Donald Trump has surrounded himself with grifters. That should have come as no surprise, because the president descended from a grandfather who was a grifter selling hotel rooms, meals, and women’s attention to gold miners. Apparently, he passed the gene down to the president. Now, yet another one of POTUS’ cabinet members has been exposed.
It appears that Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been “among the biggest grifters in American history,” Forbes reported. Ross “outright stole” and/or siphoned off $120 million from his clients and former coworkers.
Fourteen House Democrats asked the inspector general to investigate Ross for possible conflicts of interest. For a year in office, the secretary partnered with the Chinese government in business. At the same time, he was negotiating with China to improve its relationship with the U.S.
Ross’ worth has been estimated at $700 million. Yet, he was so cheap he stole the Sweet ‘N Low packets from restaurants, so that he would not have to buy them for his coffee. He did not pay workers at his home in the Hamptons, and pledged $1 million to a charity that went unpaid, according to Forbes.
Trump has known Ross since at least 1990, and told people why he put the man in his cabinet:
‘In these particular positions, I just don’t want a poor person.’
Ross owned a private-equity business, WL Ross & Co. According to the 21 people Forbes interviewed, Ross and three of his executives wrongly charged a minimum of $48 million worth of improper fees. Then, they kept the money, a lawsuit allegedly indicated.
The Commerce secretary said this lawsuit was simply “without merit” in the statement he sent to Forbes. Ross continued, saying the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC):
‘Never initiated any enforcement action against me. No regulatory agency has ever asserted such charges or any other charges against me and there is no basis for any such allegations.’
What Ross neglected to mention was that the SEC charged his company a $2.3 million fine in 2016. That looks like “enforcement.”
The man who used to be Ross’ right-hand man’s lawsuit read:
‘Lying on an ethics disclosure form, to Congressional and Senate committees, and falsely reporting compliance with an ethics plan, is neither “commonplace’ nor part of the accepted rough-and-tumble world of politics. They are just lies.’
Yet, that was not all he did. The nation’s Commerce secretary lost money for investors but charged them for that privilege. In addition, he supposedly charge fees for a worthless investment.
A former employee wrote:
‘(Ross) looted for the personal benefit of Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.—and attempted to conceal their misconduct through opaque and misleading tax statements and disclosures.’
One investor said:
‘There are all sorts of fee issues, but it was just the most egregious that I’ve seen.’
His attorneys wrote:
‘Simply put. This lawsuit is a personal vendetta against Mr. Ross.’
Ross also skimmed money from the corporate boards he sat on, and instead of giving it to the investors he:
‘(His) firm did not give back enough. (Ross) was like a kid in a candy store. He pilfered it.’
Another person who worked with Ross said:
‘This is a public servant who can’t tell the truth.’
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.