Remember your most obnoxious friends during the primaries last summer? The ones who kept insisting that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were essentially the same, citing the few paid speeches made by Secretary Clinton to the Goldman-Sachs Company? Their silence has been thunderous in the face of the appointment of six former Wall Street executives to be part of the New administration. Now, Steven Mnuchin, the former Goldman-Sachs executive and housing crash profiteer has been confirmed by the Republican Senate as Secretary of the Treasury. He is just one of the many players who are part of Don’s Wall Street Con.
Mr. Mnuchin made his name as a private investor leading the 2009 purchase of failed subprime mortgage lender IndyMac. Mnuchin, along with a group of investors, paid the FDIC $1.5 billion to obtain the assets of IndyMac, a price far under market value. Renamed OneWest, the deal allowed $1.4 billion of IndyMac’s $2.4 billion in losses guaranteed by the FDIC. The FDIC’s guarantee will last through 2019.
OneWest will long be remembered for its long lines of customers, waiting to withdraw their money. It became an enduring image of the financial crisis. The new Secretary of the Treasury has repeatedly faced criticism over the attempts by OneWest to foreclose on homeowners who were in the process of modifying their loans, among other practices. Claims of widespread fraud and abuse of the foreclosure process while Mnuchin was the CEO of OneWest bank abound. An investigation in California indicated that OneWest may have engaged in over 5,500 foreclosure sale violations. Virtually every single one of the over 35,000 foreclosures by OneWest was based on illegally back-dated foreclosure documents.
The California Reinvestment Coalition was the umbrella organization representing more than 300 community groups that filed the complaint. Deputy Director, Kevin Stein, said that,
“If you look at the story of IndyMac and OneWest, it’s a story of hardship, foreclosure and pain for working communities, and a story of profit for investors.”
OneWest has also been accused of discrimination against customers of color according to a complaint filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Are you listening future Secretary Ben Carson? The complaint is still pending, as HUD has accepted the complaint. http://www.calreinvest.org/news/hud-accepts-crcs-redlining-complaint-against-cit-groups-onewest-bank.
Mr. Mnuchin, the top fund raiser for the Trump campaign, turned one of the biggest bank failures ever into a very lucrative investment for himself and his fellow investors, allowing them to later sell at a hefty profit.
It should also be remembered that Mnuchin uses his personal foundation for self-dealing just as his boss, Don The Con, used his foundation. When OneWest was purchased by CIT, Mnuchin relied on resources taken from his own foundation to fund “astroturf” groups that wrote letters in support of the merger to regulators. Mnuchin received an $11 million severance when that merger finally went through, retaining a $100 million interest in CIT which he is required to divest himself of within three months of becoming the Secretary of the Treasury.
The new President bragged while campaigning that he, like Secretary Mnuchin, profited from the housing market crash, at a time when everyone else was losing their homes, jobs, and reasons for living. He used his power and position to the direct detriment of the American people, and there is no reason whatsoever to assume he’ll do things differently in the future. It is crystal clear that the Republican Senate has allowed this predatory man of extreme greed to now be in charge of our nation’s finances. His past has shown all too clearly that he’s interested only in helping himself and his friends make a fortune at the expense of others. And his past is now our future. Like the rest of his contemporaries in the gallery of grotesques in the cabinet assembled by our national shame, Mnuchin doesn’t have our best interests at heart, and like most of this administration, he is another player part of Don’s Wall Street Con who is not worthy of serving us.