|Mitt Romney fundraiser
Could another businessman make Ted Rollins look good by comparison? That's a tall chore. Rollins, the CEO of Charlotte-based Campus Crest Communities, engineered a $380-million Wall Street IPO in late 2010, but our reporting reveals him to be a dismal human being.
Rollins pulled off a monstrous cheat job against his ex wife in an Alabama divorce case. He clearly perjured himself on a child-support affidavit, causing his two daughters in Birmingham to wind up on food stamps. Rollins was convicted for assaulting his stepson and investigated for child sexual abuse of the same stepson, both in the 1990s. Published reports indicate Rollins' company builds shoddy student-housing complexes and practices racial and gender discrimination.
How could another corporate titan actually make Ted Rollins look good? Thanks to Mitt Romney, we might have found the guy.
Marc J. Leder is the co-CEO of Sun Capital Partners in Boca Raton, Florida. His $3-million mansion was the site of what has become known as the "47 percent fundraiser," where Romney was caught on tape saying that 47 percent of Americans--those who support President Barack Obama--are "victims" who are "dependent upon government" and "pay no income tax."
Quite a few pundits say the videotaped gaffes pretty much ensure Obama's re-election in November. That, in my view, is far from certain. But the revelations about what Mitt Romney really thinks of mainstream Americans have dominated the news cycle for about 48 hours. And they raise this question: Who in the heck is Marc Leder, the guy who hosted the fundraising event back in May?
In business terminology, Leder is a "private equity guy." In more stark terms, he is a "vulture capitalist"--a guy who swoops in on supposedly struggling companies and sucks money out of them. In some instances, he "rehabilitates" businesses; in others, he helps push them over the cliff. In other words, he does exactly what Mitt Romney did years ago at Bain Capital.
Interviews and public documents paint a picture of the Wharton School graduate and former Lehman Brothers executive as a shrewd businessman with a lavish lifestyle.
Sun Capital's portfolio includes more than 70 companies, many of which are household names: Boston Market, Smokey Bones, Gerber Childrenswear, Hickory Farms, The Limited, Friendly's.
The firm specializes in targeting unprofitable or underperforming businesses, with the aim of turning them around, but often involves dismantling companies and selling off assets
Can the process be messy, even hurtful to some? Oh yes, reports the Sentinel:
Friendly's, the family eatery and ice cream parlor, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2011, court records show.
"Friendly's used the Chapter 11 process to close restaurants, cut jobs and terminate pensions for roughly 6,000 workers and retirees," according to The Wall Street Journal.
One company that Sun Capital closed, in 2008, was Jevic Transportation, in southern New Jersey. It then filed for bankruptcy. About 1,500 workers were let go.
"I had a job on Sunday, no job on Monday," said William J. Brown, 57, of Burlington, N.J.
If Leder sounds like a ruthless SOB, that's because he probably is. He also has a taste for a lifestyle that is not exactly "family friendly," by Republican standards.
The Web is filled with reports about "debauched parties" that Leder hosted at a summer home in Bridgehampton, New York. According to The New York Post, these featured a "nude frolic" in the tycoon's pool. Some have called Leder an "orgy host."
How is Ted Rollins better than Leder? Well, Rollins creates apartment complexes that appear to have some value--as long as you are careful about stepping onto balconies. Leder doesn't appear to create much of anything with value.
Of course, you also could look at it this way: What's an occasional orgy compared to assault of a child and possible child sexual abuse?
On second thought, maybe we need to keep looking for someone who is worse than Ted Rollins.