Election 2016

Trump Selects a “Foreclosure Machine” for Treasury Secretary

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

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.

  • mnpollio

    Really? This site is still on a kick Bernie Sanders tantrum. How about kick the DNC for picking and doubling down on a candidate with 20+ years of insurmountable bad press that ultimately could not be overcome. Does no one at the DNC sit down and unemotionally go through the positives/negatives of a candidate and decide when they should winnowed out? Whether you or I dismiss much of the negative publicity against Clinton, there were huge swaths of the country that did not dismiss it, and the DNC should have taken that into consideration when pushing her as the candidate of choice (and anyone who does not believe that is not what Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC did, then I have a bridge to no where in Alaska to sell you). If you did not like Sanders as an alternative, fine. But if you are legitimately telling me that the Democrats had no one else in the wings that could have taken over from Clinton given her tremendous negative baggage, then that says nothing good about the Democratic Party or its supporters. I am really sick and tired of hearing corporate Dems and their enablers repeatedly point the finger and blame the left (and pretty much everyone under the sun) for bad decision making on the part of the DNC. And speaking of bad decisions. Is this a good time to remind this blog how it cheered on the nomination of Trump, despite my postings warning about such a cavalier attitude? This blog has been anything but prescient or unbiased in how events have turned out.

  • Aynwrong

    To paraphrase the great philosopher Homer Simpson:

    But Hillary was the Wall Streetest Wall Street to ever Wall Street a Wall Street.

    I don’t know how you get the Lefty Purity Caucus™ and the so called Liberal Media to ever accept the fact that the differences between the D’s and the R’s are significant enough that any comparison between the two is simply obscene.

  • Scopedog

    Good point about Hillary–I wonder what those who kept screaming that she was in the pocket of Goldman Sachs are thinking now.

    On second thought, fuck it, I don’t give two shits about them. I would like to as them this:


    ..But I don’t expect to get a straight answer out of them.

  • muselet

    A couple of words we’re going to be using a lot these next four years:

    Word 1:

    noun, plural kakistocracies.

    1. government by the worst persons; a form of government in which the worst persons are in power.

    Word 2:

    noun, plural kleptocracies.

    1. a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves.

    These may be added to the previous list, which includes “horrifying” and “unprecedented” and “self-dealing.”


    • MadJuana

      Heavy sigh…. The oligarchy of corporate racketeers has come into “full bloom” as it were.

  • Well it’s no surprise that Drumpf would be the Grifter in Chief but the people he is naming to his cabinet aren’t grifters, they’re vultures of the worst kind. God help us.

    • muselet

      As predictable as the sunrise, it is.


      • Christopher Foxx

        “Sun goes up, sun goes down, never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.”

    • Sometimes I wonder what the despot-elect actually thinks when he names these people. A part of me wonders of Trump might not even be in on this part of the con. The rest of the time I’m sure if I knew what He, Trump was thinking I wouldn’t like it.

      • Me too! I think it’s a little of both. By which I mean he knows that these guys are very rich, have a background in finance and come recommended by Pence and GOP cronies. He might suspect they’re vultures and have made their money the shady way but so has he. So he doesn’t care how they made their money. I would say the Grifter in Chief is amoral except for the fact that making money for himself is his guiding principle. Websters should put his picture in for the definition of Greed.

        • Aynwrong

          I was watching Batman vs Superman last night and Mnuchin’s name pops up in the opening credits. All I could do was shake my head.