August 8, 2018

Ed. Note: (Frances Langum) This long-but-worth-it Rachel Maddow segment from February of 2017 unravels the Wilbur Ross - Russia - grifting connections.

It is not news that the Fourth Reich is stuffed to the gizzard with grifters. Sure we had Scott ‘sticky fingers’ Pruitt, and before him frequent flyer enthusiast Tom Price, and of course Ryan ‘King of Beers’ Zinke amongst the many swamp dwellers that Comrade Trump has appointed to loot and pillage the treasury.

But they are small fry compared to the Walking Unisom, Wilbur Ross.

We know that Ross lied about his net worth for at least a decade; was accused of insider trading by European lawmakers; and “forgot” his investments in a Russian shipping company with ties to Comrade Trump’s KGBFF Vladimir Putin (and shorted him!). So you see what was once a vice is now a habit for ol’ Wilbur.

But wait! There’s more!

Forbes magazine tells us that Ross has been picking pockets (ALLEGEDLY!) for years! About $120M Ameros worth!

But first, let’s cover the petty stuff because it’s just the way we roll:

  • “workers at his house in the Hamptons used to call the office, claiming Ross had not paid them for their work”—stiffing the help is a right that the Donald approves, but it is rather petty for the 1%.
  • Also from the Comrade Trump’s playbook: Ross pledged $1 million to a charity, but never actually paid what he promised (ALLEGEDLY).
  • And my personal favorite, Ross is accused of “taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself.”

Anyway, if you read the Forbes article (and I hope you do), you will learn all sorts of serious financial crimes that Ross (ALLEGEDLY) has committed.

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.

Not that he sees himself that way. “The SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,” Ross said in a statement, failing to mention the $2.3 million fine it levied against his firm in 2016. The commerce secretary also noted that one lawsuit against him got dismissed, without saying it is currently going through the appeals process. Ross confirmed settling two other cases, including the recent one against Storper, but declined to offer additional details.

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.”

Forbes is on the hunt with Ross because he lied to them for a decade about his net worth, to boost himself in their ranking of billionaires. Forbes will NOT be made a fool of!

Just to be fair, we should note that Ross’ office is not taking this story lying down (though they will lie just about anywhere):

A Ross spokesman disputed that claim—and denied that he sweetens his coffee.

crossposted from Mock Paper Scissors

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