With all the talk about Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Adventures, whether he did or he didn't leave the company, what he managed and when he managed it, and so on, I thought it might be fun to lift the very tiny corner of the curtain and get a glimpse
July 14, 2012

With all the talk about Mitt Romney's Bain Capital Adventures, whether he did or he didn't leave the company, what he managed and when he managed it, and so on, I thought it might be fun to lift the very tiny corner of the curtain and get a glimpse into what some of these deals made in just one small corner of Mitt Romney's universe.

Mitt and Ann Romney have a charitable foundation -- The Tyler Foundation. It was established as a private foundation for them to contribute cash or in some cases, securities, as a pool of money to then give to their chosen charitable causes. It has been in effect since 1999, and a romp through their IRS 990 forms was, shall we say, enlightening?

Since 1999, most of the contributions made to the foundation by the Romneys have been in the form of securities which aren't identified. Those securities are transferred to the foundation where they are either held or sold. In most cases, they were sold immediately upon transfer. Here are a few notable transactions along the way:


  • Ameritrade, Inc. - 89,000 shares were contributed by the Ann Romney Blind Trust in 2003 with a value of a little more than $296,000. Those shares were sold immediately for $1,082,000, netting a profit of $785,781.00. Not such a bad deal for a day's work, eh? I'm sure Joe Ricketts appreciated the investment in his future birtherism.
  • Staples, Inc. Just over 41,000 shares were transferred to the foundation with no value attached to them. They were sold in January, 2003 for just over $684,000. Another day's work.
  • Sports Authority - 533 shares transferred and sold for $3,400.00. One of the smaller transactions, but since it was a Bain company, it should still count. Sports Authority was also sold on 1/28/2003, shortly after Mitt Romney was sworn in as governor of Massachusetts.
  • Marriott International - Over the course of 2003, the trust sold about 25,000 shares of Marriott International at a profit of $796,000.
  • Nutraceutical, Inc - Just over 28,000 shares were sold during 2003 for a net profit of $104,000.
  • Chippac, Inc. - 220 shares sold, $15,000 profit.

2003 was a very good year. But 2004 wasn't bad either.


  • Chippac, Inc. - Another 12,100 shares sold; another $96,500 in profit.
  • Nutraceutical, Inc. - Big year for Nutraceutical. Over the course of 2004, just over 100,000 shares were sold for a profit of $1,760,700.
  • Stericycle - Just over 900 shares sold; net profit of $33,000.

2005 - Year of the Domino('s)

  • Domino's Pizza - A total of 44,016 shares were received and sold by the foundation, realizing a profit of $931,000 and change.

2006 - Taking a rest

  • Sealy Corp was the only disposition. Donated at a value of zero by the Mitt Blind trust, it yielded a tidy profit of $123,700 or so.

2007 - Year of Mattresses and Vitamins

  • Sealy Mattress Company - Sealy was the big deal of the year, with 66,500 donated shares raking in a $823,000 profit.
  • Herbalife wasn't too far behind, bringing in a haul of $671,700 or so.
  • Endurance Sports Holdings trailed far behind, but still put $57,000 in the kitty.

2008 - Mystery Year

  • Innophos Holdings was the new kid on the block, dropping a $474,000 profit on the books.
  • Mystery Security For the first time since the foundation began filing 990s, they listed one transaction on a schedule without attaching the brokerage statement backing it up. Simply identified as "Bank of New York Mellon" it reports a sale of something that originally cost $56,000, and yielded a net profit on sale of $568,500. Why the secrecy around what it was?

And that concludes the detailed accounts of the Tyler Foundation's miraculous expanding assets, because after 2008, no detail on any assets donated or sales of those assets was provided. The net profits on sales of securities in 2010 was just over $1.5 million. $1.4 million worth of Domino's Pizza stock was donated by the Ann Romney Blind Trust, but we don't really know what the profit on the sale of those shares was, because only a net number with all assets included was reported for that year.

The investments I mention here are not, by any stretch, all of the investments in the Tyler Foundation accounts, but they do represent investments that tie to Bain Capital investments or companies that Mitt Romney has been personally involved with. Because the timing of these reports happens to tie to the time Romney contends he was no longer actively involved at Bain, one really has to wonder what justifies such enormous gains on such small investments when he had "nothing to do with them."

I don't begrudge anyone making money or getting rich, and it's good that a small fraction of it is landing in a trust for charity, but if you don't think those profits are obscene, I'm not sure what would be considered so. And those numbers aren't even one half of one percent of Romney's assets.

Why won't Mitt Romney release his tax returns and let us quit guessing about his wealth? I think we have the right to know what he's got planned for those of us who aren't privileged enough to breathe Bain Capital's air, much less make a tiny smidge of their profits.

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