Despot-elect Donald Trump announced last night that he has selected Steve Mnunchin to serve as treasury secretary in his administration.
You may recognize Mnunchin as Trump’s chief campaign fundraiser, but he’s also a 17-year veteran of Goldman Sachs and once ran an operation in California described as a “foreclosure machine.”
Mnunchin and his colleagues bought IndyMac after it collapsed, renamed it to “OneWest,” then foreclosed on over 35,000 homes and billed taxpayers for the loses.
Kevin Stein of the California Reinvestment Coalition, a housing advocacy group, says that profit was made on the backs of suffering California homeowners. “In essence what they did is they bought a foreclosure machine,” he says.
According to the coalition, OneWest foreclosed on more than 36,000 homeowners under Mnuchin. During that time, the FDIC made payments to OneWest totaling more $1 billion. Those payments went to the “billionaire investors of OneWest Bank,” says Stein, “to cover the cost of foreclosing on working-class, everyday, American folks,” many of whom lived in California.
And that’s not all. Not even close.
A complaint was filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earlier this month accusing Mnunchin’s OneWest of violating the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against minorities.
The new HUD complaint, which does not name Mnuchin personally, alleges more systematic discrimination against minority communities. It claims that OneWest violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against minorities in its mortgage lending and with the selection of sites for its bank branches in California. Research by the California Reinvestment Coalition, one of the groups that filed the complaint, found that OneWest did not have a single branch in a majority-black neighborhood in six areas of Southern California where OneWest did business. Out of the 74 branches in the Southern California study area, OneWest had only one branch located in a majority-Asian area and 11 in Hispanic areas, mostly in Los Angeles.
Last but far from least, Mnunchin also cashed out before the infamous swindler Bernie Madoff was busted and, thanks to an appeals court ruling, he didn’t have to return fake profits.
When Mnuchin’s mother, Elaine Cooper, died in February 2005, he and his brother Alan Mnuchin were named as beneficiaries and executors of her estate, according to the complaint. Within a few months, they withdrew the cash from her Madoff account. Madoff, a respected financier for decades, was arrested in December 2008. [Madoff trustee Irving Picard] said $3.2 million of the Mnuchin family’s withdrawal was fake profit that belonged to other investors.
I’m hesitant to even ponder the criticisms and accusations Hillary Clinton faced during both the Democratic primary and general election because, frankly, it’s maddening.
Where do you even begin?
Clinton was accused of selling out to Wall Street because she was paid to deliver speeches in front of wealthy bankers just as virtually everyone else of her stature is. The content of those speeches was overwhelmingly progressive in nature, but it didn’t matter. It didn’t matter that she told her audiences to take climate change and social welfare seriously, Clinton was already facing decades of slander pointed in her direction because she had the temerity to give children healthcare and refused to bake cookies when she was First Lady.
If I felt like he had any shame, I would say Saint Bernie should feel ashamed today.