Greg Palast has a new story out about Mitt Romney’s profit from Delphi Automotive, an auto parts subsidiary of GM, during the auto rescue.
No bailout of GM—or Chrysler, for that matter—could have been successful without saving Delphi. So, in addition to making massive loans to automakers in 2009, the federal government sent, directly or indirectly, more than $12.9 billion to Delphi—and to the hedge funds that had gained control over it [...]
By the end of June 2009, with the bailout negotiations in full swing, the hedge funds, under (hedge fund manager and top Romney donor Paul) Singer’s lead, used their bonds to buy up a controlling interest in Delphi’s stock. According to SEC filings, they paid, on average, an equivalent of only 67 cents per share.
Just two years later, in November 2011, the Singer syndicate took Delphi public at $22 a share, turning an eye-popping profit of more than 3,000 percent. Singer’s fund investors scored a gain of $904 million, all courtesy of the US taxpayer. But that’s not all. In the year since Delphi began trading publicly, its stock has soared 45 percent. Loeb’s gains so far for Third Point: $390 million. The gains for Silver Point, headed by two Goldman Sachs alums: $894 million. John Paulson’s fund, which has already sold half its holdings, has a $2.6 billion gain. And Singer’s funds and partners, combining what they’ve sold and what they hold, have $1.29 billion in profits, about forty-four times their original investment [...]
Altogether, in direct and indirect payouts, the government padded these investors’ profits handsomely. The Treasury allowed GM to give Delphi at least $2.8 billion of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to keep Delphi in business. GM also forgave $2.5 billion in debt owed to it by Delphi, and $2 billion due from Singer and company upon Delphi’s exit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The money GM forgave was effectively owed to the Treasury, which had by then become the majority owner of GM as a result of the bailout. Then there was the big one: the government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation took over paying all of Delphi’s retiree pensions. The cost to the taxpayer: $5.6 billion. The bottom line: the hedge funds’ paydays were made possible by a generous donation of $12.9 billion from US taxpayers.
The way in which the hedge fund syndicate secured these taxpayers dollars for Delphi sounds pretty much like blackmail. For example, according to Steven Rattner, the auto czar, Delphi demanded an immediate cash infusion of $350 million or they would stop supplying to GM. Oh, and Delphi promptly fired all the unionized workers at Delphi, cut health care for all their nonunion pensioners, and took the production jobs to China. Delphi employs less then 5,000 US workers, from a high of 25,000.
How do the Romneys figure into this? They have at least $1 million invested in Paul Singer’s Elliott Management, per their 2011 and 2012 financial disclosure. Based on that investment, they made at least $15.3 million on the deal, which involved ripping off the US taxpayer, shedding US jobs in favor of China, and using leverage created by the auto bailout to do it. Most of these profits have been kept offshore to avoid US taxes, of course. The Romneys protest that these investments are all held in a blind trust, but the executor of their blind trust is Romney’s personal lawyer.
Just another day in the life of a vulture capitalist, I guess.
There is a silver lining, however: if Paul Singer becomes an influential advisor in a Romney White House, that might mean we’ll get national marriage equality after all.