This seems like a bit of a problem. It’s an October 24, 2002 article in the Boston Globe, referenced in a new article in Politicker which describes an earlier Romney effort to dodge responsibility for a business deal because of an earlier ‘leave of absence’. Only someone who worked for him at the time says he actually remained involved and running the show.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Romney, meanwhile, is dodging questions about his past business dealings, specifically during his tenure as CEO of Bain Capital. Bain’s takeover of Ampad Corp., a paper company in Marion, Ind., snagged Romney in 1994, when he unsuccessfully challenged Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
Is Ampad relevant in 2002? Yes, according to Marc B. Wolpow, a former Bain Capital executive. Wolpow and another Bain partner sat on Ampad’s board of directors and carried out the brutal downsizing that cost hundreds of workers their full-time jobs and benefits.
“Mitt’s employees executed that transaction. We carried out the business plan. He was CEO of the firm,” says Wolpow, a registered independent voter who now runs a private equity firm, Audax Group.
In 1994, Romney tried to distance himself from the Ampad controversy, since he was on a leave of absence during the initial downsizing. But Wolpow, who came to Bain in 1990 from Drexel Burnham, the infamous junk bond company, says: “I reported directly to Mitt Romney … You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, ‘I really don’t know what my guys were doing.’
This is a different period of time from the 1999-2002 period. Doesn’t speak to it directly. But if Wolpow is to be believed, an earlier arms length ‘leave of absence’ period actually still had Romney actively involved in key decision making.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.