Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Jeb’s Friends

If former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is planning on running in 2016, maybe he’d better start by divesting himself of some of the shady people who are using him as a front for their scams.  From the Miami Herald:

Claudio Osorio once boasted that he scaled the world’s iconic peaks: Fuji, Kilimanjaro and the Matterhorn.

On Friday, the jet-setting, Venezuelan-born entrepreneur took the steepest fall of his life when he was arrested by the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office on federal fraud charges. The sweeping indictment, charging him and his business partner, Craig Toll, with 23 counts of fraud and money laundering, probably has left many wondering whether the big-spending millionaire ever climbed anything other than the luxurious cherry staircase in his Star Island mansion.

In a parallel action, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also charged Osorio with defrauding investors by grossly exaggerating the financial success of his company, and stealing nearly half of the money to pay the mortgage on his $12 multimillion dollar home, his Maserati, a Colorado mountain retreat home and country club dues.

Osorio, 54, built his company, InnoVida, in 2005, selling it to investors as a cutting-edge producer of fiber-composite panels, which interlocked similar to Legos, and could produce affordable housing and post-disaster shelter in places like New Orleans, Haiti and developing countries overseas. His business model involved forming joint ventures in Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

[...]

Chris Korge, a shrewd Miami developer and lawyer, said Osorio assured him that his company had about $40 million in cash and a lucrative deal with Middle Eastern investors to purchase $500 million in company stock. Korge invested $4 million before he began to suspect that something didn’t add up.

“Jeb Bush was on the board, there were a lot of successful people convincing me. We went out and we met and I just began to realize that the cost-effectiveness of building with the materials would never work,’’ Korge said. By that time, however, it was too late.

Creditors were already knocking on Osorio’s door, including the Swiss government, which claimed he owed $220 million in loans from Swiss banks that he obtained by lying about the soundness of his previous business venture, Miami-based CHS Electronics. That company went bankrupt in 2000.

No one is suggesting that Mr. Bush knew anything about the scam, nor is he named in any of the suits filed by duped investors.  But it makes you wonder who told him it would be a good idea to be connected with this guy.  After all, if you’re going to get hooked up with scammers, why not go with the proven models?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things Are Tough All Over

Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) is practically in the poor house compared to where he used to be.

Gov. Rick Scott’s net worth dropped by $115 million in 2010, but his income soared nearly 40 percent in the sluggish economy.

The hospital executive-turned-investor earned $11.5 million from investment income, interest and consulting fees, according to a recently filed financial disclosure form.

That’s more than the $8.3 million he reported in 2009 and the $3.7 million he earned in 2008.

And while the value of his $9 million beach-front home in Naples increased slightly, his net worth dropped 53 percent to $103 million in 2010.

“I spent too much on the darn campaign,” Scott joked Tuesday in Largo.

And look what we have to show for it.

Hey, I don’t begrudge the guy for making a fortune as long as he came by it honestly. And I don’t care how he spends it, either. I just wish he would make an effort to look like he’s the governor of all the people in the state, not just the ones who own houses next door to him in Naples.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bought And Paid For

Leave it to the hucksters like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, Ralph Reed, and Newt Gingrich to make money off September 11.

– This weekend, Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are hosting a rally in Anchorage, Alaska to mark the anniversary of the September 11th attacks. Ticket prices range from $73.75 per person (including taxes and fees) to a high of $225. As the Hill newspaper reports, “there was no indication as to whom or what the proceeds will go.”

– Disgraced lobbyist Ralph Reed is using his consulting firm Century Strategies to host a “Faith and Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing” with an assortment of conservatives, including Brent Bozell, Tony Perkins, Rich Lowry, Tucker Carlson, Grover Norquist, Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), Erick Erickson, and others. The event is on September 10th-11th, and costs $95 for early registration.

– Newt Gingrich is using the September 11th anniversary to unveil a new movie called “America At Risk,” which Gingrich says will drive the “national dialogue” about President Obama’s failure to address the rise of “Radical Islam” and its attempt to impose Sharia law on the United States. Gingrich’s website notes that the public can “pre-order your copy now for just $19.95 plus $4 shipping.”

Phone lines are open and if you call in the next ten minutes you’ll also get this lovely collection of steak knives.

Via Think Progress.