Romney: Fetus Profiteer, Pathological Liar
by, 07-03-2012 at 10:22 AM (2255 Views)
"Earlier this year, Mitt Romney nearly landed in a politically perilous controversy when the Huffington Post reported that in 1999 the GOP presidential candidate had been part of an investment group that invested $75 million in Stericycle, a medical-waste disposal firm that has been attacked by anti-abortion groups for disposing aborted fetuses collected from family planning clinics. Coming during the heat of the GOP primaries, as Romney tried to sell South Carolina Republicans on his pro-life bona fides, the revelation had the potential to damage the candidate's reputation among values voters already suspicious of his shifting position on abortion.
But Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, tamped down the controversy. The company said Romney left the firm in February 1999 to run the troubled 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and likely had nothing to with the deal. The matter never became a campaign issue. But documents filed by Bain and Stericycle with the Securities and Exchange Commission—and obtained by Mother Jones—list Romney as an active participant in the investment. And this deal helped Stericycle, a company with a poor safety record, grow, while yielding tens of millions of dollars in profits for Romney and his partners. The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also contradict the account of Romney's exit from Bain.
"...documents state that Romney "may be deemed to share voting and dispositive power with respect to "2,116,588 shares of common stock in Stericycle" in his capacity as sole shareholder" of the Bain entities that invested in the company. (The whole $75 million investment won Bain, Romney, and their partners 22.64 percent of the firm's stock—the largest bloc among the companies owners.) The original copy of the filing was signed by Romney.
Another SEC document filed November 30, 1999, by Stericycle also names Romney as the individual who holds "voting and dispositive power" with respect to the stock owned by Bain. If Romney had fully retired from the private equity firm he founded, why would he be the only Bain executive named as the person in control of this large amount of Stericycle stock?
The documents—one of which was signed by Romney—also call into question the account of Romney's exit from Bain that the company and the Romney campaign have provided.
Stericycle was a lucrative investment for Romney and Bain....but the company had its woes, accumulating a troubling safety record along the way. In 1991, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited its Arkansas operation for 11 workplace safety violations. The facility had not provided employees with sufficient protective gear, and it had kept body parts, fetuses, and dead experimental animals in unmarked storage containers, placing workers at risk. In 1995, Stericycle was fined $3.3 million—later decreased to $800,000—by Rhode Island for knowingly exposing workers to life-threatening diseases at its medical-waste treatment facility in Woonsocket. Two years later, workers at another of its medical-waste processing plants in Morton, Washington, were exposed to tuberculosis. In 2002 and 2003—after Bain and its partners had bought their major interest in the firm—Stericycle reached settlements with the attorneys general in Arizona and Utah after it was accused of violating antitrust laws. It paid Arizona $320,000 in civil penalties and lawyers' fees, and paid Utah $580,000.
Despite the firm's regulatory run-ins, the deal worked out well for Bain. In 2001, the Bain-Madison Dearborn partnership that had invested in the company sold 40 percent of its holdings in Stericycle for about $88 million—marking a hefty profit on its original investment of $75 million. The Bain-related group sold the rest of its holdings by 2004. By that point it had earned $49.5 million. It was not until six years later that anti-abortion activists would target Stericycle for collecting medical waste at abortion clinics. This campaign has compared Stericycle to German firms that provided assistance to the Nazis during the Holocaust. A Stericycle official told Huffington Post that its abortion clinics business constitutes a "small" portion of its total operations. (Stericycle declined a request for comment from Mother Jones.)
In 1995, Stericycle was fined by Rhode Island for knowingly exposing workers to life-threatening diseases at its medical-waste treatment facility...."