed that he is not alone. We cited a case styled Rollins v. Rollins that involved skulduggery that might dwarf anything present in the Stemberg case. At least Maureen Stemberg got something from her marital assets; Birmingham resident Sherry Carroll Rollins got pretty much zip.
Ted Rollins, CEO of Campus Crest Communities, stated under oath that his total income consisted of roughly $50,000 a year he made from a mortgage company in Brentwood, Tennessee--even though he was owner or partner in at least two companies and owned multiple private jets.
Does it make sense that Ted Rollins would sell his interest in such an enterprise for $85,000? No, it does not. Does it look like Randall Rollins supplied bogus documents and made false statements under oath in order to help his cousin escape a serious divorce judgment? Yes, it does.
Where is the Romney/Stemberg story headed? It's hard to say, but perhaps the best update we have so far comes from AlterNet reporter Laura Gottesdiener in a piece titled "Court Unseals Potentially Devastating Testimony--Romney Said Stocks Sold at 1/10th of Eventual Value Was 'Good Price': Romney does appear to have covered for his friend. From the AlterNet article:
The Boston Globe reports: "Mitt Romney testified under oath in 1991 that the ex-wife of Staples founder Tom Stemberg got a fair deal in the couple’s 1988 divorce, even though the company shares Maureen Sullivan Stemberg received were valued at a tenth of Staples’ stock price on the day of its initial public offering only a year later. At the time the Stembergs split, Romney suggested, there was little indication that Staples’ value would soon skyrocket. Romney’s testimony in a post-divorce lawsuit brought in 1990 by Sullivan Stemberg was unsealed on Thursday in Norfolk Probate and Family Court at the Globe’s request. Sullivan Stemberg sued unsuccessfully to amend the couple’s financial agreement after Staples went public in 1989 and closed its first day of trading at $22.50 per share, 10 times the value she had received."
According to the Globe, Sullivan Stemberg sold 175,000 shares of Staples stock at $2.25 per share, and sold 80,000 shares at $2.48 a few months later. “In my opinion, that’s a good price to sell the securities at,” Romney testified. "But on April 28, 1989, barely a year after Sullivan Stemberg sold more than half of her shares on the premise that they were worth less than $2.50 apiece, the company made its initial public offering at $19 per share and ended its first day at $22.50," the Globe reports.
The bottom line? Mitt Romney said Maureen Stemberg got a good deal when she cashed in shares for 1/10th the value they had one year later. And Randall Rollins seemingly said his cousin, Ted Rollins, made a reasonable move by selling his share in a company for $85,000, even though it had at least $245 million in assets.
Message to the 99 Percent: Members of the 1 Percent think we are stupid, folks. Mitt Romney thinks we are stupid; Randall Rollins thinks we are stupid. Their actions in high-dollar divorce cases provides all the proof we need.