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THE MATRIX

Romney Connected to Stanford Ponzi Scheme

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THE MATRIX

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The Romney Business Connection

Solamere Capital, the investment company founded by Tagg Romney with seed money from his father, Mitt Romney and other investors.

Launched in 2008 by Romney’s son Tagg and a few others, including Mitt Romney’s chief fundraiser Spencer Zwick, Solamere Capital is a “fund of funds,” meaning that it primarily invests in other investment companies, like private equity groups.

Mitt Romney himself made a $10 million initial seed investment in Solamere Capital and his personal financial disclosure forms reveal that he has received between $100,000 and $1 million in returns from his stake in Solamere. Romney has come under fire for refusing to release his tax returns, which would likely reveal additional details about his financial relationship with Solamere Capital.

After news of the Ponzi scheme precipitated the collapse of Stanford in 2009, Tagg partnered with several of Stanford’s North Carolina executives to start a firm called Solamere Advisors. At least three prominent brokers who had worked for Stanford — Tim Bambauer, Deems May, and Brandon Phillips — joined Tagg to help run Solamere Advisors, a wealth management business located in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We are excited to be associated with such a highly capable group of financial advisors with a proven track record of meeting the needs of their clients throughout the Southeast,” said Tagg in a press release announcing Solamere Advisors, which borrows its the name from its parent company, Solamere Capital.

The Romney Campaign Connection

The Romney campaign and the Romney family investment company are deeply entwined. A recent Boston Globe investigation found that top donors to the Romney campaign have invested into Tagg’s firm, and that Romney’s star campaign fundraiser, Spencer Zwick, doubles as a managing partner for Solamere Capital. The Romney campaign has paid Zwick’s firm, SJZ LLC, over $2 million in fees this year alone. Mitt Romney’s brother Scott Romney is listed as a senior advisor to Solamere Capital.

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Yesterday, ThinkProgress released our investigation of the Romney family’s investment firms, including Solamere Advisors and its parent company, Solamere Capital, which is run by Mitt Romney’s son Tagg. The report found that Tagg founded his firm using $10 million of Mitt’s money, and later partnered with a group of brokers who allegedly helped perpetrate one of the largest Ponzi schemes in modern history, the $8.5 billion Stanford Financial Group.

After our report, the Romney campaign released a statement to ABC News and the National Journal simply attacking ThinkProgress as a “a left-wing blog with a highly partisan agenda.” Despite calling our story “false material,” the Romney spokesperson did not directly dispute any of our assertions. The Romney campaign has not explained why, for instance, Tagg Romney falsely claimed that his Solamere Advisors partners were “cleared” of wrongdoing in connection to the Stanford Financial Group Ponzi scheme.

Now, it appears that one of the firms is trying to cover up its tracks. Sometime last night, Solamere Advisors, the firm run by brokers who allegedly took part in the Stanford Ponzi Scheme, deleted the section of their website that lists Tagg Romney and Spencer Zwick, the Romney for President lead fundraiser. View a screen shot of the current web address, which shows a “404 File or directory not found” error message:

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solameredirectors.jpg

Edited by THE MATRIX

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