Mitt Romney Profited from Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Mortgage Lenders Foreclosing on Thousands of Floridians
GOP presidential front runner Mitt Romney is under fire after ThinkProgress examined his personal financial disclosures and found that the former Massachusetts governor and his wife invested millions of dollars in a Goldman Sachs investment fund invested heavily in mortgage-backed obligations. The holders of those mortgage debts in turn began foreclosing on the homes of thousands of Floridians.
The timing of this revelation couldn’t be worse; the Florida Republican primaries are a mere five days away.
According to ThinkProgress, Romney and his wife Ann have a “large investment” in the Goldman Sachs Strategic Income Fund, which is about 8% invested in banks and 24.5% invested in mortgage-backed obligations. Romney’s personal financial disclosures show that he and his wife invested at least $2, and as much as $6 million, in the fund, which has performed decently since the 2008 mortgage meltdown. The fund grew by 7.88% between April 2010 and March 2011.
Mortgage-backed securities in the fund include sub-prime and adjustable rate mortgages from Bear Stearns, Countrywide, IndyMac and Washington Mutual. Those four companies were among the nation’s leading sub-prime lenders before the ’08 meltdown, with Countrywide (now owned by Bank of America) and Washington Mutual (now Chase) ranking first and second.
ThinkProgress examined civil cases filed in Miami-Dade County and found that more than 5,000 foreclosure cases were filed by Washington Mutual and Countrywide alone in 2010. With Miami-Dade comprising 13% of Florida’s population, the number of mortgage-backed securities held by the fund that resulted in foreclosures is likely in the tens of thousands.
Remember, now, that Romney recently opined that the solution to the foreclosure crisis was “don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit bottom.” That bottom certainly didn’t hurt Romney’s bottom line.
Newt Gingrich, who has become something of a frontrunner in the GOP nomination race in his own right, predictably slammed Romney for “owning lots of stock in a part of Goldman Sachs that was explicitly foreclosing on Floridians.”
“What level of gall does it take,” Gingrich began, “to think that we collectively are so stupid that somebody who owns lots of stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, somebody who owns lots of stock in a part of Goldman Sachs that was explicitly foreclosing on Floridians… could then build his entire negative campaign in Florida around a series of ads that are just plain false because they’re counting on us being too stupid or too timid.”
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