Conservative Website Blasts Trump’s Commerce Secretary – He Could Rank Among The Biggest Grifters In History


“If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.” ~ Forbes

Noted conservative website Forbes published a scathing article this week reporting that emerging details regarding Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ business “point to a pattern of grifting.”

Forbes began their article with some background regarding the recent confidential settlement of a multi-million dollar lawsuit that had been “winding through the New York State court system the last three years.”

[The case pitted] a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork. Two weeks ago, just before the start of a trial with $4 million on the line, Ross and Storper agreed to a confidential settlement, whose existence has never been reported and whose terms remain secret.

It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners. Unless you have heard enough stories about Ross. Two former WL Ross colleagues remember the commerce secretary taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself. One says workers at his house in the Hamptons used to call the office, claiming Ross had not paid them for their work. Another two people said Ross once pledged $1 million to a charity, then never paid.

Continuing, Forbes reported that:

Over several months, in speaking with 21 people who know Ross, Forbes uncovered a pattern: Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually. But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million. If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history. [emphasis added]

Without getting into too many details (the Forbes article speaks for itself and should be read in its entirety), here are some highlights from the article presented as short bullet points for consideration:

  • “‘The SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,’ Ross said in a statement, failing to mention the $2.3 million fine it levied against his firm in 2016.”
  • “The commerce secretary also noted that one lawsuit against him got dismissed, without saying it is currently going through the appeals process.”
  • “Ross confirmed settling two other cases, including the recent one against Storper, but declined to offer additional details.”
  • “Those who’ve done business with Ross generally tell a consistent story, of a man obsessed with money and untethered to facts. ‘He’ll push the edge of truthfulness and use whatever power he has to grab assets,’ says New York financier Asher Edelman. One of Ross’ former colleagues is more direct: ‘He’s a pathological liar.’

Forbes also reported that they had their own issues with Ross:

Wilbur Ross figured out at some point that money, or the aura of it, translates into power. Forbes has previously documented how Ross seemingly lied to us, over many years, launching himself onto, and then higher on, our billionaire rankings, at one point even lying about an apparent multibillion-dollar transfer to family members to explain why his financial disclosure report showed fewer assets than he claimed. [emphasis original]

Continuing, Forbes detailed an alleged pattern of duplicity and corruption spanning years that quite frankly is overwhelming, reporting that:

In a presidential cabinet plagued by ethical problems, it can be easy to forget about Wilbur Ross. Most of the attention tends to center around obvious abuses, like Scott Pruitt getting a $43,000 sound-proof booth in his office or Tom Price wasting $341,000 on jet travel. But while Ross’ antics are more complicated, they involve far more money. [emphasis original]

Forbes also reported that Ross’ actions have not escaped the notice of government officials:

  • “A top official in the federal Office of Government Ethics scolded Ross in a letter last month, saying that his failure to divest corroded public trust.”
  • “In June, two senators and a congressman asked the Securities & Exchange Commission to launch an insider trading investigation of Ross.”
  • “Fourteen Democratic Congressmen have also called on the inspector general to investigate Ross’ potential conflicts of interest.”

Forbes concluded their article with the following statement:

The central matter in all of Ross’ legal issues is his own credibility. “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,” David Storper, Ross’ former right-hand man, argued in a court filing. “They are just lies.” Adds another onetime colleague: “This is a public servant who can’t tell the truth.”



Samuel Warde
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